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Local Smoke BBQ neptune

Just drove by today. Its open for business. I plan on going soon

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  1. Was sitting at home totally clueless as to what to do for dinner when I saw this. I figured "what the hey, I'll give it a go..."

    Understand that this goes against my usual practice of giving a place a month or 3 to iron out the kinks, as Local Smoke at this location only opened on Thursday and that this was a Saturday night at the beginning of Summer at the Shore. Whatever; I figure their experience at the Cookstown location would give them somewhat of an edge.

    I called in an order of sliced brisket, some of the housemade poppers that wowed us at Cookstown, some slaw and BBQ beans. They said it would be 20 minutes.

    Got there about 25 minutes later and they seemed pretty busy. The tables were about half occupied and there were an equal number of folks standing, either waiting to order or to pick up called in orders at the single cashier that was trying to do both tasks. The staff seemed to be a bit into the weeds, but I figured this may have been the first serious rush since opening.

    I got the impression that a lot of the crowd that was seated were friends and family as every other person coming in the door was warmly greeting other patrons or staff that was working there. After 10 or so minutes of waiting to pay and another 10 or so to get my order I was on my way home...

    The food. Ah, the food. I would have to say that compared to the meal I had at the Cookstown location that this was even better! Bear in mind that the 20 minute drive home did not help, or that I was able to try more of the offerings during the BBQ crawl, but still it was very good. The sliced brisket was smokey and passed the "plastic fork test" (no knife needed). It was tender and not dried out. The poppers, Stuffed with a cream cheese and pulled pork filling, wrapped in dry-rubbed bacon, slow-smoked & Served with BBQ ranch dipping sauce were even more amazing than I remembered them the last time. I could make a meal out of them!

    The major difference from the BBQ crawl experience (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/777756) were the sides. The slaw, crunchy, tangy and not overdressed was excellent, and the BBQ Beans, with hints of onion and added BBQ meat was not too sweet, runny or pasty. Just the way UI like it! The cornbread was perfectly textured and not overly sweet. The sides seemed better that when we last had them to compare at Cookstown.

    All in all, once the logistical kinks are worked out this place seems primed to be a great addition to an area that a little more than a year ago had been a BBQ desert...

    4 Replies
    1. re: equal_Mark

      Nice review Mark....I was home doing nothing also :-( ......I'll give it a shot when I'm in the area.
      Poppers sound great....I'd like to try the Ribs also. I'll grab some Red Beans & Rice at Popeye's down the block also for a side ;-)

      1. re: equal_Mark

        Very enjoyable review... Thanks!

        1. re: equal_Mark

          LS is great. I just wish they sold their sauce by the gallon and not just in those little bottles !

          1. re: MiddletownB

            Which one? Don't they have 2 or 3 different ones?

          1. re: aklein

            719 State Route 35 S
            Neptune , NJ

            1. re: Tapas52

              tx much... will try it out soon

              1. re: equal_Mark

                I have to agree with equal_Mark's assessment of this new location. I stopped in this afternoon to pick up a rack of ribs and a pound of the sliced brisket. Both items were as good as those sampled during our recent BBQ crawl. Selfishly, I am ecstatic that they opened up this location as Cookstown is a bit of a haul for me. I am also happy to see that for only being open a few days, the quality is high and business was bustling.

                1. re: bgut1

                  With 2 solid reviews from reputable folks (=mark/bgut), this place will have to be tried out as we've abandoned the Jamison's ship some time ago (since Bob abdicated being in the kitchen)

                  1. re: JustJake

                    JustJake - I didn't know that about Bob. I had stopped in there a few weeks back and saw him "working the floor." As far as I could tell the quality of food hadn't changed.

                    1. re: bgut1

                      Perhaps Bg, but each time that I stopped in, it wasn't apparent. I like the fried chicken better @ At The Table in Asbury and now to find a great rib joint.

                      We did stop into Local Smoke last evening. I had the brisket sandwich (sliced) with pulled pork sandwiches ordered by my my wife and one son who accompanied. Sides: slaw, mac & cheese and green beans.

                      Very good, and very reasonably priced. Steve, the owner is an affable young guy who will succeed. Next time the ribs. Said he'd keep em dry for me without the 11th hour baste.

                      1. re: JustJake

                        For gosh sake! You folks gotta go for the Poppers! Smoked heaven on a toothpick! :-)

                        1. re: equal_Mark

                          Mark, I saw them, and decided next time as I didn't want to overeat. The sandwich and sides were plenty enough for me.

                          Fwiw, the best poppers I ever had were Charlie Ayers Shrimp Poppers at the Old Deal Pub (when it reopened as the New Deal Roadhouse - what a wild spot that was for a year or so that it was there in the late 90's).

                          Charlie is an excellent chef, who's California/Tex-Mex menu was superb at the Roadhouse. He was also the first head chef at Google HDQRS in Mountainview CA now - owns Califa in Palo Alto.

