Restaurant Review

Smokehouse Grill and BBQ

Smokehouse Grill and BBQ

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I really really was hoping this would become my go-to spot for local barbeque and boy was I ever disappointed.

Before I dive into this review let me put some  background to this.

I’ve had barbeque from all around the country.  From the Carolinas to Mississippi to Louisiana (yes they are BBQ destinations), Kentucky, Texas and even California who does things their way.  I’ve often said there is no such thing as bad barbeque just different.

There had been on Route 33/34 near my home a Stewarts Root Beer stand  near me since we moved into Tinton Falls in 1990 and one fine day I drove by and saw that it wasn’t a Root Beer stand anymore. It was a BBQ place!  Yippee!  Three minutes from my house even!

I was a happy camper because I could (my doctor would have a fit) eat barbeque breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I love both cooking barbeque and eating barbeque.

One of the ways I judge a barbeque joint is how well they do ribs.  In my not so humble opinion if a barbeque place can’t do ribs right hang it up.  They in my mind are barbeque 101.

So one fine day my wife and I were trying to figure out “what’s for supper” and we happened to be driving by the new barbeque place I had spotted in my travels and I executed I high speed turn and entry into their parking lot since the question was asked just as we came up to the place.

We went in and I noticed that Steward’s Root Beer was still available there.  Hmm… did the owners of the root beer stand just give up on Steward’s and open up a barbeque place?  Nah… couldn’t be.

My wife ordered her usual barbequed chicken she always orders with rare exception from any barbeque place.   Don’t remember what she ordered for sides but it was probably french fries.   Might be the reason I can’t remember.

I ordered a rack of ribs only to be told “we don’t sell them as racks, you have to order by the pound.”  Odd I thought but hey everybody swings a bit different.  I ordered a pound of ribs.  I also ordered their “Smoked Baked Beans” and Collard Greens.  Two things I am crazy about.

Beans:  let me go on an aside here about beans.  They are easy to make, there seems to be an infinite variety to make and I love all of them.  I make a darn good Boston Baked Bean recipe that I’ll post here eventually.   Collard Greens can be a bit tricky to get right given there are a number of variables to making them.  Best I ever had was in Georgia made by an eighty-five year old woman who had to use a step stool to reach her stove.

Back on track.

We decided to eat outdoors since there was no room inside the restaurant.  Not a fan of sitting by the highway eating but I will never hold that against these folks.  That was our choice.  We could have had it to go.

Food arrives and by now my mouth is watering at the prospect of digging into some porky goodness that is pork ribs. I took a bit of the ribs and my disappointment begin.  They were dry and almost flavorless.  Huge letdown.  Were they cooked earlier in the day and kept warm in an oven?  I wonder.

OK but I have beans. I’ll eat my beans and collards and enjoy myself.  Wrongo.  These beans tasted like Campbell’s beans out of an institutional sized can that had some cheap hot dogs cut up in them as they were heated through.   Did I mention above that beans are easy to make?  Why use cheap canned beans and why the hot dogs?  You are supposedly a BBQ place! Put some of your pulled pork in the beans left over from the day before.  Or pulled brisket! At least then your addons would be better quality than cheap hot dogs.

The collard greens were just collard greens.  Nothing to get excited about but not bad either.  I have made better myself.

On a plus note my wife said she was pleased with the pulled chicken sandwich although she did add more BBQ sauce to it to wetten it up a bit.  My wife rarely makes negative comments about food out.  When she does better pay attention.

Looking at the online menu for them if I didn’t know about the place I’d think they were a hot dog and hamburger place with barbeque as a side show given the number of non-barbeque options in proportion to the barbeque items.

If the owner of the place happens to read this:  please understand.  I wanted to like your place.  I tried real hard but unfortunately the quality of the food was not what I’d expect from a place whose tagline is “Authentic American BBQ”  Only place I’ve had barbeque at that disappointed me worse surprisingly was in Dallas Texas but that’s another story for another time.



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