Saturday, January 30, 2010
Smo-King Pit Barbecue
Yet another surprising mall joint, Smo-King Pit Barbecue was one of my favorite restaurants in Peoria. It's located in Northwoods Mall in the otherwise deserted hallway down from the equally deserted Sears.
Smo-King Pit first opened in Peoria Heights in 1997 under the name Citchen's Cafe. They moved to the mall (2200 War Memorial Drive) just a few yrs ago. Despite their location, all the meat is slow cooked over a hickory wood fire pit. They claim to have "award-winning" ribs, but who doesn't claim that?
The inside of the restaurant is very cute and woodsy. You can almost forget you're in a subpar mall. The workers seem to be a tight knit family and are always very polite and appreciative of their patrons... even this tattooed hoodrat.
The menu is typical of a barbecue joint. Ribs, briskets, pork, you know...meat. I would usually get the pulled pork platter- a sandwich with two sides for 8.99. They pile the meat on a relatively generic bun. But the bun is just a background player. The generous portion of pulled pork is juicy, smoky, and topped with a thick midwest-style bbq sauce which they make in the restaurant. You can buy a bottle for $5.99
Richie usually orders the brisket, but on this particular visit, chose the ribs.
Four bones and two sides for $6.99- a cheap way to satisfy your craving for ribs without sacrificing your taste buds. As for the sides, the baked beans are a little runny for my tastes, but I must say that their green beans are outstanding. Salty and spicy with bits of bacon, probably laden with sodium, about as unhealthy as one can make green beans. God, that looks good.
And apparently, it was, as evidenced by this picture of Richie gnawing on the bone.
They are also known for their homemade cheesecakes, which I, for some reason beyond me, never tried. They have 28 flavors, but rotate 4-5 daily.
Next time you find yourself at Northwoods, I beg you to forgo Charley's Subs and whatever smelly pizza buffet occupies a corner in the food court, and take a stroll down towards Sears. Take a left turn at the mattress store that somehow stays afloat, and walk towards the big (inanimate) pig. Finally, suffer through the contemporary praise music and enjoy your barbecue.