Right on the cusp of the Oregon District in downtown Dayton, Smokin BBQ is a tiny store right between the Central Business District and the heart of the city’s night life. It appeals to the locals as a place that serves barbecue at a decent price, one of few businesses to do so downtown and survive as it has since 2005. It’s also the place that is open very, very late. Four in the morning to be exact. The name is simple, the store is simple and the menu is to the point, and it’s a charming little dive.
Barbecue is an art form; so many places do it so well that anywhere with lower prices might make one hesitate. But Smokin does the food right, its sauce is a sweet and slightly vinegary combination that goes well on everything. I tried the smokin burger first, a half-pound patty that has been smoked. It’s good that the burger does have a smoky flavor and that $4.50 will get you the burger and chips. It’s not so nice that veggies cost 50 cents and cheese another 50 cents. Also, I found the burger a little dry, I’m sorry to say, and the promised smoke ring was not there. The chips were great, the menu did not mention that they came with the food so that was a nice bonus.
I also was a big fan of the barbecued chicken. The chicken is as fall-apart tender as it can be, and the outside has a very slight char, but the spices are fantastic. Makes it just a little bit spicy, almost cajun, but the sweet sauce is a huge plus.
The restaurant concept is really nice, it’s just a tiny little lunch corner. I don’t recommend bringing a big crowd to this place, because it’s a little busy, but the spot does offer carryout which is how I prefer to get the food. The service is good and fast, not all of the food items are made to order so it’s a trade-off but that’s fine too.
In all, it’s easy to love the little Smokin BBQ joint by the Oregon District, whether you’re loving it at lunch on a work day or loving it at 4 in the morning on a Saturday night. Worth a try.
- The barbecue here is pretty cheap, so you should be able to enjoy it on a dime. It’s also the only real barbecue joint that is consistently surviving in downtown Dayton these days, so keep that in mind.
- A real appeal of Smokin BBQ is that it is open very late, after the bars close. I definitely suggest trying it then.
- You might also prefer to try the smoked burger. It’s one of few I’ve found in Dayton.