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Smoke Daddy's is Closing PERMANENTLY?!?!?

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Just got this e-mail from Michael and I was shocked and saddened:

(Paraphrasing): Well, I guess the subject line says it all. Our last day of service will be Saturday, January 28, 2012.

Does anybody know any details about this?!? Why it's happening, etc.

I can't go back to eating the crap that every other joint in this area calls "barbecue".

  1. Only was able to find the place one time and I do know his food is well liked by many so it may not have been as simple as lack-of-business/profitability. My one and only time there I did think that his operation could create traffic/parking problems for the neighborhood, perhaps a zoning issue? Is there licensing required for this type operation? Regulation by the Board of Health(right agency?) can be quite demanding in food storage, handling, and cooking. How would these apply to a MOM/POP ( in this case Daddy) operation? Sorry your go to guy is gone!

    1. n deference to carbs, I’ve withheld my comments regarding Smoke Daddy’s. I know that she LOVES his food, and there are many others who do, he’s got a following… but there were a couple of “issues” I had.

      I wasn’t ever thrilled by the barbecue and his specials, to me anyway, were… well lacking. The fried mac and cheese was tasteless, and made even less sense with the dipping sauce he served. His ribs were nothing to write home about and the one other time we got his sheperds pie, I couldn’t eat more than a few bites.

      He’s dirty… I’m sorry, I know that there are people who feel that’s part of the mystique of the person/place/thing of bbq but, I was skeeved out Had I seen the lack of cleanliness the first time my husband went and picked up food, I probably wouldn’t have gone back the second time.

      Uncle Greg does good barbecue right around the corner, I like his ribs and his brisket and his sides are all very good. He operates out of a food truck that is so clean, it looks like you could eat off the floors.

      I don’t know the circumstances of his closing, but since it’s not immediate (he said he’d stay open till January 28th.) I would think it's not a health department issue

      6 Replies
      1. re: cgarner

        Honestly, I'm shocked to hear about this.

        I had his fried mac and cheese a couple times and thought the flavor was outstanding. I agree the dipping sauce was unnecessary, so I just didn't use it!

        I mean his regular mac and cheese by itself is delicious, a true southern mac & cheese that's more thick and custard-like. That's how I like my mac and cheese, I can't stand it soupy or more like a cheese sauce.

        As far as the barbecue goes, I like to think of myself as a bit of an aficionado. I've been everywhere from Memphis to Texas to Kansas City, to Carolina to sample BBQ. How someone could come to the conclusion that Uncle Greg's ribs and brisket are anywhere close to Smoke Daddy's is beyond me. I don't know if you got Smoke Daddy on an off night or what, but Uncle Greg pales in comparison... and this is over 40+ nights of eating Smoke Daddy's and 10+ nights of Uncle Greg's.

        The level of smoke in Uncle Greg's meat is severely lacking because he doesn't use a true smoker. He uses an electric box smoker. That's not real BBQ. His brisket also tends to be dry and flavorless. And the Ribs suffer from the same lack of smoke flavor.

        As to your issues with the cleanliness, I'd love for you to elaborate. What exactly turned you off about the business? They always use gloves when handling the food, all of the cutting of the meat is done inside, etc. I can't fathom what kind of issues you had w/ the cleanliness.

        1. re: sandlansd

          The fried mac and cheese tasted off to me, like old grease or something that was the only flavor that came through and it ruined it for me.
          The shepherds pie... well I guess I just should have known better.
          His barbecue to me was just "okay"

          He's got a different style than Uncle Greg, as you say may be because of the electric smoke box, not sure... Greg's ribs are a little less fatty and they have a little bit of chew... I don't care for totally falling off the bone meat for ribs.

          Different styles of bbq for different people, I'm also a HUGE fan of the Rib Crib... those are REALLY my kind of ribs and they're completely different from Smoke Daddy's... maybe Uncle Gregg's are a touch closer to Rib Crib and that's why I like them better... but Greg's is also WAY cleaner

          1. re: cgarner

            I'm with you! Rib Crib are by far my favorite of any ribs in the area.

