Brisket is a cut of meat which comes from the breast or lower chest. Why do we love it? Is it because its primal and inside all of us there are remnants of our hunter gatherer ancestors? Ready to serve, briskets façade resembles the black leather of a perfectly shined shoe. If cooked correctly it resonates with an intense beef flavour and is infused with rivulets of fat which moisten every mouthful.
Over the last few years Dublin has seen a steady stream of outlets serving variants on the traditional All American BBQ. Places like Bison Bar along the quays, Pitt Brothers on Georges Street and more recently in Smithfield My Meat Wagon have proved incredibly popular with Dubliners.
The latest addition to this growing trend is Smokin Bones on Dame Street. The menu is modelled on a typical American BBQ and smokehouse. A mix of brisket, pulled pork, wings and burgers. Salads are also on offer for the more health conscious out there.
They only opened their doors in December so are still the new kid on the block. The restaurant stretches from Dame Street back to Dame Court with entrances on both sides. I popped my Smokin Bones cherry on a quiet Monday evening the second week of January.
The interior is what you would expect. Lots of wood and dark leather with a mix of booths and tables. They also have some larger communal tables which don’t quite work in the space as everyone needs to move to let you out if you happen to be on the inside seat.
The kitchen runs down one side of the restaurant and is open for all to see. They actually do all their own smoking downstairs in the basement and one of the chefs hails from New York.
Myself and H both went for the BBQ tasting platter priced at €14.95 which is great value in my opinion. It had a mix of brisket, pulled pork sliders, chicken wings and a half a rack of ribs. That’s enough to give anyone the meat sweats.
Despite everything tasting incredible the brisket was the winner on the plate for me. It was meltingly tender with robust flavours and a silky sheen to it. That alone will bring me back to Smokin Bones, and I’ll be having a large portion of it when I do.
The pulled pork slider, another success. The bun lightly toasted and the pork dripping in flavour and blanketed in a rich BBQ sauce.
The beans although a side dish, could easily hold their own centre stage. They are cooked in a smoker for 12 hours and mixed with smoked crispy ends, pulled pork, onions and injected with seasoning.
The manager, who was happy to give us snippets of information about the menu and their plans for the future informed me that the ribs are sourced locally from an Irish butcher and they specifically request them to leave an extra layer of meet on the bone. The result, a much chunkier and satisfying meat feast. The ribs were so tender I suspect that were it not for the sticky BBQ sauce holding them together they might simply fall apart themselves.
I was stuffed after the platter but the waiter sneakily left a menu on the side of the table listing the desserts. Quite frankly it would be rude not to try a couple of desserts, besides it was for research purposes. A smokin’s chocolate brownie and a New York style cheesecake were promptly ordered and delivered.
The chocolate brownie was served with hot Tennessee Bourbon caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. It was not too rich that you couldn’t finish it and had a texture which was firm while still moist and chewy enough to fill you up. It did however need more sauce on the side and ice cream would go much better with it.
A baked vanilla cheesecake with a crisp base and served with a side of cream. While I did enjoy it and finished it all I think it was slightly dry and felt it had more of a chunky than velvety texture to it. Again it needed more sauce with it.
Although you don’t currently see it on their website they do also serve a selection of beers and of course the usual soft drinks. The food was great and the staff were friendly and attentive. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and am certain to return.
Smokin Bones, 34 Dame Street, Dublin 2