Food review, The Suffolk Smoke Co: 'A barbecue treat the family will love'
- Credit: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis
It all felt rather illicit. My husband and I, sitting in the car park of Burger King at Copdock, waiting for a white van to show up.
“It’s like we’re in Line of Duty,” he muttered to me, “are you sure this is right?”
But soon enough the guys from The Suffolk Smoke Company rocked up (in a Palfrey & Hall sign written van). And as they eased on the brakes, suddenly lots of other folk leapt from their cars, forming an orderly queue in the chilly Easter bank holiday weekend sunshine.
Created during lockdown by caterers Francesca and Tim Cresswell, The Suffolk Smoke Company is one of the newest kids on the block on the county’s takeaway and delivery scene – regularly selling out of its weekly authentic barbecue boxes.
Ordering is easy enough. The menu is published on social media with a cut off day. Simply drop them a message and they’ll get in contact with you, sharing bank transfer details and arranging collection or delivery.
Being over in Hadleigh, we’re slightly off the delivery patch, which seems to run from around Eye/Stowmarket along the A12 down to Manningtree so, fully paid, were instructed to collect from the aforementioned liaison point.
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Each feast (feeding two with a four person option available) is £35 including a range of meats and sides plus dessert, with the option to add on wings and drinks (which we did because we’re unashamedly greedy).
The kids were mightily excited by the time dinner rolled around – especially Ethan, whose favourite food in the world is pulled pork.
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And there was plenty for us to share. I just added some garlic bread and homemade oven chips – teenagers are food hoovers.
Cooking the barbecued banquet couldn’t have been easier. Everything came in recyclable tin trays and cardboard containers, and the instructions only required us to pop the labelled dishes in the oven (at the same temperature) in sequence, beginning with the chicken, and finishing with the bread rolls.
So how was it?
Well, it all certainly got the kids’ seal of approval and Ethan’s got his eye on a delivery for post-lockdown when his mates can come into the house for movie nights.
The rub on the chicken sadly hadn’t really penetrated the bird so was a bit superfluous, but the meat was tender (I was worried 45 minutes in the oven would be too long) and just kissed with the flavour of smoke. Not so much as to overwhelm the bird, but enhancing its sweetness.
Same with the pulled pork. Rather than being dry and stringy, the shredded meat retained its moisture well, and had a lick of smoke.
Ethan and I quite liked the pineapple-y sweet barbecue sauce with a slight chilli kick, which we slathered over the pork before tucking it into the included local bread rolls, but Mr J and our daughter found it too sucrosy.
We all really liked the smoky pork sausage, made for the business by M&M Butchers. It had a little hint of heat, but predominantly showed off the flavour of the pork.
“These are hotter than the devil,” Ethan said of the hot wings. And God he wasn’t wrong. The coating on these bony nuggets had more spark than a firecracker, but I personally found them a little addictive and despite my brain telling me to stop, found my hand continuously hovering over the bowl for another bite.
The cowboy beans (baked beans, kidney beans and pulled pork with a hint of spice) were, again, more my mine and my son’s alley, while Mr J made light work of the creamy mac and cheese and fresh, tangy coleslaw – both good foils for all that smoke and spice.
I felt the mac and cheese was a little too mushy after the 30 mins cooking time in the oven. It would have been better warmed in a pan and decanted back into the tray with the breadcrumbs added after to crunch under the grill – this would have allowed the pasta to keep a bit more texture.
The kids wolfed down the included fudge brownies and declared them “so yummy”
As for the drinks? It was nice to be able to order something a bit different but, like American chocolate (I can’t even call it that, it’s candy), drinks from the States tend to be way to sugary for us. The butterscotch beer slid down quite well with the brownies. But root beer and I are not friends...it’s one step too close to being medicinal in taste.
Overall the meal was a great success. What more could you want on a weekend evening than something tasty and easy-to-prepare that you didn’t have to cook yourself? Order at The Suffolk Smoke Co on Facebook or Instagram.