The Hard Rock Cafe is somewhere that I fell in love with when I first visited all those years ago. I went as part of a deal with the Edinburgh dungeons, but was wowed by the generosity of the portions considering the pittance we paid. It was also noteworthy how amazing the food was.
I was met by the promoter Lesley, who welcomed me with a corona and lime. I'm not a huge fan of beer but actually found it was quite nice after a long train ride from Newcastle!
We all sat around chatting, waiting for the chef, Adam, to come and talk us through the creating of a Smokehouse masterpiece. This is Adam:
This man knows A LOT about food! Not only was the man a kitchen manager in Afghanistan, but he has also worked in Michelin star kitchens preparing food we could only dream about. I definitely felt in safe hands.
The Hard Rock Cafe are the only chain restaurant to smoke all of their meat in house, using a massive smoking oven in the kitchen. That's when you know it's going to be fresh and fabulous! The oven smokes and cooks the meat, using steam, so it retains all that juiciness and also tenderises the meat. They use their own recipe rub to coat the meat, a mixture of amazing spices and flavours that I can assure you taste divine.
Adam went on to charm us by reassuring us that all of their food was prepared in house, and never out of a packet. To prove it, he butchered a chicken for us to show us just how good he really is. He then got a volunteer up to try... thankfully, I averted eye contact at that moment!
Once the chicken had been butchered to a professional standard, Adam went on to talk about how their meat was sourced. The chickens are 'happy chickens', meaning that they are free to roam the fields and flutter happily around the farm. They source their pigs from UK butchers, except the ribs, which come from France. Adam had a pork shoulder to show us just how well the meat is kept:
He told us that for the pork shoulder, they use liquid smoke only. The meat carries that much flavour, it would be looked on as a crime against taste to try and manipulate it!
Before we settled down to taste the amazing food we had heard about, Adam took us through the creating of their mouthwatering barbecue sauce. A concoction of 13 ingredients (which to me doesn't seem like a lot, considering the taste that this packs!) blended together creates that amazing, smoky barbecue sauce.
Once we sniffed the spices, and salivated over the smells, it was that glorious time of night that we got to taste the food. We were presented with chicken wings, one coated in a mild sauce and the other a slightly tangier, spicy sauce...
The wings with the orange coating were slightly tangier. The meat fell off the bone as you bit into it, and the sauce was so addictive that I couldn't help but have more. Served with a blue cheese dip and some crunchy kettle crisps, these were a delight.
Our hosts then brought out massive platters with a variety of different foods for us to try...
I wish that I had copied another blogger attendee and took a whole plate for myself. The plate was piled high with chicken thighs, pulled pork, ribs, chips, beans, coleslaw and cornbread. The pulled pork was definitely my favourite - they weren't joking when they said that it carried it's own wonderful flavour. The ribs were immaculate once the meat came off the bone, which is a sign they have been cooked to perfection.
To polish it all off, I sipped away at a stunning glass of chilled rose wine.
I was absolutely stuffed after demolishing the mountain of smoked goods on my plate. I've always known Hard Rock to provide decent portion sizes, and this was no exception.
To thank us for attending, we each got a little goodie pouch and also a jar of their barbecue sauce to try and create something of our own. My head is swimming with delicious ideas... although I doubt I'll be at the Hard Rock level!
You can try the Smokehouse range for yourself by getting in to Hard Rock Cafe in Edinburgh! I would seriously, seriously, recommend that you do it as soon as possible, for the taste sensation of your life. Meat fans, you have met your maker.
Hard Rock Cafe Edinburgh
20 George Street
Tel: 0131 260 3000
Wheelchair access: Yes