Review: Slims smokehouse offers something really special

Graffiti Spirits group, the brains behind some of the city’s most beloved bars and restaurants and credited with transforming Liverpool’s nightlife scene, are a clever bunch we have long admired. They brought us the Five Doller Shake, for goodness sake!

Lovely Gwen Prior is the face of Graffiti Spirits and someone we’ve known a long time at YB. Gwen has helped us organise many a soiree at popular Salt Dog Slims and its speakeasy sister 81 Ltd – so we couldn’t believe it when we realised we still hadn’t been in to sample the delights at Slim’s Pork Chop Express. YB’s Jennie Lewis went along to put things right.

Situated at the far end of Liverpool’s lively Seel Street, Slim’s Pork Chop Express is a specialist smokehouse, bringing a taste of hearty American grill-style grub to our fair city. There’s also a nod to neighbouring Chinatown, not only on the menu (they offer a twist on traditional dim sum), but reflected in the unique décor – which is said to be inspired by the 1980’s cult classic Big Trouble in Little China.

Small in stature but big in personality, you can’t miss Slim’s from the street – the neon pig and cow adorning the window see to that.

Inside too, Pork Chop packs quite a punch. The lighting is low, the walls exposed brick, the floor is made of one-penny pieces, there are velvet drapes leading up to the upstairs dining area and a magnificent, hand-drawn mural decorates the main wall. It’s a mix of old and new, retro and rustic that all together creates a vibe that is quirky, cool, characterful and relaxed.

So far so good. I had taken along the family, my mum and dad who are in their 50s and decidedly set in their ways, my sister in her thirties and a fairly fussy 14 year old.

We’d all settled in well and my dad, who considers himself somewhat a craft beer connoisseur, was suitably impressed by what was on offer. My mum, my sister and I had tucked into the delicious daiquiris (blueberry was our flavour of choice) and the young’un seemed pretty chuffed with her giant strawberry milkshake.

And so to the food. Well, the team at Slim’s boast the best BBQ and smokes in town – and it is anything but an an empty promise. The menu is a meat lover’s dream – from chicken wings, burnt ends and babyback ribs to brisket, burgers and pulled pork a plenty – Slim’s is certainly not for the feint-hearted. And feint-hearted we ain’t!

After careful consideration, umming and oooh-ing and mmm-ing our way through the menu, we ordered. XXX bacon cheeseburger, The Pork Chop Express and BBQ pulled pork bun for poppa, momma and eldest sister Lewis respectively, whilst the littlest Lewis opted for the kornflake-fried chicken – all of course with a whopping side of fries and some burnt ends to boot! It was a deadly serious tray of food when it arrived.

Burnt ends, coincidentally, are my new favourite thing. Put simply, they are what they say on the tin, the burnt ends of the brisket. I guess it’s a bit like when you bake a lasagne and everyone wants the burnt edges – the burnt ends are chewy and full of the flavour of the grill. Delicious. I’d have happily nibbled my way through a whole portion of those with my daiquiri to wash it all down, of course.

I plumped for the brisket and the lo-pan fries I’d heard so many rave about – and right glad I am too. The brisket was meltingly tender and tasty with that inimitable smokehouse flavour.

I said burnt ends were my favourite thing – that is, of course, with the exception of lo pan fries. Oh. My. God.

Fries, topped with sriracha, char sui, salt and pepper sui mai and a fruity Chinese curry sauce. These are fabulously fully-loaded fries and they are seriously, seriously good. I implore anybody who hasn’t had the Slim’s Pork Chop Express lo pan fries experience to put it to the top of their bucket list immediately.

Everything looked so tempting we couldn’t help ourselves swapping and sharing and I have to tell you every mouthful was as good as the next. These guys really know what they’re doing.

All in all, I’d recommend Slim’s Pork Chop Express to anybody looking for a memorable meal out – whether it be with friends, family or colleagues. Trendy without being pretentious, the atmosphere at Pork Chop is great, the staff are incredibly welcoming and the food is quite simply excellent. An absolute must visit, we guarantee you’ll want to return and soon.

Slim’s Pork Chop Express serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and their cocktail club will keep you entertained well into the evening. For more information or to book, visit

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