Back in July we featured a piece about Launceston on how the North Cornwall market town is making its mark on the foodie scene.
Firebrand have kindly written another post for us about the rise of “Cornish BBQ”.
Cornish BBQ is a relatively new addition to the restaurant scene. It combines a style of cooking influenced by smokehouses in the southern United States with the British ideal of sourcing quality ingredients from local producers. It’s a style Cornwall is uniquely suited to. Surrounded by the freshest seafood, crops and livestock, Cornish restaurants have the best of all three at their fingertips. Combined with the local love of beach barbecues and doing things dreckly, smoking meat and fish low and slow is second nature.
Head chef Eddie Thomson has been pioneering the genre since opening Firebrand Bar & Restaurant in November last year. He’s constantly renewed the menu as he and his team have pushed the boundaries of what can be smoked reliably and consistently at a commercial restaurant.
Eddie has championed delicious but unusual cuts of beef which aren’t well known in this country. Smoked hanger and Denver steaks have made regular appearances on the specials board, and the latter is now becoming a permanent fixture on the restaurant’s new meat plate. Evolving out of Mexican tapas, the Firebrand Meat Plate now includes a mouth-watering array of smoked meats. Southern fried wings sit along Firebrand’s trademark pulled pork, made from the rare breed pigs raised just down the road on the Penpont Brewery farm and fed on the waste mash from the brewing process. Complementing the beef, chicken and pork are slaw, house pickles, hot sauce and burnt end beans made with the tastiest offcuts of smoked brisket.
Eddie said: “The barbecue plate was already our best selling dish but we wanted to make it even better. Rather than just slow cooking everything we wanted to show more of the skill so some meat is smoked to rare and some on the bone to demonstrate more of the technique. Great barbecue isn’t purely about slow cooking stuff for 24 hours and then pulling it – though that tastes great too.
“Apart from the brewery pigs, the meat is all from Philip Warren. You can really tell with the rare Denver steak that it’s good quality, it’s not a cheap cut.”
We had to ask him – why is the meat plate not served on a, er, plate?
“It doesn’t look right and the tray is a bit more show stopping and grabs the attention,” explained Eddie. “We’re showing the quality of the meat on there.”
Hot sauce goes really well with all three meats but you can opt for one of Firebrand’s other sauces if you’re not keen on spicy food. All the pickles are made on a weekly basis so they’ll change depending on what’s in season.
“We’re going a lot more smokehouse rather than burger bar and trying to bring in a lot more dishes smoked to rare on the menu rather than just on the specials board,” said Eddie. “Everything’s authentically smoked in a ProQ.
“Mussels seemed to be really popular when they were on the specials board so we’ve added them to the starters, and all the starters are also available as mains which gives an extra four choices.”
The mussels are accompanied by sourdough bread from the award winning Little Bakehouse just up the street which has taken a prominent place in Launceston’s foodie revolution.
The Little Bakehouse has begun sourdough workshops at weekends and Eddie has plans to start running demos to show diners how to smoke their own meat to rare and finish it off on the barbecue, so keep an eye out for details on their website and Facebook page.