Red’s True Barbecue The Sleepy James

Review of Red’s True Barbecue The Sleepy James


What they say:

Burger or s’wich? You decide. It’s huge either way. This southern fried chicken breast in waffles, peppered bacon, shredded lettuce, burger cheese , slaw and ranch dressing beast is in honour of our friend sleepy, who we met at Dodge Gas Station, Memphis.

Price: £11.50.

Calories: Unknown.

OK, first of all I know there’s not a great deal separating this from the waffle fried chicken offerings at places such as Splendid or Solita, but bear with me.

What Reds True Barbecue have done is added cheese and stacked it like a burger. So it’s a waffle fried chicken burger. Well, it’s good enough for me!

Red’s True Barbecue The Sleepy James
Real burgers are held together with a big knife…

It’s a thing of beauty in the promo shots. There’s something very delightful about the square pattern of the waffles, but oddly it makes me think of Terrahawks. However, real life and my photography don’t match up to the promos, of course.

I’ve had beef before at Reds, and I’ve also had sweet bread products in the form of the gloriously silly Doughnut (yes, that’s how you spell it) burger. I just felt like a chicken day today and what better way to satisfy my clucking hunger.

I ordered it with Mac & cheese balls, which are generally fantastic and I’ll have to have a go at making them at home.

Red’s True Barbecue The Sleepy James
My Mac & Cheese side dish…

Anyway, my Sleepy James is much like any chicken burger, except they’re using waffles instead of rolls for the burger bun. As ever in Red’s, the smell while I’m waiting is fantastic. It came out very quickly, looking fantastic.

It was a feast for the eyes before the tongue. The chicken had been breaded and covered in a dark ranch sauce, sitting on a bed of slaw and draped in cheese.

The waffles were oval, not square, and biting in, they were of the extremely sweet variety with crunchy sugar nibs throughout.

Red’s True Barbecue The Sleepy James
Red’s True Barbecue The Sleepy James…

The coating of the chicken was also dark and seasoned nicely, and together with the sauce, it was sweet, but not as sweet as the waffle. I must say that, although I’d probably prefer a crispier crumb on the chicken (like the one on the Mac & Cheese balls) it was still tasty.

In between the two pieces of chicken was a slice of bacon, and altogether now, “Bacon makes………”.

Inside the coating, the chicken was, I felt, a touch overcooked. Now bear in mind thigh is more tender than breast, but even with that in mind I found it a little hard. Not disastrously so, just personal taste.

And speaking of taste, the sweet and savoury, soft and crunchy tango of flavours and textures in this was quite unique and bedazzling.

The waffles would go well with chocolate and banana – that sort of sweet!

Red’s True Barbecue The Sleepy James
Very sweet and generous…

As I ate it, I also wondered if it might work with a beef patty, but I suppose that might make it too similar to their trademark Doughnut burger.

Make no mistake, this was an incredibly filling burger. Goodness knows how many calories are in it, but I’m guessing more than 12.

As often with these gimmicky mega burgers, I’m unlikely to have it again, but I can recommend it. You’ll enjoy the taste sensation and, if you’re that way inclined, the challenge of finishing it.

As for me, I’ve been to Reds four times now, for burgers, and I’ve still not had their ribs. Next time I’m there, I’m absolutely having the ribs.

Red’s True Barbecue The Sleepy James
Well cooked chicken in a dark crumb…

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