                          They were Poppers like I've never had since.


                          1. re: JustJake

                            JustJake - Isn't "overeating" half the fun? :)

                            1. re: bgut1

                              bgut, lol, lol, - I wouldn't even say it would be over eating (as I'm watching portions) , - that said, I did enjoy the comments from folks at the office that I look as I've been losing weight and my Friday night at Chico's in Asbury Park had a young lady taking a nice interest in me.

                              Unfortunately married, and principled. But it's nice to see my getting noticed......in a positive fashion. ;-)

                        2. re: JustJake

                          Bob's still got the best oxtail in town IMO. Give it a try next time you're there.

                          1. re: JustJake

                            JustJake - I don't disagree. I like the chicken better at ATT as well (but it's close). I'm happy you enjoyed Local Smoke.

                            1. re: bgut1

                              Stopped in for some takeout today. The guys were super friendly and my food was ready quickly. I got a rack of ribs, a pound of chopped brisket with burnt ends and two orders of poppers. We've gone through about half of it so far and everything is really good. It looks like Local Smoke is a winner at both locations.

                              PS - I love the chicken at ATT , fried, fried dipped in bbq sauce, and smothered.

                              1. re: seal

                                seal - We missed each other by a day. I had to go back yesterday with a visiting family member and show him the best BBQ NJ has to offer. I'm happy you enjoyed your meal.

                                1. re: bgut1

                                  Made it over to Local Smoke again today (my third time in three weeks but who's counting). This time I brought a whole boatload of people with me and ordered the BBQ Feast (ribs, chicken, pulled pork, brisket, baked beans,mac and cheese, cole slaw, potato salad, and corn bread). We added to that order some wings, chicken tenders along with extra orders of ribs and brisket. It was a lot of food for a lot of people. This gave me an opportunity to try out the pulled pork and the chicken, two items I doubt I would have ordered due to my love for the ribs and the brisket. While the pulled pork was very good, the chicken was earth shattering and more than likely the best I have ever eaten. Ever morsel of the bird was moist and smoke kissed. It was pure perfection. The only problem this creates is not knowing what to order the next time I go. Good Luck.

                                      1. re: bgut1

                                        Brings up an interesting point - At $1.50 per popper I recently found myself debating whether or not to bring a tray of 50 to a party.
                                        It should have been a no brainer as they are amazingly good. But when I can make a tray of my gourmet mac n cheese for about $20, did I really need to spend $75 for less food?
                                        I drew the line. Family - definately, family and good friends - always, friend's party guests - not so much.
                                        Btw - tyvm bgut for giving me an excuse to go back sooner. I smoked beef ribs, lamb, and hot dogs yesterday but am heading out for a chicken now!

                                        1. re: seal

                                          Are these the typical stuffed poppers you see everywhere?...or... something very special that local Smoke makes?

                                          1. re: Tapas52

                                            From their website

                                            "Award Winning! Stuffed with a cream cheese and pulled pork filling, wrapped in dry-rubbed bacon and slow-smoked to perfection. Served with BBQ ranch dipping sauce. "

                                            Fresh made, not frozen and smoked not fried. Plus the pork and bacon are excellent.

                                            1. re: seal

                                              seal thanks ...they sound wonderful...gonna check out LS this upcoming week too...

                                            2. re: Tapas52

                                              Tapas - As seal pointed out, these are not the typical frozen and deep fried variety poppers. They are something very special and must experienced first hand. Words will not do them justice.
                                              Seal - Happy I could help. Speaking of beef ribs, I discussed the prospect of LS making some. They said they might give them a try as a special.

                                              1. re: bgut1

                                                bgut1 thanks ...now I'm really excited to try them, plus the ribs and chicken too....
                                                you think they will open another location in south jersey also besides the ones they already have.?

                                                1. re: Tapas52

                                                  Tapas - I'm not aware of any plans to open another location. However, I will be glad to ask the next time I drop in.

                  2. After a very disappointing experience at the Local Smoke location near McGuire/Ft. Dix I wanted to sample something at their Neptune location for comparison. For lunch today I decided on a brisket sandwich and side of slaw and was pleased that both were delicious. I guess I'll have to return to give their ribs and pulled pork a shot here at Neptune as well.

