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Pappy's Texas BBQ Restaurant Popup

I'd never really visited the Lake District before, but a couple of months ago we were invited to visit Pappy's Texas BBQ smokehouse in Kendal to see how they turn big chunks of raw meat into smoky slices of utter delight. We didn't have time on that trip to see any actual lakes, so I was thrilled when Robin, who owns Pappy's invited us to visit a popup restaurant they were running at the Windermere Hotel. We booked for 2 nights at the hotel and made a proper weekend of it. As it happened, it was also our 33rd wedding anniversary.

Pappy's Texas BBQ Restaurant Popup

Pappy's often do popups at one of the hotel's bars, the Orrest Head. They also do catering for weddings, festivals, and other events. This popup was Friday, Saturday, and Sunday lunch. There were 2 sittings for the Friday evening, and we’d opted for the early one, at 6pm. Live music was provided by Robin’s eldest daughter Annie. burnt ends We ordered a pile of food to share (that’s not its official name) – pulled pork, Texas hotlink sausage, and burnt ends of brisket. We also had sides of pinto beans, potato salad, coleslaw and BBQ sauce. Mrs Keef Cooks announced she didn’t want a dessert, so I ordered key lime pie and probably got 2-3 mouthfuls of it.


After our early dinner, we had a walk down into the town and stopped in at the Elleray Hotel where a couple of Irish guys were playing an assortment of folky/rocky toons on their electric fiddle and acoustic guitar. Nobody was paying them much attention, but I thought they were good.


We’d planned to interview Robin the next morning, but things were going a little bit haywire at the popup so we delayed it until Sunday morning and went off exploring Windermere town? Village? Somewhere in between. It’s a very handsome and prosperous place with no evidence of 1960s and 70s architectural vandalism.


Claytons Butchers Windermere

I was drawn like a magnet to the first butcher’s shop I came to – Clayton’s. I bought a good length of Cumberland sausage, because Cumbria, and then fretted about it getting too hot for the rest of the day. There wasn’t actually much risk of that, and we did get it put in a pub’s fridge for a couple of hours around lunchtime.


The town centre ends fairly abruptly, and becomes a residential road leading down to Bowness-on-Windermere and the lake. I say it’s residential, but almost all of the big houses on this road are B & Bs now. After a little over a mile, you find yourself in Bowness. Mrs Keef Cooks slipped into an artsy craftsy shop. I stuck my head in briefly, admired a print of a disshevelled-looking and slightly crazed cow, and wandered off on my own, knowing that the Boss would catch up with me eventually.



Bowness has a bit of a whimsical, seasidey feel to it, and it was pretty busy. I can imagine it’s absolute hell in the summer. Down at the lakeside, there are cruisers and rowing boats to hire and there are several cruises available. We bought tickets for a 45-minute pootle around the lake, and went and had some lunch (an unremarkable pub sandwich). Our cruise runs at quarter-past and quarter-to the hour, and we almost missed it because we were standing in the wrong queue. We realised just in time and made a mad scramble down the jetty.


We opted to sit on the top deck because I wanted to shoot some video, but once we got into open water a chilly breeze sent almost everyone else scarpering down to the glazed lower deck. The cruise was basically a circumnavigation of Belle Isle, the biggest of Windermere’s 18 islands.


After the cruise, we began the long uphill walk back to the hotel, where we had a little snooze, watched a bit of telly, and then got ready for a wild night on the town. Which turned out to be a meal at a Chinese restaurant and then sharing a bottle of wine with its new, and highly-opinionated owner.


Interviewing Robin and Mike Perris

Sunday dawned and we had breakfast, checked out, and met up with Robin and Mike at the Orrest Head. In the kitchen, Robin showed me how she was slowly heating up the vac-packed meats in a sous vide water bath, and then Mrs Keef Cooks interviewed Robin in the restaurant area.


When we were done, we said our goodbyes and mentioned we were planning to drive up to Orrest Head. Mike said you can’t drive up there. Mrs KC said but there’s a road. Mike said that’s only for residents, but it’ll only take you 5, 10, maybe 15 minutes on foot. So off we went. There’s a viewpoint halfway up, and the road basically stops there. The Gruffalo WindermereThe viewpoint is equipped with benches and a carved Gruffalo that you can use as an enticement to get your kids up there. You get a great view of the lake from there, but Mrs Keef Cooks wanted to see more, so off she toddled. I was happy to stay at the viewpoint but then she phoned me and insisted I come up to join her. I’m glad I did because when you get further up you can see the fells and mountains to the north and it is just a glorious sight. And having got three-quarters of the way up, it seemed silly not to do the last bit.


Summit of Orrest Head Windermere

Well the last bit is somewhat more challenging. The steep path is made easier by having rough steps cut into it, but the very last segment is rough rock, not steps, no real path. Not exactly hands-and-knees stuff, but not far off. Anyway, we made it. At the summit there’s a slate plaque inscribed with an outline of the horizon with all the features named, and this memorable quote from Lakeland legend Alfred Wainwright:


...quite suddenly, we emerged from the shadows of the trees and were on a bare headland, and, as though a curtain had dramatically been torn aside, beheld a truly magnificent view… This was truth. God was in heaven that day and I a humble worshipper.”


mad cow picture

And then we had to get down off the fell, which wasn’t much easier than getting up it. Returning to the hotel to pick up the car, we needed a little refreshment and we saw Mike again, who asked us where we’d been. Orrest Head, right to the top, 5 minutes pchah! I said. Didn’t you run? he asked.


Refreshed and rejuvenated, we got in the car and Mrs Keef Cooks said ‘we have to stop in Bowness on the way home.’ I pointed out it was completely in the opposite direction. So I stopped outside this shop in Bowness and waited while the Boss dashed in and then straight out again with a large, flat package wrapped in brown paper. I wasn’t allowed to open it until we got home. I had my suspicions of what it might be, and I was right – the mad cow painting I’d admired the day before.


The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Pappy's Texas BBQ Restaurant Popup on YouTube.