Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Smokey Joe's "Hickory" Smokehouse

I've heard various things about Smokey Joe's - namely that the quality of their food seems to have slowly trickled down after so many stops and starts around the City (check out this thread on Chowhound). There is also this article from a past Avenue Magazine that details a couple changes made by the new owners once Joe left the business (ex. changing the wood from hickory to apple wood). At any rate I've been wanting to check it out for myself for some time, so last Wednesday Zed and I headed over to Stony Plain Road for lunch with a friend, to check it out.

It was mid afternoon when we arrived, and the large space was empty. We chose a booth to sit down in, and after placing our drink orders, decided to pass the time by colouring on the brown paper place mats, hoping our art would be added to the others hanging on the wall at the entrance.

Artists at work

In between our colouring we browsed the menu. It seemed a little confused, with nachos, Casear salad and other items I wouldn't expect to see on a BBQ menu... but I suppose these menu items are fairly standard in Edmonton and they are trying to appeal to a larger audience. I decided on a Reuben with smoked corned beef with fresh cut fries ($9), while Zed went for the Beef Dinner, choosing sides of in house made curly fries and garlic toast ($18) and our third ordered the turkey dinner with sides of corn bread and coleslaw ($14; with dinners, you are able to select 2 sides out of the given 8 or so).

Our food seemed to arrive in no time at all, maybe 10 minutes after ordering. Zed's plate with two large beef ribs and a pile of curly fries was the most noticeable, so we all tried a bit of this first. The ribs were nicely caramelized on the outside but still lovely and tender on the inside, falling off the bone as soon as you prodded at the meat with a fork. In addition to a couple bottles of BBQ sauce, they also brought us a small bowl of warmed BBQ sauce for dipping, which was great for the ribs.

Beef Dinner

My Reuben was pretty good. The corned beef was lovely and rich, and I appreciated the generous toppings of sauerkraut, grainy mustard and Swiss cheese. My only complaint was that they seemed to have grilled the sandwich using a little too much oil, and so the bread on the outside was a little greasy. The fries though were great (both mine and Zed's)! Nice and crispy and not overly seasoned, they were a great accompaniment, although the three of us didn't actually make it through both piles of fries in the end.

Smoked Corned Beef Reuben (with the Turkey Dinner in the background)

Our third was a little disappointed in his turkey dinner, which turned out to be smoked turkey served on a bun with BBQ sauce. The turkey was also a little too dry, but a good dunking in sauce definitely provided a quick fix. Although the coleslaw was just average, we all had piece of the cornbread muffin which was very nice and light.

Smokey Joe's will definitely not be a regular spot (partially location but also the heaviness of the food), although I would like to head over for dinner on a Friday or Saturday evening to see if they draw more of a crowd. Though, if we have a ride again and someone willing to help us eat all those fries, I think we will likely be back for more of those ribs, no matter what day it is.

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