3 Meaty New Menus: Cages, 18 Hours BBQ & Alimentari

By Sophie Steiner, April 12, 2024

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While everyone knows that April showers bring May flowers, we’ve recently discovered that April eats bring on the meats.

Or at least in Shanghai – with these three meat-fueled new menus at Cages, 18 Hours Texas Barbecue, and Alimentari.

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Cages

New menu drop alert! Every Saturday, Cages Jing'an roll out their award-winning Southern style BBQ.

It's from noon until sold out, so don't miss out... especially on their beefzilla sandwich!

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The most artery-clogging, grease-dripping, carnivore’s dilemma of a sando, the Beefzilla (RMB328) sees a bone-in, brined, pepper-rubbed and smoked short rib stacked on top of 150 grams of 18-hour smoked beef brisket, two smash burger patties griddle-fried with a gooey American cheese cap and thick shmear of tangy Russian dressing, all nestled between three plush pillows of butter-slathered milk toast.

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Glorious and gluttonous, this sandwich is a grotesque absurdity in and of itself – testosterone incarnate, it receives both the Godzilla and Frankenstein stamp of approval for being simultaneously monstrous and moreish.

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An arguably even more heart-stopping combination of meats, the Pit Master Platter (RMB588) (over)feeds four to six people with unctuous beef brisket, crackly BBQ brisket burnt ends, a ½ rack of pork ribs (with glossy pleats that slink away effortlessly from the bone), shredded pulled pork shoulder, snappy smoked cheese-stuffed sausages, and juicy chicken quarters – a barnyard’s worth of animal protein.

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And if that wasn’t enough, the platter also comes with all the sides, and we literally mean the entire menu of sides...

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... burnt ends-laden BBQ baked beans, creamy mac & cheese...

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... mashed potatoes, stodgy southern style potato salad, buttery jalapeño cornbread...

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... and a kale mango salad (a touch of freshness between all that meat).

In short, it’s a lot of grub chocking up a lot of value. 

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As serious as Cages takes its BBQ, the sauces are no afterthought, spanning the American South (and the rainbow) with Carolina Gold – yellow mustard with mixed peppers; Texas Red – tomato and brown sugar base with a kick of chili powder; Memphis Hickory – a base BBQ sauce blended with smoked spices; and Kansas City Sweet – apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, spice and everything nice. 

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If your crew is too hungover to go the whole hog, don’t fret – all of the meats and sides can also be ordered a la carte in 150-gram, 300-gram, and 500-gram increments. 

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For example, the spice-rubbed and applewood smoked Beef Brisket goes for RMB98, RMB188, and RMBB288 respectively (as does the 15-day brined Pastrami), while Pulled Pork Shoulder clocks in at RMB88, RMB138, and RMB188 for the three incremental gram portions. 

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Baby Back Pork Ribs are RMB158 for a half portion or RMB298 for whole, while a half of a Dry Rub Smoked Chicken rings up as RMB128.

There are also Combos (two meats for RMB138 or three for RMB188) and Sliders at RMB38-68 each, depending on your meat selection. Solo side dishes are RMB28 a pop. 

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And while this ‘cue only sees the light of day on Saturday, every fatty morsel is worth reworking weekend plans for. 

Cages Jing'an, 3/F, Jing'an Sports Center, 428 Jiangning Lu, by Wuding Lu 江宁路428号静安体育中心3楼, 近武定路.


18 Hours Texas Barbecue

A spinoff of Jianguo Lu’s Garlic BBQ, 18 Hours Texas Barbecue opened last December with a slew of central Texas-style low-and-slow smoked meats, fired away in the smoker for – as the name above the door suggests – up to 18 hours. 

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Backed by co-founder of Garlic BBQ and Garlic Turkish restaurant Emre Gurel, along with business partner and pit master Yigit Turkmen, the two have launched a meat-lover’s lineup of a menu, plus BBQ favorites sides, sliders, and sets. 

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Like a true Texas BBQ joint, meats can be ordered in 100-gram portions, so diners can mix and match to create their ideal tray – all to the backdrop of a stop sign red 500-kilo branded smoker, the venue’s focal point. 

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First up, 18 Hours BBQ signature item, and the hero of all Texas BBQ meats – the Beef Brisket (RMB52/100 grams) is carved to order, glistening with shmaltz dripping down from that requisite pink smoke ring perimeter. 

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Seasoned with just salt and pepper, in true Texas style, the beef is smoked over lychee wood, and sprayed with apple cider vinegar every few hours for 18 hours to create that initial bark – the charred crust that forms on the outside of the meat from the caramelized sugar, rendered fat and smoke that cooks on the surface.

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Diners can choose if they prefer a cut from either the fattier side of each brisket slab – the deckle – or from the leaner other side – the cross-hatched flat.

The resulting meat’s texture spans from succulent to juicy, from crunchy to melting. There’s no other way to put it – this is damn good brisket. 

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The Iberian Pork Ribs (RMB52/100 grams) are painted with a lick of sticky onion- and tomato-based BBQ sauce near the end of their six-hour smoking journey, before being charred again on the grill to intensify the flavor and crisp up the outer flesh. 

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A touch of heat from paprika and cayenne catches in the back of your throat for that ideal balance of sweet and heat. 

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Homemade Cheese Sausage (RMB28) is a blend of trimmings from the other meats: 70% Australian Black Angus M5 brisket, 20% Spanish Iberian pork ribs and 10% fat, all encased with thick gobs of cheddar.

The menu also has Pulled Pork (RMB48/100 grams) – tangy, tender and textbook exceptional.

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No Texas ‘cue menu is complete without collagen-packed short ribs, and 18 Hours BBQ has not one but two options, the latter of which is only available on weekends.

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Coming in at 250+ grams of fat-pleated meat, the Beef Short Ribs (RMB228) are encased in a peppery crust – one that, in our humble opinion, is powerful enough to warrant our 'no-sauce-necessary' blessing. 

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If you happen to swing through on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, there’s no other option besides the Fred Flintstone-worthy, 12-hour smoked Beef Dinosaur Ribs (RMB388), a 500+ gram behemoth, scored for easier teeth-to-meat ripping, served straight up on a platter, borderline still moo-ing.

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Sides span Creamy Potatoes to Broccoli Gratin, Roasted Mushrooms to Baked Corn, and Kale and Mango Salad to Coleslaw, going for RMB18 each.

Wash it all down with a frothy mug of Wild West Draft Beer (RMB22).

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The menu also offers sets – an amalgamation of everything BBQ goodness in this world...

  • One Person Set (RMB148) – including a slice of brisket, a pork rib, sausage, a mini burger, and two sides

  • Two People Set (RMB288) – double the portions of the one person set, but with three sides

  • Four People Set (RMB498) – four brisket slices, four pork ribs, two sausages, three mini burgers, and four sides

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And if that wasn’t enough, patrons have the option of Mini Burgers (RMB48/2 pieces), filled with 65 grams of beef brisket or pulled pork; or Sandwiches (RMB58), with 100-120 grams of diner’s choice of those same meats, even impressing the most casual ‘cue eater.

18 Hours Texas Barbecue, 6 Wanhangdu Lu, by Yuyuan Lu, 万航渡路6号, 近愚园路.


Alimentari

Alimentari have collaborated with Beef + Lamb New Zealand – an industry organization representing and supporting New Zealand’s farmers – to together launch a 'Banquet of Nature menu,' available from now until the end of April at five of the 14 Alimentari locations around Shanghai...

  • Alimentari & Degusteria on Jiaozhou Lu

  • Alimentari Grande on Donghu Lu

  • Alimentari Grill on Kangding Lu

  • Alimentari Mulino on Maoming Lu

  • Alimentari Emporio on Weifang Xi Lu in Pudong

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Featuring premium New Zealand grass-fed, free-range beef and lamb as the focal point of each plate, other spring flavors native to the country act as a vibrant background. 

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Encrusted in a buttery breadcrumb crumble, New Zealand Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin (RMB120) is seared before being plated above a bright smear of pea mash, studded with seasonal vegetables. 

Imported from Silver Ferns Farm, the beef is sustainably raised, resulting in a higher quality protein that is leaner in fat and richer in vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc. 

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Similarly robust in flavor, the Pure South Farms-imported New Zealand Grass Fed Lamb Risotto (RMB115) showcases tender mutton, less gamey in both aroma and flavor – owed to the fact that the New Zealand government strictly regulates the red meat industry, prohibiting the use of growth hormones and unnecessary antibiotics during the animals' growth. This concurrently ensures the quality of the meat and the highest food safety and animal welfare.

The expertly cooked al dente rice is mixed with a spinach and green soybean sauce, with cherries of buffalo mozzarella melting into the risotto.

Remember that this menu only runs until the end of this month, so act fast, and head to any of those five Alimentari locations across the city.

See listings for all Alimentari locations in Shanghai here


[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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