When I think of BBQ, I think of Memphis, North Carolina, Texas, and Kansas City, not Canada. Still, if I find a good BBQ place, no matter where it is, I’m gonna stop in.
My parents came to town for the Memorial Day weekend and wanted to go to Canada to gamble….just to say they gambled in Canada. We had to go before the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative goes into effect because they don’t have passports. I wasn’t going to argue. Windsor is smoke free.
Before hitting up the casino, we needed food. Sure, we could have stopped in Detroit, but what would be the fun in that. I thought I’d give my parents the full “Canada experience.” Hell, J still compares my first trip to Canada to an airport layover. I never actually set foot on Canadian soil. This time, I was determined to get my feet on an actual Canadian street.
After breezing through the tunnel and Canadian customs (I’m still amazed at the difference between entering Canada and the US), we headed through a couple neighborhoods to the corner of Ottawa Street and Gladstone Avenue to find Smoke & Spice Southern BBQ.
Smoke & Spice is on a fairly commercial street. That portion of Ottawa Street is a walkable business district although foot traffic was fairly light at 4:00 on a Saturday. We found meter parking just down the street from the restaurant and started to feed the meter until we were stopped by a passerby who said that wasn’t necessary on weekends.
It was about half a block walk back to the store which took up two storefronts. There were a few tables outside that would come into play for our meal, but we sat inside. You enter the shop near the bar area. The kitchen takes up good chunk of the room near the back, but there are two dining rooms. We were the only party inside and the waiter pointed us to a table for five in the corner near the windows.
After getting settled, he brought over menus and handed them to J to pass out becuase my aunt was spilling BBQ sauce all over the table as she was trying to sample the three flavors that were in squeeze bottles on the table. It was much thinner than she was expecting and the first squirt went everywhere.
A few mintues later, he came back for drink orders. Surprisingly, they had Pepsi, so I didn’t have to watch my dad roll his eyes at Coke products. J and my mom got a “Sugar Free” Pepsi while my dad and I went with regulars. My aunt ordered iced tea and it must have been something special. She took a sip and told us how good it was. Not something you usually talk about with drinks, but she really did like the iced tea.
The waiter then came back a third time to take food orders. This is where the outside table came into play. As we were walking in, my mom noticed a plate that was piled with what looked like nachos. On the menu, we found an appetizer called “Redneck Nachos.” Since everyone said they would eat them, my mom got an order and was planning on making that the bulk of her meal. The nachos came with a layer of tortilla chips, pulled pork, cheddar cheese, jack cheese, jalapenos, BBQ sauce, and sour cream. Everyone raved about the nachos…except my dad whose only comment was “it tastes like Hormel chili.” Of course he would find something wrong with what was simply a delicious dish. I’m a little wierd about jalapenos, but these were pickled and actually provided a sweet kick to the the chips. The five of them polished them off pretty quickly and couldn’t wait for our BBQ to hit the table.
J, my aunt, and I all ordered the pulled pork. The sandwich is served Carolina style with cole slaw. My aunt and I both asked to leave it off. J kept it on. The pulled pork was served on a seasmae seed roll and it was really piled on there. It was served with just enough BBQ sauce to keep the bun on. I would consider it a dry service which I love. The meat was fantastic on it’s own, but the waiter did suggest we use the Carolina mustard sauce if we were gonna add any to our meat. All three of us chose different sauce. My aunt went with their house BBQ sauce. I chose the chipotle BBQ sauce and J took the waiter’s advice and went with the mustard sauce. The chipotle sauce had a pretty good kick to it and it was delicious. We all agreed that we loved the meat and J even pointed out the great pink smoke ring and dry rub.
We all three went with different sides. I picked the waffle fries which were OK, but not that good. I left a few on my plate. J got the BBQ baked beans which had little pieces of the pulled pork in it. She loved them. My aunt got the potato salad and raved about that as well.
My mom ordered a cup of chili which came with a huge piece of cornbread. She ate about half of it before she was stuffed. It was the same chili that was on the pulled pork and she said the chili by itself was delicious…even if it did taste like Hormel.
My dad ordered the Big Hoss which is a burger. He met his match in the waiter. Usually, my dad is a smartass with waiters. He’s just trying to be funny, but sometimes, it comes off as mean. The waiter was playing right along and actually tried to talk him out of ordering the burger. He’s not a huge BBQ fan and just wanted a burger, but the waiter really layed into him trying to get him to change in mind. In the end, my dad won out and got the burger. It was topped with BBQ onions, jalapeno havarti (which we had to explain was a cheese), and a BBQ ranch dressing. I asked three times if he liked it, but he never gave me an answer, so I’m going to go with yes. Usually he’s pretty vocal if he doesn’t like something and he still hasn’t said a word.
Our bill was just over $70 CAD. We still hadn’t been anywhere to exchange our money, so we had to charge it which is something my mom doesn’t do often. The waiter brought the credit card machine to the table, but it didn’t seem to want to work. He ended up taking my mom up to the bar where they got it to go through. My mom hates tipping on the credit card because she’s a waitress herself and likes walking out with the cash in hand. When you tip on a credit card, it’s added to the waiter/waitresses’ check two weeks later. She asked if he’d take USD for a tip and he said that was ok. He got an extra ten cents by doing it that way.
Smoke & Spice was awesome. I hate to say it, but I think it was better than Slow’s. The sauces were better and the meat was really good. The Metro Times of Detroit called Smoke & Spice “The Best of BBQ 2008” and I would have to agree. The bar was desserted when we were there and that’s a little sad. You have no idea what you’re missing if you haven’t hit up Smoke & Spice for some pretty authentic southern style goodness.