Milwaukee Smoked BBQ
Summer and barbecue go together like roller derby and tattoos, and Milwaukee has a few places of note already in place: the institution of Speed Queen, the after-work juke joint Smoke Shack, or the pilgrimage-worthy Pat’s Ribs. One thing that the south side has been missing, however, is its own barbecue place. Milwaukee Smoked BBQ recently opened up with the hopes of turning an old motorcycle garage into a place known for smoked meats, rather than smoking rides. The A.V. Club wandered into the new restaurant and wandered out with fistfuls of meat dripping with sauce and love.
The space: Calling the space a hole in the wall is generous to say the least. The all-white building features only a modest sign and employee bikes in the parking lot. The motorcycle pictures on the walls do little to shake the ghosts of the repair shop feel. Indeed, waiting for food almost feels like waiting for an oil change. An erasable menu board shows what’s available for the day. The counter area is completed with a set of chips and a cooler. This is a takeout place, first and foremost. Even the parking lot is small enough that eating in the car would incite some guilt.
The service: The folks behind the counter are also the cooks. Before starting the restaurant, the owners peddled their wares at bike rallies and cook-offs. During our visit, they were very knowledgeable of the meats, as well as the available sauces. Sauce pairings for each of the meats was suggested, and was spot-on in each case. The menu offers pound and half-pound portions of turkey, chicken, beef, and pork, as well as racks of ribs. Sandwiches are also available, as well as typical sides like slaw and potato salad.
The A.V. Club’s food: After hitting for the meat cycle, the winner was the shredded beef. It was tender and delicious, even without the sauce. The turkey was a close second, though it suffered from being out of stock on a few visits. The black pepper sauce was the top finisher amongst the sauces, though the spiciest was the Carolina brown mustard. The root beer sauce was a good sweet sauce, but lost its potency as time wore on. The half-rack of ribs was also well done, with a fall-off-the-bone tenderness that made the pork bits easy for dipping.
The verdict: Check this place out before the rest of Bay View can claim they were there first.