As you may have surmised, I am a huge fan of Barbecue. Its one of those things that is so rarely done well and also taken seriously by it’s practitioners that when you come upon a place like Detroit’s Red Smoke you have a moral quandary about even trying to review it for a couple reasons. First, can I do this place justice in under 500 words?* Second, do I try to keep this place a secret because of my totally illegitimate fear that people who don’t deserve to eat there will somehow ruin it for me?**
Red Smoke is really freaking good, to put it into controversial terms for the people of Windsor, Red Smoke is better than Smoke and Spice. Yup, I said it the seventh seal is breaking, BBQ sauce covered villagers are at my door with pitchforks and torches. Red Smoke takes BBQ and raises it to a different level. It’s traditional, but you also get to choose from artisan craft beers. It is simple food, but with little tweaks and surprises that make you want to come back.
For my meal at Red Smoke I ordered the Classic double which for 17 dollars gave me the choice of Brisket, Pulled Pork, Smoked Chicken, or Andouille Sausage with a side and cornbread. I chose the Brisket and the Andouille. For the side I went a little out of the box and opted for the green beans with fried leeks. I feel like I made the correct choice on all accounts.
The Brisket was melt in your mouth tender and exceptionally flavourful, the smoke was present but not over the top like I find at other BBQ restaurants. The Andouille Sausage was really good as well. Tons of smokey, peppery flavour, natural casings and some beautiful sautéed peppers on it. Andouille Sausages can be a bit hit an miss as alot of places who make them go over the top on the fat content but Red Smokes house made Andouilles are really well balanced. The Green Beans and fried leeks were amazing, buttery, smokey, and with liberal amounts of garlic, this side dish blew me away. Mac and Cheese is all well and good, but if you can make green beans sing you’re doing something very right. The Cornbread was also beautiful, much more crusty than I had expected and glazed with honey it was rich, but not too rich. And perfect for sopping up excess BBQ sauce***.
The service and ambiance at Red Smoke was also really great. The space is obviously an old store front in the heart of Greektown in Detroit but there are just enough modern touches to make the dining room seem clean and minimalist but at the same time the older charm of the building shines through. The bar looks mostly original and it’s the first thing you see, but as you go in you see that there has been some serious work put into the room. The service was also really solid, it was a Tigers game night so they moved fast but, were also helpful and friendly considering how busy it was.
If you are in Windsor reading this or Detroit for that matter, you should make Red Smoke a priority next time you go out to eat. It will be a great experience and you will leave feeling very full. Check it out.****
**This is just dumb but most fears are dumb, are they not?
***Which brings me to the sauces. Not every one was great but I really loved the Roasted Poblano and the Michigan Cherry Molasses.
****Red Smoke is located at 573 Monroe, Detroit, Michigan in the Greektown Neighbourhood.