Jan 29, 2024 - Food and Drink

Monday Munchies: Blue Ember Smokehouse in Fort Smith

Ribs and brisket, along with baked beans and Texas toast. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

I'm hesitant to review barbecue joints, as my standards are unreasonably high.

  • But a friend suggested Blue Ember Smokehouse on a recent trip to Fort Smith, and his judgment comes from the same frame of reference, so I gave it a shot.

The setup: One orders at the window by the pound where meat is doled out onto a tray; sides are at the next station and so on.

  • Because we're close to Texas, brisket (one-third pound, $9) is a good barometer, and I always grab a rib or two ($9) if possible.
  • Baked beans ($3) rounded out the trial.
  • Three sauces — original, kickin' apple and spicy — can be pumped from gallon jugs.

The verdict: The brisket was tender and juicy (I ordered moist). It had a smoke ring, but the flavor was light, as is oftentimes the case.

  • The chef sprinkled extra dry rub on the pork ribs. They fell off the bone and were tender, too. Again, the smoke was there but light.
  • I tried both with the original and apple sauces.
  • Generally the food was good and fresh, but a tad sweet for me.

I'll try it again — maybe the pulled pork — next time I'm in town.

Check it out: The Fort Smith location is open Sunday-Thursday, 10:45am-8:30pm; and Friday-Saturday until 9pm.

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