“My one guilty pleasure is a good rack of ribs. Where I come from, in South Carolina, people didn’t have two pennies to rub together. A rack of ribs was a luxury. Like Christmas in July.”
Congressman Frank Underwood
I’ve recently emerged from a box set Bermuda Triangle in the form of House of Cards. Over the last few weeks, Kevin Spacey’s epic performance as Congressman Frank Underwood has consumed my every waking hour.
One of the take home messages from the series (other than the dark side of scheming politicians, lobbyists, charities, journalists etc etc) is that the best American Barbecue isn’t posh.
Hang Fire Smokehouse, located in the shabby spit and sawdust Canadian pub in Splott, sings entirely from this hymn sheet.
Before opening Hang Fire, proprietors Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn travelled around America for six months learning the art of Southern Barbecue. It was time well spent as Hang Fire serves some absolutely corking food.
Order a pint from the bar (disappointingly the only draught lagers are Fosters and Carling), make your choices from the reassuringly brief menu (there's no starters or puddings), place your order at the Hang Fire counter, grab a table and wait for the good stuff to arrive.
I ordered the Hang Fire Plate (£9.50). All the smoked meats on this sampling plate were off the hook.
Ribs were soft with a good hit of smoke and a light brush of BBQ sauce. Unctuous pulled pork was soft with the odd jewel of crispiness. Lastly, lightly smoked chicken wings provided welcome respite from the pork overload. Sides of crisp, fluffy paprika-dusted chips and pulled pork flecked BBQ beans completed the fantastic plate of food.
Mrs G ordered a special of BBQ beef short ribs (£11). Beefy, crispy, smoky and yielding, they were two of the largest ribs of meat I’ve ever seen. A side of house made ‘slaw was lightly dressed with mayonnaise and well seasoned.
Sweet mustard South Carolina sauce and a light Kansas City BBQ sauce proved excellent dips whilst kitchen roll and wet wipes were essential tools for cleaning up our sauce coated paws.
It’s safe to say that Hang Fire Smokehouse is Splott’s first destination restaurant. They’re currently only open on Friday evenings and Saturday lunch and they don't take reservations. I’d get in there whilst you can still get a table...
Address - Hang Fire Smokehouse, The Canadian, Pearl Street, Splott, CF24 1PN
Telephone - 029 2045 3141