- Memphis - specialising in 'wet' and 'dry' ribs and barbecue sandwiches (wet ribs are brushed with sauce before and after cooking, dry ribs are seasoned with a dry rub)
- Carolinas - pork: pulled shredded or chopped (though North and South Carolina do things differently - of course)
- Kansas City - the signature ingredient here is the sauce, thick and sweet, served at the table with dry rubbed ribs
- Texas - of which there are four kinds: North, East, South and West; I'll leave it there.
There are now four branches of Bodean's (Tower Hill, Soho, Clapham, Fulham) and they are popular places indeed - on a prior visit to the Tower Hill branch as a walk-in one mid week evening, there was a half hour wait for a table as the place was full, including the bar area. Bookings can be made however at Bodean's so this fate can be avoided with a bit of planning.
On the menu is everything you would expect from a BBQ house including ribs (baby back, spare ribs, Jacob's ladder beef ribs), BBQ chicken, and pulled pork which are all cooked in their 'oak burning smoke pit'. There's a bunch of other stuff too including burgers (even a veggie burger!), hot dogs and chargrilled steaks. The result is that Bodean's has a very strong sense of identity and you probably know what you're going to have before you even go.
A half dozen Buffalo Chicken WIngs to start. More choices, they're served with the following sauce options: Mild/BBQ/Hot/Diablo/BBQ Bourbon. I'm told BBQ Bourbon is the most popular and I opt for that. Oh, that's another thing, they have an amazing range of Bourbons available here. Back to the wings. They arrive smothered in sauce and eating them is a messy affair. Very messy, but they are delicious, the BBQ Bourbon sauce excellent and this is no skimpy portion, these are full wings and half a dozen leaves me quite full up, but there is still a lot of food to come...
The ribs were perhaps the disappointment here and this accords with my previous experience at Bodean's (so maybe that's how they are supposed to be, or how they want them), but my observation is that the meat in no way falls off the bone so you'll be working these ribs hard with your teeth to pull off the meat. Kansas City style, you're left to apply the source you want to the ribs. I opted for the Smoked Hickory which was a very sweet smoky hickory and went well with the ribs. The chicken was good even though I felt that I had had enough chicken by then. Enriched by the smoke but the inside keeping a natural juiciness, if you want BBQ chicken with chips, you could do a lot worse than Bodean's. Fries were only okay but that didn't matter as I was full well before the plate was finished.
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