Well;here we are on the West side. We don’t seem to get here too often. For some reason we seem to stay in that central corridor of South, Central and North. Well we gonna’ try and fix that.
I am not sure how long this Smoke House has been around,but I first heard of it a few weeks ago, and the reviews I have read have been pretty positive. It’s located in a strip mall,and can be a bit tricky to find,as it is a distance from the street. However once you get close the aroma draws you, literally right to the front door.
This bad boy sits right in front of the joint,and the day we were there it was in service,smoking some pork butts. I was able to chat with the young man working the post and he told me they used a bit of dry rub only on the brisket. This aroma is the best ad I could think of for a BBQ joint.
Once inside we found a neat little space. Bright and clean.
They make their own sauces and keep them in squeeze bottles on the tables. They offer a sassy sweet, a hot and a more east coast mustard style. We started off with an order of fried mushrooms.
I have to say that their mushroom appetizer was average, at best. Small button mushrooms with a rather boring coating and served with a very non descript Ranch dressing. Average price and average taste. Our server gave us a taste of their pulled pork, which sealed the deal for Pat.
I was really tempted by their smoked meatball sandwich. But I thought I would play it safe and go with the brisket sandwich with Lava beans.
Where do I begin? The meat had a really nice smoke flavor and a picture perfect smoke ring, but the overall it missed the mark. The meat was chewy and hard to bite and pretty bland. In order to get some flavor I had to add some sauce. Sauce should be used sparingly to enhance an existing flavor. Not as a substitute for flavor. For what it is worth I think they should use a rub and adjust the cook time. A rub does two things. Adds an extra level of flavor and it also does a Chemistry thing to help tendering the meat. They have their smoker set on 175 degrees, which is a sweet zone for Q. So, again this is just one man’s opinion.
The beans were really good. A nice level of heat and full of meat. A really good accompaniment for cow or pig. The sauces were decent , and the prices were on point as well.
Some bloggers don’t like to say if they like or dis like a joint. I have no problem with that. I rarely dis-like a place. The most I usually do is abstain from like or dis-like. Like a Congressman that votes present. This is the case here.
Now this is a rarity for this spot. I bought a voucher for food for a joint and was able to use it. I purchased a voucher from Amazon Local for G.T.’s. Nine bucks for 15 dollars of food. Good deal. I don’t know why they ran the promotion, because the food is really pretty good.
As soon as you walk in you are seduced by the aroma. BBQ. Smells like a rib joint. The ribs are not available until dinner. However they have a very solid lunch menu.
They have a website but it doesn’t show any prices. I didn’t even try to scan their book like menu. But for what it’s worth their prices are very good.
Pat’s platter was huge. We’re talking 12 inch oval with just enough room for a muffin. The sides were put up in 4 oz. ramekins and had to be placed on the side. A bunch of food for $11.50.
They serve the meat dry, with sauce on the side,which I like. They offer 3 sauces. Hot or medium red and a Carolina pepper, vinegar. I decided on a brisket sandwich. It comes 2 ways. Standard for,I don’t remember and a Jumbo for $8.50. With the sandwiches they provide chips and choice of side.
I expected the brisket to be sliced, as that is what I am told that is how it is done for platters. Oops. It’s shredded on the sandwich. Actually they might have even said that on the menu. I don’t recall. No matter the sandwich was very good. The brisket was both moist and tender,with a nice smokiness. The Carolina sauce I asked for on the side was so-so. As were the greens I ordered to go with it. They were tasty enough but they needed an oomph. Maybe some hock or more cooking time. I was concentrating more on my cow meat. I can say the pot liquor for the greens was pretty flat. No matter. My sandwich was good. And I like ruffled chips served with sandwiches, more joints should do that. In my opinion.
Our server tried to tempt us with desert. We were too full. She did manage to talk Pat into a cookie. And it was gratis. Cool. It was my turn to buy. On the service, it was spot on. Everyone I saw or came in contact with friendly and professional. I saw a busser walk through our dining area at least 3 times during our lunch. Each time he was on point. The last time he asked me if I needed a go box,as I was letting my food “settle” before I commenced eating. Our personal server was wonderful. All in all this joint has a great wait staff. So. In our opinion: Great food + Great service = Go there.
This is without a doubt the fanciest BBQ joint I have ever been to. Everything was new and bright and quite attractive. For a moment I thought we might have stumbled into the wrong place.
The light fixtures were really cool. You can see one in the above picture. You can tell that pros set this joint up. From the table placement to the bar every thing was on point. After we were seated the Hostess let me check out the smokers in the kitchen.
The exhaust fans are located right behind the outside wall. Also it appears as though it has a digital temp readout. Really nice units. Back in the day I thought an Alto Shaam was high tech. Well enough of the HGTV. Our server was Laura. Delightful and very knowledgeable. I ordered a cup of chili; a cup of red to start.
