As much as I said that I’m going to be avoiding restaurant food, I couldn’t help myself when the opportunity to check out Holy Smoke BBQ came around this afternoon. I’ve been wanting to try this place for THE LONGEST TIME EVER, but they’re only open from 10am to 4pm on the weekdays (closed weekends) so I could never get there.
Well, thank the BBQ heavens for the second location they opened on 16th Avenue, which is open all days of the week from 10am to 9pm.
It doesn’t look like much on the outside and the place itself isn’t that big. But as soon as we walked in, we were hit with the unmistakable aroma of BBQ deliciousness. The decor is pretty simple and a bit quirky – the wall by the entrance is adorned with random hubcaps. Along the windows, there’s counter-top seating (no actual tables) – the space itself is fairly narrow so I couldn’t see how they could get tables in there anyway.
We went at a very odd eating hour – 4:00pm – so the place was empty except for one person. We were served by a pleasant lady with an European accent I couldn’t quite put my finger on (later, as we were eating, another patron stopped in and asked her where she was from – Germany it turns out, and a diner commented to her yesterday that her accent doesn’t match the way the food tastes – in a good way I’m sure). Mark ordered the large pulled pork sandwich with a side of coleslaw and a homemade lemonade, and I got myself The Manwich (I think it’s the pulled pork and brisket together), topped with coleslaw and a pickle, with a side of cornbread and the unsweetened iced tea.
The order didn’t take much time to get (less than 2 minutes, I’m sure) and we moved onto the wall of homemade BBQ sauces. I don’t think my palate is really that sophisticated enough to notice different flavours of BBQ sauce, so I just picked the Sweet Apple. Besides, I’m not really into sauces in general as I find too much of it can mask the flavour of the actual food I’m eating. Mark picked a couple – one of them was of the super hot variety (lipburner?) and the Jack Daniels Sauce.
We got ourselves seated at the counter-top. My only gripe is that the chairs are a bit too short so it was an awkward eating height for both of us. I guess they’re meant for taller people? Anyway, we promptly tucked into our meal. There really is no ladylike – or for that matter, civilised – way to eat these sandwiches.
Mark really enjoyed his pulled pork sandwich. He said the coleslaw was pretty good, but nothing special.
As for my manwich – my goodness, that thing was incredibly delicious. The combination of pork and brisket was near perfection. Super succulent, moist, and just the right amount of fat. It was so full of meat that it kept falling out of the bun. The coleslaw added a nice crunch, but I gave my pickle to Mark. As for the cornbread, it was super sweet, soft, and had a really nice moist texture. Between the sandwich bun and the cornbread, it was a lot of carbs, but I didn’ t mind since CARBS ARE SO GOOD. The unsweetened iced tea was the perfect, earthy accompaniment for the meal.
The meal ran us about $26, which I think is a little on the higher end for us. It was definitely worth the wait and the hype, but for that price tag, it’s probably not a place we can come to regularly. I do have to say that it was a lot of food and I certainly left full and happy – I even had to give some of my manwich to Mark because it was too big for me. So the value for the buck is certainly there.
I’m also glad that we went when it was quiet. I can see it getting pretty crowded during the peak hours and it would probably be best to do take-out when it’s busy. I can’t imagine that it can be a comfortable place to eat when it’s full of hungry BBQ lovers.
Can’t wait for my next Holy Smoke BBQ outing!
Holy Smoke Barbeque and Smokepit
420 16 Avenue NE
Calgary, AB T2E 8K9
Phone: (403) 605-9365