American-style BBQ in the Secretariat
NOSA: In a June 2009 TimeOut London review, Rhodes BBQ Smokehouse got described as spot with “…excellent meats and broad ambition”. A little over nine years later, much hasn’t changed beyond the location. The Wapping location has since shut up shop and Rhodes has reappeared in Ikeja. Even the relocation bears some similarities. According to the the TimeOut review, “only the Wapping location might prevent it from reaching a wide and appreciative location” and that’s exactly what I thought when we struggled to find parking.
FOLLY: Maybe the best things aren’t meant to be too main stream. You could also say the same could be said of BBQ & Cravings
NOSA: We visited with a couple of friends, including our official “face” of Eat.Drink.Lagos lol, so we went all out with the menu. Wicked Wings, Buffalo Drums, BBQ Pulled Pork and BBQ Chopped Beef sandwiches, a slab of the St. Louis Style Ribs and a BBQ Quarter Chicken. Yup, we went all the way out. The waitress had to double check on the order because it sounded like a lot of food.
FOLLY: She was trying to get us to order the platter but that was a hard pass from us because it’ll have meant a half portion of the ribs.
NOSA: “Sounded” because we still wanted more at the end of it all lol.
FOLLY: I even tried to order dessert but they didn’t have my first choice
NOSA: The wicked wings set the bar really high for the rest of the meal. Tender and flavorful, the thing damn near melts in your mouth. If this how all chicken tasted, I probably wouldn’t be having chicken fatigue right now. Tender chicken seemed to be the running theme at Rhodes because even the Buffalo drums were quality.
FOLLY: A shame that I didn’t try the wicked wings because I was saving myself for the tender drums and everyone said the wicked wings were better.
NOSA: I probably should’ve passed on the chopped beef sandwich, but I saw “brisket” and I got distracted. For all the “bbq & grills” joints we have in Lagos, none of them have brisket on the menu. It’s not a Nigerian “thing”, which is fair, but it just explains why I wasted carbs on the chopped beef sandwich.
FOLLY: Barely eating carbs at Rhodes was likely the reason why we didn’t feel so stuffed at the end of the meal.
NOSA: The sandwich wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t worth the space in my stomach. If you visit Rhodes, don’t let the menu distract you. Stay focused. Order the meats.
NOSA: Speaking of Nigerian “things”, I have since accepted that Nigerian-style BBQ is a thing. Unfortunately, we don’t have culinary scholars that document these things. For all the shade I throw at “grills” joints, they offer what I have termed “Nigerian-style BBQ”. It often goes heavy on the pepper and eschews tenderness as a metric to assess quality. I have clear philosophical differences with it, but now as a proper grown up, I’ve come to accept it has its place and understand how it fits the local palette. What I philosophically agree with though are the ribs at Rhodes.
FOLLY: I also philosophically agree with the sauce on the ribs at Rhodes. We were tearing the meat off the bones and using it to scrape the sauce of the plates.
NOSA: St. Louis style ribs are more about the butcher cut than the actual grilling technique or flavor. Unlike other rib cuts, the brisket and rib tips are trimmed off and this leaves you with a shorter rib. If anything, it shares a slightly similar sweet tomato-based sauce with the Kansas City style, which makes sense because the two cities are like an hour apart.
NOSA: The ribs at Rhodes could’ve been a side more tender, but I was a fan nonetheless. Probably because of the sauce. We cleaned that plate with almost everything we could find, including the quarter chicken. The quarter chicken, itself, was a bit disappointing. It had none of the tenderness of the wings and the drums. It was bit tedious to get through, in fact. Without the sauce from the ribs, we’d have left that chicken behind.
FOLLY: Yeah, the chicken stayed perched on the plate till we ran out of ribs and needed another meat with which to clean the sauce of the plate.
NOSA: What definitely didn’t disappoint me were the sides.
FOLLY: The portion did disappoint me but I assume (and hope) that was because it was the complimentary side portion.
NOSA: Between the BBQ beans and the potato salad, I don’t think I’ve tasted a more delicious side this year. Many have tried, but not have come close. The BBQ Beans were particularly excellent and on another day, I might have asked for seconds.
NOSA: It’s a drive away, but it’s worth the trip. It’s not a trip I’d make often, but it’s a trip you must make once. That is, if you live on the island. If you live in the Ikeja area, you should be there every Sunday.
FOLLY: Honorable mention to the iced tea at Rhodes BBQ. Don’t expect it to be sweet sha, it’s not that type of iced tea.
Wicked Wings - N2600
Buffalo Drums - N2800
BBQ Chopped Beef Sandwich - N2600
St. Louis Stye Ribs (Slab) - N6900
BBQ Quarter Chicken - N2400