One cuisine every town/city needs (in my opinion) is a good barbecue restaurant. Not just any BBQ, but a “good” or preferably “great” BBQ restaurant. It can be a challenge to find a spot that offers finger lickin’ good BBQ, but I have successfully found one in Worcester, MA. It is called Smokestack Urban Barbecue. It seemed like a large space from outside, and when you enter, there was this chalkboard with cute drawing of a pig, telling you which way to go based on your purpose of visit. Since we were planning to dine there, we went towards “Dining” to the left.
Even though it was still early, they were already packed, and we were told it would be about 45 minutes wait time. The dining area was a good size room, but obviously not big enough to cover their popularity. We decided to wait, so we went over to the Bar area.
When we walked over to the bar area, we were surprised to see how crowded it was on this side as well. They had some bar tables, which were all taken, and bar counter seats, which were mostly taken also.
They also had some booth seating towards the back, and plenty of TV screens for sports fans. We were lucky enough to find couple of counter seats, and within the next 10 minutes or so, couple more seats next to us opened up, so we got to sit and have a drink comfortably while we waited for our table. The bartender, AJ, was very nice and friendly, he took care of us while we were at sitting at the bar.
As I looked around, I really liked their creative lighting decorations. On the top of the bar by the ceilings, they had string lights with Mason jars, which I thought was adorable. Then, they had this unique table-side lights made with buckets! How awesome are they? Those things brought out some old-fashioned, good-old-time feel to it, cozy, warm, relaxing atmosphere.
While we were at the bar, we ordered some beer. We ordered Wachusett Blueberry ($6). I was intrigued, and since I have always enjoyed beer with fruity flavor, I decided to give this one a try. It is a wheat ale, and had just a hint of aroma and flavor of blueberry, but not distinct flavor that I had hoped for. It still was a nice, refreshing ale and I enjoyed it. The glass that the beer came in was really cute, it had a bulldog on the front, and as I drank the beer, I saw a message on the bottom of the glass, that says “beer speaks.” Interesting…
We also ordered Bustin’ Sampler Plate ($12.99) to go with the beer while we were at the bar. It comes with sample of honey-habanero wings, BBQ chips, fried pickles and smoked chicken quesadillas. We were a group of four, and I thought it was the perfect size for four people. Actually, it ended up being very filling, just with these sampler plate!
I heard their honey-habanero wings were tasty, and they certainly were. The tangy sauce was really great, the meat was tender and moist, and the flavor was really nice. The BBQ chips were nice also, crispy, lightly fried, good amount of seasoning.
Quesadillas were tasty, and even though I didn’t really get “smoked” chicken flavor, but it was a good, solid chicken quesadilla. Nice amount of filling inside; gooey cheddar cheese, chunks of jalapeños to give that nice firing kick, and corn salsa was pretty tasty too. Fried pickles were nice, not the best I’ve ever had, but still was pretty good. Lightly fried, crispy outside without losing the juiciness in the inside.
When we finished with the sampler, we were told that a booth at the corner, all the way back was about to become available, and if we wanted to have that booth, then it would be ours. We of course said yes, and it ended up being the best spot. It was right by the bar, and since it was at the end corner, we were not surrounded by any other patrons, so we could talk to each other without yelling.
We looked at all the good BBQ menu they offer, and since it was our first visit, we wanted to try everything. Our server, Valerie was very helpful and super nice, she explained the menu, and gave lots of suggestions. One of us was planning to order a Brisket Reuben sandwich, but she said that it might be too small of a portion for him. So, at the end, we all ordered BBQ platters.
We ordered Combo Plate ($20.99), which comes with choice of three meats, choice of two sides, and corn bread. Since I was going to be sharing it with my hubby, I chose Sliced Brisket, Pulled Pork, and Spare Ribs for the meat, and BBQ Beans and Mac N’ Cheese for the sides. When it came to the table, I was surprised of how large the portion was. It was a lot of food! The Mac N’ Cheese was just ok, nothing really special. BBQ Beans was recommended by our server, and she was right. I am not a big fan of beans, but this one was very flavorful! Corn bread was pretty good as well.
The meat was juicy and tender, and cooked just right. But, while I was eating them, I was thinking “something is missing…but what?” After maybe 20 minutes or so into it, we realized that we have completely forgotten about their special BBQ sauces that were sitting at our table! Needless to say, I discovered what was missing with the meat. THE SAUCE! And with the addition of their special sauces, they tasted like they supposed to, and was delicious.
We also ordered another combo with Sliced Brisket, Pulled Pork, and Half Chicken. This was for the one who originally thinking of ordering Brisket Reuben sandwich. When it came to the table, he wished if he had ordered the Brisked Reuben… It was just so big! It was too much food for one person to eat. Even though this is a great to try many different BBQs that they offer, it is not ideal for one person (unless you are extremely hungry). This was the only bad recommendation we received from our server. But since we took the leftover home, we didn’t waste any of the food. Chicken was nice and moist, tender and tasty. And yes, it tasted even better with the sauce!
Another one we ordered was Pulled Pork Platter ($15.99), which also comes with choice of two sides and corn bread. With this one, we got Apple Slaw and Cucumber Salad. And guess what? This one was huge portion also. Even just the order of one meat is quite big, it really is a place to go when you are super hungry. The sides were really nice and refreshing, the slaw with apple sliced were really nice.
The last dish we ordered was Louisiana Fry ($17.99), which comes with fried catfish, oysters, shrimp, fries, coleslaw and remoulade. This is perfect for someone who loves fried seafood. Everything was delicious on this plate. Lightly fried so that they were not greasy, great seasoning without overpowering, and coleslaw added the refreshing flavor and texture next to the mountain of fried seafood. It was a really nice dish! The remoulade also had great flavor, it went really well with the fried seafood.
Other than ordering too much food, we also made a mistake of ordering more drinks. We ordered John Daly ($8) which was a mix of Jeremiah weed sweet tea vodka, and house-made lemonade. Kind of like an Arnold Palmer, made with alcohol. It was pretty tasty, the lemonade had good flavor. I was going to order Maple Mudslide, but they couldn’t make it on that night due to technical difficulty. Instead, our server made me something special, so special that it didn’t have a name. It was made with Bourbon, frozen peach, and ice tea ($6) and was delicious! It was a sweet frozen drinks with great peachy flavor. I hope this drinks will make it on their drink menu.
Last but not least, the house BBQ sauces! They had Carolina Q, Kansas City Kick, and Bourbon Molasses. They go from really spicy to mild and almost sweet, but all had nice kick to it. I recommend trying just a small amount before pouring them over the meat. You never know if you like the sauce or not, the last you want to do is ruing the delicious meat, covered with sauce that you don’t really like, or one that is way to spicy.
We had a really good time here, even though we were more than stuffed and had crazy amount of food to take home, but the ambiance was lively, the bartender and server both took care of us the entire time, so we were very happy. (Since our booth was next to the bar, AJ came to check on us few times to make sure we were well taken care of.) Valerie was very knowledgeable of the food offerings, and had really great spirit. Yummy food and drinks and great service will always bring smiles to our faces! I would love to go back and try some other dishes, but something that is smaller portion, or just order one platter to share.
Another thing to mention is that they had a great outdoor space, which would be awesome during the Summer time and warm months! Do you have cravings for BBQ? Head over to Smokestack, and get ready to be stuffed! (And don’t forget the sauce!)
Smokestack Urban Barbecue – 139 Green St, Worcester, MA 01604