46-48 Commercial St, E1 6LT
HotBox vs Smokestak…for one night, and one night only!
A Heavyweight Smoke-off only food lovers can dream of – we couldn’t quite believe our eyes when we read on-line of this ultimate battle between two of our most loved BBQ specialists.
Tickets sold out as fast as Glastonbury (well, almost) and we were chuffed to confirm our place at their 1st sitting.
At £48 a ticket it wasn’t cheap but we knew that these two would not mess around…plus we knew we’d have serious meat-sweat blues if we did not get a seat at this table.
The night was hosted at HotBox with Smokestak’s David Carter joining the HotBox team in the kitchen for the ultimate showdown. We arrived in time for a drink in the bar below before taking our seats, purposely wearing our loosest attire which hid a very hungry tummy.
*Ding Ding* Round 1
Pork and Beef Ribs…
HotBox (back-right) pepper-cured their Beef Ribs which gave them a fantastic colour and char but they were no contenders for Smokestak’s unbelievable USDA oak smoked beef.
We ate them in silence, trying to comprehend what we’d just put in our mouths – unbelievably tender with just the right amount of fat on. The smattering of pickled chillies really bought each mouthful to an orgasmic crescendo!
HotBox 0 – Smokestak 1
Next onto the Pork Ribs – first up we have SSSSSSSmmmmokestak! With their Smoked and Charred Pork Ribs which were so big you’d half expect them to come off a T-Rex rather than a Pig. Succulent with a serious amount of meat…
HotBox bought their A game with a Scotch Bonnet Glazed Pork Rib, these ribs had less meat than their competition but that didn’t matter as they made up for it in flavour…in a big way. Punchy flavour with meat that fell away from the bone – I am drooling just thinking about these guys!
Clear winners in the Pork Rib category were HotBox!
What more they helped sway our decision with their addition of a 3 cheese Mac n’ Cheese which was one of the best we’ve tried for a while!
HotBox 1 – SmokeStak 1
We were left to digest and deliberate before Round 2 was bought out of the kitchen – they wanted to make us wait!
We continued to re-fuel on pints of beer yet the fear of filling up was forever at the back of our minds….
This featured Brisket in this round plus a surprise Wild Card from each competitor.
HotBox’s mesquite smoked brisket came in the form of a burger and it was incredibly photogenic! It definitely knew how to work the camera… sadly its good looks were deceiving, even though the meat had a great texture to it it lacked in flavour plus there was a tad too much fat for our liking…
Smokestak did what they did best – with another Oak Smoked option, this time taking the form of a slider. Similar to what they were pedalling at Street Feast they kept it simple and bite-size…so naturally this was inhaled pretty quickly.
Winner? It was an easy one – Smokestak.
Not sure how we managed to fit this accompaniment in – a smoked Potato Salad – it was pretty fabulous.
Smokestak threw in some brisket for good measure – we have to admit we had to doggy-bag this for hungry house-mates!
We expected Chicken – and HoxBox produced just that!
It is with a heavy-heart we have to say that this was not a stand-out dish of the evening, maybe even winning the Wooden Spoon! Totally feeling like a Judas to our dear HotBox with these comments but it just didn’t deliver….
I’m sorry HotBox, but just to add insult to injury Smokestak could not have nailed their Lamb Wildcard any more! Unbelievable scenes…
Meaty and juicy with a surprising depth to the flavour – the Lamb was served on a mini Naan bread, taco style – with a generous dollop of soured cream! This was unbelievable and even at the end of such a mammoth feast I could have eaten about 10 of these…but then we’d probably have to lie-down in a dark room somewhere for a couple of hours but it would have been worth it!
Looking back I can’t quite believe how much food we consumed – leaving is a slight blur which would have been the tell-tail signs of the start of our food coma – as we bundled onto the nearest Tube back West, praying we wouldn’t be mistaken for a pregnant lady and offered a seat.
Final Score? HoxBox 1 – Smokestak 3
After all the votes were counted and verified – the results were announced Smokestak won with 57% of the votes! Top Night!
The Burp Blog’s Verdict: Five out of Five Forks