Holy Smoke! – What Brussels needed: Texas-style BBQ in St Gilles

Beef brisket and pulled pork is just what Brussels needed; a Texas BBQ place where no vegetarian would set foot in, where you can enjoy meat with that unique smoky taste along with a dark barbecue sauce and enjoy along with a cold lager.

So here it is, just seconds walking distance from my place, a Texas BBQ spot. The interior is characterized by a charm and decoration known to me from many places in other major capitals, but seems to fit the overall atmosphere; Brick walls, a simple bar (only referring to its look here), wooden tables, metal chairs with light brown leather backrests and a concrete floor. Pipes are visible around the place and in general, it has a very industrial vibe. As opposed to other BBQ places I’ve been to, such as Fette Sau in NYC or The Beast in Paris, here, the waiters come to your table to pick up your order and are keen to take enough time for each customer to explain everything in detail and advise you on the different dishes and drinks.

holy smoke 1

It’s difficult to say how to categorize Holy Smoke, as the furniture looks like a place where you could take your parents on a “fancy” night out, whereas the food is just perfect for a great evening with friends. Food is served on the typical BBQ-tray, but you have napkins and fancy plates. Maybe it is just the perfect mix?! It’s a great spot; not too loud not too quiet, easy going and friendly people.

We didn’t have to think too long what to order and went straight for the mixed platter with brisket, ribs, pulled pork and a lemon-fennel stuffed sausage, a piece of corn bread, potatoes, homemade zucchini pickles, coleslaw salad and baked turnip. The brisket was falling apart, melting in your mouth – my favorite. The pulled pork was tender (could’ve been even more for my taste) – Julia’s favorite – and the pork ribs were juicy, delicate and falling of the bone – Lara’s favorite. Kilian, the only guy amongst our little group, was a fan of the brisket as well, but was basically a fan of everything. The meat here is not just meat. It’s high quality produce from France and the US, imported from Montana and Iowa. It’s special American cuts are all slow cooked in a smoker that the owners Gabriel and Agathe imported straight from Dallas, Texas. They studied the art of smoking beef in Texas for quite a while, before fulfilling their dream and opening their own place here in Brussels. Previously they were running a food truck, also selling smoked delicacies. Both Parisians, (not Paris, Texas, though) the art of cuisine is in their blood and you can feel this. Also worth mentioning is the loaded Nachos that we ordered as a starter: a huge pile of Nachos with a remarkable amount of sour cream, guacamole, cheese, jalapenos and pulled beef and pork on top. Although very delicious, together with the Meat Porn platter and an extra dish of beef brisket it was a lot.

In case you’re thirsty, there’s an exhaustive variety of Whisky’s to order from and Agathe is happy to give advice on those and to find the perfect match for you. We tried a Bourbon and one Whisky based on Rye, oh man I slept well that night.

Did I like it? I certainly did! The only small minus was the side dishes: the potatoes being a bit too oily and the coleslaw salad lacked a bit of dressing or should’ve been kept in it a bit longer to soak in the flavor. I was somehow missing some braised veggies or the BBQ beans that most other places similar to this one offer. Also, but that’s my personal taste, I’d like to see a BBQ sauce on the table that’s more intense, more smoky with a stronger taste of whisky. Will I be back? Oh, yes, if possible next week. What about the price? I think the price is fair! I left the place with a bill of 32 Euro, including a shared starter, a remarkable amount of meat, a beer and Whisky. That’s quite fair, isn’t it?

Good to know:
The crew is very nice and very responsive in terms of bookings. Just be aware that 50% of the seats can be reserved each night and the other half is up for grabs, first-come-first-serve.
Price: Around 25€ for a dinner with drinks. Website