Smokey Joe’s Hickory Smoke House – Edmonton, Alberta

Smokey Joe’s Hickory Smoke House
15135 Stony Plain Road
780.413.3379‎
Smokey Joe's Hickory Smoke House on Urbanspoon

BBQ is such a funny term here in Canada. With our short summers in Edmonton, BBQ’ing is one of the first sure signs of impending warm weather. And while I’m not one to split hairs with regards to the definition in Canada, after plenty of time south of the border, I’ve discovered BBQ means an entirely different thing. Here..we grill. There..they barbecue.

Every so often, when the topic of BBQ’d meats comes up, I’m reminded of Smokey Joe’s Hickory Smoke House here in Edmonton. But even with it’s relatively long history in Edmonton, not that many people seem to venture in. In fact, before the recent Edmonton Journal review (here), I’d barely heard a peep from anyone. Of course, this all had to change one day, because, who doesn’t want juicy ribs, and slow cooked brisket dripping down their arms?

Located on Stony Plain Road, just west of 149th street, the store is surprisingly easy to find and sits on the main drag. Walking in to the restaurant, I was faced with an empty room. That’s right, no patrons. Good sign? Bad sign? I guess I’d find out. With my uncertainty creeping in, I asked to scan the menu while I went over the idea of bailing. No Chris, you are here. Man up! The menu was a mix of everyday items (burgers, sandwiches etc.) but I wasn’t here for that. So I looked to the page of BBQ. Beef ribs – check, pork ribs – check, brisket – check, sausage links – check, chicken – check. Whoa. This place looks like it’s trying to cover the entire gamut of southern BBQ.

One many can only eat so much, and while I was tempted to order the platter or 2 ($30), I felt a serious urge for juicy smoked brisket. Making my order, I received my choice of two sides and went with beans and cornbread. It was going to be a few minutes, so I took a seat and absorbed the room. The black and white checkered floor adds an old school touch, while the wooden tables are covered with brown paper for your doodling pleasure. The kitchen is open for the most part, and the computer at the back was occupied by two children running around. I should say, I couldn’t help but notice that all of the family members (including the cook) were eating rice dishes…duh duh duh!

With the sky giving way to the sunshine, I asked for the package t o go. Stepping out into the street, I took a seat and looked into my box. I was watching my meal being put together, so it wasn’t a total surprise; Brisket, beans, cornbread and garlic toast. The toast was standard white bread and grilled on just one side. This was the equivalent of a token side salad. The beans, which were microwaved, included bits of meat and fat, weren’t mushy or sweet. Not bad, but the worst part was the uneven heating. The corn bread, which was also warmed and then slathered in butter, was again a mix. It was an unsweetened version and included whole niblets of corn. I don’t layer my sandwiches with butter, so the mound of butter on top that melted in left me wondering how fresh it truly was.

Now the meat. One larger portion sat atop two smaller pieces. The menu says 8oz’s, and without my trusty baking scale, I can’t say for sure where this portion rang in. Forgetting the utensils, and needing a nice layer of moisturizer, I went at the meat like KFC chicken. The meat was definitely smoked, as you can tell by the nice red ring. It was also cooked (menu says 13 hours) to a nice point, as I could easy shred the meat with my fingers. So far so good right. Unfortunately the meat didn’t match the looks. Taking a bite, I couldn’t help but look for a drink of water. Very dry, and needing some kind of lubricant to make it enjoyable, I was disappointed. Sure there was a small dose of sauce put beside the meat, but I don’t want to taste BBQ sauce. I want nice, slow cooked, juicy beef!

With so many items on the menu, I can’t help but wonder if I ordered the wrong thing…or maybe Smokey Joe’s is making matters worse by trying to offer the whole hog. I do know that dry meat, average corn bread, diner style garlic toast, and microwaved beans just don’t cut it for this guy.

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8 thoughts on “Smokey Joe’s Hickory Smoke House – Edmonton, Alberta

  1. I know they made a big stink out of pulling Joe out of retirement, but they should have let the guy be. That meat looks parched even in the photos. I will never EVER understand how we can be the Texas of Canada with beef all over the place and be unable to get any decent BBQ in this province. 😦

  2. So agree! We went for a friend’s birthday a few months ago and well, let’s just say we were pretty disappointed. Not sure if a different style of BBQ is what we were expecting- something more saucey or at least with a bit of moisture left in the meat!

    The ambiance and the customer service were more than a little off-putting as well…sorry to say we are still on the lookout for good bbq in Edmonton.

  3. Sounds like my experience as well. Stopped in one evening on impulse. Everything we at tasted like commercial product. I am pretty sure the beans and the bbq sauce were both Heinz.

    This is one restraunt that wasn’t good or bad enough to remember. In fact until I read your post I had completely forgotten about it.

  4. Sounds like my experience was more of the norm, than an oddity. It’s too bad, and I agree with you Kelly; there is so much meat in this here province, yet we can’t turn it into classic BBQ.

    habanerogal – Thanks for the link, and pushing my culinary button. I’d drive just about anywhere for a food experience.

  5. I also stumbled upon this gem by accident in Calgary a few weeks ago- The Palomino Smokehouse http://www.thepalomino.ca/

    We were there on St. Patrick’s Day, so the place was rockin’ and lots of fun! The ribs were some of the best I have had in Alberta anyway, and they even have a pulled pork poutine…very good!

  6. My hubby and I went there on an impulse too. We live in the neighborhood and thought we would support this little Jem…..not so much! I was incredibly disappointed! The place was deserted when we walked in…red flag…..we ordered our lunch and soon started to hear microwave beeps….red flag. My husband ordered some sort of smoked meat sandwich with curly fries and corn bread. His sandwich was saturated with grease and his fries were cooked un-evenly, burnt mostly and corn bread that could of been used as a paper weight. I ordered a Reuben sandwich. I remember asking her if the corned beef was smoked too. She said yes! yeeeaaahhhh! BEEP BEEP BEEP! I assume my portion of meat was zapped and the Swiss cheese I’m sure wasn’t even Swiss cheese….more like the crap cheese they use at Subway. My fries were also burnt. does it really take that much time to change a fryer…considering, judging from the ambiance…you have NO CUSTOMERS!!! I’m not done yet…The highly saught after beans….BEEP BEEP BEEP….EXCEPT…THEY WERE BURNT TOO!!!! Gross!

    I too though maybe I ordered the wrong thing… unfortunatly, we will not be back too find out. Sorry.

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