The Hickory Inn might be a fair trek from North Devon, but boy is it worth the journey. Awesome American smokehouse barbecue in a Devon village.
Why it’s on my list
I feel this is pushing it a bit in terms of relevance to the general theme of this blog, with The Hickory Inn being more Mid Devon than North Devon, but it was too good to miss. It’s also not too bad a journey from Barnstaple, about 50 minutes mainly on the A361. We had lunch there with some friends from Torquay, meeting halfway between our homes after a few days of heavy snow scuppered our original plans for a fun weekend.
Location: 93 High Street, Halberton, Tiverton
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 5pm-11.30pm; Saturday 12 noon-midnight; Sunday 12 noon-8pm.
To book: call 01884 798338
Dog friendly? Allows dogs in restaurant and bar.
We have American barbecue in Devon, hurrah! Having had a taste of authentic, mouthwateringly delicious barbecue in New York a few years ago, I didn’t expect to find a fantastic tribute to this comfort food in an unassuming pub in a small village near Tiverton. Superb. Thank goodness for snow!
What I had
The menu had lots of tempting options, but one thing in particular spoke to me as it combined two of my favourite things – ribs and chicken wings. The rib and wing combo platter for one came with chips (potato and sweet potato), bean brew and cauliflower cheese. The wings came with a choice of two sauces, I chose the buffalo hot sauce over the barbecue sauce.
It normally comes with coleslaw and a hush puppy too (deep fried ball of cornmeal, herbs and cheese), but this was missing from my order, presumably due to the recent bad weather. They explained the weather had meant some of their usual deliveries had not got through. They did however provide half a brioche bun with butter instead.
My other half had the ‘On the Ranch’ burger, with the beef burger replaced with a piece of rump steak due to the lack of recent deliveries. All of the toppings came with it though – pulled pork, smoked turkey breast, bacon, cheese, smoked sausage, hash brown, pickles, lettuce, red onion, ranch mayo and BBQ sauce, all in a brioche bun.
And on the side came the half and half chips, salad, pickles, coleslaw and burnt end beans.
The Hickory Inn has certainly brought the best of American barbecue to a little village in Devon. It was a close call, but I think the ribs won it for me. They are smoked for six hours so they’re tender, doused in barbecue sauce and then grilled so they’re hot and sticky – the process is long, slow and has a totally delicious result.
Honourable mentions go to the sweet potato fries and the buttered brioche bun, quite the surprise!
The burger looked insanely tasty, and from what my husband said, and from the small bite he let me try, it was insanely tasty, and particularly the bacon.
Not the best
The problem with half and half chips is that you can’t help but compare. Both were very good to be fair, but the sweet potato chips were simply awesome, hard to equal, let alone beat.
I love the vibe of the restaurant. You walk into the bar and it feels quite small and unassuming, and after walking down a little corridor you come into a fair-sized restaurant with a high ceiling, wooden beams, fairy lights and quirky American signage on the walls.
The background music was exactly the sort to transport you to an American diner. It was warm and welcoming, a place that made you feel at ease. Could happily spend hours there, with a plate of barbecue smokehouse goodness to consume of course.
Their menu is truly mouthwatering, but they also have specials, which looked really tempting, and they do a carvery on Sundays. Make sure you’re aware of all the options, it may actually help you make a decision.