Unexpected hidden gems reveal themselves at the most unlikely moment. This post is a situation exactly one of those situations. Heading down the main A5 road towards Wales, we were starving. Fortunately for us we found a BBQ place in a remote Shropshire village – Smoke Stop.
Smoke Stop BBQ could have been a pub in a former life. The smell of burning wood and charcoal along with the American style billboards definitely confirm that this is a place specialising in barbecue.
I love barbecue more now that I have my own Weber at home and can practise getting that authentic American flavour into various cuts of meat, little did I know that this place existed only an hour and a half drive from my house. No need to light the grill today.
The menu outside looks tempting and authentic. Barbecue trays and sandwiches are a running theme throughout. Once inside, the restaurant is superbly decorated with the star spangled banner – stylish rather than tacky.
We were shown to our table by Joe, a friendly guy who explained the menu. It was so hard to resist the special of the day – a Philly cheesesteak made with brisket and a mountain of cheese.
We got taken instead by the barbecue tray. You can customise your tray however you like by choosing from 5 different options. The first two options are your meat, the third is a side, then fourth a sauce finishing off with a final side. All this comes to £16.50 and features all the famed cuts of American barbecue.
Two Rekorderlig Swedish Apple Ciders were quickly brought over lovely and cold. There are many beers, shakes and cocktails that you can have but this cider I would highly recommend. Not only is it delicious in flavour but also very light, perfect with a rich tray of smoked meat.
Just check out the bark on that short rib. If any confirmation was needed that this is authentic barbecue, this was it. The smell coming off the entire tray was making us both salivate. The short rib gave way at the touch of a fork, the meat was incredibly juicy.
The pulled pork and the brisket were both exceptional. Pull apart wonderful and juicy with an epic BBQ sauce. Sauce is something that normally lets a barbecue place down in my experience, not here. This was something very special.
Something we probably wouldn’t have again were the buffalo wings. The wings were cooked superbly but the sauce was just a little too sour for our liking. The potato salad also came with an acidic kick of onions which added good crunch.
As lunches go, this was a triumph. We were both surprised to see families and couples coming in early doors to eat, this place definitely appears to be a favourite with the locals. There are also Man vs Food challenges with photos on the wall of successful contestants.
For a final bill of £41 this had been a true highlight of our road trip. When a place like this enters your life it can only be a good thing. Superb BBQ from right under our radar, who would have thought a place like this would exist in rural Shropshire?
Opening Times: Monday – Wednesday 1700-2100
Thursday 1200-1430, 1700-2100
Friday, Saturday 1200-2200
Nearest Train Station: Shrewsbury