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: JerzeyShore

                      Today I finally got a chance to try Local Smoke in Neptune NJ.....I was all excited after reading all the reviews here on CH, BUT that quickly changed....let me explain.....I went to LS for lunch today....I ordered the famous Poppers & Two Rib platters with two premium sides for a bit extra..........while waiting for my to go orders I decided to have a Sliced briskett sandwich and fries & a Iced Tea....The sandwich came out on a nice roll and was quite good using both BBQ sauces as condiments that were on the table....fries were thin and cripy also....Ice tea sweetened was very good.....but after that its all down hill I'm afraid...:-(

                      I took home a big bag of food that I ordered and when I got home and still very excited to try everything I must say ..that after tasting the ribs, Mac & Cheese & baked beans my wife & I looked at each other and we bot had that "are you kidding me ?" look on our faces...the Ribs were Dry & chewey and in NO Way succulent at all & in no way were Falling off the bone not much smoke flavor either after two I couldnt eat the rest...the sides were terrible...Mac & Cheese dry and tasteless....the beans were so dry I could take out the whole cup in one shot dry beyond belief... these were' the worst bake beans that I ever had in my life....I would say Popey's Red eans down the road are much better. The corn bread was just ok. Now to the famous poppers........I didnt know what to expect all they were are jalapenos stuffed with some kind of creamchese mixture and wrapped in bacon with a toothpick.....they were very soggy not crispy at all especially the bacon.. I was very dissapointed .....but thats my opinion ...........maybe I expected too much I don't know... try it for yourself.....but for me I am done with LS... I've had much better. total cost for this experience $46.55

                      Take care

                      1. re: Tapas52

                        Sorry Tapas - That sux!

                        I killed two racks of lamb on my home smoker this weekend and didn't feel as bad as I do now.Fine for an amatuer like me but not the pros at LS.

                        1. re: seal

                          Tapas - Sounds like they got the brisket right and the ribs wrong. I agree that they shouldn't be dry but they shouldn't be falling off the bone either. True BBQ should have a little bit of resistance. As for the poppers, I think it was discussed up thread that they are not the traditional fried variety. These are different in that they are stuffed with pulled pork (along with the usual cream cheese), wrapped in bacon and then smoked. I can understand however if the texture wasn't your thing (especially if you were thinking they would be fried).

                          1. re: seal

                            Have been smoking at home for the better part of 20 years, have been on several BBQ mailing lists and have traveled much of the eastern third of the country to attend friends BBQ events and have come to the conclusion that most any home smoked BBQ will be superior to 90% of the commercial stuff. There's just something about having a hunk or three of meat lovingly tended for a specific event....


                          2. re: Tapas52

                            I think you ran into some of what I mentioned in my review a ways up thread. The commute time does not help with BBQ and can contribute to the dryness. Of course I have not tried the ribs yet, but after my first visit I did resolve to eat in-house from then on and not do takeout again. I am surprised at the beans as mine were not at all dry and were just about perfect. Of course consistency should be an issue. Did not try the Mac&cheese yet.

                            As for the poppers, I had tried them at the Cookstown location where they were not even referred to as Poppers, but as Atomic armadillo turds. As such there was no expectation of their being crisp, and the turdy texture was not held as a negative.

                            Sorry the experience did not meet your expectations. I plan on going back for ribs and turds, and may give the mac&cheese a try, but I will be staying in house...

                            1. re: equal_Mark


                              IMO to go or in house the ribs weren't my cup of tea at all ...I've had much better,...... oh well at least I got a chance to try them. As for the poppers I possibly can agree with you take out could produce the soggy product due to the steam effect....but there's no excuse for the less then stellar DRY beans & Tasteless Mac/cheese sides...maybe sometime in the future I will have a change of heart and try the well reviewed BBQ chicken ....

                              kind regards

                              1. re: Tapas52

                                wow...could not have had more of an opposite experience. We did take out from there last night. Got one order of the popper "turds", full rack of ribs and pint of mac n cheese. Ribs were excellent, IMO better htan Jersey Shore BBQ in Belmar - incredibly flavorful, moist and fall of the bone, we were fighting over the last "turd" and wished we had ordered another batch, Mac n cheese was not the best i've had but better than a few of the other Southern/BBQ places in the area. We go to JerseyShore BBQ religiously for their ribs and i have to say Local Smoke may have won us over.

                                Jersey Shore BBQ
                                811 Belmar Plaza, Belmar, NJ 07719

                                1. re: stack_c

                                  stack Im glad you enjoyed it. at LS.....I have been to BBQ joints all over the country, maybe that makes it more cricticle for my tastes, LS just didn't quite do it for us....in NJ my favorite was Bens Extreme BBQ in Forked River...sadly gone now..


                                  I have yet to try the one mentioned here on Rt9 in Manalapan Mo Green's Roasthouse BBQ but have been to JSBBQ,PomPoms,Famous Dave's,etc, also..

                                  I'll keep searching.....enjoy

                            2. re: Tapas52

                              Although I am NOT a big fan of their ribs etc, as stated in my earlier post......I decided since I was in the area today for lunch to give LS another try. I'm happy to report that the Pulled pork sandwich was quite good, juicy, flavorful and portion size was more then enough...the nice soft roll also worked well to sop up the flavor with the BBq sauce......next time I'll give the chicken a shot. More to come.

