Review of 'Hickory's Smokehouse'

While in the Crewe area (but not Crewe) looking at houses it was time for dinner. The choices on offer as we drove around seemed to be pretty much the standard: McDonalds, Pizza Hut, a few Thai takeaways, fish & chips…Bored at this we had a look at Google and came across “Hickory's Smokehouse” a short distance away past the football stadium in an industrial looking area. We are both fans of American BBQ but there are not many options here in the UK for this so we jumped a the chance to see how good “Hickory's” would be. As it turns out: We were not disappointed.


The standalone restaurant is located near a roundabout with lots of parking and as well as a large interior both a veranda and back picnic area to eat in. Advised that despite the sunny weather there were wasps out the back so we chose to dine indoors and were shown to a small booth near the toilets. The interior is done up in stereotypical mid-south US “cowboy” with antiques, old advertising on the walls, the staff all wearing jeans (and corporate t-shirts), etc.

The menus are in the form of a folded newspaper that serves as a placemat and as we started browsing we were treated to some complimentary, and quite tasty, popcorn (sweet+salty). The menu is split into “Brunch” (served until 2 pm), “Appetisers” (including wings, nachos, etc), “Subs & Salads” (including hot dogs, and a good variety of salads), “Steaks”, “Burgers”, “The Smokehouse”, “Mains”, Desserts“ and “Something on the Side?”. The last page is devoted to their drinks which feature not only “Beers & Ciders”, “Wines” and “Prosecco” but also “Signature Cocktails”, “Freshly Made Milkshakes” (all £4.50), “Own Recipe Sodas & Lemonades” (all £3.65) and “Gin & Vodka Fusions”. From reading other reviews it seems that the drinks are one of the highlights so we picked their own “Hickory's Grade Soda” which was quite flavoursome though slightly sickly for me (noting that this is what a grape soda SHOULD taste like).

Burnt Ends

To start I chose the “Burnt End 'Popcorn' Bites” (£6.25; from the menu: “Bitsize chunks of 16-hour smoked brisket, tossed in our secret blend of spices. We first tried them at a smokehouse in Memshis ten years ago & we've never looked back”). There were not many of these in the cup provided and they looked decidedly unappealing but they tasted absolutely delicious and came with a BBQ sauce dip (which is, as it turns out, one of their table sauces if you want it). The meat was very tender with just the right amount of chewy exterior and loads of flavour. Of course “burnt ends” are said by those in the business to be the best part of the rib…


My companion went for the more unusual “Frickles” (£5.99; “Juicy pickles deep-fried in a crispy Cajun spiced batter, served with South Caroline barbeque dip”) which were also really delicious: A single (large) pickle sliced into quarters then deep fried in batter. The batter was nicely spicy but not overwhelmingly so but what was also nice was that this was an American-style pickle rather than a European one: Dill rather than sweet or salty, which greatly added to the flavour. You might expect this to get a bit soggy with the pickle inside but the batter stayed crisp throughout.

1/2 Rack Memphis Style Baby Back Ribs - Dry Rub

We had to go for something from “The Smokehouse” so each decided on one of our favourites: “Memphis Style Baby Back Ribs” (£13.50 half rack, £19.99 full rack; “Have them your way…Dry rubbed or BBQ sauce glazed. Our baby back ribs are rubbed in magic dust, sopped then smoked for 4 hours. Served with skin-on fries & house slaw”). Opting for the half-rack we were pleased when they arrived that although it was a southern-US dish it did have southern-US style portions (ie, much bigger than any one surely should be allowed to eat in one go). The ribs were absolutely delicious - Tender with a good amount of meat. I had the traditional dry rub which really brought out the flavour of the meat without overwhelming the meat but my companion had the BBQ sauce which was also quite delicious. The fries were perfectly cooked - Not too crispy and tender inside (served with only a small amount of salt, allowing us to add as we wished - though I opted for the BBQ house sauce). The slaw was a bit underwhelming in flavour but very fresh and satisfying with the rest of the dish.

1/2 Rack Memphis Style Baby Back Ribs - BBQ Sauce

Though we were a bit full, we opted to share a somewhat disappointing “Fro-Co” of “Honeycomb, Toffee Fudge Pieces & Butterscotch Sauce” (£3.99; “The one & only frozen custard (that's Fro-Co in Hickory's talk). Think Mr. Wippy but butter!”). I found it overly sweet but my companion liked it though she was not keen on the tiny pieces of fudge scatted throughout.

Throughout our visit the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, allowing us to take our time in browsing the menu despite being quite busy on a Thursday evening. The dishes came at a reasonable interval, piping hot.

Bar Area/Entry

“Hickory's Smokehouse” is probably the best BBQ we have had in the UK along with great service and reasonable prices. Our meal came to £54.86 including drinks and a “Tip Jar” contribution of £3.83 automatically added to the bill. The whole experience very much mirrors what you might experience in the US or Canada (which made us feel a bit at home) - Friendly, relaxed and un-pretentious. We will certainly look forward to returning and trying some more items on the menu…

Note that there are several locations of Hickory's in central/north England.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2021-08-26

Cuisine: American/British

Address: 332 Crewe Rd, Shavington, Crewe CW2 5AF ENGLAND

Location: Cheshire (England) - Crewe



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Telephone: +44 (0) 1270 906144