When it comes to barbeque in the Triangle, you’ve got your share of good options! Oldies but goodies like the Pit, Clyde Cooper’s, Backyard BBQ Pit and Q Shack. But one spot that I had forgotten over time was Smokey’s BBQ Shack over in Morrisville, not far from the airport. I remember driving by it from time to time and the little gravel lot in front would be packed so I put a mental bookmark in my head to stop in for a visit. And thankfully, some lunch slots freed up and I was able to finally make it back for a couple of visits to this classic que joint after MANY years…
One of the first things you’ll notice as you head over to Smokey’s is its convenient location on Chapel Hill Road. Just south of RDU airport, you could do a quick BBQ run before or after a flight if you were hungry! Turn into that gravel lot and find a space but be warned, it’s usually pretty busy. In the back of the lot, you’ll find some additional picnic table seating but thankfully I haven’t had to use them yet! Open that bright red front door for Smokey’s and you’ll find yourself in its front dining area full of brights and whites. Looks like it may have been an outdoor patio at Smokey’s that was converted to a full covered dining room given the restaurant’s popularity. Step into the main dining area and you’ll now see the order counter, order window and a small amount of additional seating.
Smokey’s feels totally like an old-school barbeque joint but with an extra dose of humor. All over the place you’ll find silly and funny signs, it’s all pretty tongue in cheek and entertaining. At the counter, choose from sandwiches and plates covering pork barbeque, brisket, pulled chicken, smoked wings and ribs! And if you can’t decide, go with a combo plate (2 meats) or the sampler. A large assortment of sides (cole slaw, potato salad, onion rings, fries, brunswick stew, mac n cheese, fried okra, baked beans and more) completes the menu, you get two with a platter and one with a sandwich basket along with some hush-puppies. Everything is between $6 to $13 so we’re talking affordable eats and smoked meats here!
After you order, you can self-serve your drink at the soda fountain and relax until your order is prepared. And it doesn’t take long, soon enough you’ll hear your name called out and you can grab your food from the pick-up window! Find a seat at one of the small tables in the main dining room or patio area and you’re ready to eat…
Over the course of several meals at Smokey’s I got to try out quite a bit off their menu. A big thumbs-up for the pork ribs which are nicely smoked and have a bit of rub and tasty bark. The bones are mighty meaty and the two that come with a combo plate are plenty to eat! The barbeque is more of a pulled pork and while smoked well, didn’t show off much tanginess. And the brisket is serviceable but not my favorite!
And for the sides, it’s great to have so many choices. The baked beans, onion rings and brunswick stew are all quite good. The mac n cheese while creamy, doesn’t show off a lot of cheese flavor. And the hush-puppies here at Smokey’s BBQ Shack are solid and nicely fried. Overall you can’t go wrong with any of the food off the menu or for the quantity you’re served.
By a bit after noon, the parking lot and line at Smokey’s BBQ Shack fills up quickly. And I can certainly understand why! Good smoked meats with good portion sizes make for a perfect lunch spot. And I feel pretty comfortable in saying that Smokey’s truly does their barbeque right based upon the smoke ring in the meats. So right on Smokey, keep up that cookin!
10800 Chapel Hill Rd,
Morrisville, NC 27560
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