Diners come for the ribs and the pulled pork, of course -- and the addictive cheesy potatoes. But one of the other reasons locals flock to Smokey's BBQ in Jefferson Park is the restaurant's judicious use of wood.
"We use only oak, which we think is the preferred wood by most pit masters. It seems to work the best for us, and people actually compliment us that it's not too smoky," said Frank DeJulio, one of the co-owner's of Smokey's.
The pork is tremendous. Great smoke ring, tender... just right. Same goes for the brisket, which is sliced or chopped, and usually mounded between buns for a fantastic sandwich. But the real dark horse at Smokey's is their turkey. That's right. Turkey.
"We brine it for about 10 or 12 hours, which gives all the flavor to it. And we smoke it for about three hours, and then we finish it in the oven for about an hour and a half. And we slice it thin. We make a little au jus, a Smokey au jus, and that's how we heat it up. And we top it off with our sauce," DeJulio said.
It's a Thanksgiving without the formality. This brined, smoked and roasted bird is as good as anything else on the menu, and from a health perspective, it's much leaner than the pork and brisket. Another option is the Smokey Joe, which combines pork and brisket into one delicious sandwich. DeJulio says business has been brisk, but don't for one second think that this is easy work. Even though a lot of other folks seem to be barbequing these days, it's not a job for the weary.
"I'll give you a hundred pounds of meat and you can rub it and load it in that smoker, and I'll tell you what. That's a lot of labor," he said.
One thing that's not smoked - but is homemade and worth a few extra calories - is Smokey's BBQ's dense cheesecake, served plain.
5481 N. Northwest Hwy.