                              1. re: Tapas52

                                Good job giving them another shot. I'm happy you enjoyed their pulled pork an look forward to your review of their chicken. IMHO, the chicken and the brisket are the two best items they serve.

                                1. re: bgut1

                                  Thanx bgut1...btw did you suggest the chix platter or on a sandwich, or?..

                                  1. re: Tapas52

                                    I would order the half chicken.

                          3. Went back and had a meal in house at LS. Ordered a half rack of ribs, slaw, baked beans and poppers (incidentally, they were not called Armadillo Turds at Cookstown, but Atomic Buffalo Turds (ABTs)). Most everything was excellent. Ribs were tender and moist (thankfully NOT "fall off the bone" overcooked). The slaw was tangy and not overdresses, and the poppers were smokey bacony turds of heaven on a toothpick! My only wish is that if they could make a separate batch without scraping out the seeds & ribs for a bit more firepower.

                            The only issue I had was the Baked Beans which were drier that the last time I had them. I prefer a bit of contrast between the actual beans and the sauce they are in. When turning a container of baked beans upside down they should not remain in place. These were sort of pasty.

                            Other than the beans, everything was very good. Still consider LS an asset to the area.

                            One note: When using Google Maps and some GPS apps to locate LS, it is mistakenly placed near the Asbury Circle about a mile north of it's actual location, which is by the Stop & Shop Plaza south of Rt. 33 on the Southbound side.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: equal_Mark

                              my wife and I were heading to the shore Saturday and wanted to stop on the way for some BBQ. After reading the (mostly) nice reviews, we decided to try this place instead of the one in Belmar. Ditto on the GPS issues - mine did the same thing. The only reason I can think of is that the numbers may change from town to town along route 35 and there could actually be two (or more locations) on route 25 with the same address. Just keep goping south from the Asbury circle until you see the Stop & Shop, and be prepared to jam on the brakes and yank the steering wheel to cut into the Local Smoke parking lot (like I did).

                              we ordered the poppers (natch) and the Pigout Platter (half chicken, brisket, ribs, cole slaw, and sweet potato fries). First, on the poppers - "not so much". I know this comment flies in the face of previous posters (and may even prompt threats of violence), but hey "sausich his own" - some folks don't like BBQ at all - go figure. In any case, we tried 'em, but wouldn't again - no harm done and nobody got hurt. On the other hand (wing?) the chicken was truly outstanding - probably the moistest chicken we've ever had - even the white meat. I suspect they brined it to get it that tender and juicy. The brisket also was very very good. As previoulsy reported, it presented no trouble at all for the plastic fork. The ribs were OK - not the best we've ever had, nor the worst. Also enjoyed the sides and sauces.

                              Overall, a very nice experience. we'd definitely go back again, either by ourselves or with our son & family - he (like me) is a smoker. In fact, we we gave them the Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker as an engagement gift.

                              OK - so now I have a question - what do you tip in a place like this? You place your order at the register and you bus your own tables, but they do bring the food to you. Of course there's a tip jar there, but who knows? I dropped $5 in the jar as we left, which seemed about right - any comments/ideas?

                              1. re: nick28

                                nick28 what sides did you order at LS?

                                1. re: Tapas52

                                  cole slaw and sweet potato fries - both were very good.

                                  1. re: nick28

                                    NEWS flash (from a Local Smoke Email):

                                    the LS competition team, Fat Angel BBQ, won its 3rd Grand Championship in 3 years at the NJ State BBQ Championship in Wildwood, NJ this past weekend, besting a field of 66 teams with a 1st Place in both Chicken and Brisket and a 4th Place in Ribs and Pork.

                                    To celebrate and to thank all their loyal customers, thay are offering $5 Pulled Pork Sandwiches at both restaurants all day tomorrow - Wed, July 13. They invite all to, "Come out for the celebration and enjoy our award winning BBQ!"

                                    Let's eat!!!

                                    1. re: nick28

                                      Thanx nick...I was hoping to hear a mac/cheese & baked beans review as I had a dismal experience there with these sides...

                                      1. re: Tapas52

                                        LMAO - I specifically did NOT order them because of your experience....

                                        1. re: nick28

                                          Nick I was only being honest ;-)

                                          1. re: Tapas52

                                            I know - that's why I listened....

                                  2. re: nick28

                                    nick28 - I'm happy you enjoyed your meal at LS.

                                    1. re: bgut1

                                      This past weekend, I brought 30 of their jalapeno poppers to a party. They were a real sucess, despite the $45 price tag. And yeah, the Google directions are totally worthless. Def going back for some BBQ, and fried pickles.

                                2. Stopped by for takeout last night. Got the ribs (that for some reason thought were going to be baby back which I prefer) but were not. they were good but not wrappen in foil as I read they would be to reheat. They were ok. Had the red potatoe salad which was good. got a order of popppers which my grand son ate, All in all, boy do I miss the Southern Houes that once stood in Point some years ago..Will give the brisket a shot next time.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: Barbarella

                                    yes, they serve "St. Louis" style spare ribs, which are trimmed down of the breastbone and cartilage pieces above the rack. Some folks like these better - others prefer baby backs. some places (like Big Ed's) served both.

