Manchester’s Pitmaster sets UK yardstick for Halal smokehousesHALAL STATUS Fully Halal
During our tour of Manchester and our visit to Heavenly Desserts on the famous stretch of ‘Curry Mile’, Pitmaster caught our eye for its unique theme and mouthwatering menu.
Any time we hear of a smokehouse that offers Halal and promises to deliver an authentic BBQ experience, we get excited.
But when we encounter one that’s fully Halal, with 16-hour smoked briskets, 8-hour slow smoked ribs, and plenty of smoked burgers to boot, we get weak at the knees.
After all, few are the restaurateurs who decide on taking the arduous journey of launching a smokehouse, given the time-consuming nature of the beast.
Not only does it take exceptional skill to really offer a top notch BBQ experience, but tremendous dedication and commitment, made acutely more difficult in the midst of a global pandemic that’s virtually crippled the UK’s restaurant scene.
In fact, it took four evidently passionate partners two years of market research, involving lots of travel followed by 18 months of fine tuning, before Pitmaster was launched on Wilmslow Road (next door to Heavenly Desserts).
Judging by first impressions, it appeared to us that all that meticulous pre-planning had paid off, for this rustically designed, 60-cover restaurant successfully captures the look and feel of a quintessential timber-based American smokehouse.
What’s more, they have around a dozen staff visible from their semi-open kitchen, whose franatic activity adds to the overall buzz and atmosphere of the place.
It’s always a good sign isn’t it when shakes, served up in impressive looking large cups as these, turn out to be lusciously thick, milky, and full of flavour?
While we opted for Oreo, we were recommended their popular Salted Caramel Cookie Dough Shake. With delicious chunks of chewy dough coming through every so often, not only would we also recommend this for its uniqueness, but also because their selection of cookie doughs are actually inhouse made (more on this below).
We’ve often been left slightly underwhelmed at the few places we’ve had the privilege of reviewing smoked ribs, such that either the smokiness hasn’t quite come through as it should, or the meat has erred on the dry side. This wasn’t the case here at Pitmaster.
These were, succinctly put, the best smoked ribs we’ve ever had! And since pictures don’t lie: Just look at the above cross-section and tell us that doesn’t scream succulence?
This thick piece of deeply-flavoured, smoky beef was practically oozing juices from every pour and crevice; and we couldn’t get enough of it.
Coming with a choice of side, salad and sauces, we decided on trying a large selection for the purposes of this review.
The homemade Coleslaw was crunchy and creamy, with a touch of heat permeating through, while the Jalapeño Bites were superb, turning out ultra crispy on the outside, and filled to the brim with a combination of creamy cheese and hot jalapeños.
The soothingly warm and gooey, piquant cheese sauce turned out to be especially enjoyable. What’s more, not only was the heat from the creamy pepper sauce wonderfully satisfying, and the meat-based gravy subtly complimentary, but even the pot of sweetcorn managed to retain a good bite.
How simply can we put the following? When it comes to smoking meat while keeping it utterly tender and juicy, as well as achieving that tell-tale pink smoke ring without compromising on flavour, Pitmaster’s sublime slices of umami rich brisket are at the very top of the tree.
And if this Loaded Fries with Pulled Brisket proves anything, it is that at no time was the flavour of the incredibly moist beef lost to the strong flavours of the tangy jalapeños and the copious cheese sauce smothered over the top. As such, this turned out to be an addictive munch.
Premium brisket indeed! When you’ve nailed the most important element in this burger, everything thereafter’s a formality.
Here the tangy gherkins combined with the heat of the jalapeños and that deliciously gooey cheese sauce to elevate this Smoked Brisket Melt to unsurpassed heights.
We even appreciated the touch of brilliance in leaving the slice of Monterey Jack cheese uncooked so as to ensure that its distinct sweet-piquant taste filtered through with every bite.RECOMMENDED
With the mustard and chilli mayo sauce working in tandem to deliver that occasional hit to the palate, this Smoked Brisket Slaw was ultimately defined by the addition of the aforementioned inhouse coleslaw, whose zingy edge contrasted perfectly against the charred, smoky goodness of the meaty beef.RECOMMENDED
The signature Pitmaster Special Burger coupled a beef patty with the brisket, and enough extra condiments therein to ensure a scrumptious sandwich.
To be sure, the cheese here had been nicely melted, whilst the caramelised onions married well against the heat of the jalapenos to ensure a lovely chilli-sweet undertone.
If any proof is required towrds Pitmaster’s commitment in offering a genuinely authentic experience, then it ought to be the fact that they have a kitchen staff member dedicated to freshly baking their exceptional range of cookie doughs on a daily basis.
The above two, namely the Salted Caramel and the Chocolate, were outstandingly good, with each plate meticulously decorated to distinguish it from the last.
Not only was the balance of the gooey and cakey dough judged to a tee, with all four beautifully moist on the inside, but the chewy bits of salted caramel and chocolate respectively added some pleasant textural contrast.
You’d think that these plates were served at a posh high end restaurant; but no, this is, indeed, a smokehouse on the Curry Mile.
While all their cookie doughs come with matching sauces and a scoop of gelato ice cream, the Apple & Cinnamon one was flavourful enough to pip its Red Velvet counterpart to the line.
- NO/ NO
- DISABLED FACILITIES
- CHILD SEATING
- PRAYER ROOM
To put things into perspective, of all the restaurants we've rated 5/5, there have been a few which, after tallying up their scores, have just managed to achieve this distinction. Pitmaster is arguably the strongest 5/5 restaurant we've ever reviewed - everything was just so on point.
It was obvious to us that all their purported years of background research into opening a genuine "BBQ & smokehouse" restaurant had paid off. It also proves that there are no short cuts to the difficult art of not just smoking meats, but able to replicate this precise skill in a restaurant environment.
What's more, the fact that they have a dedicated dessert chef for those cookie doughs, only serves to further reinforce their commitment towards making Pitmaster the most memorable Halal BBQ smokehouse in the UK.
Having recently launched a brand new dark kitchen delivery service to "reach further and be able to cater to more customers", this is the place to visit or order from when in Manchester.
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