Friday, July 17, 2015

The Galax Smokehouse

In southwest Virginia only a few miles from the busy crossroads of I-77 and I-74, The Galax Smokehouse has become a destination for the traveling public as well as the local community. Owner Ron Passmore, founder of the Smoke on the Mountain barbecue contest, deservedly has gained many accolades since the restaurant opened in 2003.

Not a table is vacant even late in the afternoon.

Named as “Best of the Best” barbecue restaurants in America by National Barbecue News, the Smokehouse caters to a variety of barbecue traditions. Texas-style beef brisket and St. Louis-style ribs are popular on the menu that also features pulled pork and chicken. The brisket is smoked with mesquite wood. Pulled pork barbecue and ribs are smoked with hickory wood, and barbecued chicken is smoked with apple wood.

The Smokehouse has been designated "Best of the Best" every year since it opened.

Visitors can also find their favorite sauces. For travelers from North Carolina, both an “eastern NC” sauce, which is vinegar-based and spicy, and a “western NC” sauce, which matches the Lexington tradition of a vinegar base with tomato and spices, are available. Customers who favor the sweet Tennessee tradition can enjoy another tomato-based sauce sweetened with honey and brown sugar. Fans of a South Carolina mustard-style sauce will appreciate the Smokehouse’s version that includes black pepper to give it a spicy flavor. The house sauce is a Texas-style tomato-based black pepper sauce that is hot and spicy.

Statues of piglets and a mama hog greet everyone at the entrance.

If all those options are not enough, the Smokehouse has three more sauces: the vinegar-based Mountain sauce is sweet and tangy, the Sweet ‘n’ Sassy sauce has a molasses base and is “sweet with a slow burn,” and a white Alabama sauce with a mayonnaise base boosted by horseradish has a spicy taste. Bottles of each sauce are available for $5. For customers lucky enough to live nearby, empty bottles bought back to the restaurant are refilled for $4.

At the Smokehouse, you can pick your favorite sauce.

Located in the downtown center at the intersection of Main and Grayson streets, the Smokehouse is housed in the former Bolen’s Drug Store, one of the oldest buildings in Galax, which boasts of having four structures listed in the National Register of Historic Places. (Although the Smokehouse is not one of them, it should be!) In addition, the Galax Commercial Historic District, consisting of 67 buildings in the central business area, is also listed in the National Register.

The counter is a popular place to eat.
The desert menu is limited – for good reason. The banana pudding was named as the best in the Southeast by Southern Living in 2008. Who would want anything else?

Pig Pub serves more than banana pudding.

The Galax Smokehouse is worth a visit any time (it’s closed only two days, Christmas and New Year’s Day) but beware that Smoke on the Mountain is held on the third weekend in July. Galax then mutates from a small mountain town into a busy and overflowing street scene with cooking teams, judges, barbecue fans, vendors, and other visitors who want to be part of the action.

Outside display sells homemade sauces during Smoke on the Mountain weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment