I know the O.C. (Orange County) isn’t quite in LA, but it took me just as long to drive to the quaint city of Orange as it does to drive to Hollywood, so it’s close enough, and very much so worth the journey.
The California BBQ joint, Smoqued BBQ is in the heart of Old Orange. The street has a old west feel filled with boutiques and restaurants. The students at Chapman University are very lucky to not only be going to college in one of the most beautiful places in the country, but they also have all this amazing food right around the corner from them.
We started off with the avocado fries. They were delightfully warm on the inside with the lightest, crisp outer coating.
It came with a sriracha ranch dip. I have always, always hated ranch dressing, but the execution of this sauce was flawless. No I haven’t changed my mind about ranch dressing, however theirs is definitely an exceptional exception.
On each table is a nice array of BBQ sauces to pair with your meal. The meats were spot on for what I’d expect from any proper BBQ joint, but the addition of the ‘Smoqued BBQ sauce’ raised every bite to another level of smoked meat glory. Not a thick globby goo like the store bought kind, the house BBQ sauce is slightly sweet with a peppery finish. Full restraint was exercised in the use of this sauce, because I easily could have used up the whole lot. I’m now waiting for the day when Smoqued BBQ wants to sell these heavenly bottles.
Hands down my favorite part about this place are their sides. With my previous experiences with BBQ joints, the meat take the main stage and the side dishes are like background singers without any tour budget to have a proper wardrobe. Starting off with the deviled eggs, another thing I’ve never cared too much for. For these alone, I’d make another trip to the O.C.
The very close runner up was the blue lake beans & onions. The onions themselves carry a nice barbeque flavor. They let the beans shine using only some garlic and salt to enhance the flavor of these bright crisp veggies. See not all sides at a BBQ joint have to be calorie busters.
Then again, when getting ready to enjoy BBQ, you’re almost prepped to indulge a little bit (enters the Mac’ & Cheese).
Cuing the grand finale, there is the dessert. At first bite my first reaction out loud was ‘Holy Sh*t”. My immediate second reaction was regret for splitting the dessert with Nikki, rather than having one to myself. Desserts should be ‘sweet enough’, not overly sugary and rich where I can eat two bites without needing a tall glass of water. The butterscotch in this bourbon bread pudding was perfectly sweet, and in between all that goodness were the teeniest raisins. Essentially it’s heaven in a cast iron pan.
If your plan on dining at Smoqued, I’d definitely recommend making reservations, especially on the nights & weekends. Oh, and I must not forget, there’s Wino Wednesdays!
128 North Glassel Street, Orange, CA 92866
Sunday 10:30am – 10:00pm
Monday – Wednesday 11:30am – 10:00pm
Thursday – Saturday 11:30am – 11:00pm
Monday – Friday 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Thursday – Saturday 9:00-11:00pm
Sunday | Bottomless Brunch
Wednesday | 1/2 off bottles of house wine all night