A barbecue and bourbon house on Charoenkrung.
We really wanted to like SpareParts. Proper barbecue joints are basically non-existent around Charoenkrung, and when SpareParts took over the top two stories (plus half a rooftop) of Charoenkrung hipster hangout, FooJohn Building, in July, 2017, it seemed like the days of hiking to Thonglor or Ratchadamri for low-and-slow were over.
SpareParts certainly looks and sounds the part. Deli-Q food truck’s Texas-born owner Caitlin Lee Chullasapya takes care of the rooftop smoke pit, where she smokes her ribs for 6-8 hours. The interior is bare and simple with plastic chairs, plain wooden tables and walls plastered in newspaper clippings for a bit of extra shabby chic. And you know what? It works. Sitting on SpareParts’ breezy rooftop terrace, with the sounds of twangy folk music from the likes of Jonah Tolchin in the background, feels like you’ve discovered some hole-in-the-wall smokehouse stronghold in a US flyover state.
It’s just too bad that, on our last visit, the food didn’t match the build-up. The pork ribs (B380/3 pieces, B700/6 pieces, or as part of mixed platters from B580-1,940), slowly smoked with SpareParts’ signature dry rub, come in massive portions for their price tag but are overcooked and dry—even for the dry-style ribs you find in parts of Texas and Memphis. It’s nothing that a lathering of barbecue sauce can’t handle (SpareParts rotates its sauce styles regularly), but we found ourselves doing this all too often to compensate for lacking flavors and dry meat.
The pulled pork slider (B320) is almost unsettling at first bite—where is the seasoning and sauce on the pork, the dressing on the slaw? The pork belly burnt ends (B180), this time a Kansas City staple, tasted like dry pellets of dust instead of the “best bits” that American barbecue cooks famously keep for themselves.
SpareParts nails the vibe, and on the surface is doing a lot of things right (its batter-coated wedges [B100/small, B160/large] are a knockout, by the way), but the food is lacking any of the moreish flavors that’s made American barbecue one of the world’s great cuisines. For now, stick to the big beef rack at Hickory or the baby backs from Smokin’ Pug.
This review took place in February 2018 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
Check out our video of SpareParts' ribs below: