Bogart’s Smokehouse opened its doors just last February, and has quickly garnered accolades, as well as a loyal following of area carnivores. We recently made it down to Soulard to check out the place for ourselves.
Customers know they’re getting close to Bogart’s Smokehouse: The smell of roasting meat and the sight of the line of people snaking out the door grab their attention long before they get to the corner of Ninth Street and Lafayette Avenue. Bogart’s is a small place—a true BBQ joint that’s about half kitchen, half tables, and we’re told by fans that it’s a rare sight to find any empty seats, especially during the lunch rush. Also, as the website and the sign in the front window proclaim, Bogart’s is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. until “4-ish (or when we sell out).” Because of these factors, we highly recommend calling ahead to place your order and getting it to-go.
The Bogart’s menu is a meat-lover’s dream come true: Ribs are available solo and in various combos, and all manner of smoked meats, from pastrami to brisket, can be ordered up as sandwiches or plates, or purchased by the pound for big gatherings.
From the Sandwiches selections, we ordered the regular-sized Pulled Pork and Sausage Fatty sandwiches ($7, large $9). Each of these came with a choice of two sides, and we went with the Pit Baked Beans, Deviled Egg Potato Salad, Applesauce and BBQ Pork Skins ($2 each, if ordered separately). We decided to get a sample of the hot and Carolina vinegar sauces, as well.
The meats at Bogart’s are cooked under the skillful hand of pitmaster Skip Steele, of Pappy’s and Supersmokers fame, and everything is cooked to complete perfection. We ordered the pulled pork since it’s such a standard item on BBQ menus, and we like to use it as a benchmark of sorts. Bogart’s pulled pork was some of the best we’ve ever tasted. It’s a cliché, but completely applicable in this case: The meat truly melted in our mouths, with nary a tough or chewy bit to be had. The Sausage Fatty featured thick slices of peppery pork sausage and despite the name, it wasn’t overly fatty at all, but hit just the right balance of fat and lean. We decided to only sauce half of each sandwich, so we could get a feel for how the meat stood up on its own. Much as we liked the sauces, our meaty choices were plenty flavorful and really didn’t need any help!
Another measure we take of a BBQ place is the quality of its sides. The ones we got with our sandwiches were superlative. The Deviled Egg Potato Salad was a brilliant combo of two picnic favorites, and the applesauce was chunky and topped with cinnamon, a far cry from the overly pureed supermarket variety we’ve become used to. Of special note were the baked beans, which were sweet, spicy and oh-so meaty.
For true fans of smoked and BBQ fare, a pilgrimage to Bogart’s Smokehouse should be at the top of their to-do list.