This Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill Review is sponsored.
Run to Smokey Bones. Get the Brisket Stuffed Grilled Cheese.
That’s it. That’s the review.
Okay, it’s not. There’s lots more to our Smokey Bones review, but that’s the most important part. Because that Brisket Stuffed Grilled Cheese is, by far, the best sandwich I’ve had in a really, really long time.
It’s housemade chopped brisket and three melted cheeses between thick sliced bread. And it’s only around for a limited time.
Yes, the Brisket Stuffed Grilled Cheese is part of Smokey Bones’ latest seasonal menu. So if you don’t get it now, you’ll miss your chance.
And you’ll regret missing it.
Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill Review
Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, as it’s formally known, is a Florida-based chain restaurant with over 60 restaurants in 16 Eastern states. Colloquially, it’s known as Smokey Bones, so we’ll be referring to it that way for the duration of the review.
We went to the location in North Charleston, SC, so our review is based on our experience at that location. For more food in that area, check out our Best Bites In Charleston, SC post.
Smokey Bones Menu:
Smokey Bones is known for American barbecue, generally grilled over an oven flame. Ribs are its speciality, although you can find wings, pulled pork, and burgers across the pages of the menu.
For seafood lovers, there are options like fire grilled shrimp and salmon. For non-meat eaters there are salad options. And for anyone with a sensitivity to gluten, there’s actually a full gluten-free menu with the exact wording to use to assure your order is allergy friendly (for example, “Salads should be ordered with NO CROUTONS.”).
Smokey Bones Winter Seasonal Menu:
We were invited to try the winter seasonal menu, which is what we’re basing our review on. And don’t worry. We can tell you exactly how everything tastes. Because we actually photographed and tried the entire winter limited time options.
Quick review: The aforementioned Brisket Stuffed Grilled Cheese is amazing, the Big Beef Rib is bigger than the name implies, and the Asian Not-Chos are the best food for your Instagram feed.
A few months ago, I was talking to someone about nachos. And this person told me that instead of using nacho chips, she uses pork rinds for her keto-observing husband.
That sounded amazing — and like something I wanted to try for our next party — but I never got around to making them.
Enter the Asian Not-Chos at Smokey Bones. Korean-flavored pulled pork tops pork rinds makes for a really interesting appetizer. The Korean barbecue sauce on top of the pork rinds really pops and provides the majority of the flavor in the dish. The toppings are generous and this could honestly fill you, so split it with friends.
Brisket Stuffed Grilled Cheese:
I swear, if I keep saying nice things about this grilled cheese, I’m going to sound like I’m trying to take it out on a date. But it’s an innovative sandwich (even though, technically it’s a melt, not a grilled cheese because of the addition of the brisket).
There’s so much flavorful brisket stuffed inside the sandwich and the three cheeses melt together for the perfect cheese pull. This is the top selling item from the seasonal menu, at the North Charleston location, and we can see why.
It’s served with a side of tomato soup, but honestly, it doesn’t need dunking. It’s perfect as it is.
If I’m being perfectly honest, the Meatloaf Sandwich is the only entree on Smokey Bones’ seasonal menu that fell flat for us. It’s a slice of meatloaf, topped with crispy onion strings and a demi glace, on griddled ciabatta bread.
The bread is delicious. Ciabatta bread is generally hard and has a tendency to cut the inside of your mouth. This is really soft and has a really great taste. It’s the best part of the sandwich.
Pork Porterhouse with Bourbon Apples:
Traditionally, pork chops are served with applesauce. But Smokey Bones doesn’t go traditional with this chop. Instead, its topped with bourbon apples that look like they’re ready to be stuffing for an apple pie.
The porterhouse, if you don’t know, is a combinaiton of top loin and tenderloin. This one is a full 12 oz. and is served beautifully with its grilled marks on display.
Pork Shank Over Mash:
A pork shank is the kind of item that you want to serve at a dinner party because when it comes out, it’s just a spectical to look at.
It’s tall and regal and this Pork Shank Over Mash served at Smokey Bones is topped with crispy fried onions. Those onions are on the majority of the dishes on the winter menu, but on this one, they totally work for asthetics.
