Chicken is star at barbeque joint

ABC7's Hungry Hound has been slowly eating his way through countless plates of pulled pork, ribs and tips. His latest discovery is in Forest Park where he says the chicken is the real star.

It seems like every barbeque joint has a long and tortured back-story and Smokin' M's is no different. It starts with a failed business and then, thanks to some encouragement from a friend, the acquisition of an aquarium-style smoker -- which led to a non-descript barbeque joint.

There are some sounds that don't need any description: Like the sound of ribs and tips being chopped into manageable pieces, inside Smokin' M's Barbeque, tucked away along busy Roosevelt Road in Forest Park.

Bart Moccio learned to slow-cook meat from a friend who grew up in Mississippi. He doesn't offer baby backs, just spare ribs and tips, which are lightly dusted with dry rub, then placed over hickory wood in an aquarium-style smoker for a few hours. Once they're chopped, you can either have sauce on the side - my preference - or dunked in their homemade sauce.

"We have a little sweeter sauce; we add a little sugar in there, amongst other things, but not the vinegary type of sauce you see in a lot of places," said Bart Moccio, Smokin' M's BBQ.

Bart also makes his own hot links, as well as finely-chopped beef and pork sandwiches. But it's the slow-smoked chicken that really impressed the Hound with its tasty skin and juicy meat. They really don't even need the addition of the sweet sauce.

Even the french fries are made from scratch -- hand-cut then fried twice. It's something that's made throughout the day.

"We have a constant flow. So it's not like something's sitting. If it's a Monday, where I know I'm not gonna sell as much as a Friday, I don't make as many chickens; this way they don't sit," said Moccio.

Sweet potato pie and baked beans are also made each day. Moccio says with just a few people in the kitchen, he has to get in early, and cook until he closes.

"And that's how I start my day at 10 o'clock, and I'm constantly cooking through the day," said Moccio.

If you crave your barbeque first thing in the morning, Smokin' M's is open at 10 a.m., just in case you can't wait until lunch.

Smokin' M's BBQ
7507 Roosevelt Rd., Forest Park

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