Established in 2015, Red Eye Smokehouse at Jalan Besar smokes their meats with low heat over long hours so that the meats come out tender and moist.
You may order individual portions of meat, such as beef brisket (200g) and pulled pork (200g), ranging from $18 to $55. There is also a selection of sides at $5 (half portion) or $8 (full). But it is better value if you order the tray for one ($29), for two ($60), for four ($98), or for 5-6 ($169). The two of us had the tray for two ($60) which consists of beef brisket, pork ribs, smoked chicken, and choice of two sides. It also comes with buns and pickles.
Everything on the tray is fantastic but the most spectacular of all is the signature USDA beef brisket. The brisket is from a small independent farm in California where the cows are grain-fed for 365 days, giving the brisket a sweetness and marbling. It is smoked slowly for 12 hours so it’s tender and moist. Their rub is something special, not overly sweet but has that deep earthy taste. This is divine! An explosion in the mouth.
The smoked chicken is first brined so that through osmosis the meat will be juicy when cooked. It is then rubbed in a paprika spice mix and smoked for 3 hours. It passes muster. Not as mindblowing as the beef brisket but good enough.
The Duroc pork ribs are larger than regular pork ribs. They are done Kansas style: dry-rubbed and then smoked for four hours. It is finished with their bbq sauce made in-house. The meat is easily peeled from the bone but it is just very slightly dry, saved by the bbq sauce which is tangy and not too sweet. Excellent!
It is difficult to choose from so many interesting sides but we settled on mashed potatoes with stout gravy and bone marrow butter. If you have eaten bone marrow before, you’ll know that it tastes like butter. This mashed potato is winning.
The other side, dirty rice with chopped brisket and drippings, is so delicious. Drippings are fat that has melted from roasted meat, usually collected at the bottom of the tray. It was once known as poor people’s food. But fat gives flavour. The drippings bring out the Cajun-flavoured rice, earthy and full of spices. If you haven’t eaten Cajun rice before, it is close to briyani but with deeper flavours.
I also appreciate that they give buns, and not sliced bread like Decker Barbecue, another American style BBQ.
The only thing I didn’t like is the only dessert on the menu, key lime pie ($7). The oatmeal cracker crust is wet and crust should never be wet. The filling is sour enough but somehow feels off.
We paid $67 for two persons (no gst, no service charge, I like honest restaurants). Red Eye puts in hard, honest work to smoke the meats, and make the sides. Their effort shows in how delicious the food is. We need to return to try their USDA beef short rib (400-500g, $55) and Duroc pork belly ($20), which aren’t on the Tray for Two. I like a good pulled pork burger ($15) and wonder if theirs is any good. All in all, I highly recommend this restaurant. There is pride and integrity in the restaurant. It’s a place I foresee myself coming back.
Service: NA (self-service)
You may be interested in…
–Takada Grill & Bar, Tanjong Pagar Centre: Charcoal Grill Restaurant by Japanese Chef
–Syohachi Yakiniku 尚八日式燒肉店, Tanjong Pagar: Premium Japanese A5 Wagyu Beef Buffet and More – Syo Good!
–Homeground Grill & Bar, Boon Keng: Women-led Team Serves Charcoal-grilled Paleo
–Meat Smith, Telok Ayer Street: Heart Attack on a Plate
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.