Let Smoke BBQ Simmer Their Way into Your Heart

By Mark A. Leon

By Mark A. Leon

Many of you may know Smoke BBQ from their well travel food truck days.  What many may not know is that they have a restaurant situated on Upper King at 487 King Street.

To review this restaurant, I need to take a step back from the food and begin with the drink menu created by local mixologist Russ Friar.  Russ has spend time at Zia’s and the Rarebit and has created a carefully crafted selection of drinks that truly hit the palate with a punch and slip down in a cool refreshing slide.  Using high quality spirits and a unique blend of ingredients, Smoke offers a true liquid dining experience that stands alone.  The Smoke version of the Moscow Mule with some additional additives is worth an hour or two at the bar.  The bar staff is as eclectic and fun as they get.  I was fortunate enough to engage with a  peninsula girl and a James Island guy.  Both exceptional bartenders and yet both had different views on hospitality from the standpoint of the downtown and James Island/Folly Beach cultures.  This banter along with a nature channel show on bees and insects made for an entertaining evening.

The men’s room is a classy and artistic time machine ride back to the 1960’s and 70’s.  The walls are ordained with very tasteful and classy pages from issues of Playboy.  It took me back to childhood and my years of curiosity and discovery.

Time for the main attraction, good old wholesome Southern BBQ.  You will not go wrong with some Texas Bricket or slow smoked pork.  I would like to focus on two specific item:  Pastrami Rueben and Cuban.

The Pastrami Rueben is exceptional.  The pastrami is cooked for sixteen hours and topped with house sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese, Thousand Island Dressing and held together with a marble rye.  Not only will the smell and taste take you away as the tender meat slips down your throat, but the portions will make it difficult for you to stand up and leave after.

If that didn’t win you over, the Cuban will.  This absolute culinary delight straight from the heart of Miami takes a delicious Aioli spread to complement the slow cooked pork, ham, house pickles and Swiss cheese.  The richness of this sandwich will remind you that a sandwich can literary explode with flavor with every bite.

If you are a cole slaw fan, you must try their homemade concoction consisting of red Cabbage, green apple, heirloom carrot and candied walnut.  It is a sweet surprise and beautiful accessory to your main course.

Smoke BBQ will win you over once you step in the door with smells of the deep South and a rich reminder of how meat is meant to taste.  Make sure you enjoy a cocktail, some really good staff conversation to make for a complete dining experience.





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