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Rollin' Smoke Barbeque - by far the best barbeque in Vegas

Rollin' Smoke has been getting a lot of online press the past few months and I finally got a chance to try them out. The raves are correct. The place is amazing. It is by far the best barbeque in Vegas and some of the best I've had anywhere.

When you pull up into the parking lot, you can see the smokers outside. When you walk in, the smell of barbeque is in the air. The place is inviting and the staff (and owners) are very nice and genuinely proud of their food.

I got the trio platter for $13.99 which includes three meats, a side, and a fountain drink. I chose pork spare ribs (ribs+tips attached), beef brisket, and pulled pork, with mac&cheese as my side. You get two spare ribs as an item in the trio. Other choices were 1/4 chicken or links. It's quite a deal!

The pork spare ribs are amazing. Meaty, well-seasoned, great smoke ring, and the flavor was unbelievable. The brisket was quite good and the pulled pork was tender and flavorful. I wish I would have eaten the brisket and pulled pork before the spare ribs though, because the more delicate flavor of those meats was overtaken by the taste of the ribs.

Midway through my meal, I heard someone order a beef rib. I LOVE beef ribs and it's very rare that a barbeque place serves them. So I had to get that too. $6.99 for a rib, but completely worth it. It is intensely beefy in flavor and gets more and more juicy as you eat it. Sort of tough on the outside, but near the bone it was beyond anything I could have hoped for.

I was so impressed that I was texting my friends all through my meal. I ended up ordering almost $100 of barbeque to take back to my friends. It has been a week now, but my phone still smells like barbeque. One of my friends ordered some smoked hot links, so I got to try that as well and they are really good. I usually scoff at ordering links at a barbeque place, but these were special.

All told, I tried every meat on their menu except for the chicken and the smoked meat loaf. The pork spare ribs take home the ribbon, but everything else was not far behind. My friend's beef ribs did look much smaller than the one I got and he said it was dry all the way through, so ask for a big hefty one to make sure it's tender.

For side dishes, I would not recommend the mac&cheese. It wasn't that good. Other tables had jalapeno cole slaw, bacon potato salad, fried okra, and hush puppies. All those seemed to be well-liked.

The barbeque sauce is made in-house and is very good. It might be very slightly too sweet for my liking, but I order my barbeque with sauce on the side anyway, so I didn't mind much. They also make a spicy barbeque sauce which you can request.

Oh, they also have a buffet option. For $25, you get unlimited everything on their menu. If you like beef ribs, two beef ribs are $15. Eating four beef ribs and a side already puts you ahead.

And I don't know whether "barbeque" or "barbecue" is correct. Spell check says "barbecue", but the Yelp page lists their place as "barbeque", so I went with it.

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  1. Thanks so much for the detailed review. Next trip for sure!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Dave Feldman

      Dave, have you been to Lucille's BBQ yet? My son says it's better than Famous Dave's.
      http://www.lucillesbbq.com/menu

    2. Maybe it's time I visited Rollin' Smoke again. I went there back in February, and was mostly underwhelmed. My review was posted in this thread, second from the bottom.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/890076

      Next time however I'll ask them not to bathe everything in sauce.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Whisper

        Sorry your experience wasn't as good. I get my sauce on the side, so I don't know what it would taste like drenched in sauce. The quality they serve would hold up on its own, but I guess people expect sauce on barbecue.

        Was the trio plate a set offering of brisket, pulled pork, and links when you went? That seems like a non-ideal mix as you end up with two mushy meats and a somewhat-mushy meat (the links). They also all have large surface areas to carry a ton of sauce.

        Now you get to choose your trio. I really can't say for sure how good their pulled pork or brisket was because I was spoiled by the pork ribs first, but they seemed tender and juicy.

        The pork spare ribs are their best. I wonder if I could order a trio where all three choices are pork ribs.

        1. re: ah6tyfour

          Hi, the trio were three meats I chose. Usually when trying a place for the first time those three offerings (brisket, pulled pork and links) tend to give me a good representation of the place. As that was my first visit, I had no idea that everything would automatically come drenched in sauce.

          Next time I go there I will certainly ask for the sauce on the side, and probably will have a more favorable opinion of the place.

          Thanks for your well written review! I'm glad you liked their food and I hope my next experience there is as enjoyable as yours was.

          1. re: Whisper

            Oh, that makes sense. I do the same thing except I usually order pork ribs, brisket, and pulled pork as my representative trio of protein. And mac & cheese because somehow barbecue places always offer it and almost never get it right. Maybe mac & cheese just isn't conducive to being scooped as a side. Perhaps I should rethink using mac & cheese as an indicator.

            I really wish I had eaten the pulled pork first so I could taste it. I'm still giving the brisket and pulled pork a thumbs up because they seemed juicy and tender, but I really was just tasting the ribs the whole time.

            Hope you like your return trip and I hope my return trip sometime soon will be as good as my first trip.

            1. re: ah6tyfour

              This afternoon I made a return visit to Rollin' Smoke for lunch. Once again I ordered a three meat plate, this time with the ribs in addition to the brisket and pulled pork. I also asked for it "dry" with no sauce.

              So, a little while later the server brings my meal and ... it's bathed in sauce anyways, although not as much as was applied on my previous visit. I didn't have the time to send it back and wait for another plate to come out, so I ate it as is.

              As in my previous visit, the brisket and pulled pork had what I can only describe as a slightly "mushy" consistency. Neither of them had much flavor either, but the ribs on the other hand had a good smoky flavor which shined through even the sauce that was covering them.

              As a side I ordered the beans again, although they were different than I remember them from before. No pieces of links in there, but overall they were still pretty tasty but not as good as on my previous trip.

