Bishkek restaurant review: Smokie’s Bar-B-Q

Smokie's Bar-B-Q

First published in The Times of Central Asia, January 2013.

You walk in and find yourself thousands of miles out West, diners enjoying enormous-looking ribs, good music, friendly atmosphere. A bar in the middle of the room, I take a table.

The menu has all sorts of things I’ve never tried, like pulled pork, or quesadillas. I opt for hush puppies and ribs, because I hear the latter is a speciality at the place. Hush puppies turn out to be pieces of tasty fried cornbread that you can dip with sauces. A good start; I move from tea to beer.

While gazing at a curious bar stool that appears to be some form of saddle, what is less a dish and more an event arrives, a platter bearing a serving of meat large enough you might mistake it for a car door. I dive in.

Being English, the DNA ensures I look tremendously awkward while eating with fingers, but tonight, good grief, I don’t care: it tastes that great. This is meat in excelsis, the Rolls-Royce of carnivorous experiences, and cutlery would be a disservice.

It’s a revelation, and I ask how this is made. Apparently, a special Southern-style dry rub is used, and the ribs are slow cooked for a minimum of six hours using oak wood on the fire to smoke it. The meat from a local Australian butcher.

Barely able to move, mildly alarmed at the pair of bones which are all that remain on the plate, I sit back and see for the first time three bottles of sauce beside me that had been brought unnoticed while gorging myself. Next time.

Glancing around, it’s a moderately busy weeknight, but the kind of establishment you can have a quiet dinner, or have a friendly conversation with whoever’s around; I left sensing it’s a little piece of home for a lot of people, and they love and respect Smokie’s Bar-B-Q for it.

The food comes to 597 som plus beer. Smokie’s Bar-B-Q is open 24 hours, and they do catering, take-aways, party reservations, with VIP rooms downstairs.

Location: Donetskaya / Jukeeva Pudovkina


About James Willsher

Newspaper and magazine reporter since 2004, has freelanced in Russia and Central Asia, and does local government PR. Likes green tea and interviewing people / places. Phil Garrett was a pen name. @JGWillsher
This entry was posted in Bishkek, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, restaurants and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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