I thought it was very good. A little spicy, no beans and no pasta; which is unusual in the Midwest. They used cubes of smoked brisket and a touch of house bacon. It had the consistency of Texas red; as I remember it. They also threw in a few cubes of fat. I like to think it was done intentionally not accidentally. Fat adds flavor. Of course my Cardiologist might disagree; but I don’t take him to lunch.
As you can see from the menu the food choices are very solid and the prices are quite reasonable.
Pat decided on a brisket entree with a choice of two sides for $12. When he discovered that the slaw had no onion he picked that with cornbread. After we ordered Laura brought out the Sauce caddy, all made in house.
The sauce options are pretty basic. A Kansas City molasses sweet, a Carolina mustard vinegar, a “Standard”, a little sweet and savory and a Texas spicy. Laura suggested a mix of KC and Carolina. Which worked like a charm for me. The other two were a little non descript. I really like a Carolina sauce sometimes and I definitely have a thing for molasses. Well back to Pat.
As you can see Pat’s coleslaw was a side with some assembly required. I guess he didn’t want to assemble. Since he ordered the brisket I ordered the pulled pork with Collards and Mac& cheese for $10.
The pork was straight up good. Nice flavor and good smoke. My first thought was the dry rub wasn’t as assertive as I would like,but upon a bit of reflection I thought with the 4 sauces maybe an assertive rub might not be the best. I am still pondering. One thing for sure Laura hit the pig on the head with her sauce mix suggestion. The KC and the Carolina together was a great taste. As for the sides I had mixed feelings. The greens were quite good not as much pot liquor as I would like but good none the less. Now for the mac & cheese. I believe they used a Cellentani, a spiral pasta that holds sauce well. As for the sauce it was pretty good it just isn’t what I had anticipated.They added a “jam” which I believe is a mix of KC sauce and spices which did add another layer of flavor but I prefer my mac a bit thicker with a cheesy roux and a buttery brown top. No harm no foul I’ll just keep that in mind next time.
Even though I had to get a go box for some of my pig I thought we should share a slice of Sugar Cream pie. It was unlike any other Sugar Cream pies I’ve had. It appeared that the crust was a crumb crust, not a pastry. Also the filling had almost a carmelized top to it. The pie was rather hard to cut; me thinks it was over cooked. No matter, the filling was delicious. I forgot to take a shot until it was almost done. Here is the ravaged result.
So don’t think that this place is too cool for Que. It isn’t. I read one reviewer who thought they took BBQ too seriously. Well it is BBQ. I really don’t know how anyone can be too serious about BBQ. After all it is All American. Seriously if you want some good Q you should give this joint a try. I’m not saying this is the best Q in the city. I am saying it is really good and it is run by pros. Also everyone that works here is really nice and it is a really pretty place.
Okay. Normally our lunch day is Thursday. Pat decided that we would go “rogue” today and hit some joint that we would never normally consider. I decided to hit a joint I have noticed on the “net” that is located in Brightwood. This is a working class neighborhood that some folks call the hood. I grew up in that neighborhood. So actually I was rather excited to check out the new Brightwood.
The building has been around for a long time. For years it was called the Bungalow. A joint noted for its catfish dinners and bar service. I had been there a few times 35 years ago. My dad went there on a few occasions. Actually I forgot about it until I saw an entry on Urbanspoon. From what I recently discovered the Sawmill has been opened for quite a while. It was named after the veneer factory across the street. That particular factory has been around since I was a kid.
The joint has not changed much in the last few years. A long bar, several tables and a rather cool back bar.
Their menu is unpretentious and very Hoosier. I didn’t bring my scanner so I was not able to present the menu. Now that is a bummer. I always pride myself on the fact that I can usually present a joint’s menu for everyone to see. This time my camera was not up to the task.
They make their own fries, and onion rings. They also hand cut and pound out the pork loins for breading. Normally I try to avoid breaded and fried food. I am supposed to eat a Heart Healthy diet. However, sometimes a man needs some fried meat.
Their version of the Hoosier staple was a great example of a simply good sandwich. It was not as intricate as some places. It was simply a nice hunk of pork that was hand pounded and breaded and fried. It wasn’t a great BT by any standard. It was a good one. It was tender. The breading was a little light.
The fries were nice. They cut them in-house. I don’t think they double fry them. Which I think is how it should be. In either event they really should season the bad boys. Their fries are pretty good. They just need some cojones. One thing I enjoyed was that they put the tenderloin on toast. Not the obligatory Texas toast, on a flat top,but white bread toast from a toaster, I liked the crunch.
The previous day the Sawmill had a hog roast. So they ran their pulled pork sandwich as a lunch special.
I think I agree with Pat’s assessment. If I found myself in the neighborhood I would go again. However Brightwood is hardly a destination;anymore. The food is tasty,the beer is cold and the new owner; Rhonda is a delight. So should you find yourself on Sherman Drive by all means pop in. For two sandwiches and fries the tab came to under 14 bucks. And a domestic bottle will cost you $2.75. So I think it was a good afternoon in the neighborhood.
