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Smokehouse BBQ in Overland Park, KS

This has been our longest hiatus on a review since we started the blog.  For that we apologize.  We figured we owed it to our loyal followers to get off our duffs and bring you another review.  That and after virtually no BBQ for 3 months we were just jonesing some quality smoked meats.  So Jake and I set our sights on the Smokehouse BBQ location in Overland Park.

Smokehouse BBQ has 5 locations, 4 of them in the Kansas City area.  The original one opened in Gladstone, MO 25 years ago and has been growing ever since.  As we got out of our cars the smell and sight of smoke was in the air, which is always a good sign.

Wood stack in the front of the building

When we walked in were were acknowledged immediately by someone who was on the phone.  As soon as he was free he greeted us quickly and cheerfully and we were shown to our table shortly.  The first thing we noticed when we walked in was a large bar area toward the front of the restaurant.  The dining area was huge and on the opposite side of the building from the bar.  The entire place felt upscale and was presented very well. Our server, Laurie, was really good.  Once we got to our table she brought menus, and silverware almost instantaneously and also took our drink orders.  Jake and I had perused the menu

Bar Area

online ahead of time and had a good idea of what we wanted so by the time she returned with drinks we were ready to go.  We settled on the Family Gathering meal and a BBQ combo dinner with burnt ends and sausage (my wife and daughter had joined us so we had another couple people to help with that much food).  After a quick discussion to maximize sides with Laurie, we were all set.

My Thoughts on the Food:

First, all of the meat was served generously (almost excessively) sauced.  You would think by now we would know to order it dry.  Maybe we were just rusty after our layoff, but I recommend ordering the sauce on the side.

Family Gathering Meal

BBQ Combo Plate

 

 

 

 

Rib

Ribs: These were moist and tender.  There was a nice pink smoke ring with okay smoke flavor.  Based on the smoke ring I expected more smoke favor, but they were good.

Brisket: There was a thin yet intense smoke ring on the brisket.  It was cut thin and was

Sliced Brisket

moist and hot.  There was not a lot of smoke flavor however, and the bark that was on the edges was more charred than packed with intense smoke/rub/beef flavor.

Sliced pork

Sliced Pork: This was the driest of the meat we got.  It did not take on much smoke flavor and was the least enjoyable meat we ate.  They do offer a pulled pork sandwich, although I did not notice pulled pork as a meat option on the menu.  I could have just completely missed it, but if it is available I would try that instead of the sliced pork.

Sliced Sausage

Sausage: This was offered sliced or chunked.  We opted for sliced.  It was more of a Polish sausage than an Italian sausage, which I enjoyed quite a bit.  The sausage stayed moist despite being sliced thin.  It was seasoned nicely and although it did not take on much smoke, it was pretty tasty.

Ham: It was moist and was on the saltier side of what I like in ham, but it was not bad.  Like many of the other meats we had on this visit (and honestly a lot of ham we’ve had elsewhere) it did not take on much smoke.

Beef Burnt Ends:  These were probably my second favorite meat behind the sausage.  They

Beef Burnt End up close

had a rich beefy flavor, stayed very moist, and probably took on the most smoke of all the meat.  They were a little fatty, but that is to be expected with burnt ends, and honestly I’m probably a little over sensitive to that.

Sides:

Unfortunately, nothing on this front stood out as remarkable.  None of them were bad, just nothing that I would go out of my way to bring to a backyard gathering.  The potato salad was the most unique and had a mild mustard flavor and small pieces of a white cheese mixed in.  There was also a fine pickle relish in there to add some depth of flavor and texture.  The cheesy corn was not overly cheesy and the ham that was added was somewhat invisible.  The fries were hot and crisp, but nothing extraordinary.  Beans were okay.  They tasted like a canned product with chunks of meat and some additional sugar added.  The coleslaw had a thin and creamy based dressing that packed a nice vinegar tang.  It, like the beans, tasted like a mass produced, food supply house item, albeit a well executed one.

Bean Crock

Coleslaw

Cheesy Corn

Sauce:

Smokehouse offers an original and a spicy sauce.  The original sauce is a tomato base and pretty well balanced.  There is not a dominant spice or herb that sticks out.  Overall, it is a decent sauce,  I just wish it wasn’t so heavily applied to the meat.  The spicy sauce has a similar consistency to the original.  The first flavor I got was from celery seed and was almost immediately followed by cayenne heat.  There was no shortage of heat.  This was probably one of the spiciest spicy sauces we have encountered.

Original Sauce (Left) & Spicy Sauce (Right)

The Hard Data:

Location: 7121 W. 135th St. Overland Park, KS 66223

Service type: Table Service

Alcohol Served: Full bar

Website: http://www.smokehousebbq.com

Price:

Dinner Plates: $11.95 – $28.95

Slab: $14.95-$21.95 served as platters

Sandwich: $8.25-$9.25

Sides: $1.95-$2.95

Ratings:

Category

Jake Rating

Elwood Rating

Meat

6/10

6/10

Sides

5/10

6/10

Sauce

6/10

6/10

Service

9.5/10

9/10

Value

5/10

5/10

Overall Grade

B-

                       B-

 Elwood’s Take:

First let me say that our service was great.  Probably top 3 of all the places we have been.  The entire presentation of Smokehouse had more the feel of a nice steakhouse rather than a down-home BBQ joint.  So, if you are looking for an upscale yet comfortable feeling dining experience Smokehouse will be right up your alley.  The food however, I found merely okay.  One of the most critical components of good BBQ’d meat, to me, is the presence of smoke flavor.  Despite the name, the smell as we pulled in the parking lot, and the smoke ring present on most of the meat, the flavor just didn’t hold true.  Combine that with sides and sauce that don’t really stand out, and a price that fits right in with the high rent district that this location resides, and you get an average BBQ experience.  Again, the service we got is what bumped the overall grade into the above average range.

 Jake’s Take:

Smokehouse BBQ was one of those restaurants that ended up being decent barbeque, though I had hoped for more.  There wasn’t really anything that stood out as remarkable, except maybe for the lack of smoke flavor in the meat, despite the visible smoke ring.  The service was excellent and our server, Laurie, truly made me feel at home.  I noticed she was like that with every table around us.  You would have though everyone in the dining room was a regular customer based on her interactions.  That kind of feeling is hard to find in any restaurant.  Unfortunately, I found value in the service over the actual taste and quality of the meal.  As a barbeque lover, I struggle to recommend this restaurant on the food alone.

 

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