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Dining at Hokie Smokie is a New Year’s resolution you can keep

Mystery Diner • Jan 5, 2018 at 8:53 AM

With this year’s holiday season hullabaloo fading into history, it is time to give thought to the resolutions we make to start the New Year. The Retiree had a very sensible resolution: that she and the rest of the dine-around bunch visit and enjoy more and different ways of dining out during the coming year. Case in point, the Retiree showed up and invited the rest of us to supper at one of her favorite area barbecue restaurants, Hokie Smokie.

Hokie Smokie

Hokie Smokie Restaurant is convenient to The Mall at Johnson City and other north Johnson City businesses, with easy access from Mountcastle Drive and plenty of parking for their customers. The weather being chilly, we decided to forego supper on their twinkle-lit outdoor patio and opted for a table indoors.

Inside the Hokie Smokie

Inside Hokie Smokie, the décor is sports with the emphasis on Virginia Tech’s Hokies, the University of Tennessee Volunteers, and their hound dog mascot, Smokie. Sports memorabilia festoon the walls with at least one or more flat-screen TVs all clamoring for your attention. The dining room is capacious, the furniture functional and well kept. Clientele is just about everybody, from students and young professionals to families with kids and sports fans of all ages. To meet and greet these customers, Hokie Smokie has a wait staff that is knowledgeable, efficient, friendly and unobtrusive.

Seating us at one of their big tables, our server Taylor filled our drinks order while the five of us decided on what we wanted for supper. Hokie Smokie’s menu is barbecue and other southern-style fare. Mr. Jeff Bailey of Hokie Smokie is a pit master of some note, known locally for his skill in producing top-quality barbecue pork, beef and chicken, all of it smoked low and slow. He has created award-winning sauces, both the sweet kind and the spicy kind for those who like a bit of sauce now and then on their barbecue.

Hokie Smokie Fried Green Tomatoes

To get the ball rolling, I ordered a plate of Hokie Smokie’s fried green tomatoes ($6.99) for us to munch on while we made our choices. The tomatoes were green of course, but with a disappointing texture and taste that said “end of season.” However, the cornmeal breading they were dipped in was good, and the horseradish-laced sauce supplied for dipping was excellent. Maybe this could be a seasonal, rather than a year-round appetizer item.

Hokie Smokie grilled chicken dinner

The Retiree ordered her usual, Hokie Smokie’s grilled chicken dinner ($12.99) with side orders of the Cowboy Beans and some steamed green beans. The chicken here is two char-grilled chicken breasts prepared over an open fire just long enough to cook through and still be moist and flavorful. The green beans were good but got totally eclipsed by the effect the Cowboy Beans had as a flavorful accompaniment to her grilled chicken.

Hokie Smokie Build a Burger

The Carnivore was in a burger mood, deciding to take Taylor’s advice and Build a Buccaneer Burger ($8.99). In this case, his char-grilled hamburger was settled on a corn-dusted bun with a slice of pepper jack cheese, some very crisp leaf lettuce, thin-sliced onions, tomato, dill pickles and a side order of fried potatoes and onions to round things out. Two bites in, and you could tell from the smile on his face that he’d made the right choice.

Hokie Smokie BBQ Nachos

The Dieter decided to order her evening meal from the Starters section of the menu, choosing Hokie Smokie’s BBQ Nachos ($9.99). Takes some fresh, multi-colored corn tortilla chips and put a generous serving of Hokie Smokie’s pulled barbecued beef brisket along with several dollops of their homemade spicy queso cheese mixture, then top it off with fresh leaf lettuce, tomato, sliced jalapeno peppers and a good squirt of that award-winning barbecue sauce over all of it. Our friend was kind enough to share some around the table. My bite was delicious through and through.

Hokie Smokie Spud

Having missed lunch, my dining partner let her appetite pick the meal, in this case the Hokie Smokie Spud ($8.99). What arrived tableside was a russet potato approximately the size and shape of a UT football, all loaded with butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese and smoked bacon. Hokie Smokie tops the Spud with your choice of meat from their smoker; in my dining partner’s case their smoked beef brisket and a swirl of barbecue sauce as a finishing touch. Even in her “famished” condition, my dining partner could not eat it all in one sitting. My partner asked our server Taylor for a take-home box, stating with a rueful smile that she knew what she was having for lunch the next day.

Hokie Smokie Cuban

My choice for supper wasn’t hard to make; I ordered a Hokie Smokie Cuban ($8.99) with a side order of fried potatoes and onions and some of their Cowboy Beans. Hokie Smokie’s version of the classic Cuban sandwich uses their slow-smoked pork, chopped and layered with thin-sliced deli ham, Swiss cheese and dill pickles, all of it on a grilled ciabatta bun along with a generous squirt of the house Carolina mustard sauce. The fried potatoes and onions made a delicious partner with my sandwich, the Cowboy Beans even more so.

There’s more!

In addition to the barbecue and the Retiree’s grilled chicken dinner, Hokie Smokie serves up southern-style entrees like pulled country ham, a smothered rib-eye steak, smoked pork chops and veggies with sausage. They have an excellent catering service that serves any of their smoked meats by the pound (from $10.99), side orders by the quart (from $9) and drinks by the gallon (from $5). They also do Tailgate Packs featuring their smoked pork or beef brisket (from $30).

So, if you are still making your New Year’s resolutions, why not add a visit to Hokie Smokie Restaurant in Johnson City to your list? As our friend the Retiree said, “There’s nothing better than a New Year’s resolution you have no trouble keeping.”

Hokie Smokie Restaurant

2104 Mountcastle Drive

Johnson City

232-0801

Daily 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Available on Facebook

& on social media

Credit cards accepted

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