                                    1. re: Barbarella

                                      I was told owners of the Hickory Hog BBQ in Point Pleasant somehow connected to the Southern House when it was operating yeas ago?...


                                      Hickory Hog
                                      3009 Route 88, Point Pleasant Boro, NJ 08742

                                      1. re: Tapas52

                                        Tapas - I seem to recall that the owner of HH was a cook at the Southern House. Like you, I truly miss the SH. While I'm sure the food wasn't as great as I remember, the thing I miss most was the fantastic BBQ sauce (that I used to purchase by the quart). Luckily, I found the sauce at HH to very similar.

                                        1. re: bgut1

                                          The southern house didn't actually smoke meat though, right? It's been a while and I wouldn't have known the difference 25 years ago, but that's my impression.

                                          1. re: tommy

                                            tommy - I don't believe that they smoked their meat. Like you I was oblivious to true BBQ at the time and thought their ribs were some of the best I ever experienced. I would love to try them now and compare.

                                            1. re: bgut1

                                              I suspect we thought they were great because they were fall-off-the-bone and slathered in very sweet sauce. :)

                                          2. re: bgut1

                                            bgut1 now that I think about it your probably right...I knew he was connected in someway.
                                            Gonna hit HH very soon it's been a while for me.

                                      2. On my way to 10th ave bur on tuesday were not open yet due to storm, headed up the road to try Local Smoke.I ordered shreded pork & brisket (chopped) sandwiches with sides mac & cheese-beans.The brisket tasted like a dried out pot roast,the sides: blah mac & no juice beans very disapointing...The pork was dry but had good flavor after a good dousing of carolina sauce was buy far the star of the meal.On the ride home the heartburn had allready started worst I had in years never had heartburn from bbq before from a sac of White Castle yes but never bbq.To sum it up not a great meal & now I want a sac of murder burgers...

                                        1. Hadn't seen many mentions of Local Smoke on this board since flurry of postings back when they opened up.

                                          I was 'in the neighborhood' this evening (actually, I was originally thinking of going to eat some soul food at At the Table in A.P. but decided that I wasn't really dressed for the occasion in my T-shirt & sweatpants & sneakers) so I headed over to Local Smoke for carryout.

                                          Got the beef brisket platter (chopped, not sliced) to go with cole slaw & potato salad. Service was prompt & friendly, and prices seemed reasonable. Noted that they had a counter and a few tables too if I would've chosen to eat there.

                                          The most difficult part of the whole project was driving home in the car undistracted while smelling the BBQ ! LOL.

                                          I thought the meal was very good. There was a more than ample-sized serving of the brisket which to my taste was prepared well & quite delicious. A small container of extra sauce was also in the bag although I didn't use any of it. The sides and the corn bread were fine, each maybe a bit smaller portion-wise than I had hoped, but all of them fresh and tasty nonetheless as a good accompaniment for the entree. The meal left me comfortably full without overindulging.

                                          I'm definitely not as expert a BBQ consumer/connoisseur as others on this board so I won't pretend to be, but based on tonight's initial experience I'm glad I stopped and I will likely be a repeat customer of Local Smoke.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: bakersma

                                            thanks for the update. since we live in western Monmouth county, we have not been back since my initial review. the other location (Cookstown) is closer - as I recall, the reviews of that store were not good - has anyone been there lately - hopefully, they're up to the level of the Neptune restaurant.....

                                            1. re: nick28

                                              I was there last week for lunch my 3rd time..... I have deducted most menu items and now i only order the pulled Pork Sandwich which I enjoy & is quite good...all else I pass on. Imo in this area JSBBQ is much better for ribs, brisket and sides.

                                          2. After hearing about the poppers I had to stop and eat in. They were great! Also had a chopped brisket sandwich which was OK, I much prefer JSBBQ's chopped brisket. In any case I will be checking them out again...

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: mastermix

                                              Folks need to understand that LS Poppers are not the crispy fried frozen ones served at most places. They are jalepenos stuffed with cheese and pulled pork, wrapped with bacon and smoked. They are not crispy but taste great (perfect diet food!). They were originally referred to as "Atomic Buffalo Turds" or just ABTs.

                                              1. re: equal_Mark

                                                I might have to go back for some more today...

                                                1. re: mastermix

                                                  I go to the location right here outside of McGuire AFB often and the poppers are a must order. I actually smoke my own at home now and LOVE them. So good! -mJ

                                                  1. re: njfoodies

                                                    Another great meal at Local Smoke this evening. New this time were deep fried mac n cheese squares. You might recall that my sole criticism of this place was the drop off when it came to side dishes. In fact during our BBQ crawl a number of months back, we commented that the sides at Mo Greens were far superior (particularly the fried pickles and fried mac n cheese). It is quite evident that Local Smoke took this criticism to heart and remedied the situation. Although I haven't been to Mo Greens since the crawl, IMHO LS's rendition of fried mac n cheese is so much better (with a thick and crispy breading and a soft cheesy interior).

                                                    1. re: bgut1

                                                      just got an email that the Cookstown location is now open 7 days a week and they have Sunday specials:


                                            2. Pulled pork sammich and smoked poppers at the Neptune location...

                                              13 Replies
                                              1. re: equal_Mark

                                                Mark, where were you early yesterday as I 'searched my mind' for where to have an inexpensive yet 'want' meal. I wanted a beer as well (which I could've BYO'ed).

                                                Went to The Brickwall, with their pulled pork sandwich being just so-so. I do love their mac & cheese though. I need to get in there just to try their smoked poppers, though I would love if they had 'shrimp poppers' as well - can't seem to find anywhere that serves them.

                                                1. re: JustJake

                                                  I was there about 6pm. Understand that the poppers at LS are not your standard issue frozen ones you find most everywhere else. They are cheese and pork stuffed jalapenos that are wrapped in bacon and smoked. If you are looking for a breaded, fried crunchy popper these are not for you. They are better. Bacon makes everything better!

                                                2. re: equal_Mark

                                                  I think i have seen what I'm having for lunch today. Thanks Mark!

                                                  1. re: equal_Mark

                                                    Thanks very much for the reminder about Local Smoke BBQ in Neptune. I was over on that side of the county today around lunchtime so I stopped and got my favorite ----a pulled pork sandwich & cole slaw---- "to go" to enjoy back at home.

                                                    Delicious ! As usual, the service at the cash register was prompt and friendly too.

                                                    1. re: bakersma

                                                      After Mo Greens closed I vowed to eat more of our good local bbq - least I can do ;o)

                                                      I didn't realize how much I missed those poppers! I almost wish they called them something else though, as they are so much more than mearly poppers. It's bacon wrapped pork with a little pepper and cream cheese smoked and then dipped in bbq sauce served with a combo of ranch and bbq sauce for dipping. 12 for the two of us left us wanting more.

                                                      Oh yeah, we also shared some ribs and two sides including the fried mac n cheese. And brought home pulled pork for the kids dinner. All of it good, but oh, those poppers...

                                                      1. re: seal

                                                        There's a bit more to them. They had formerly been called Atomic Buffalo Turds (ABTs) and are jalapeno peppers stuffed with pork and cheese, then wrapped with bacon and hot smoked. They are not meant to be crispy and should not be confused with the insipid frozen deep fried version sold everywhere else.

                                                        1. re: equal_Mark

                                                          I love ABTs! I stuff the jalapenos with a mix of cheeses (cream cheese, cheddar, pepper jack) and some spices, wrap in bacon and smoke over some hickory for a few hours. Awesome!

                                                          1. re: ChazE215

                                                            Charley Ayres, former head chef at the corporate HQ of Google in Mountainview CA & now the chef owner of Califa in Palo Alto used to hold court in the kitchen at the old Deal Pub (then known as the New Deal Roadhouse).

                                                            His Jalie poppers were stuffed with large shrimp, mexican cheeses (queso blanco?) etc and were 'killer'. All fresh, crispy and the best poppers that I've ever had the pleasure of tasting..

                                                            I'm going to stop by this Friday nite (Smoke) to grab a couple of orders of these rascals. And ice cold Dos Eqxxxis to compliment what I don't doubt is a terrific dish.

                                                            1. re: JustJake

                                                              This place is legit! I have had the brisket, ribs and pulled pork...all good. I'd give the top rating to the ribs out of the 3. And yes, the poppers are pretty wild too! And for those of you that commented that the ribs were not "falling off the bone" they are not supposed to be. The owner obviously attends a lot of BBQ competitions and this is why he opened the restaurant. In competition you don't want the meat falling off the bone. To win they need to be tender, smoked, seasoned well and have a little pull when you bite into them. Anyone can just cook the hell out of a rib until it falls off the bone. This is not what competition is about. It is about texture, flavor and smoke. Anyway, I wish my best to the proprietor and I will definitely be back.

                                                              PS, this BBQ joint called Pit Boss is opening in Middletown/Red Bank next week. I will report back... http://purebarbecue.com/

                                                              1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                For me the couple of time I've been to LS it really didn't blow me away ....
                                                                I'd give it a strong 7 at best......JSBBQ in Belmar was a bit better to me so was The Hickory Hog in PP ...but not much I give them both an 7 1/2 out of 10......
                                                                I guess after eating Real good BBQ down south LA & in Texas I'm spoiled....
                                                                Thanx for the link the Pit Boss I must try it soon also..

