About a month ago (or two) J and I finally caught up with KW for a quick dinner while she was on a week-long layover back home. Hurrah! We decided to check out Holy Smoke since I’d been reading plenty of positive reviews for the location on 16th Avenue.
The first impression was that this was a really retro place. Hubcaps and things on walls just give off this aura of… retro. Or something. Hence the 1960s-style filter XD.
Ordering from an old-school cafeteria bar (more retro!) the ordinary customer will find himself or herself confronted by a row of sauces with saucy names (see what I did there?) like Hot Mama and Jack Daniels. The concept of adding your own sauce really makes the place feel a little like a family barbecue rather than a restaurant, but I guess that’s what the place is intending.
Since it was a lovely day outside KW, J and I all sat outside. The place is seriously tiny, and so are the tables outdoors. The food looked pretty delicious though. J ordered the Manwich: beef brisket and pulled pork piled on all topped by a pickle and Jack Daniels sauce slathering the whole thing. J really enjoyed his sandwich, and I agree that the mix of meats was definitely a good thing.
I ordered the ¼lb pulled pork sandwich (5.49), unsweetened tea (1.99) and a hunk of cornbread (1.89). KW had something similar minus the cornbread. My sauce of choice? Honey garlic, of course. The bun in itself wasn’t anything too special. I had bites from Jack’s Manwich as well as from my own. The pork in either sandwich was surprisingly oily and yet dry. Only the addition of sauce made the whole thing more than just okay. The cornbread was ridiculous good but also heavy with oil, making it soft and difficult to share let alone eat by myself. Both sweet and unsweetened tea made for good additions to the meal.
I’m sure that even popular sandwich joints have their off days. For the portion of food vs. price I’m willing to go try out Holy Smoke again, but I wouldn’t be making this restaurant a huge priority any time soon.
Holy Smoke BBQ
420 16 Avenue NE
Calgary, AB T2E 8K9
Pros: Decent-ish price and filling portions. Unassuming and down-to-earth atmosphere.
Cons: Somewhat dry meat, oily cornbread; there’s a use of fat in the wrong context at this place. That or the meat’s simply been out too long, which would also be bad. Sauces are almost essential to food.
May all your pulled pork sandwiches be moist and flavourful.