When American expat Ben Hensley relocated to Stockholm with his Swedish girlfriend Caroline Tiala, it was love at first sight for him. Except for one thing. “Stockholm is perfect. The only thing missing is an authentic American smokehouse”, noted Hensley.
Five years on, Hensley, who is a trained chef, and Tiala have opened what they call “Stockholm’s first real smokehouse”. The two know what they are talking about. Together, they have travelled the world in search of the very best BBQ joints, and Hensley was part of the four-person team that won the Swedish national championship in barbeque in 2014.
Upon entering the dimly lit space just off Odengatan, the smoky aroma is dense. No wonder – in the kitchen sits a 1,2 ton heavy smoker that has been specially imported from Texas. After two rather bland and un-boozy cocktails (Dark & Stormy and Horses Neck, both 99 kronor), we’re happy to find that the restaurant is more generous with the portion sizes.
First up is a serving of Cajun-fried green tomatoes (95 kronor), served in one of those plastic wire baskets lined with parchment paper. The five thick slices of deep-fried green tomatoes covered in seasoned crumbs come with a Creole remoulade, which is a bit too acidic for our taste. The ‘cornpone’ (75 kronor), a type of Southern cornbread, is a real treat. On top of the round, pancake-like bread, there’s a generous sprinkling of Brussels sprout hash, smoked bacon bits, and candied pecans, as well as chipotle mayonnaise. As in any dignified BBQ joint, there’s also an extensive list of craft beers, and we opt for a Stone’s IPA (89 kronor) and a Bear Republic’s Hop Rod Rye IPA (89 kronor).
By now, the place is packed. All-male parties occupy every single table, with one or two exceptions. It is quite striking really, and makes us wonder why the ritual of the barbeque is such a draw for men. Is it that special bond between machismo and meat that brings all the bros to the pit? Expect lots of bro goofing, beer drinking and eating with your hands, and don’t be surprised if someone in the neighbouring party places his smart phone on the table so he and his mates can watch the game (yes, this actually happened).
Next is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Drum roll, please, for the protein. Low & Slow prides itself with its ‘pit to plate’ service, meaning that they serve all meats directly from the grill (without reheating it, as many other places do). Although we’re very intrigued by the vegetarian option of jackfruit (a Southeast Asian fruit with an excruciating aroma when uncooked), we can’t resist the classic brisket (219 kronor) and the Kansas City-style ribs (195 kronor), along with the quintessential sides of mac ’n cheese (50 kronor) and coleslaw (25 kronor). And we’re glad we did – now that we’ve got Low & Slow, all is well in the city of Stockholm.
08 15 00 85
Words: Micha van Dinther