CRR Week 3: The Smoke Shop BBQ

CRR Week 3: The Smoke Shop BBQ

Welcome to week 3! I’ve been going a bit of a distance to the restaurants. Turns out, one of the restaurants on my radar is literally 2 minutes from the dorm?! I don’t know how I missed this, especially since meat is my kryptonite. Did I forget to mention the 5 “Best of Boston” awards?

My hopes were up big time. Spoiler alert: they were not met 😦

The Smoke Shop BBQ

The Smoke Shop BBQ is the brainchild of award winning Pitmaster Andy Husbands. They started with a small location at Assmembly Row in Somerville and has since expanded to 5 other locations. Their Harvard Square location just happens to be a stone’s throw from the house.

Aside from the food, they really take pride in their whiskey. New England’s largest American whiskey collection no less. I don’t drink, but that’s definitely something to consider.

Food

The menu (click here) is actually quite large; however, I took advantage of their tasting platter option to try out the classics

House pickles- I’m somewhat of a pickle connoisseur, but I don’t think expertise is necessary to judge these as mediocre at best. Underbrined and completely lacking acidity…. Not worth it

Brisket- The brisket was honestly more disappointing than the pickles. There was a nice smoke ring, but the centre was virtually flavourless. Even worse, it was dry.

Burnt ends (not pictured)- I’ve never had burnt ends before (embarrassing right…) when I told the waiter, he gave me some to try. I was NOT impressed. While the smoky char paired well with the mildly sweet, slightly acidic saucy, the meat was dry and tough

Pulled pork- I had high hopes for this, which were unfortunately not met. The meat was, again, dry. Enough said

Smoked Turkey- By this point, I was scared. If the pulled pork was dry, what chance did Turkey have. Turns out, not bad at all! The meat was dry, but extremely tender and well flavoured. The smoke really came through and enhanced the spices in the rub. Some might argue the meat is over seasoned. I like strong flavours 

Maybe the ribs, wings or sausage are better, but I’m skeptical to say the least

Service and Atmosphere

The food might be mediocre, but the service and atmosphere were certainly not. I really enjoyed the open dining room and casual atmosphere. The rustic decour gave backyard vibes, perfect given the beautiful weather. The waitstaff was cheerful and obliging. I was genuinely shocked when the “sample” of burnt ends was very close to a full portion. (Yes, I tipped generously).

Overall Impression

Overall, I’m extremely disappointed. Maybe the other locations are better, but I personally wouldn’t recommend the Harvard Square location. The service is good, but when the turkey breast is less dry than pulled pork, that’s a clear signal to dine elsewhere. With that said, I might try one of the other locations before I go. I want so bad to like this place.

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