Above: Smoking Joe’s signature barbecued pork ribs with beans and potato salad on the sides.
How do you like your barbecued ribs?
I like mine meaty yet tender, slightly burnt and caramelised on the outside but moist on the inside. Above all, it should have that smoky taste and smell.
When I first saw my plate of barbecued ribs at Smoking Joe’s, I was not convinced that they would be anything but dry and hard to chew on. I also didn’t like how they were covered with what looked like dried oregano.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised when I finally bit into the rib. The meat was not only tasty, it was so tender that it could easily fall off the bone with one gentle gnaw. The herbs on it were in fact, Smoking Joe’s very own signature St. Louis rub mix which contains a secret ingredient. The mix was salty, aromatic, slightly hot and tangy. It was so good that Joe the owner, uses it liberally on almost all his dishes. Customers can even buy them at the restaurants. I brought mine home with Joe’s signature on it and have been using them to spice up my grilled meat.
Left: A customer holding Smoking Joe’s special seasoning mix
Above: (l) The feast we had at Smoking Joe’s, (m) Pulled pork, (r) The gooey and yummy macaroni and cheese
Above: (l) Joe giving us his personal attention (m) Roast turkey & beef briskets (r) Side dishes and salads
Smoking Joe’s is the kind of restaurant that serves simple but hearty American food. My kind of comfort food with lots of meat, mash potatoes, coleslaws, beans, creamy soup and macaroni and cheese. If you’re concerned about your waistline, fear not because it also serves hearty portions of lean turkey meat and beef brisket on a generous bed of salad leaves.
The other thing which I liked about the menu was the fresh potato crisps sprinkled with Smoking Joe’s signature mix. Unlike the usual Lays’ potato crisps, these were only slightly thicker, not as crispy that it felt artificial and you can really tell that they were made of real potatoes. I wouldn’t trust those bags of potato crisps that claim they’re baked without preservatives anymore.
The ambience was nice and at first I thought the place was a bit too classy for what it serves. One would not have guessed that such a tastefully decorated restaurant would be serving normal regular American food. But again, what would I know since I had only gone to Pappy’s Smokehouse for barbecued ribs before?
It was a refreshing change from the usual loud and rowdy restaurants such as Pappy’s where customers are forced to line up to get their orders before being seated on uncomfortable wooden benches and then pressured into chowing down their food as quickly as possible in order to give the table up for the next customer. Smoking Joe’s is all about comfort, style and good value for money because believe it or not, the food cost almost the same as Pappy’s, if not less.
Above: Joe showing us the new logo for his chain in Jakarta.
Left: What did I tell ya? Ain’t Joe smokin’?
For real and simple American food, this is as good as it gets. It’s so good that Smoking Joe’s is going international by opening a new chain in Jakarta, Indonesia next year!
I wish Joe all the best and hope I’ll get to dine in his restaurant in Kuala Lumpur one day.
Smoking Joe’s is situated at:
1901 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, US.
For more information, you can check out its website here.