Red's True Barbecue Leeds review: I tried the restaurant that claims to be the 'original church of barbecue'

Red’s True Barbecue is marketed as the ‘original church of true barbecue in Leeds’.
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It is quite the statement, especially considering Leeds is not short on establishments that pride themselves on their meat offerings. Add the fact Red’s is a chain into the mix and you would be forgiven for being somewhat sceptical.

However, the food is simply very, very good. It is true American indulgence, heavily glazed and seasoned meats bursting with flavour and juice. In true American style, the portions are pretty big too.

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We visited on a Bank Holiday Monday, expecting it to be a hive of activity. The flow was customers was steady but not intense, which proved handy as only one member of staff was on waiting duty.

The portions were not exactly on the small side.The portions were not exactly on the small side.
The portions were not exactly on the small side.

Fortunately for those there, the member of staff could not have been more welcoming. The service we received was incredibly friendly and despite having every customer in the restaurant to look after, we were not left waiting for long for anything.

For starters, we went for the Texas Toast and some loaded nachos, to which we added pork to for an extra £2. Firstly, do not fooled by the Texas Toast.

Its appearance is underwhelming, in fact it just looks like some toast that needs a minute or two longer. Chunky and beautifully chargrilled with garlic butter, it was a pleasant surprise to say the least.

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Nowadays, I find myself hesitant to order anything with the word ‘loaded’ in it. Too often, it simply means a regular serving of something with a bit of cheese and sauce dolloped on.

These nachos, however, were genuinely loaded. The tender pork was piled high on top of the crunchy nachos, which were as divine as crunchy nachos always are.

The nachos came at a price of £8, while the Texas Toast was £5. They were arguably not cheap for starters but were generous portions packed with flavour.

On to the main course and I went for the slow smoked stack of ribs, served with fries, corn on the cob and coleslaw. The ribs were a delicious blend of sweet and spicy, tender enough to pull apart with ease.

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I would consider myself rather tight when it comes to money and £19.50 is usually enough to make me feel uneasy. However, for a rack of ribs bigger than my head - which itself is not small - I was more than happy to pay it.

The only aspect of the meal I was not impressed by was the drink. I went for the Red’s Pilsner, which was a weak lager not made up for with any sort of flavour or substance. I have certainly had better pints for £4.90, but it washed the ribs down nonetheless.

The food was the main attraction but what pleasantly surprised me about Red’s was its almost independent feel. The interior is not flashy or in any way over the top, it is instead quite understated. There is style in its simplicity, which could also be said for the stellar food.


Address: 1 Cloth Hall St, Leeds, LS1 2HD

Telephone: 0113 345 1360

Opening hours:

Sunday: 12–9pm

Monday: 12–9pm

Tuesday: 12–9pm


Thursday: 12–9pm

Friday: 12–10pm

Saturday: 12–10pm


Food: 8/10

Value: 7/10

Atmosphere: 7/10

Service: 9/10

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