Form an orderly barbecue and eat to the Ferret beat

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A rebooted, relaunched Preston music venue has put a brand new meaty menu in front of punters. Neil Docking unleashed his inner carnivore

ONE of Preston’s best-loved music venues underwent a major revamp this year when The Mad Ferret in Fylde Road was taken over by the team behind The Continental.

Rebranded as simply The Ferret, it now looks sleek and stylish, with cushioned, diner-style booths, clean and light décor, and an exciting new barbecue menu to boot.

The tantalising offering was developed with ‘Dr Sweetsmoke’ - the brainchild of Louisiana native Alvin Harris, an outdoor cooking fanatic now living in Wiltshire, England.

As the name suggests it’s sweet, sticky, smoky and slow-cooked – real American soul food at its best.

I ordered Rolling With The Brisket (£4.50). This 12-hour smoked beef brisket came in a roll, drenched in Ferret’s BBQ sauce, garnished with greens and served with coleslaw.

The beef was soft and juicy and incredibly smoky, while the sauce was tasty but not too overpowering. It wasn’t a huge portion, but it was top notch, and the fresh coleslaw, which I don’t normally enjoy, was delicious as it wasn’t dripping in mayonnaise.

I added a portion of Filthy Fries (£3.50), which came coated in guacamole, sour cream, bean chilli and cheese. This was almost a meal in itself, a basket full of goodness with the contrasting toppings sitting on top of a bed of crispy and crunchy golden fries.

My girlfriend tried one of the Smoked Dogs, opting for the plain Bare Back at £4.95, which comes with a free side. She plumped for Southern Folk macaroni and cheese - usually £2.50.

Wondering whether we would have enough food, she ordered eight Wings From The Wild (£3.50), choosing the ‘domesticated’ heat rating because we were too scared to risk ‘wild’ or ‘feral’!

The hot dog was a regular sausage rather than a traditional Frankfurter, but the sausage was good quality and the baguette was really fresh.

However, the macaroni and cheese was the real winner – the crunchy lid of melted cheese topping a creamy mix, which was just as good as we’ve had over in the States.

The wings were incredibly sticky and really messy – be warned, this is not food to eat on a first date!

There was plenty of chicken and a deep smoky flavour, although some people might find them a little too sweet and want a spicier variety.

Perhaps next time we’ll go ‘wild’...