This is a slow braised Duroc pork shank, which, is the ideal cut for barbecue competitions (so I hear) because it has a higher percentage of marbling than other cuts.
I don’t know who Smokey Bones thinks it needs to compete against though because it is blowing its competition out of the water with this menu.
Big Beef Rib:
So the night before we went to Smokey Bones, we ate at my favorite non-chain barbecue restaurant, which just happens to be in Charleston proper. And we ordered two pounds of ribs.
Well. This Big Beef Rib at Smokey Bones is two pounds. One rib. Two pounds. Yes, it’s as Fred Flinstone-y as you’re imagining it to be.
(And yes, I know. The ribs from the first night were pork ribs and the rib at Smokey Bones is beef, and a different cut, but it’s still fun to imagine this rib coming from a gigantic cow that’s the size of a small school bus, and no one can stop me.)
The rib is smoked slowly to make it incredibly tender with a really perfect bark around the outside. Achieving that bark without drying out the rib itself is impressive, second only to the housemade chimichurri that’s served with it.
I asked for the ingredients and was told it’s just a classic chimichurri recipe but there must be some magic hidden in it because it’s the best chimichurri I’ve ever had. I asked for a gallon of it, and I think the manager thought I was kidding (and I was … unless he did come out with a gallon of it and a straw because I would have drank myself sick on it, it’s that good).
The beef rib isn’t on the menu regularly, and we were told it’s only on the seasonal menu once or twice a year, so definitely order this when yuo have the chance.
So this is funny. The meatloaf on the meatloaf entree and the meatloaf sandwich are the same all beef smoked meatloaf made with sautéed onion, bell pepper, and garlic. But the meatloaf entree comes topped with way more demi glace and crispy onion strings and just tastes a lot more interesting this way.
Still not my favorite menu item, but I would suggest you order it as an entree rather than the sandwich, if you have your heart set on it.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake:
Cheesecakes are such a smash or pass dessert. People either love them or hate them. People generally aren’t lukewarm towards cheesecake.
But, within that, there are bad and boring cheesecakes and ones that you inhale the entire thing. And this Caramel Apple Cheesecake is the latter.
There’s something in the honey graham cracker crust that keeps you coming back to it. It’s not overly sweet and neither is the cheesecake filling, but the crunch of the crust juxaposed with the soft cheesecake is perfection. And then you add the cinnamon apples and caramel and it’s so good.
There are three drinks on the seasonal menu:
- Chimney Sweeper (Southern Comfort, Johnnie Walker Red, Sweet Vermouth, Fireball Whisky, bitters, and Luxardo Cherry)
- Chatanog (RumChata, Kraken Black Spiced Rum, and Coco Real)
- Holiday Cider (Wild Turkey, Grand Marnier, apple juice, fresh lemon, and ginger beer)
Of the three, the Holiday Cider was the clear winner with the Chatanog (which is basically a spiked eggnog).
If you do fall in love with one of the seasonal drinks, we were told you can order them out of season. The bartenders will still remember how to make them. And as long as the ingredients are available in the bar, the bartender will make it for you.
However, if there’s a seasonal ingredient that’s not stocked regularly, obviously they can’t make it. So if you do want to try out our favorite Holiday Cider, try it now.
Smokey Bones Locations:
If you live near us, the closest Smokey Bones location is in Fayetteville, NC.
To find the Smokey Bones locations nearest you, click that link and enter your zip code.
Smokey Bones Holiday Gift Card Deal:
Since we are in the holiday season, there’s a Smokey Bones holiday gift card deal you can take advantage of. You can get $10 bonus bucks (valid January 3, 2022 to February 28, 2022) for every $50 in gift cards you purchase now through January 1, 2022.
Smokey Bones Customer Loyalty Program:
Smokey Bones launched a brand new free customer loyalty program called the Bones Club.
When you sign up, you’ll get a coupon for $10 off your next $25+ order. From there, you’ll earn points towards credits for future purchases. You’ll also receive personalized offers, a free dessert on your birthday, and more.
Join the Bones Club and see what offers are in your future.
Have you been to Smokey Bones? Leave your Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill review in the comments.