              Overall I left mostly disappointed. I was hoping that my previous visit was a fluke and that this experience would be better, but aside from the ribs there was nothing which really made me want to return again anytime soon.

              Maybe one of these days if I can get them to serve me the meat unadorned by sauce I'll change my mind, but for now I'd stay with my original assessment that Rollin' Smoke is on the better end of the barbecue scale as far as Vegas joints go, but when compared to barbecue elsewhere it is merely average. Just my two cents, your mileage may vary.

              1. re: Whisper

                Hmm...maybe I should go back and try Rollin' Smoke again. The meal I had that time was excellent and maybe they're not consistent. I do remember the pork ribs being the best thing there by far (although the beef ribs were amazing as well) and having the ribs before the brisket and pulled pork made me unable to taste much besides the smoke from the ribs. So perhaps the brisket and pulled pork really aren't that great. When I go again, I'd probably get 3 pork ribs and 1 beef rib (or pay the $25 for all you can eat so I can eat a bunch of beef ribs).

                I tried John Mulls Meats last week with some friends and we were all very disappointed in the place (especially with the hype they get as one of the best BBQ places in Vegas). Nothing we tried had any smokiness to it and nothing stood out as being very tasty at all. The pork ribs had no taste at all (with no smoke ring and not quite pull-off-the-bone tender) and the brisket and tri-tip were really dry and also lacking in real flavor. The links were decent, but I don't really judge places on their links. There was also a problem with their serving temperature. It felt really weird eating BBQ that was essentially room temp. I'm not sure why that happened and I'm positive the temp was lower than safe holding/serving temp. There was something really unsatisfying about a luke-warm bland meal with a can of soda that wasn't cold enough. All in all, a bad experience.

                Top Notch BBQ in Henderson is pretty good. I tried them today and their pork ribs are excellent. They serve their ribs dry with sauce on the side, so perhaps you might want to give them a try. Their sweet potato casserole is really good and one of the best sides you can choose with your meal. Top Notch is much closer to me and might be my go-to place since Rollin' Smoke is a pretty far drive for me.

                1. re: ah6tyfour

                  I've been to John Mull's a few times in the last couple of months, including as recent as two weeks ago. There has seemed to be somewhat of a downturn in quality compared to previous visits.

                  Normally I don't mind my brisket slightly on the drier end of the scale, but I agree this was too dry and not representative of what I'd had there before. The beef ribs still had a good taste, but as you mentioned the serving temperature of both the ribs and the brisket were much cooler than I'd ever experienced there as well, and contributed to an unsatisfying visit overall.

                  Yes I've been to Top Notch in Henderson once so far after first trying them a few times from their truck. I actually preferred the food from the truck, but the restaurant wasn't bad.

                  My main gripe was the service. The dining room was 2/3rds empty when I was there, yet when I walked in the door it took what seemed like forever to even be acknowledged before finally being told to "just have a seat anywhere". In fact two more parties walked in behind me during the time I waited and we all weren't sure if we were just supposed to grab a seat on our own or what. It again took a while to even get a menu, and after finally being able to place my order it took a VERY long time for the food to be served.

                  Yes I know good food takes time, but this was pushing it to an unacceptable level. Even though the food was fairly good (although as mentioned I remembered it being better from the truck), the extremely slow service from start to finish has me debating on a return visit anytime soon.

                  I really hate to sound so negative about my barbecue experiences here in town lately. Hopefully places like Rollin' Smoke, Top Notch, John Mull's etc will eventually get the kinks worked out and we will one day have at least a few really great choices for 'cue here in town. Right now though there is still room for improvement.

        1. re: mucho gordo

          No, it's on Highland Drive. It's pretty much under the Desert Inn Road bridge.

          I had the hardest time finding this place because many roads don't connect to a road that gets you there. If you're going there from I-15N, you can get off Spring Mountain West and there's this early exit that peels off to the right (I've seen that little side exit for years and always wondered where it led to). You can also take W. Desert Inn Road off Industrial (good way to go if going there from Fashion Show Mall).

          I must have driven around for over 20 minutes trying to get there. At one point, I was in a seedy part of downtown by the train tracks. How'd that happen? No idea.

          1. re: ah6tyfour

            I'm in Summerlin so I'd take the 215S or just the surface streets.

        2. My son just told me about Lucille's being the best bbq. Have you tried them?
          http://www.lucillesbbq.com/menu

          2 Replies
          1. re: mucho gordo

            Lucille's is good, but it's a nation-wide chain. I do like their brisket, but have not really enjoyed their other items. I sometimes order the two-meats or three-meats plates and just ask for brisket for both (or all three) meats.

            It's actually a pretty good value and is probably the best of the barbecue chain stores. It's MUCH better than Famous Dave's, which also has multiple locations in the Vegas area.

            They also serve biscuits that are somewhat renown (to the point where there are recipes online trying to replicate them).

            If you have a Costco card, pick up a $100 Lucille's gift card for $80 before you go.

            1. re: mucho gordo

              I found Lucille's to be overpriced and mediocre at best. The meat was dried out.

            2. Went today (Rollin' Smoke), ordered the brisket (standard order for me at BBQ places), and requested some burnt ends. Excellent -- very tender and tasty. Definitely much better than any of the other BBQ I've tried around town, which includes Lucille's, Famous Dave's, a couple of places on the west side whose names I can't remember, and the late so-called Memphis Championship BBQ.

              This was my second trip in two weeks, and it's been consistently great. Ordered a beef rib to bring home to GF on the last visit, and it was really good as well. Beans were pretty good, although a bit spicy. I saw an order of waffle fries go by, and they looked excellent. Maybe next time. Lots of interesting sides to try, but alas, limited stomach space.

              Sorry, no photo -- by the time I thought of it, the order was somewhat decimated. It's not a short trip for me from the NW, but I'll be back.