The manager and owners of the new Smokin’ Barrel restaurant on Willow Avenue thought that Hoboken needed a good barbecue joint, so they started one in September, filling the menu with succulent beef and pork dishes and tasty sides, all in a spacious location.
From the smoked brontosaurus short rib – a two-pound rib smoked for six hours – to succulent rib tips and maple bacon, the food has lured patrons from all over the area. There are even good options for vegetarians!
Most of the mile-square city’s restaurants are on the main drag, Washington Street, which runs parallel to the Hudson River, but Smokin’ Barrel is located four blocks west, still quite close for those craving tender meat. The neighborhood near the city’s northern border with Weehawken is expanding.
Manager Chris Lowther said the owners knew Hoboken needed a good barbecue restaurant. He also stressed that it’s not a chain, something people have asked about because one of the owners also owns the Tilted Kilt in Hoboken.
There are even dishes for the vegetarian in your life!
To add some flavor, they’re thinking of hosting a country music night. They’ve already got nightly specials and happy hours. Check the website smokinbarrelnj.com for the menu and special events.
What we ate
I popped in on a Tuesday evening with a toddler in tow. We were instantly brought a basket of very sweet cornbread with a top as tasty as candy.
Next came the appetizers, and of course, we needed napkins. The restaurant offers several sauces for wings and appetizers, including their special barbecue, honey, buffalo, and spicy chipotle.
We enjoyed rip tips, which were thick, tender, and sweet. Slow smoked and glazed with the house sauce, they were quite filling for $8.95.
We also had the popular bacon wedges ($7.95), glazed with maple barbecue sauce.
The sweet potato fries ($4.95) were thick, restaurant-style, plus dipping sauce. The fried pickles, $7.95, were French fry style and also good for dipping.
The restaurant offers appetizers such as pork sliders, salmon sliders, catfish bites, and nachos with short rip chili, ranging from $7.95 to a $14.95 sampler.
There’s a list of delicious sides, from cole slaw to pit beans to grilled corn, from $2.50 to $4.95.
For the main course, we tried the brontosaurus short rib ($21.95), a treat to bite into. This giant piece of meat can turn the tamest eater into a wild dog, and leave you satisfied and licking your lips.
The smoked baby back ribs ($18.95) were also not to miss.
The restaurant also serves a half chicken, chicken and ribs, a brisket and pork platter, salmon, shrimp skewers, and a porterhouse pork chop ($15.95 to $21.95).
Those who want traditional bar food can get several types of wings, sandwiches, and burgers. Sandwiches and burgers are serviced with fries and cole slaw or potato.
The list includes an angus beef burger, a turkey burger, a catfish po’ boy sandwich, and smoked pulled pork. They range from $10.95 to $11.95.
Vegetarians don’t have to feel left out. There are three salads and ample sides, as well as a delicious homemade mac and cheese meal with a crispy, cheesy cheddar top ($6.95). We enjoyed the thick, creamy dish. The cheese had a bit of a jalapeno kick (if you don’t want it spicy, you might want to stress that.) My toddler enjoyed it.
Another option is the hickory smoked veggie burger, $10.95.
Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It includes wings-n-waffles, steak and eggs, fried chicken on a biscuit, omelets, and French toast dipped in cinnamon buttermilk (with caramelized bananas!)
The sides are available then as well.
Drinks and dessert
The restaurant serves more than 50 beers, with at least 20 on tap. They also offer 25 bourbons and a host of Southern-style mixed drinks.
Desserts range from fried ice cream to brownie a la mode, $4.95-$5.95.
The restaurant hosts private parties.
To find out more, call 201-714-4222. They are located at 1313 Willow Ave., not far from the 14th Street Viaduct.