What's good here? Smoke southern barbecue revival

Get to know the people behind local restaurants

December 9, 2009 

Tom Hall and Dan Huntley opened Smoke Southern Barbecue Revival in Blythewood about two months ago. It's at the site of the old Myers Barbecue location. We spoke with Hall this week.

What's good here?

We have traditional barbecue that we do in a pit out back. What we do different is we do things like boudin (pronounced boodan)."

What's in boudin?

It's been around in different places in different forms. It's similar to country pudding. You take the less desirable meats, set those aside, set some liver in there, organs, cook it with rice and the holy trinity - that's green onion, bell pepper and celery - and stuff it into casings. It's a delicacy all over South Louisiana. "

What else?

"We also have some things that are pretty crazy. Like fried pig ear salad. . . . We have crawfish cornbread stuffed chicken. We have gumbo every day. We make our own sausages. . . . We smoke all meats, not just pork. Barbecue is a term; it means smoke things low and slow."

Who eats there?

"We try our best to have a real diverse customer base and we're real proud of that - we're trying to promote that. When you see black and white people eating together and listening to music together, that's a good thing to see. We want to bring people together with food and the arts. . . . We have people from downtown Columbia, lawyers, doctors, tree cuttin' people. I love that. That's what we wanted. We want to put a rich guy next to a poor guy and everybody's smiling. Then you win."

Who works there?

"Everybody here is overeducated. We're over-educated middle-aged white guys who lost their jobs and like to drink beer and cook barbecue."

What about you?

"I'm a lawyer. I still practice a little in Chester. We've got another lawyer who is a pit cook. . . .

"Dan Huntley is my partner. He's (a former Charlotte Observer reporter/columnist) and gonzo creature who traveled all over America and South America doing barbecue stories."

What's the experience of eating at Smoke like?

"We are as close to Bowens Island (a famously casual Folly Beach-area oyster restaurant) as you can be. We're Bowens Island north."

ABOUT SMOKE

Where: 10324 Wilson Boulevard (U.S. 21 near I-77) Blythewood.

Hours: Lunch, Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m. -2:30 p.m.; Dinner, Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Prices: Lunch buffet is $7.99. Most expensive item on the dinner menu is a full rack of ribs for $17.

Drinks: Beer and wine available.

Information/menu: http://eatsmoke.com; (803) 754-0063

Also: Thursday night oyster roasts and bluegrass music

CHEF DINNER

Chefs Chris and Idie Hastings, of Birmingham, Ala., will make a cookbook tour through Smoke on Dec. 14.

The two are the authors of "The Hot and Hot Fish Club Cookbook: A Celebration of Food, Family and Traditions" (Running Press Books, October 2009, $35).

The dinner runs from 6-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $40, and are limited. For information or reservations, email halldogs1@aol.com

MAKE A NOMINATION: Do you have a restaurant, nightspot, server or bartender you would like to see featured in "What's good here?" Send nominations to Megan Sexton, msexton@thestate.com or (803) 771-8418.

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