EDINBURGH’S best barbecue food can be found in a Victorian lane just off Broughton Road. The project did not arrive fully formed. Rather, it built up in layers.

There was an old blacksmith’s building that had been used as a research base for a microbrewer. Cameron Bell and his wife, Emma Roeder, had been talking about what to do with their food delivery business during the first lockdown: “We started to think about going back to the origins of barbecue,’” he explains.

Cameron built the first brick pit in the garden of the old workshop. “I was cooking for about two weeks and Sam Lamont, a butcher we knew from our first business, came down one day and saw the smoker and wanted to get involved. He’s a passionate guy who knows a lot about meat. That’s when we really got started.”

The word got out and orders were soon flying in. “One day we decided we’re not just two guys cooking for our mates anymore, this is popular, it’s going somewhere. People are talking about us. Folk are sending us messages at all hours asking for orders of ribs.”


A chance encounter with someone who worked in the building when it was still the local blacksmith’s confirmed a connection to the past and so The Smiddy was adopted as the name. “He said ‘I had a wonderful life here and I hope you have as much fun as we did’ – talk about a place having good vibes,” says Cameron.

He was inspired by the lively, low-key places he saw thriving when he lived in Berlin: “It would be a hole-in-the-wall type of set-up but you’d have people from all walks of life queuing up because it was the best cooking.” Cameron says he has now become immersed in the culture of barbecue: “There’s putting a sausage on a grill and then there’s an American offset barbecue,” he adds.

“You build a fire to one side and you just use this indirect heat to smoke and cook the meat. You use whole logs instead of woodchips. We’ve found all these interesting characters as inspiration and I’m reading obsessively on the subject.”

There’s a third member of the pit crew: “I haven’t told you about Chef Pat! He was the private barbecue chef for the head of Blizzard Entertainment who make World Of Warcraft,” explains Cameron. “He’s actually a character in the game – you can go to a virtual island and visit his restaurant. He was a big part of the underground barbecue scene in California and now he is working with us, making amazing smash beef burgers and other things.”

A pandemic passion project has become a fully functioning local business and the team is starting to consider plans for the future. For now, you can find beef short rib, brisket, St Louis-style pork ribs, with sides of cowboy beans and charred Ramiro peppers online.

The Smiddy BBQ is located at 22 Dunedin Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4JG.

Pre-order for collection. smiddybbq.com