At Smokie's BBQ, Gas Station 'Cue and Pie Never Tasted So Good

Think about the last time you stopped in a convenience store. Maybe you needed a pack of cigarettes (those things will kill you, you know), or bought a few Powerball tickets (those things never win, you know). Maybe you were hungry, and grabbed a questionable looking hot dog (those things will -- never mind, you'll figure it out). But what if a convenience store sold something like ... good barbecue? And pie?

Smokie's Bar-B-Q is just such an establishment, tucked in a generic-looking convenience store at the corner of Frankford Road and Hillcrest Road in North Dallas. In addition to smoked meats, their website advertises the shop as a "unique store with a humidor that sells fine cigars, South African groceries, breakfast tacos from 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Mon - Friday and the Texas lotto." Intrigued, I stopped in for dinner.

The store really is as-advertised. A counter sits near the entrance for buying your domestic smokes and lottery tickets, while two long shelves stock various South African staples I'd never heard of, like fufu flour, piri piri sauce, various candies and a cleaning product called Handy Andy. Spanning the width of the back wall is large glass-doored humidor. Two thirds of the floorspace, however, is taken up with tables covered with plastic gingham tablecloths. In the back corner, manning a prep station, a refrigerator and a hot box, is Smokie himself, proprietor Charles Smith.

We ordered our food, then sat at one of the tables, where Smokie promised to bring our order. My three-meat plate of brisket, ribs and sausage arrived, pre-sauced, with a side of green beans and coleslaw. I'm usually wary of meats that come already slathered with barbecue sauce, but Smokie's sauce concoction is quite good. Bits of lean brisket that had escaped saucing were full of smoky flavor, if a touch dry.

The sausage was like no other barbecue sausage I've tried; the links themselves were sized like breakfast sausage, but the meat inside was very lean, smoky and tasty. Smokie wouldn't tell me where he procures the sausage, but would say that he was the only location he knew of that served it. The pork rib in my combo plate didn't have much rub, but was moist and tender.

You can also order your meats on a bun. The pulled pork sandwich came piled nearly three inches high with sauced pulled pork. A fork is required, as I couldn't see a way to bring the sandwich to your face without wearing half of the meat. And that would be a travesty, because the pork was a smoky and juicy pile of awesome.

It's also a travesty to glance over the sides. I thought the green beans were super fresh, and the coleslaw was crisp and crunchy, and not too sweet. The barbecue beans might be better than what your grandmother makes.

I don't know what came over us, but when Smokie came by our table after we finished and asked if we wanted pie, neither of us could say no. The pies are served warm, and are baked by Smokie's wife. The pecan pie I ordered was like all the good parts of Thanksgiving, but in April and without the annoying relatives. The baked coconut pie I tried tasted equally good, like a unique take on a southern chess pie, but better because coconut.

Smokie's also offers delivery of his tasty fare to the surrounding neighborhood, although I didn't ask if they could toss in some scratch-offs and a pack of Marlboro Lights as well. Maybe you're thinking to yourself, how can good barbecue come from a place that sells regional groceries, cigars and breakfast tacos? Don't ask, just try it. And save room for the pie.

Smokie's Bar-B-Q 6869 Frankford Road, 10:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Mon - Sat, 972-815-8500.

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