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Smokin’ Woody’s

September 11, 2011

  • 12620 Red Arrow Highway
  • Sawyer, MI 49125
  • (269) 426-6100
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

Once a year, my brother, my dad, my best friend from grade school, and I get together at US Cellular Field for a White Sox game.  This past Friday happened to be that day.

Since I work Friday night’s, I took the night off work and when J got off work at noon, we started heading south.  After a stop for some good Michigan beer, we decided to hold off on lunch until we got to Sawyer.

It was a little bit of a drive, but I found a BBQ place on Terry’s Guide that I really wanted to try.

Smokin’ Woody’s Char-B-Que is right on Red Arrow Highway just south of the Warren Dunes State Park.  The parking lot was empty except for two pick up trucks which we eventually found out belonged to the owner and one of his friends.  Parking was a little confusing.  There’s really no room to park in front of the brightly painted building, but there’s a sign that points you to the back.  I followed the sign and all I really found was a grasssy area with tire tracks.  I continued around the building and just parked along the side. 

The building has charm.  Everything about it is kind of kitschy and exactly what you want in a BBQ joint.  It looks there used to be a soda fountain right when you walk in, but there was a sign saying that section was closed.  We were met by a man who yelled more than talked.  He asked if we were dining in or looking to grab something to go.  We wanted to dine in so he grabbed a couple menus as we sat down at a booth near the window.

All of the BBQ favorites were on the menu and by the time we got our Coke’s, we were ready to order.  The man had started to walk away and said to just holler when we were ready.  J hollered right away that she wanted a pulled pork sandwich and I followed up her holler with one of my own ordering the same thing.

The whole owner/waiter/cook headed into the kitchen to prepare our plates.  The whole time, he continued to carry on his conversation with the only other person in the restaurant in his loud booming voice.  Some people would find this kind of offensive and a little annoying.  We just laughed.  It added a certain charm to the whole experience.

A few minutes later, our meals were brought out on mismatched, but real, plates.  The pork was piled high on an oversized sesame seed bun.  The meat was covered in a thick, spicy BBQ sauce.  Neither one of us even attempted to pick the bun up.  We both sort of ate the pork as two open faced sandwiches using a fork.

J absolutely loved it.  The meat was prepared exactly as she likes it and she was a big fan of the sauce.  The only piece of meat she pulled off her sandwich that she didn’t like she handed to me.  It was a big piece of a burnt end…my favorite part of pulled pork.  J liked the BBQ so much, she asked if we could go back when we got off at the Sawyer exit on the way home to make a stop at the TA.  We didn’t, but I know she would have if we had had more time.

As for me, I really liked the sandwich as well.  The sauce was good, but not what I usually like.  It was very thick yet still had a nice, spicy kick to it.  I like much thinner sauces although this one did have a really good flavor.

The plate was rounded out with a big helping of crinkle cut fries and a small dollup of cole slaw.  I added a little more salt to my fries and we both used the extra sauce on our plate to dip them in.  Neither one of us really liked the cole slaw.  It was more mayo than anything.  The owner gave me a little grief when he took my plate away.  He was giving me a hard time about not liking “healthy” food.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that cole slaw was far from “healthy.”  There was enough mayo in there to kill a small army.

Our bill was a little over $23 and they only accept cash.  It seems expensive for lunch, but we really did get a lot of food.  Neither of us left hungry and J actually left about half of her fries on the plate.

I wish I knew a little more about this joint.  There’s a Smokin’ Woody’s in Chicago that uses the same logo and I found a couple references on the Internet that this may be the original owner of the Chicago Smokin’ Woody’s.  Since I was on my way to a Sox game, I had my Sox hat on.  The owner made a comment about being a Sox fan, so that makes sense.

Smokin’ Woody’s is a fantastic stop not too far off I-94 on the way back to Chicago.  J raved about the place all weekend and is even talking about stopping there on her next trip home in two weeks.  The BBQ was delicious and if you like that campy, roadhouse atmosphere, you will love this place.

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