You’ve probably seen the Southern Smoke Truck driving around Hamilton and Toronto, well, they opened a restaurant! Their concept of ‘pit-to-table’ is permanently at 201 Ottawa Street North. Just a few doors down from Black Sheep and Except for Kenneth, Southern Smoke Barbecue House occupies a large space with an open kitchen, dining area, ordering counter, and a hand-washing station (because we all know how messy BBQ food can get!). Take out is available but if you can’t wait to dig into some southern comfort food there is plenty of seating too. This is a super casual restaurant where you order food at the counter before you sit down. Basically a fast food joint with better food. They are also licensed so you can enjoy a pint or two or three with your hardy meal.
I brought my parents and family friends here on a Saturday night. I wish we had a bigger group because I wanted to try so many things! We ended up ordering cornbread, slaw, house blend sausage, smoked brisket, and a full rack of ribs. They also threw in a bunch of thick Texas toast for us, ohhh baby.
This was my first time trying corn bread, so I didn’t have anything to compare them to. The texture was dense but the flavour got me coming back for more. It had subtle hints of corn and sweetness. I also loved the slaw! It had white and red cabbage, carrots, and shredded tart green apples, tossed in red wine vinaigrette. I’ve never liked mayo in my slaw, so I was glad to see a vinaigrette here! The fresh and zesty greens cut a meat-heavy meal really nicely – better than a creamy slaw in my opinion. For an extra $3 we decided to add the House Blend Sausage to our meal because… why not? Glad we did, it was delicious with a kick. It tasted exactly like the description on the menu – a little spicy and smoky.
We ordered some brisket on the fattier side hoping that the fat would yield juicier slabs of meat – in my mind, leaner cuts are tougher, right? I took one look at the brisket and knew I’d have a fun time chewing it. I’m always cautious when I order brisket from BBQ joints because I’m used to the tender texture from Asian cooking methods. If you haven’t tried brisket in a noodle soup or a curry from an Asian restaurant, I highly recommend that you pop your cherry. It comes out so tender, you wouldn’t even know it was brisket. If you’re in Hamilton and want to taste this magical piece of meat, you can find it at KW BBQ Kitchen, Only One Restaurant, Harvest Moon, and Crystal Dynasty. Just look for ‘Brisket Noodle Soup’ or something similar.
Ok, back to Southern Smoke’s brisket. Other than the texture, the flavours were great! Smoky, salty, and savoury. I also drenched it in BBQ sauce to add some moisture. The ribs were really tender with a good meaty chew to them and the smoky flavour penetrated really well into it. They were slathered with BBQ sauce making them tastier and sweeter.
Next time I visit, I’d love to try the chicken wings, sandwiches, fried chicken, beans, burnt ends, and butchers popcorn! SO much comfort food and southern lovin’! Oh, you can also order a whole hog for $175, that’s deals!