For the past few years, meat has been on the ascendancy in Britain. We’ve lived through bacon-on-everything, BBQ and fried-chicken mania, deliciously dirty dogs at street food stalls and an endless succession of burger joints clogging the nation’s cities (and arteries). By 2015 our pork has been thoroughly pulled. But we meat-eaters are still hungry for more, it seems. So if you’re heading out to a restaurant in Manchester and want to reconnect with your inner caveman, hit these spots for a carnivorous blowout. Just don't blame us when the meat-sweats hit...
Manchester restaurants for meat-eaters
This temple to burger-fuelled excess has opened a second location in the Great Northern, but it all started here in the Northern Quarter. While we don’t always love their eye-rollingly laddish branding, their OTT burgers are fun, and it’s a suitably raucous place for a meal out. Be prepared to queue (no bookings) and don’t let the Bitch Juice go to your head.
‘Dirty burger’ dens are ten a penny these days, so thank god for classy, reliable Byron. It’s a place where you can enjoy one of the best burgers in town with the added bonus of keeping your feminist credentials in good standing (we’re looking at you, Almost Famous). The menu keeps it simple, focusing on top quality burgers and sides, and the grunge-chic diner atmosphere is as tasty as the food.
This recent Northern Quarter arrival serves a simple menu of ribs and American comfort food sides – accessorised with rum and bourbon-based cocktails. We like the Memphis spare ribs here, and they mix a mean Manhattan. It’s a fun night out, with three different bar environments – tiki lounge, secret speakeasy and taproom – over three stories. But it’s a popular place, so book if you’re in a group.
This relaxed gastropub is perched in prime weekend walk territory, and it’s a cracking spot for a lazy lunch with friends or family. The ingredients are all locally-sourced (some from the onsite garden) and turned into top drawer traditional fare heavy on pies and hotpots. Their Sunday roast was ranked among the best in the nation.
They take their meat very seriously in Brazil, and this handsome new addition to Living Ventures’ Spinningfields empire wants to show us just how seriously. Flag down one of their roaming Gaucho chefs and they’ll serve you an impressive array of different cuts of beef fresh off the grill right at your table, as well as Brazilian specialities including spicy Linguica sausages and empanadas, and there’s a mighty salad bar.
The Argentine Pampas is world-famous grazing land, and that’s the only place Gaucho’s beef comes from. You’ll pay a bit more, then, for the privilege of eating it in Manchester, cooked in the traditional manner, but it’s a worthy splurge - especially if you have something to celebrate. There’s a serious wine list, too.
It might be a mainstay of the Curry Mile, but there’s a reason that Mughli describes itself as a “restaurant and charcoal pit.” Head here for halal meats including succulent lamb chops and well-spiced chicken cooked over the coals, with an enticing array of authentic Lahore-style street food to keep things interesting. And don’t leave without trying the smoky Tava Roll.
With a gigantic smoker in pride of place, this temple to all things BBQ is a meat-lover’s paradise, and the cocktails and buzzy atmosphere make it a great place to come with friends. We rate their barbecued chicken and ribs, especially the massive Beef Long rib, but beware the donut burger (yes, that’s a burger in a donut) which comes with a generous side of remorse.
One of the city’s most inventive casual restaurants, Solita has perfected a louche, good natured take on luxury comfort food. Their menu features a rogue’s gallery of imaginatively-named burgers and far-fetched food mashups (cheeseburger spring roll, anyone?) and what is probably the biggest steak in Greater Manchester. What more could you want?
Red’s may be the new kid in town, but Southern Eleven is Manchester’s original BBQ pit boss. Their menu features well-executed ribs, brisket, chicken and pulled pork with all the fixins, as well as smaller bites, stuff in buns and tacos. Those in mixed company be warned: veggies are given particularly short shrift here. Leave room for their super-indulgent desserts.