Familiar faces like Erica who writes Eating With Erica and Milla of Happily Eating, joined us in welcoming new members Lizette of One Crafty Kitchen and Jehan who writes Jehan Can Cook, as we sat down with Southern Proper Hospitality partner Chris Hadermann for an evening of ‘cue.
Decor is country chic, with gray weathered siding, tufted green leather banquettes and thick lacquered wood tables flanked by metal chairs beneath pendant lights made from recycled Mason jars. We started with cocktails from their creative list. I was craving From the Vine, a refreshing drink made with vodka, fresh watermelon and lime juices that I fell in love with on my first visit.
When Denise said Hadermann had requested a few appetizers for the table, I didn’t think she meant all of them, however, it soon became clear that we would be sampling nearly everything on the menu. Now that’s Southern hospitality!
The first items to hit the table were the pimento cheese and fried pickled okra, two of my favorite Smokebelly snacks. Although the chunky pimento cheese is served with thick and crunchy housemade crackers, it is even better with their light and crispy pork rinds. Pickled okra is cut lengthwise before frying, turning it into the perfect finger food, served with barbecue ranch for dipping.
Mini sausage corndogs and a pretty beet salad with goat cheese dressing were next, followed by smoked wings and beautiful blistered peppadew peppers. I missed out on the wings, but made up for it with a sweet and savory flash-fried cherry cola rib that was finger lickin’ good. The subtle heat from the peppers was mellowed by the creamy goat cheese and drizzle of black pepper honey. Smoked almonds added an element of crunch. Goodness gracious! It was time for another cocktail. This time I tried the Southern Pina made with smoky Mezcal, pineapple juice, jalapeno, agave syrup and lime juice.
There is an impressive variety of smoked and grilled meats at Smokebelly, and we wanted to try ’em all. Hadermann recommended The Pitmaster Platter, a selection of four meats and two sides. We ordered two platters for the table; succulent pulled pork, tender chopped brisket, smoked turkey, and sausage accompanied by smoky braised kale, edamame corn succotash, sinful mac ‘n’ cheese and bourbon baked sweet potato souffle. Meats were complimented by an array of housemade sauces including a mild Alabama white, a sweet Texas-style red sauce, and a mustard-based sauce called Carolina Gold.
What a feast! Smokebelly’s meats are always tender and flavorful, but it’s their thoughtfully prepared sides, snacks, and creative cocktails that keep me craving more.
128 E. Andrews Drive NW 404-848-9100