About 3 years ago, when we were new to the reviewing world we had lunch here. This was before I had a cell phone or a camera. Any pictures we might have posted were from the Goggle Image Library. The reason we chose this joint was because they had resurrected Choc-Ola. That was a local chocolate drink that came in cans and bottles. It goes back a lot of years and part of those years were Hoosier. It wasn’t much more than Chocolate milk in a can. But it was good,and it was part of our history. The strange thing is we didn’t have it either time. The first time we had chocolate malts. Good malts. The kind that gives you the malt burn in the back of your throat. This time we went the water, Coke route. We also brought a friend, Jim. He has been a regular customer here for quite some time.
Pat and I had discussed hitting a new BBQ place; but we flipped a coin and heads was Rock-Cola. I had planned on getting a malt or a root beer float; since it was my birthday; but I decided to go with the H2O.
Jim already had his mind made up and ordered a Hawg Dog. That is a big deep-fried hot dog, placed in a bun and then topped with pulled BBQ pork and coleslaw. That is something he gets on a regular basis for $6.99.
Now that is what I wanted. However since he ordered first I felt obliged to get something else. He did let me get a bite. And all the incremental pieces worked really well together. Individually they may not have been stellar but the totality was really good.
Patrick decided on a grilled tenderloin, for $6.99. I do not think he was prepared for the monster piece of meat he was given. It was a least 8 ounces of cubed pig carmelized on a flat-topped griddle to the point of sweet tenderness.
Since Jim took “my dawg” he recommended the El Paso Pete for $7.99. That is 90% lean ground beef. Cooked like “taco meat” and seasoned with southwest seasoning and green peppers and onion. Then it is smothered with American cheese and served on a toasted bun. I ordered a side of hashed browns to go with the sandwich.
The potatoes came out as a huge patty. They were nothing spectacular. Just nice shredded ‘taters, nicely browned and mildly seasoned. The “taco-burger thingy” was tasty, but it was really cooked hard. A flat top is a great tool but sometimes a light hand is nice. This was over cooked, in my estimation. It was still all right but a little moisture would have been appreciated.
Well in summation. This joint is a good little diner. You won’t always find perfection. Just settle for good grub and nice people. Right Tamara?
For the history of Choc-ola :
A lot of folks know of Taste of Memphis as a food truck. Well now it’s a brick and mortar joint as well. They took over a building that has housed a few restaurants over the years and turned it into a commissary. They cook their food there; and sell it both on premise and in their truck. I stopped for some carry out today, they had their smoker fired up and I could not resist.
My eyes were bigger than my stomach, so to speak, and I ordered a rib tip dinner with mac & cheese and greens. And a pulled pork sandwich and a smoked sausage sandwich. Even though there would only be my wife and I eating, I wanted a good representation. Besides left overs are fine.
I order the tips with sauce on the side. I wanted to check out the meat naked. It was indeed an excellent job of smoking. Moist and tender with both a beautiful bark and smoke ring. My better half and I were both very pleased. I only had a bite of the mac & cheese. It was pretty good. The wife seemed to enjoyed it more than I did. The greens were very good. Deep flavored and peppery. They gave up a great pot liquor. Now would be the time for the jiffy.
When they do a pulled pork or smoked sausage sandwich they add the sauce and then top it with coleslaw. I think that is a great way to eat some smoked pig. Of course you will find some folks that want all that on the side. I thought it was great. The pork is what you would expect from folks that know their way around a smoker as they do. The sauce was both sweet and a little hot. And with the creamy slaw. A great combo.
Normally I don’t order sausage at a BBQ joint. It is usually a sausage that has already been smoked and then smoked some more, sauced and sold. I’m not sure why I did but I am glad I did. This link was good size and very tasty. It reminded me of Big Red Hots. Nice texture and great flavor. Clara liked it even more than I did.
So folks if you liked it for lunch; at the truck. Now you can get it any time at the Mother Ship. Like maybe dinner carry out. Pick it up on the way home. Everyone can use a little smoked pig in their life.
This is a different sort of review. I went here with my eldest son, for lunch. I am never sure why I don’t write about some joints that I go to. This is a perfectly fine place. Clean and respectable; with good food. I know I have eaten here a few times; pre- blog days. And Pat and I have been there a couple of times for beers. So today I write.
Adam ( my first-born ) likes to eat and cook he just isn’t crazy about it. So our conversation covered my grand daughters and his work. He has a real job. He has nothing to do with food and beverage. He ordered a pulled pork sandwich with bbq sauce. All he volunteered was that he liked it. He added the lettuce and tomato but removed the onion and pickle. So the pork sandwich has my kid’s approval.
I ordered an All American cheese burger. But first I determined it was indeed charbroiled and I could get it mid-rare. I added cheddar and got the whole garden. Usually I enjoy my burgers the same way I enjoy my Irish Whisky; neat. This was a fine ass burger. And no amount of salad could interfere with the flavor of that char grilled and juicy hunk – of- meat. I am sure a whole bunch of folks know and like this place so I’m sure I am not telling people anything new.