Grub Scout review: Stinker's barbecue falls from the bone, sticks to your ribs

This barbecue falls from the bone, sticks to your ribs

Stinker's Bar-B-Que Shack

Our rating:

Maryville

1820 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway

865-977-1669

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Weekend before last, I accompanied The Grub Spouse to a charity 5K run at Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson in Maryville. While there, we learned about the dealership's onsite restaurant, Stinker's Bar-B-Que Shack. We also got to sample some of their work after the race, which was enough to send us back just a few days later on an official visit.

We took advantage of The Spouse having a week off to drop in for a lunch visit. The restaurant is in the rear of the building that sits directly behind The Shed's open-air concert venue. The actual dealership showroom is in the building next door.

We stepped inside to discover a very interesting restaurant space. The large, open, high-ceiling room occupies what once might have been (or was designed to look like) a pair of adjacent auto-service bays. I base that description primarily on the two retractable, vehicle-size doors on both sides of the room.

Inside, however, the eatery doesn't look so much like a garage as it does a classic roadhouse. The walls are covered with motorcycle-themed photos, road signs and stuffed large-game heads. A square bar sits in the middle of the room, and dining tables surround it. At the south end of the room is a fireplace with cozy seating grouped nearby for cold-weather warming.

The menu is limited. Specialties include pork, beef brisket, rib and chicken tender platters. Sandwiches include pork, brisket, grilled chicken, grilled cheese, smoked bologna and cheese, Hebrew National hot dogs, a smoked turkey club and an Angus burger.

We started by ordering a half dozen wings from the appetizer menu, which also offers nachos, breaded mushrooms, onion rings and the like. The wings were adequately meaty, and the barbecue sauce we chose (over the hot sauce) was slathered on thickly, delivering plenty of traditional but bold barbecue flavor. And the fact that these wings were smoked was unmistakable.

For the main course, I chose a half-rack of baby back ribs ($12), again opting for the wet barbecue sauce over the dry rub only. Platters come with one side, and I picked potato salad over baked beans, slaw, fries, chips or onion rings. The Spouse got the beef brisket platter, going with the baked beans as the side.

I thought both items were excellent. The beef brisket came out in moderately thick slices and was saddled with a minimum of gristle or excess fat. Again, the smoking process didn't let us down, and the baked beans were among some of the best we've tried in recent years.

The ribs made an even better impression. The half-rack boasted eight bones, each of which separated from the meat as if it had hardly ever been attached. The meat itself presented a bare minimum of unwanted gristle and fat, and it was tender, succulent, thick and smoky. The mayo-based potato salad was awesome too but may be too heavy on the white stuff for mustard-based fans.

Although the ribs were topped with regular sauce, we were served some of Stinker's vinegar- and mustard-based Carolina sauce, and I thought the rib meat worked quite well with that variation as well.

So while this Harley-rider's destination has proven it can attract hog fans of all types, I have to say that Stinker's Bar-B-Que on its own is capable of generating the sweet smell of success.

Stinker's Bar-B-Que Shack

Food: 4.5

Service: 3.5

Atmosphere: 4

Overall: 4

Address: 1820 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy., Maryville

Phone: 865-977-1669

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays

Beer service only

Dept. of Health Score: 91

Bottom Line: Serving delicious barbecued meats that are smoked on site is how they roll at this Blount County eatery, located behind The Shed at Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson.

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