Smokin' Oaks Barbeque opens in Uptown
By Molly Ingram | Smokin’ Oaks Barbeque, a new eatery located at 911 Boundary Street, invited a handful of friends to stop by for lunch and let the owners, Karel and Mike Jones, work the kinks out before opening for real at lunchtime on Tuesday, December 6th. I was lucky enough to be included in that group as BBQ is one of my favorite dishes.
Now I will admit that I’m not a great cook but that just means I have more experience eating out than most. And because of that experience, I am a good judge of whether a new restaurant will make it or not. And I think Smokin’ Oaks will be here a long, long time.
There were so many things I enjoyed about my afternoon sitting at the counter enjoying not only the food but the comraderie of others who were there as well. First, I enjoyed hearing about the beginnings of Smokin’ Oaks from Chef Mike Jones. He tells a story of 21 days in Beaufort Memorial Hospital last January, with 7 of those days in an induced coma, when he was suffering from Legionnaires‘ disease, a particularly dangerous type of lung disease that can easily bring death just as easily as recovery. And his stay at Beaufort Memorial was followed by months of rehab afterward. Having had a career in the electrical engineering and contracting world, this illness put “working” into a new perspective.
Mike is a born and bred Georgia boy who grew up with BBQ. Cooking had always been his true love but it had been relegated to the hobby category in order to raise his family. Now it was time to follow his heart and share this passion for BBQ with a town he feels he owes a huge debt of gratitude to for all that his friends and neighbors did for him during his illness and extended recovery.
Mike began looking at places for a restaurant and heard that the location where It’s Thai Indeed used to be on Boundary was looking for a new tenant. Although many people had looked at the space, Mike got the go-ahead in September. And in 2 ½ months, Smokin’ Oaks is ready to open its doors.
When there is passion about food, usually great taste follows. Mike made me a “tasting” lunch of both pulled and chopped pork and a sample of his ribs along with three sides: potato salad, baked beans and Brunswick Stew.
To this I added a little of their three different BBQ sauces – Smokin’ Oaks Sauce (sweet), Low Country Burn sauce (hot, but pleasantly so) and a vinegar based sauce which is nameless at the moment.
Julianna Sharp, one of our local Marines who plays the French Horn in the Parris Island Marine Band, was sitting next to me enjoying some pork which she described as “moist and tender” and both of our favorite sauce was the Low Country Burn. “The sauce didn’t hit you in the teeth. It was great on the pork and then the heat came slowly later. Everything I had was delicious,” said Julianna.
Carol Poore, on the other hand, had what they call a Q-Tater which I had never heard of. A Q-Tater is a smoked baked potato with pulled pork and a combination of Cheddar and Jack cheese melted all over it. I am definitely trying this next time. Carol, a well-known local lady-round-town, said, “I ate it all -the whole thing- and now I’m stuffed but so very happily stuffed!”
Besides the great food, there are three other reasons I think Smokin’ Oaks will make it in Beaufort. One, they are reasonably priced. A BBQ sandwich is $4.99 and it will definitely fill you up. Rib or BBQ platters are $9.99 and come with two sides. A large drink is $1.99 and small drinks are $ .99. These prices are more reasonable than at many of the fast food restaurants in town and Smokin’ Oaks is far, far better.
Smokin’ Oaks is not a large restaurant. They can seat 30 inside at 7 tables and counter space and another 26 outside. When you come in, you order at the counter, find a table and then they call your number to come get it. It has kind of a picnic atmosphere and allowed for a friendly, fun place you can go alone or with friends. Smokin’ Oaks will be opened Tuesday – Saturday from 11 AM to 8 PM and they offer both take-out and catering.
So with wife Karel at the register and Mike working his magic on all his new equipment in the back, Smokin’ Oaks will surely be a staple on my “where to eat out” list. It has great food, friendly staff and patrons, and is affordable. What’s not to love about this?
Welcome to Beaufort Smokin’ Oaks. We’re glad you’re here.