                                                                1. re: Tapas52

                                                                  Finally got to try this place today. Found myself in Neptune. Used my "Around Me" app to find someplace to eat. It was a choice between "Empire Buffet" and "LSBBQ". Now, I love me a good (or even a bad) Chinese buffet, and I admit, I decided on the buffet. But, alas, it's been closed for months. Local Smoke did not disappoint!

                                                                  Had those poppers everyone talks about. A-freaking-mazing! Anyone ever try to recreate these at home?

                                                                  Also had the brisket (very good, but I asked for it "fatty" and what I got was pretty lean), some cole slaw (very good), and a slice of chocolate chip oreo bread pudding. I appreciate that everything's made in house. Next time, the ribs and pulled pork. And then the wings. :)

                                                                    1. re: MarlboroMan

                                                                      Funny, I just made my first visit last weekend. Really liked everything we had. Poppers, ribs, pulled pork, bbq chicken, mac & cheese wedges, cornbread, etc. Can't wait to return.

                                                    2. Just came across this thread. I was going to start one of my own but checked to see if there was an existing one. I found out about this place because it was posted about by two of my friends in a Facebook group about hot dogs. I wouldn't travel from Union to Neptune for ribs, but I would for a hot dog, believe it or not. One of my friends eats out frequently and is an excellent food critic/blogger. He told me that the hot dog and hamburger were the best he's had the past year. He also highly recommended the jalapeno poppers. My wife and I decided to make the trip. Below is what I posted about my experience.

                                                      My wife and I went to Local Smoke in Neptune today (New Year's Day) on the recommendation of two members of Hot Dog Nation.

                                                      I decided to try the jalapeno poppers, burger, and hot dog. My wife had a half rack of ribs. We shared everything. Also had some homemade potato salad, coleslaw, and fries.

                                                      First the jalapeno poppers. They were as good as advertised.. Excellent. Bacon wrapped and filled with cream chese and pulled pork, they make a great appetizer. Best jalapeno poppers I've had anywhere. My wife concurred.

                                                      The cole slaw and potato salad were very good and the portions were generous. The shoestring fries were also good though we only had a few since there was so much else.

                                                      The ribs were nice and meaty. I don't eat ribs often although I do enjoy them. It's hard for me to compare them to anything since I don't have them much. I did like them, but when I come back it will be for other things that I enjoyed more.

                                                      The hamburger was a disappointment. Ordered medium, it was way overdone to the point of being dried out. When one of the waitresses asked how everything was, I told her. The owner came over and apologized. Unfortunately he didn't have help as someone was late, and as a result the burger was overcooked. Next one is on him and he promises it will be better. I believe him as my friend said that this was his favorite burger of the year. I'll give it another shot next time.

                                                      The hot dog was outstanding as we had hoped, and the main reason I made the trip. It was indeed a 4/1, not a 5/1. It's a skinless all beef Berk's from Pennsylvania. I've had this brand before, but it's been a good 6 years at least. Hot Dog Tommy's in Cape May serves a 5/1 version of this dog on a roller grill. Perhaps my least favorite way of preparing a hot dog. But I remember writing that it was a solid, if unspectacular beef dog. A year or so prior I had a few pounds of the same 5/1 beef frank sent to me by Berks along with some of their jalapeno cheese dogs. I grilled them at home and remember liking them. They are not available in my neck of the woods. I can get them when I travel a little south of where I am.

                                                      What makes the dog so good here at Local Smoke is the quality of the frank itself plus the preparation. Dean takes a good dog and makes it great. First it is smoked with 2 different woods. Cherry wood and sugar maple. Then heated in a convection oven and finished off on a grill. The result is a delicious dog with a taste and texture that you wouldn't have without the additional smoking. Beefy and juicy. I wouldn't expect a dog prepared this way to be as juicy. It has a pleasing smoky flavor. But not too smoky. Some dogs have too much of an artificial smoke flavor due to the addition of too much liquid smoke. Not so here. Just a delicious, juicy, smoky dog with a nice texture and spicing. Not a heavy hand with the spicing either. A well balanced flavorful dog that is definitely one of the best I've had. My wife really liked it also. The bun was just the right size for the dog and spent some time on the grill.

                                                      Although Local Smoke has won numerous awards for their barbecue, I will be back for their hot dogs. Not only a fantastic dog, but a great value at $3.00 for a 4/1 dog. And I'll give their burger another shot as I believe it will be better than what I had today. Thanks again to my friends who posted about this restaurant. I don't get out as often as I like and I depend on the posters here to help me find new and interesting places to eat. I encourage everyone to post about their findings. Places that provide unique and quality food deserve to be supported.

