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Tweaking Blowin' Smoke
Blowin' Smoke's rib plate

While I’m waiting for restauranteur Brian Huskey’s Blue Turtle Bistro to get its sea legs, I decided to visit his Blowin’ Smoke BBQ this week. I’ve had on again, off again success at Blowin’ Smoke — and this visit proved that out again — but only with the ribs.

I took several dining companions with me and we all sampled and compared notes from plate to plate. Consensus: The pulled pork is nicely smoked, tender and retains good moisture. The sauce, which was pretty sweet at one point, has evolved into a nicely tangy red sauce.

Sides like French fries, Northern beans and cole slaw all drew rave reviews, but the potato salad was bland. The Jalapeno cornbread muffins are light, fluffy and addicting.

But the dish that drew the most attention was the Kansas City Baby Back Ribs. These should be tender, juicy and piping hot. A rib, properly cooked, will allow a diner to bite off a clean piece of meat.

(For the record, “falling off the bone” is way overcooked; tough ribs are ones that are pushed to completion without adequate time in the smoker.)

These ribs resisted the knife, and the temperature suggested they had been cooked much earlier, then reheated back to life. It’s a common practice for pricey racks of ribs but it’s also being accomplished by several other BBQ joints. Good flavor, very good dry rub — the pit work just needs dialing in.

I really want to see rock star ribs coming outta Blowin’ Smoke, and I know Huskey and his exec chef grew up in Eastern Tennessee where there are some great examples of perfect ribs.

Blowin’ Smoke seems to be gaining momentum after a few years of being tweaked. I believe consistent, legendary ribs would push this neighborhood BBQ house to the next level.

Service was quick and efficient. There’s a solid craft beer list and the inside dining room is starting to feel comfortable.

Of course, the covered patio is surrounded by plenty of big fans and has become a great destination for cold beer, local music and a quick, satisfying pulled pork sandwich.

514 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd./231–2385