Rollin' Smoke BBQ lies nestled in the enhanced bosom of the industrial section of Las Vegas between the Strip and the Interstate, not far from a number of strip clubs (not that this is pertinent to this review - it simply caught my - err - interest).
As soon as I pulled into the parking lot of the odd little strip mall in which Rollin' Smoke resides, I was smothered in angelic wispy kisses of the most amazing scent of genuine barbecue I'd ever encountered. I knew immediately that the frenetic clusterhunt drive I'd taken to find the place was going to be well worth the effort, which, let's be reasonable, consisted mostly of pressing pedals and turning a large plastic wheel, while muttering ever louder obscenities at myself for not memorizing the route.
I was a bit surprised at the restaurant's modest appearance - they seemed to have been doing some renovating and there wasn't all that much polish on the look of the place. But if anything, it made me feel a bit more comfortable.
Rollin' Smoke is anything but pretentious and is everything about friendly.
I walked in and found two small rooms - a dining area to the left, and a dining/ordering room on the right, which featured a huge sign laying out all the wonderful goodies that could be had. Seating was spartan - a mixture of simple picnic tables, and some tables and chairs in the dining area.
In small groups here and there were other barbecue lovers, eating in silence (a sign of good food), and occasionally uttering quiet, tasteful moans of pleasure (a sign of great food, or a misplaced phone on vibrate).
I kind of looked around and shuffled back and forth like a moron for a minute or two, not knowing how to go about getting served. I did not want a repeat of the Tacos El Gordo protocol breach! And believe me, I was not at all fooled by the phoney 'ORDER HERE' sign hanging over the man standing at the podium.
I was warmly greeted by the Rollin' Smoke host, who explained the drill. You do indeed order and pay at the podium for either eat in or take out, you grab a seat, and they bring the goods out to you.
|Chester Briquettes, ready for anything!|
|Condiments, knives, forks, and a couple of large pigs.|
I don't really know what Chester the host's real name is, but he looks like the kind of guy that could be called Chester Briquettes, and that's what I'm calling him.
Chester Briquettes and I talked over a number of options, like a couple of chess masters designing the perfect checkmate dinner move. There were so many ways to go on this. Ribs, of course, pulled pork, brisket and chicken. Sausage and burgers too.
They have an all-you-can-eat option for $24.99 which gets you anything you want on the menu. If you were the right kind of eater, this could be a deal, but I kind of figured that for me, it would be overkill.
"Chester, what about a sampler of some sort?" I asked.
"Quit calling me that," Chester said, and then,"We could definitely fix you up that way. You could go with two choices of meat, or three...some sides."
"Chester, first time out, I think I should just keep it simple and make it all about the ribs. Beef, baby back, and spare ribs. Jalapeno coleslaw, and loaded mash."
"Excellent choice sir!" replied Chester.
He rang in the Trio Choice of 3 Meats for $13.99, which comes with one side and a drink (diet Coke in my case, to offset the extra calorie or two I would be taking in), and added the loaded mash - two bucks for that.
Order safely in the kitchen, Chester showed me around a bit. I got one of the first sneak previews of a fish tank that had been done for them by Animal Planet's Tanked show. It was really nicely done, porcine in nature, and came complete with barbequed meat replicas right inside the aquarium.
|Aquarium by the cast of Tanked.|
|These fish are eating well!|
|Rolls of paper towel at each table... now why would that be?|
|Rollin' Smoke Ribs.|
|Beef, spare and baby back ribs, loaded mash, jalapeno coleslaw|
|Loaded mash featured cheese, bacon, onion, and the jalapeno coleslaw was just right.|
Suck it up, potatoes. This is barbecue!!!
|I found myself making low moaning noises...|
The roll of paper towels got a workout as I manhandled those perfectly cooked ribs, and I managed to do them justice.
Not going for all you can eat was, in retrospect, the correct choice here, because at $15, the trio of meats is a huge satisfying meal for any hunger.
I would love to return with some more hungry folks so we could sample more of the menu - and oh yes, I will be back time and time again.
Rollin' Smoke is that good.
When you go to Rollin' Smoke, ask for Chester Briquettes and tell him Royal Flusher sent you.
(P.S. bring floss)
Rollin' Smoke BBQ
3185 S Highland Dr
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Royal Flusher Restaurant Royal Rating - 4-to-a-Royal
Note - it looks like the renovations are making the place a lot more comfy-cosy!