Saddle Up for Ribs, Beer and Flat Screen Heaven
By Sally Deering
Hoboken’s 13th street just got a new kid on the block: Smokin’ Barrel Authentic Texas BBQ is the most recent addition to the neighborhood and the place is jumping with locals who like smoked meats and a choice of 50 domestic beers to watch the big game on one of 23 flat screen TVs.
The brainchild of a group of business-partners Robert Kakov, Nirav Patel, Richard Gaetor, and Anthony and Danielle Lenardo – Smokin’ Barrel fills a void on Willow Avenue where there’s a dearth of restaurants and local places to hang out with friends and watch a game over some cold brews. There are glass topped-barrels that serve as bar tables, and if you can’t find a stool at the bar, you can always hitch a ride on one of the leather saddles affixed to a thick coil for a little “Yee-Ha” with your BBQ.
“It’s a vision,” Anthony Lenardo says. “We have the only in-house smoker in Hudson County.”
Other restaurants in Hudson may serve their version of BBQ, which might be “pouring BBQ sauce on meat that’s already been cooked,” Anthony Lenardo says, but authentic Texas BBQ is a different and slower process. With authentic Texas BBQ, the cook applies a spice rub to the meat and then smokes the meat in a smoker for 10 hours. That’s what they cook ribs, pork and brisket at Smokin’ Barrel. No cut corners, here.
Chef Otis Gordon, former chef at Harlem BBQ in New York City, and consultant Marc Bernstein, the owner of Harlem BBQ, have teamed up to oversee the BBQ meats process, while Chef Otis ensures orders are going out on a timely basis.
“We do brisket the Texas way and Carolina Pork,” Bernstein says. “The Texas way is the smoke and the rub; the Carolina way is a vinegar BBQ you add after you smoke the meat.”
Smokin’ Barrel’s menu is a hearty selection of Starters, Wings, Salads, Sandwiches, Burgers, Entrees and Sides and it’s all laid out on one page. Starters include Rib Tips, Smokin’ Barrel Nachos, Short Rib Chili, Catfish Bites, Bacon Wedges, Pulled Pork Slider, Smoked Brisket Slider, Blackened Salmon Slider, and the Slider Sampler. ($7.95-$14.95) There’s one more specialty on the Starters menu: Fried Pickles, slices of kosher-dill pickles battered, deep fried, salted, and absolutely delicious. ($7.95)
Salads feature Caesar; Arugula; and Iceberg Wedge ($8.95-$9.95). (Add Grilled or Fried Chicken or Shrimp, Blackened Salmon or Grilled Steak for additional $3.95-$5.95.) Sandwiches and Burger selections are Angus Beef Burger, Turkey Burger, Hickory Smoked Veggie Burger, Smoked Beef Brisket, Smoked Pulled Pork, and Catfish Po-Boy Sandwich ($9.95-$11.95) (Add cheese or bacon for $1; add both for $2.)
Wings are served either boneless or traditional with your choice of Bar-B-Q, Honey Buffalo, Mango Jerk, Honey Mustard or Spicy Chipotle Bar-B-Q. (5 wings for $4.95; 10 for $8.95; 20 for $17.95.)
Entrees include Smoked Brontosaurus Short Ribs, Smoked Baby Back Ribs, Chicken & Ribs, Roasted Half Chicken, Brisket and Pork Platter, Blackened Salmon, Grilled Shrimp Skewers, Grilled Hanger Steak, and Grilled Porterhouse Pork Chop. ($15.95-$21.95)
Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm and the menu features Wings-n-Waffles, Steak & Eggs, Fried Chicken on a Biscuit, French toast, and Omelets with a choice of fillings). ($9.95-$14.95)
Sides are Grilled Corn, Cole Slaw, French Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Pit Beans & Pork, Mashed Potatoes, Homemade Mac & Cheese with Bacon, Basket of Corn Bread, Collard Greens, and Baked Potato. ($2.95-$6.95)
“The menu may be minimal, but it’s a very big process,” Bernstein says. “There’s a lot of labor, a lot of prep time that goes into this.”
The beers are all domestic and there’s a choice of 50 on tap and in bottles; and some old style Southern drinks with a choice of high-end bourbons.
BBQ meats; 23 flat screen TVs and a choice of 50 beers. Smokin’ Barrel may not be the first BBQ restaurant to open in Hudson; but with the in-house smoker, it’s a stand-out.
And where else can you get battered Fried Pickles?
If you go:
Authentic Texas BBQ
1313 Willow Ave.