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The SCV's newest barbecue restaurant, Smok’n Joe’s

Barbecue heaven Eastside

Posted: August 13, 2010 6:00 a.m.
Updated: August 13, 2010 6:00 a.m.

One of the best restaurant values in the SCV is the BBQ Family Value Meal from Smok’n Joe’s BBQ Pit in Canyon Country. Priced from $55 to $155 the three options include a variety of barbecue meats and sides. The platter above ($55) serves four to six and includes Texas giant beef ribs, baby back pork ribs, a whole chicken, tri-tip or brisket, g...

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I love living in Canyon Country. My current favorite reason resides on Sierra Highway, sandwiched between Tellys and Taco Bell. Smok'n Joe's BBQ Pit, open daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., proclaims itself "Best BBQ in Santa Clarita."


I can't argue. If there is barbecue in heaven (and there better be otherwise I'm not going), I imagine it would be catered by Smok'n Joe's.

It's seriously that good.

Baby back ribs fall off the bone and are slathered in Smok'n Joe's signature sweet and smoky barbecue sauce.
The sauce is a family recipe (dating back 35 years) of restaurant co-owner Gus Ravanis, of Canyon Country. Ravanis, who was born in Athens, Greece, has also owned the adjacent Tellys restaurant for 10 years.

"I decided to use recipes from restaurants I owned in Chicago because no one here has tasted those recipes," said Ravanis, a restaurateur for 35 years.

Co-owner of Smok'n Joe's Paul Zimmerman, of Tarzana, said the restaurant is named for his brother, Joe.

Joe Zimmerman works in the entertainment industry and has collected autographs for years, said Paul Zimmerman.

The restaurant, open for three months, is decorated with a large assortment of autographed celebrity photos including Mickey Rooney, Johnny Carson, Don Rickles, Audrey Meadows, Julie London, Jack Lemmon, Phyllis Diller, Charo, Telly Savalas, Benny Hill, Dennis Weaver, Don Knotts and Pat Boone - among others.

Zimmerman said the restaurant prides itself on the quality meats it uses.

"I think our quality is better than our competitors," said Zimmerman.

Ravanis said all the meat sells well.

"We use quality meats and offer large portions, so we sell a lot of tri-tip and pulled pork," he said. "We also sell a lot of brisket."

A full slab of baby backs ($17.95) comes on a huge platter that elicits gasps from diners. It's more meat than one person can eat at a single sitting.

The menu includes the full complement of barbecue staples, Texas giant beef ribs, tri-tip roast, beef brisket, pulled BBQ pork, Louisiana hot links and BBQ chicken.

The sides include sweet BBQ baked beans, creamy coleslaw, mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese (decadently rich and creamy), side Caesar salad, corn on the cob, French fries, sweet potato fries and garlic bread.

In addition to traditional barbecue fare the restaurant also serves 100 percent Angus beef burgers. Burgers (priced at $5.25) are also available in the "Cowboy" and "Blue Cheese" versions at the same price.

Smok'n Joe's also offers salads including BBQ pulled chicken salad, crispy chicken salad, BBQ tri-tip salad and Caesar and chicken Caesar salads. Salads are priced from $5.95 to $7.95.

Lunch sandwiches, priced at $6.95, ($8.95 with drink and one side), are offered with tri-tip, brisket, pulled chicken, pulled pork and the BBQ Thunder Sandwich (a combination of beef brisket and hot link). The sandwiches are served between thick slices of grilled garlic rolls.

Perhaps the best values on the menu are the BBQ family value meals.

A meal for four to six people ($55) includes one pound of tri-tip or beef brisket, one-half rack of baby back ribs, one whole chicken and four one-half pint side orders.

Dinners include the garlic bread and a choice of two sides. A half-rack of baby back ribs dinner is $15.95, one-half BBQ chicken is $9.95. Other dinner options include the brisket ($13.95), pulled pork ($12.95), tri-tip ($14.95), one-half rack Texas giant beef ribs ($13.95) and Louisiana hot links ($11.95).

But why limit yourself to just one meat? Choose a BBQ combination dinner. All items are served with garlic bread and a choice of two sides.

A combination dinner of two meats (choose from Texas beef ribs, baby back ribs, tri-tip, hot links, one-half BBQ chicken, beef brisket or pulled pork) is priced at $19.95. Three meats can be had for $23.95 and four meats (with three half pint sides) is $29.95.

Kid's meals are cleverly named and cost $5.95.

"Porky's" offers two baby back ribs, macaroni and cheese or French fries, garlic bread and a drink.

"Chicky's" offers three chicken strips, macaroni and cheese or French fries, garlic bread and a drink.

Don't forget dessert. The sweet potato pie and sweet pecan pie (both priced at $3.95) are heavenly.

I love good barbecue, I'm so happy that Smok'n Joe's is on my side of town.

I guess you now know where you can find me.

Smok'n Joe's, 27131 Sierra Highway, (one stop light north of Via Princessa), Canyon Country. (661) 252-7227.

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