A taste of ‘Deep South’ hospitality in Caldy, on the outskirts of West Kirby

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Hickory’s Smokehouse is positively smouldering with intent, in a green and pleasant setting in the Wirral, (and elsewhere). The concept began with regular road trips to the Southern States. Seventy cities later, fuelled with inspiration, knowledge, passion & great smoked and barbecued food, Hickory’s Smokehouses came into being. Their mission was to bottle the generosity of spirit and open hearted hospitality of the Southern States.

WORDS: Jean Hill

A little background information: hickory is a relatively strong-flavoured wood that adds dark colour to smoked meats. Hickory is described as sweet like maple wood, pungent like mesquite, and is used in smoking, grilling and barbecuing meats, and vegetables. This is the way they do it in the Midwest and Southern States of USA.

There is a wealth of choice. The menu highlights different methods in different regions of the USA. Memphis is where pork barbecue is king, with dry rubs, that are mild, sweet and spicy, with lots of basting and mopping sauces.  Kansas style is sweet rubs, savoury spices and brisket smoked in a hickory-stoked pit with thick and sticky-sweet sauces. Texas style is a no frills approach, no sauce, it is all about the meat. Beef is king in Carolina, with pulled pork and vinegar based sauces providing juiciness.

The restaurant is open seven days a week. On Friday to Sunday there is a brunch menu that includes avocado and poached eggs, and steak and eggs. Took me back to the great outdoors, camping in the wilds of Canada, where we cooked steaks on open grills, before canoeing off in the direction of rapids.

We did genuinely enjoy a warm welcome. Hickory’s is spacious, with beautiful wooden flooring, and is family friendly with comfortable seating. There is a buzz about the place, with  large screens strategically placed, so that you can follow your chosen sport, mostly.

We opted for Caesar salad as a starter, which was delicious, with crisp coz lettuce and silky smooth dressing. Our mains’ choices were: fajitas with Cajun chicken, pulled pork, and fire-kissed seabass. The seabass was chargrilled on open flames with succotash. Reminded me of the expression: ‘suffering succotash’, though have to say, I loved it. The seabass was wonderfully crisp on the outside, with succulent, locked in, flaky flavour. The succotash sauce comprises a beautifully balanced mix of sweet corn, black beans and okra. The barbecued hand-pulled pork is a labour of love. The pork is smoked for fourteen hours. The skin on fries are chunky and moreish.  The chicken was slow smoked to good effect with a barbecued dark, crisp and moist finish.

There are desserts, and churros are in there with silky chocolate dip, and pancake stacks, with blueberry compote and cream. Great way to spend a Sunday lunch-time, and would surely turn around those petulant Mondays. There is a takeaway service and gluten-free options.

www.hickorys.co.uk

Tel. 0151 5593123

For more culinary inspiration, please pay a visit to our food and drink page.

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