Bison Bar 8

I’m fairly sure Bison Bar is the first place in Ireland to provide anything resembling proper American BBQ and even my use of the the word ‘American’ glosses over the huge regional differences that exist between the various traditions, not only between states but within them too. I don’t claim to know very much about these distinctions other than the food on the menu here focuses mainly on the Texan style with the exception of their pulled pork, which hails from Memphis, and the ribs via St Louis, Missouri. I’m surprised though that, while terroir and regionality have become fetishised to near parody (I’m looking at you Noma et al), such a vibrant and varied food culture has not become more popular abroad than it is.

As the name implies Bison Bar is also a whiskey bar, something we didn’t realise as we traipsed in with a kid in a buggy; thankfully we were the only customers in so we weren’t in anyone’s way. Pretty much everything on the menu is based around the holy trinity of fat, salt and smoke and is all the better for it. My hefty portion of that toughest of cuts, brisket, had been reduced to thin, yielding slices by a 13-hour slow roast but the standout was the pulled pork with a more assertive dose of smoke: each bite infused with a gorgeous note of charcoal. There were also sides of beans, all sweet and smokey (noticing a theme?), spiked with bacon and hand cut chips with a fantastic chipotle mayo, which my son ended up eating with a spoon. The potato salad and coleslaw were less successful and just made us wish we’d ordered more of those beans.

So as you can tell, you get a lot of food in this place and while it’s definitely not somewhere to go to if all you’re looking for is a light lunch, I didn’t feel overstuffed at all, especially given the vast quantities of protein piled on my tray (there’s no plates here). As I said, I’m hardly an expert in barbeque but it feels like the kitchen, or more precisely whoever operates the in-house smoker, really knows what they’re doing here and this is a great addition to the food scene of the city.

8 thoughts on “Bison Bar

  1. Reply Ketty - French Foodie in Dublin May 7, 2013 4:06 pm

    Everyone is talking about this place and seems to love it. I think it’s the perfect spot for Mr. FFID who adores meaty fatty food, not so much my type of cuisine but I’ll give it a go one day for sure.

    • Reply stefano May 7, 2013 4:15 pm

      Yeah, I was very impressed, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. They also do barbequed chicken, which would be leaner if you’d prefer that.

  2. Reply Bill May 8, 2013 8:43 am

    Finally dined there on Sunday and were very impressed. Sharon is a Texan and I’m an Alabamian (who lived in Texas for 9 years) so we know a thing or two about BBQ. This was the real deal. It did seem like it was the “average” of many different styles but that kinda makes sense. The brisket was properly “moist” (fatty, but we call it moist in Texas!) and the pulled pork was tender and juicy. To quibble the smoke ring wasn’t thick enough but that’s due to only a 13 hour smoke. Texas brisket is typically smoked for 18 hours. We actually liked the potato salad a lot, but next time we get the chips!

    • Reply stefano May 10, 2013 3:27 pm

      Hey Bill, was hoping for your input as I knew you’d have a wealth of information about this. Have to say, I’m really intrigued by all the different variants of American BBQ and would be very interested in learning more. As I say in the review, if this was some French peasant tradition people would be all over it, I really think it deserves a wider audience.

  3. Reply thedublindiaryblog Jun 10, 2013 9:03 am

    I absolutely adore this place, I’ve been twice so far and I think I see a meal there in my near future! Such good value too! :)

  4. Reply Conor Jun 10, 2013 9:33 am

    Had dinner there yesterday and it definetly loved up to the hype, worth going to for the beans alone!

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