On doing barbecue in England

A Manhattan in a bottle. This may have taken the sting out of eating barbecue in England.
A Manhattan in a bottle. This may have taken the sting out of eating barbecue in England.

They laughed when told there was a recommended barbecue place in Leeds, England, but hunger drove them to seek it out. However, they held me responsible if it turned out to be worst than cold mushy peas.

Kathy is especially upset when forced to eat American food in foreign places. Still thrown up to me is the worst desecration (in her mind) of all time: Eating in a McDonald’s on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

“We’re in Paris, for God’s Sake,” she cried — and has ever after and that atrocity (in her mind) happened back in 1992. No matter that we had hungry, crying children to feed: “We’re in Paris, for God’s sake.”

So asking her to eat American barbecue in England was a tough sell. Plus, we had to wait to get into Red’s True Barbecue. “This better be worth the wait. You’re never picking another restaurant again if this turns out to be awful.”

The Corn Exchange in Leeds is now filled with shops.
The Corn Exchange in Leeds is now filled with shops.

So the five of us (we are now traveling with Dave, Tina and Ben Carpenter) moseyed around the Corn Exchange next to Red’s until it came time to face the music (American rock ‘n’ roll) at Red’s.

A Manhattan served in a bottle smoothed the way for Kathy. A huge selection on the menu meant something for everyone. I chose “The Sleepy James.” It was the special developed after Red’s 2014 pilgrimage to the American South. They go each year and bring back something new to share with Leeds.

The Sleepy James comes from the Dodge Gas Station in Memphis, Tenn., and is named for a near toothless wanderer near the place. “Sleepy” rambled on about drinking moonshine since he was five but started making sense when the talk turned to techniques for smoking meat and fixing barbecue.

The Sleepy James involved waffles, barbecued chicken, bacon and greens. It was delicious. In fact, it was all delicious, according to my four sticky-fingered traveling partners.

I might get to pick a restaurant again.

Dave and John at Red's True Barbecue in Leeds, England.
Dave and John at Red’s True Barbecue in Leeds, England.

Barbecue in England? It’s on the weekend itinerary

American rugby fans can expect to be outnumbered in Leeds this weekend by the supporters of Scotland.

“Scotland will be the biggest group for Leeds with the U.S. a close second,” said Charlotte Rutherford, PR and Marketing Manager at Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.

Leeds is one of the closest game venues to Scotland in the Rugby World Cup, and Rutherford said the city will be filled with Scots arriving to cheer on their team in Sunday’s match against the USA Eagles.

Canada will play Italy on Saturday at Elland Road Stadium, the first rugby union international to be played there.

Rutherford noted that for the CEO of USA Rugby, Nigel Melville, having rugby union in Leeds is like a homecoming for him as he was born in Leeds.

Rutherford said Leeds is a compact city so that fans can visit a lot in a short time. But if you only have time to visit one thing, Rutherford suggested the Henry Moore Institute. The “VisitBritain” guide to the tournament says the institute celebrates sculpture and is named after Leeds College of Art’s most famous graduate. It says the institute is “part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, which is the largest collection of modern sculpture in Europe.”

Rutherford also suggested the Leeds Art Galley, which the guide says has a broad range of exhibitions.

For food, Rutherford was downright enthusiastic about Red’s True Barbecue. BBQ in England?

“Each year Red’s takes a pilgrimage to a Southern U.S. state and brings back what they have learned and shares it.”

See you there.