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We Visited Hickory’s Smokehouse in Lincoln. Here’s What We Thought

Over recent years, Texas-style BBQ has become more and more popular in the UK.

Hickory’s Smokehouse brings a taste of America’s deep south and serves authentic Texas-style smoked BBQ food. They’re a growing chain and at the time of writing, have 22 restaurants across the UK, including here in Lincoln.

So six of us, including 5 adults (one 96-year-old) and a two-year-old toddler went to try them out.

Hickory’s Smokehouse

4.0 out of 5.0 stars

We really enjoyed Hickory’s Smokehouse in Lincoln. The place feels authentic, the food was fantastic and the service was excellent. There’s a lot to choose from on the menu, maybe too much.

Considering the quality of the food and service, we thought the 7.5% service charge was fair. That said, many people don’t like service charges, especially if they have a bad experience.

About Hickory’s in Lincoln

Hickory’s opened in Lincoln on the 22nd of April 2024. The restaurant is in what used to be the Gamekeeper Pub, just off the A46 near Pennells Garden Centre.

The restaurant offers American-style BBQ food including 16-hour smoked brisket, Memphis Baby Back Ribs, Pulled Pork, and epic burgers like the ‘Go Big or Go Home’ burger.

They also offer epic desserts like Zingy Lemon Meringue Waffles, Sweet Texas Pie, and their ‘Fro-Co’ Frozen Custard Station.

There’s plenty to keep the kids entertained too with an outdoor play area and even a small cinema room.

Arriving at the Restaurant

The Bar Area at Hickory's in Lincoln
The bar area has several large-screen TV’s to watch sports on

Arriving at Hickory’s is like stepping out of Lincoln and into America’s deep south.

The building has had a massive facelift and looks nothing like the old Game Keeper pub.

Its red and white wooden cladding and interior decor make you feel like you’re stepping out of Lincoln into a real Texan restaurant with country music playing in the background.

Walking in, every staff member we engaged with greeted us with a smile and, in a way, made us feel like we were regulars, despite this being our first visit.

We arrived a little early so we had a drink at the bar. There are several TV screens to watch live sports, including American Football.

We ordered 3 large lime and sodas, a non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri, and a pint of Inches cider.

The Menu: Tons of (Maybe Too Much) Choice

The Menu at Hickory's in Lincoln
Hickory’s menu has tons of choice

What stood out to us was the size of the menu, there’s a lot on it, which made choosing what to order a little difficult. There are so many choices and they all sound incredible. So by ordering one thing, some of us felt like we were missing out on something else.

There’s a reasonable amount of choice for vegetarians too, and where there are some vegan options, there aren’t many at all.

In the end, we ordered;

  • 3x USDA Slabs (ribs)this is America’s version of Red Tractor
  • Chicken Fajitas
  • A kids’ southern fried chicken burger (for our oldest member)
  • A kids’ mac ‘n’ cheese (for the toddler)
  • Cornbread with maple syrup, and
  • A big bad Biscoff shake

The Food: Humongous, Super Tasty Portions


When we first sat down at the table, the waitress brought over a small bag of popcorn to snack on while we looked at the menu.

It was only a small bag between the six of us. So it was a nice snack that wouldn’t fill us up before we got stuck into the main course.

When our food came to the table, it looked and smelled fantastic. There was plenty of it too.

Hickory's USDA Rib Slab
The meat fell off the bone of the USDA slab

The USDA Slab ribs were super juicy and tender. The meat fell off the bone which meant I could eat them using a knife and fork just as easy as picking them up and using my hands. It came served with chips, as well as pickled onions and jalapenos which cut through the fat of the ribs beautifully.

The cornbread was light and crumbly and tasted really good. I would have liked it a little sweeter but that’s personal preference.

Hickory's Chicken Fajitas
The chicken fajitas was a big, tasty meal

The fajitas were a feast for the eyes and packed with flavour. There was a lot of it too. The chicken was juicy and came served with 5 wraps, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and cheddar cheese.

Hickory's Southern Fried Chicken Burger
The southern fried chin burger was plain, yet tasty

The southern fried chicken burger came served with fries. It was tasty but fairly plain. This suited the oldest member of our party and also made it a safe choice for kids.

We were surprised at how tasty the mac ‘n’ cheese was. We ordered this for the toddler who was more interested in looking around the place so he didn’t eat much. So we ate it instead. It was creamy and super cheesy.

By the time we’d finished our main courses we were stuffed so we didn’t have room for desserts. But we will go back to try them out!

The Cost: It’s Not Cheap But it is Good Value, Even With the 7.5% Service Charge

The £132.16 receipt for our meal at Hickory's Smokehouse
The £132.16 receipt for our meal at Hickory’s Smokehouse

For the 6 of us, the bill came to £132.16 including a 7.5% discretionary service charge of £9.22, which breaks down to £22.02 per head.

This doesn’t sound bad, but bear in mind, we didn’t have starters and or desserts. If you go for three courses with drinks, the bill could add up.

That said, the portions are huge and the food is really good, so while a visit to Hickory’s isn’t cheap, it does offer good value.

Because we found the food and service was so good, we were OK with paying the 7.5% service charge, or ‘Tip Jar’ as they call it. We felt they earned it. If our experience wasn’t as good though, 7.5% would be objectionable.

The service charge is discretionary so you can ask to remove it but doing so makes many people feel awkward.

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