The Roadhouse Burger – The Smoke House (Pontcanna, Cardiff)

The Smoke House, Pontcanna

The Smoke House, Pontcanna

January brought a resolution to be a bit more healthy, that meant cutting back on burgers and stepping up to a better gym regime. 1 burger a month, at least 3 gym visits a week and a lot more healthy food in between.

I already had my monthly burger joint visit pencilled in, so any additional burgers would mean a failed resolution before we even exit January……oh well!

A tweet arrived. My resolve was broken. I needed a burger. But where?

I had already talked a fellow Super Burger Bro into it; to be fair, it wasn’t very hard at all. “Do you want to go for a burger?” “Yeah”. Job done.

You already know where I picked from the title and the photo, so there’s no point trying to eek out any sort of suspense; The Smoke House in Pontcanna (not to be confused with a similarly named restaurant in the city centre).

Better book in advance. It's pretty busy, even on a Thursday evening in January.

Better book in advance. It’s pretty busy, even on a Thursday evening in January.

The Smoke House bills itself as an “Authentic American Barbecue restaurant in Pontcanna. Smoke Pit, real food, local ingredients, family friendly, amazing dishes.” But would their description be backed up by the facts?

A wall full of beer....nice!!!

A wall full of beer….nice!!!

The venue is a bit out of town, but don’t let that put you off. I guess the fact that you still need to book a table on a Thursday evening is testament to the standard of goods on offer.

We took our seats and a carafe (at least I think that’s what it was) of iced water and two glasses appeared, along with our menus, courtesy of the super-efficient and friendly staff. Despite the Specials board doing its very best to sway my premade decision, I proved to myself that I could still stick to some decisions I’d made.

The Roadhouse Burger comes with a choice of 3 toppings. You could have beef brisket, pulled pork or chilli beef. I would plump for the pulled pork, but only because I knew that my accomplice would be having the brisket, and we could do a little bit of swapsies.

So here it is. Beef patty, Monterey Jack Cheese, gherkins, Smoke House Sauce and the usual lettuce and tomato and the pulled pork in a, wait for it, brioche bun.

The Master Burgerbuilders in action.

The Master Burgerbuilders in action.

I could see the kitchen from my table, with the chefs plating up some amazing looking food. As the front of house team delivered a succession of stunning looking food to the other customers, I had regular bouts of food envy.

I wanted to get a couple of pics of the “behind the scenes” action that was going on. Yes, the food is the star of the blog, but the guys behind the chain-link divide were no bit-part players. I asked if I could get some photos for my blog and they were very accommodating and we got to talk food too.

The food was plated up and I made my way back to the table, where I had missed my opportunity to eat any of the complimentary popcorn, which I am assured was really tasty. It was time for the main show.

Plated and ready to be served

Plated and ready to be served

My burger, with homemade red cabbage ‘slaw, homemade twice-cooked chunky chips and my side of homemade (are you spotting a trend here?) onion rings arrived on a wooden chopping board. Pictures were taken and it was time to taste.

De-feckin-licious! (a bit Irish) Lush! Fab’lous! (yeah, not a typo, it’s the way the Welsh say it!) Teckle! Gallus! (Scottish) <insert your own colloquial superlatives here>

Burger, chips and 'slaw

Burger, chips and ‘slaw

I decided I’d start with an onion ring. Generously-sized, beer-battered, crunchy rings of awesomeness that I could dip into my choice of garlic mayo, ketchup or the sauce from the special of the day, the Big Mack sauce (like the offering of the super-chain, but with more “K”).

I moved onto the chips. Crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle and possibly the best chips I’ve ever tasted. As a Scotsman in exile, I’ve been critical of the lack of a decent chip offering in this land, but I was blown away by these!

Getting stuck in!!!

Getting stuck in!!!

So there was some red cabbage ‘slaw too. Now, I’m a fan of coleslaw; the creaminess of the mayo, the crunch of fresh sweet red cabbage with some ground black pepper to add a bit of tanginess would be a nice little addition to the plate. It would have been, if it was that. My fellow Super Burger Bro and I disagreed on this. He liked the thinly shredded, wet, kind of soft, mixture. I didn’t. But there was so much other great stuff going on, I didn’t need to eat it.

But this isn’t Super Chip or Onion Ring or Super Coleslaw Bros; We’re here for the burgers!

I took a bite into my burger, oozing with melted cheese, to see how good the meat was. I was delighted to see a hint of pink in the middle of the patty (Not sure if you can see it in the pic, but trust me, it was there) which was holding together nicely and full of flavour. The combination of the mesquite smoked pulled pork which was, wait for it, smoked on the premises, along with the burger and the Smoke House sauce added a punchy group of flavours, none of which overpowered the other and should be described as truly delightful.

As we tucked into our meals, a skillet with samples of brisket and pulled pork were placed on the table; the chefs thought we might want to try the two without the interference of the rest of the burger. It was obvious that the boys were very proud of the food on their menu and I was more than happy to try their product.

Brisket & Pulled Pork skillet, with some onion rings in the backround

Brisket & Pulled Pork skillet, with some onion rings in the backround

Wow doesn’t really cut it, but if that’s not the first thing that goes through your head when the brisket enters your mouth, well, I hate to break it to you, you’re probably a robot. I’ve made brisket before, obviously not smoked, and it’s been good. I’m being modest, it was actually great. I’m more than happy to admit that this was at least 2 steps up the chain of the delicious meat hierarchy. As if that wasn’t good enough, I then got to add some barbecue sauce into the mix. BOOOOOM!!!!

This was not only the best burger I’ve reviewed, this was most probably the best food I’d ever eaten. (Sorry mum)

If there had been nobody else around, I'd have licked the board.

If there had been nobody else around, I’d have licked the board.

This unexpected and unplanned excursion was more than I ever bargained for. Get yourself on the blower and book a table now. I promise you won’t be disappointed, unless you’re a vegetarian, but then you should be used to that feeling!

On site smokers packed full of tasty meaty goodness

On site smokers packed full of tasty meaty goodness

After eating, the guys let me see where stage one of the magic happened. Their smokers were packed with the meat that they would use the next day. The smell was amazing. I’d have happily moved into a flat nearby just to be able to take in that aroma whenever I could, except I know I’d end up skint and fat, so maybe I’ll stay where I am; I’ve got a health regime to stick to remember?!

This Super Burger Bro gives The Smoke House’s Roadhouse Burger with Pulled Pork experience a 4.9 out of 5.

About shyboyscott

My name's Scott aka shyboy. I'm a 6ft, bald headed, tattooed, bearded Scotsman that's now a dad. Total softy until I need to be the opposite. Love burgers, beer, my girl and my baby boy....not necessarily in that order.

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