                                                      I returned to Local Smoke this past Saturday. Had a hamburger and of course one of their excellent smoked hot dogs. The burger, ordered medium, was better than my last visit. But it was more like medium well than medium. I would suggest that if you like your burgers medium to order medium rare. It was good, but not close to Krug's. I like charbroiled burgers, but prefer griddled for the juciness and the so called Malliard effect. Local Smoke makes a decent burger, but nowhere near what I consider to be the best. For a burger, Krug's remains my favorite. For a charbroiled burger Goodman's in Berkely Heights makes an excellent one. Ordered medium, it came out as I expected. Juicy and flavorfull.

                                                      The hot dog at Local Smoke was the same as what I had earlier in the week. Which is one of the best tasting hot dogs (and value) that you will find. Highly recommended. I am looking forward to trying the brisket and pulled pork next time. Although a barbecue restaurant, Local Smoke seves one fine hot dog that would more or less fly under the radar since it is a secondary item. Thanks again to my friends for posting about them. Dean the owner was kind enough to give me 2 of their franks (cold and not cooked) to take home. I'll grill them just to see the difference that his added smoking process makes.

                                                      Equal_Mark, I know from reading some of your previous posts that you like grilled beef hot dogs. Next time try one at Local Smoke. I believe you will like it. A pleasant surprise that a place that is prinmarily a barbecue joint serves a unique top notch hot dog at a very reasonable price.

                                                      10 Replies
                                                      1. re: hotdoglover

                                                        We ate there once and I thought the barbecue was pretty mediocre - reheated and clearly suffering from it. I had no intention of returning, but maybe I will try the Dog. Thanks, hotdoglover.

                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                          By it's nature, BBQ served at retail establishments outside the BBQ belt in the South is reheated. As it takes 4 to in excess of 12 hours to smoke meats, it simply can not be cooked to order unless a place is so crowded and successful that it is purchased as soon as it is done smoking. Often these type places simply serve their product until they run out, then close for the day.

                                                          Up here in the Northeast commercial BBQ places simply don't experience the product turnover that would allow their food to be sold as it is ready. It is the method of holding/reheating BBQ that marks a successful BBQ joint around here, this is just the nature of the market. Just blowing off the BBQ offered here simply because it has been reheated is simplistic unless you have easy access to BBQ in the Carolinas, Kentucky or Texas (OK, there are a couple big BBQ places up in NYC too).

                                                          Would be curious as to whether there are places locally you find more to your liking, or if you just don't eat commercial BBQ around here.

                                                          1. re: equal_Mark

                                                            Well, since during most of the past decade I have been posting basically the same information, I am aware of how awful the barbecue scene is in NJ. I manage to get to Lexington about once a year and get my fix there. Otherwise, I split some logs and get the offset fired up.

                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                              Yeah, there are only 2 ways to find truly good BBQ in NJ: You either smoke it yourself or check out the occasional Competition (provided you know one or more of the competing teams as due to local health codes they are not permitted to sell or give away BBQ to the public. As a result most folks are relegated to purchasing crappy 'Cue from the vendors that follow such events ).

                                                              1. re: equal_Mark

                                                                Or, 3. Check out the Marlboro Blues & BBQ festival.. but that's only once a year. I've been both times. The BBQ is real.. excellent stuff.

                                                            2. re: equal_Mark

                                                              =M, I was in Richmond the week before Christmas and tried one of the better BBQ places in town - I wasn't missing anything that I couldn't get better of at LS. I was there just about noon and they were just opening up - had their St. Louis ribs, jalopena mac & cheese and rice.

                                                              Granted Richmond VA isn't the Piedmont of NC, Kansas City or St Louis when it comes to Q - we're lucky to have LS as a local BBQ place. It's not going to come close to real Southern Q, but it's very good when compared to that which I've eaten in Philly or NYC.

                                                          2. re: hotdoglover

                                                            hotdoglover, at what point do they resume prep after the dogs are ordered? Do they store them after smoking or after heating in the convection oven? Did Dean mention how long they are smoked?

                                                            1. re: equal_Mark

                                                              They are smoked between 15 minutes and a half hour. I think they are held somewhere, put in the oven when ordered, then finished off on the grill.

                                                            2. re: hotdoglover

                                                              The burger I like at Local Smoke (I go to the Cookstown location) is the Smokehouse BBQ burger which is the regular burger with the addition of smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, their own BBQ sauce, lettuce and tomato. It transforms the burger into something special.

                                                              1. re: Bossa_Nova

                                                                Back to LS for lunch today and i must say it was quite delicious,,,rack of ribs falling off the bone, half chicken done just right & juicy, new side "Fried cabbage" smoky with bits of pork in it YUM!! it was excellent & so was the cornbread not too dry, great lunch all around,....owners told me this weekend they are competing in the Jack Daniels BBQ competition in Tennessee....good luck to them!

                                                            3. Local Smoke BBQ voted the BEST OF THE BEST BBQ and one of the
                                                              BEST HOT DOGS in Monmouth County!!