**Edited to add – Sadly Cue BBQ shut down in September 2016, with the effects of the Oil downturn in Aberdeen being cited as the cause**
When an email landed in my inbox inviting me to try out Cue BBQ, Aberdeen’s newest BBQ joint, I was understandably hesitant. As a vegetarian for over two thirds of my life, unsurprisingly I tend not to frequent such meat-focused establishments by choice. In my past experience on the rare occasions when I’ve joined friends for dinner at BBQ restaurants, my choices are usually limited to potato salad, coleslaw, fries and perhaps a token item like a veggie burger if I’m lucky. Put simply – it’s just not my kind of thing.
This invitation was a little different, however; the event had been organised for a group of Aberdeen Bloggers by Just Julia, and I really wanted to meet some of the other ladies in person after tweeting with many of them for a while. A quick glance over the menu looked very encouraging, and I was reassured that vegetarians would be well catered for.
We were welcomed with jars of a refreshing Pimms cocktail whilst we learned a little more about the restaurant concept. Owned jointly by Aberdeen restaurant group Beetroot Restaurants Ltd and Angus & Oink sauces, Cue BBQ opened to the public on the 2nd February 2016. After a road trip, Chris, Scott, and Malissa decided they wanted to bring the diverse culture of barbecue cooking commonly found across the Southern states of the USA all the way to Aberdeen, and create a relaxed, family friendly, traditional barbecue joint.
Great attention has been paid to the decor and getting the restaurant vibe just right. Colourful murals are splashed across the walls, filament lightbulbs hang from the ceilings, and seating is either at individual tables or at the higher ‘Ledge’ pit-stop tables, designed for eaters on the move.
We were treated to a tour of the kitchens to see the enormous smoker; unique in Scotland and shipped all the way from America… imagine the team’s frustration when it arrived and they couldn’t fit it in through the front door?! Luckily with the quick hire of a crane and the removal of a second floor window, the behemoth was located carefully into its new home.
All meat is slow smoked in an authentic American ‘low and slow’ style, and is sold to the eater by weight, directly from the smoker. I’m told it’s all very, very tasty.
So; onto the good stuff! What can a vegetarian expect to feast on at Cue BBQ? Let me tell you – there’s a lot…
On this tray we were able to sample four dishes which are all available as both main meals and sides, and pride of place in the middle was the massive Monster Mushroom Burger. In the dishes were Big Mamma’s Mac n Cheese (deliciously rich and flavoured with pumpkin and thyme), Texas Rootin’ Tootin’ vegetable chilli (aromatic and smoky), Pit Boss Clay Pot BBQ Beans (fruity, saucy and very smoky), and Dirty Rice (a delicious addition to the beans or chilli). As for the burger; I wish I had a can of coke or similar to give perspective, but the size of the patty was absolutely huge. A ‘mushroom burger’ in a restaurant usually means a SINGLE portobello mushroom with salad in a bap, accompanied by a ridiculous price tag. This burger is an original in its field however, with the huge patty consisting of smoky cooked mushrooms and vegetables fried in panko breadcrumbs, served with pickled mushrooms, relish and salad.
On to another tray of delights, and here we have a selection of some of the other side dishes available to accompany your meal. Potato salad, Red House Slaw, Rainbow Unicorn House Pickles (my favourite!), Coleslaw, and Cornbread muffins. Cornbread isn’t something that you often find outside of America, and it was one of my favourite things to eat alongside a bowl of chilli back when I lived in Texas. The guys have absolutely nailed this recipe, and eating it brought back great memories.
There is also a range of tacos – vegetable, pork and fish – which explode everywhere with deliciousness as you enjoy them. I especially enjoyed topping these with some of the Angus and Oink sauces which were on the table as well. If you find one you particularly like, you can even buy a jar to take home with you. My favourite was the ‘Red Dawg Apache’, but the ‘Voodoo Mango’ was pretty special as well; just watch out for the kick!
Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly eat any more food, taster trays of desserts arrived. Anyone who knows me knows that my ‘pudding stomach’ is a very real thing, and it doesn’t matter how much I’ve eaten, I will always have room for dessert. We got to try slices of the Bannoffee pie (creamy decadence), Pecan pie (sticky and spicy) and the Key Lime Cheesecake (refreshing and juicy).
I rolled home fit to burst and singing the praises of Cue BBQ to a very jealous husband. I’m so glad I decided to come along and visit Cue BBQ as the vegetarian offerings actually far surpass many other restaurants in Aberdeen. When you’ve eaten one beetroot and goats cheese tart you’ve eaten them all – and don’t even get me started on the omnipresent mushroom bloody risotto! It’s safe to say we will be back very soon, and what’s more; on the weekends they even do an all day BRUNCH!
Thank you so much to Cue BBQ for having me and the Aberdeen Bloggers for the lovely company!
Cue BBQ – http://www.cuebbq.co.uk/ – 1 Alford Lane, Aberdeen – 01224 589109