London's Best American BBQ Restaurants

Pulled meats, slow-cooked ribs and tangy sauces at your service

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To Brits, the word 'barbecue' doesn't mean a whole lot. Tong-wielding alpha dads warring over burnt-black sausages and shrunken supermarket burgers. But to Americans, especially those in the Deep South, it's a noble, storied art that must be respected.

The main difference lies in their cooking method. While we flame our meats over a grill, US BBQ savants cook their cuts slow-and-low over smoke, so that the richly-flavoured meat falls apart at the first bite. Different states have their own unique recipes and methods, but one virtue remains: patience.

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And the good word has just about reached our shores. To prove it, here are the ultimate London smokehouses to gorge yourself on America's most delicious tradition:

Red's True BBQ

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Best for: Authenticity

Every year the team behind Red's set off on a pilgrimage through the southern states of America in search of BBQ inspiration, and every year they return with way too many good ideas.

Regardless, they still try to cram them all into their massive menu (nicknamed The Good Book), so you might want to have a gander online before you sit down at your table. 'The Pitmaster's Tray' – boasting tangy St. Louis ribs, low and slow-cooked brisket, heaps of pulled pork and cheese & jalapeno sausage – is a good starting point, but you definitely don't want to miss out on the burnt ends or pit beans either.

And while you're there: give the famous donut burger a try if you love and hate yourself in equal measure.

54-56 Great Eastern St, London, EC2A 3QR, truebarbecue.com

Duke's Brew and Que

Best for: Gut-busting portions

Anyone who's ever mopped away a life-threatening USDA meat-sweat will know that when it comes to BBQ, quantity is just as important as quality.

Duke's Brew and Que understand this cardinal rule. That's why they've included the Colossus on their menu – a fearsome platter featuring a 16oz beef rib, two pork ribs, a double portion of pulled pork, hot wings, coleslaw and Texas toast.

They don't skimp on the other stuff either, and we recommend the delicious 6oz bone marrow & beef burger. Wash it down with one of their countless craft beer options – they're situated in an 18th century pub and are the home of Beavertown brewery, so they know what they're doing.

33 Downham Road, Haggerston, London, N1 5AA, dukesbrewandque.com

HotBox

Best for: A romantic feast

They may draw recipes from around the world, but HotBox's heart still lies squarely in the American deep south.

Cooked low and slow in a kiln dried hickory and oak rotisserie smoker, a succulent USDA beef short rib takes pride and centre on the menu, alongside St. Louis pork ribs, smoked chicken and a fearsome tomahawk pork chop.

The dimly-lit restaurant itself, situated on Commercial Road in Spitalfields, has rows of connected tables that encourage sharing but probably never succeed. As healthy as the portions are you'll definitely manage on your own.

46-48 Commercial St. London, E16LT, hotboxlondon.co.uk

Smokey Tails

Best for: Beats and eats

Inspired by the home cooking of his childhood, after a cult run of pop-ups in Melbourne, Miami and Amsterdam, American DJ Seth Troxler decided to lay down a permanent East London residency for Smokey Tails, a barbecue restaurant/late-night bar in Hoxton Square that covers every base when it comes to quality 'cue (that's short for barbecue, FYI).

Filled with low-slung booths, neon lights and trendy staff that get it right without trying too hard, this is the kind of restaurant you come to to get your hands sticky, with a menu stacked full of ribs, pulled pork, brisket, fried chicken and some very special macaroni and cheese (you can eat that with a fork, if you're a lord or something).

Oh, and they also do a bottomless brunch, which'll give you a reason to eat fried chicken at 11am.

Like we said: every base.

2-4 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NU, smokeytails.co.uk