            1. re: cgarner

              Could you expand on this "not clean" thing you keep mentioning? I've been inside where the stuff is actually sliced / prepared and it is immaculate.

              The staff ALWAYS wear clean gloves when handling
              Food and i've seen them change gloves after handling raw meat, as they should.

              Is there something that I don't know about and should regarding their cleanliness, or is this just a "feeling" you get.

              I'll agree, it sure isn't a fancy establishment, but I've never had a problem w/ the way they handle my food, or the cleanliness of the stuff my food touches, and i've never found anything in my food.

              Was your experience different?

              1. re: sandlansd

                I’ve seen and have friends who are members of the Eagles club who have seen the opposite. I witnessed no gloved hands, lack of hand washing (especially after going to have a cigarette) wiping utensils on shirts/aprons... didja ever see out back where the smoker is? ugh!

                I’ll admit, it’s probably a little hypocritical of me, because the Rib Crib is probably not the pillar of cleanliness, but I can suspend my beliefs with the Rib Crib, blissful ignorance I guess.

            2. re: sandlansd

              Lots of different types snd personal tastes in BBQ. Having lived in NC and traveled the "south" for some years I have landed on wet Memphis, but love most of it. Strangely NC least! I must have been to SD on an off night too. Must agree with cg, bg &hb. My one and only visit left me not interested in a return and a bit concerned about the food I purchased. Different style ribs at Uncles for sure and sparkling clean.

          2. I have to agree with cgarner. I only bought from Smoke Daddy's once - a long time ago. We weren't impressed with the food and didn't see a need to go back. I don't recall him, or the setup, being dirty - we bought during the summer when he was outside, so that may be the reason. We've been to Uncle Greg's quite a few times and continue to buy from him. I, too, think Uncle Greg's place is spotless and we like his food.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bucksguy14

              You could've gotten him on an off night. One of the toughest things to do in BBQ is to be consistently good.

              When the meat is done and you take it off the smoker, you have to put it in foil and put it under a heat lamp (or have some method of reheating it / keeping it warm). Unless enough people to consume an entire brisket come all at the same time, someone is going to be getting some hour old / re-heated brisket (or insert other meat-type here)... there's no two ways about it. And when that happens, it definitely affects the flavor and tenderness of the meat.

              Smoke Daddy's is by far the most consistent place in the area though at providing consistently good BBQ. You should really give him a 2nd try before he goes out of business, his stuff is far and away the best in the area for BBQ.

            2. This is just awful. I'm stunned. Was chatting with Daddy last thursday and everything seemed full steam ahead. I love the winter specials, this week is chicken pot pie. Maybe Daddy just got burned out. I got my Thanksgiving dinner from him, a two pm pick up and they were waiting for one more person to get their meal. Smoke Daddy waited til three thirty or three fourty five, I forget which, and they never showed. Spending Thanksgiving afternoon in an empty parking lot waiting for a no-show has got to be depressing. We still have until Saturday, January 28, 2012. /sigh I'll be picking up chicken pot pie, fried chicken, collard greens, smashed potatoes and baked beans tomorrow. Can't wait.

              4 Replies
              1. re: givemecarbs

                Couple of thoughts on this sad day. I also received the email about Smoke Daddy's closing. We've ordered the consistently good St. Louis cut ribs and have only experienced nirvana. The rib meat does not fall off of the bone, as that indicates overcooking. It is WAY better than Rib Crib, which I've had three times and I'm still trying to figure out the hype. The smoker in the parking lot smells like heaven and I've never had a better whole chicken in my life. I also purchased the Thanksgiving Feast. It was so much food that I had to send three people home with copious amounts of leftovers. I was hoping to do it again next year, but ask him to make the sides smaller for a smaller group. Very disheartening that it won't be an option. Nothing even compares in the area. I thought Rosey's was good until I tasted Smoke Daddy's and then I never went back. Simply no comparison.

                1. re: ChowPal

                  Maybe this is all a bad dream. ChowPal did you get the shrimp oo' boys? Or the jambalaya? Michael is so passionate about food. I will miss chatting with him and his fun emails. If I wasn't sure that he was making the best decision for him and his family I'd be tempted to whisper in his ear tomorrow when I'm picking up bodacious chicken pot pit "you do realize this means Uncle Greg wins?" I'm already imagining him bellowing NEVER! and rethinking this whole scenario. This sucks. He made me hear the angels sing but soon it will be a wasteland.

                  1. re: givemecarbs

                    So well put, givemecarbs! I try to stay away from the purely fried stuff, so skipped the po'boys, but did do the most awesome jambalaya. I sent Michael a note asking if it was all an off-time April fools joke. Will definitely be there every week until close. Tears will be shed.

                    1. re: ChowPal

                      Oh if only he was just kidding! It would be the best Christmas present ever! I usually only go on thursdays but I am going to have to go more often while I still can. I wonder how long bbq pork chicken and brisket can be frozen and still retain quaility? I'm making room in the freezer now! I really love his baked beans with bits of pulled pork in them. They should freeze well.

              2. My posts about Daddy's offerings for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have been taken down twice. Not sure why. Tonight I got my friend John to try his fried mac and cheese balls with bacon. I swear he started to levitate a few inches when he bit into one. They are creamy crunchy and not at all greasy. For some reason he went with a cubano instead of the barbecued meatloaf. He said it was even better than last week' cubano. Most people were getting ribs tonight. Not sure what I am ordering for tomorrow night but I know I'm not cooking.

                9 Replies
                1. re: givemecarbs

                  Thanks for the update. It looks like all of the text from this stream has been removed except for your post.

                  1. re: ChowPal

                    Actually, I'm wrong. I think it was my own error that caused me not to see the other entries, because I see them now.

                    1. re: ChowPal

                      This week is salmon cakes. Just had mine. Crispy and non-greasy on the outside and creamy on the inside. /swoon.

                    2. re: givemecarbs

                      Possibly because it sounds as if you're schilling for them.

                      1. re: cgarner

                        Sorry you think that cgarner. Philly boards have been kind of dead over the holidays and Daddy has something new and amazing every week that I have been pumped about. For example the pot roast I snagged for my dinner tonight and the New Year's Day pork and sauerkraut. My posts about Smoke Daddy will disappear at the end of January when he does. /sniff.

                        1. re: givemecarbs

                          OK, Carbs
                          You have me convinced. I need to get over there for at least a half of a smoked chicken and some sweet potato fries. I'm "off the hoof " so to speak, so oink and moo are not on my menu. Anything else that is a must? I want to be there when they open this afternoon to beat the rush.
                          CP

                          1. re: Chefpaulo

                            People like his slaw. Friday is his busiest day he tells me.

                            1. re: givemecarbs

                              I had a chance to meet SmokeDaddy in person on 1/14. He's moving operations to Georgia. (I'd think that he'd have much more competition there but....) I thought the smoked half chicken was juicy, flavorful and exquisite. The sweet potato fries need to be consumed right away and not allowed to soggy up on a 20 minute ride home. The slaw was OK.
                              He had a good thing going. I wish him well competing down in Dixie.
                              CP

                              1. re: Chefpaulo

                                Glad you liked, CP. I told him he would be serving in bbq heaven when he turned tail and ran south. Maybe someday he will miss reigning in bbq hell. The references are not much of an exaggeration. Dat man is da devil tempting people this way. Since his new digs will be near Atlanta I told him he should call his bbq Sherman's. He didn't seem to like the idea.

                    3. Last weekend. /le sigh

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: givemecarbs

                        I am so disappointed that I never got a chance to try it. It was always next on my "must try" list and I never got around to it :(

                        1. re: AmblerGirl

                          Still got fri and sat AG! His hours are short but worth the trip to Lansdale. He is doing freezer orders too.

                        2. re: givemecarbs

                          queue "lonely man" playing in the background
                          ;-)