LOCAL SMOKE BBQ
ADDRESS: 244 West Front Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701
This holiday break, I am back in New Jersey visiting my parents, and also took the opportunity to meet up with some of my high school friends that were back in town. We got dinner this past week and decided to visit Local Smoke BBQ in Red Bank. Last month during the Thanksgiving break, my family had gotten some take-out from the restaurant after my mom heard favorable reviews about the place. The barbecue was good during that sampling, so this time offered me the chance to dine-in.
The restaurant is set up where you order up at the counter and then they would deliver the food to you tableside. There are a number of tables and booths that could probably accommodate 40 – 50 people total, with bench seating near the restaurant entrance for those that might be waiting for to-go orders.
From a BBQ meats perspective, Local Smoke offers a nice variety to choose from: brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, St. Louis-style ribs, or smoked chicken. Most of the meats were also available as a sandwich option, with burgers and salads as well. To help complement your main item, there were also a large selection of sides available to choose from, ranging from French fries to BBQ baked beans to mac & cheese.
This time around, I decided to try the two meat platter, with a selection of pulled pork and chopped brisket. Sides of French fries, mac & cheese, and cornbread rounded out the remainder of the order. I was considering getting a basket of the fried pickles as well, because of how good they were the last time I tried them. It was good that I ended up exercising some self-control, since the platter ended up coming with a pretty hefty amount of food on its own.
Our trays of food began to arrive out from the kitchen after my friends and I got a chance to catch up with each other a bit. The rest of my friends had opted in for sandwiches, which also looked really good. I immediately went to work on the platter, sampling the meats first.
I thought that the pork and the brisket both had good moisture, and the barbecue sauces used to complement the meats helped to accentuate the flavors. The pulled pork had that slight tang from the vinegar and the brisket had a sweet and smoky flavor added to it. One observation I had, however, was that the sauce addition was a little heavy-handed. The natural flavor of the meat from their respective cooking processes got totally overpowered by their sauces. Knowing that, next time I would request for the sauce to be left off, if possible, so that I could add it in myself from the various sauce bottles tableside.
The three sides that I got were all great, and made for excellent pairings with the meats I got with the platter. The mac & cheese had a nice casserole consistency, which is how I typically make my own at home. The cornbread had a slight hint of lemon in there, which I thought was a nice touch. The French fries were cooked just the way I like: crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Overall, a hearty plate of food that was more than enough for a dinner portion.
It dawned on me that outside of Local Smoke, I couldn’t really think of another BBQ restaurant in the nearby area off the top of my head. The restaurant serves as a great addition to the Red Bank neighborhood, helping provide another option in a town already filled with an eclectic range of dining destinations. The food is good, the staff is friendly, and I look forward to the next time I get to try some more items on their menu.
Let’s now take a look at the Local Smoke BBQ Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
And finally, here are my rankings for Local Smoke BBQ:
Food: 4 / 5
Meats and sides were tasty, with plenty of options to ponder over. While the BBQ sauces themselves were also very good, the unbalanced saucing of the meats I ordered was a slight downside to the experience.
Atmosphere: 4 / 5
Tile and wood were the predominant décor elements, with the walls adorned with photos and awards from various BBQ competitions.
Service: 4 / 5
The restaurant staff were friendly, with the food coming out of the kitchen in a relatively timely fashion.
Price: 4.25 / 5
Price points for the menu items seemed pretty fair, with the platters giving a good amount of food for what you pay.