Everyone who works at Smokey John’s BBQ on Gaston seems happy to be there. They smile and holler welcomes as soon as you walk in the door, and then comes the hard part: deciding what to order in this little place that smells like hickory smoke and meat. We chose a rib plate ($9.50) with macaroni and cheese and baked beans. My lunch partner described the ribs thusly: "they were (expletive) good." So good they make you talk like a sailor.

The mac and cheese tasted homemade, and the noodles weren’t mushy. The beans tasted like a 4th of July picnic. The plate comes with toast or cornbread, and it’s all enough for two people. But we ordered more.

The bristket sandwich is $4.95, and the meat is cooked perfectly with a nice smoke ring. Turnip greens were sour and spicy and tasted like they’d been cooking all morning.

Smokey John’s also has fried catfish, hamburgers and enormous stuffed potatoes (hence the jumbo spud painted on the outside of the building). It would be hard to find something on the menu that’s not done just right. The place on Gaston near Baylor hospital is the second Smokey John’s location. The other is on Mockingbird at Lemmon. Go for lunch because they close at 4 p.m. every day except Friday, when they close at 6 p.m., and they’re not open on Sundays.



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