Sticky Fingers Smokehouse is the BBQ-lover’s delight
There are few things better at bringing people together than the promise of slow-cooked, smoked meats. In the South, BBQ is practically a religion and Sticky Fingers Smokehouse invites all who seek delicious slow-cooked meats to find solace in their loving, smoky arms.
I was recently charged with the task of herding my two teenage sons into a car and out to the Hamilton Place area for an appointment with the dentist. Typically, this would be akin to wrestling two cats into a bathtub, but I had a secret weapon up my sleeve: Sticky Fingers Smokehouse. Once it was clear there would be a sweet, meaty reward at the end of this trip, these cynical young men transformed into pliable doe-eyed boys, ready to cooperate fully and reap their favorite savory treat—BBQ ribs.
For a slow-cooked meat devotee, the hint of hickory smoke that caresses your nostrils as you enter Sticky Fingers Smokehouse is simply sublime. With freshly cleaned teeth and an appetite like a swarm of hungry locusts, my sons scanned the menu for their favorites and for any new items that might tempt their taste buds. The three of us quickly decided that we would start with the glory that is the mighty chicken wing. Sticky Fingers’ wings are massive cuts of hickory-smoked chicken that have been slow-smoked on the pit, then flash fried to tender, crispy perfection. We couldn’t decide on one sauce, so we ordered 20 of these monsters, sans sauce, and picked our favorite flavors from the bottles at the table.
My oldest son loves the Southern-style Tennessee Whiskey sauce, while his brother goes for their popular honey-based Carolina Sweet. I was in the mood for a little more spice, so I poured on some Southern Heat (formerly Habañero Hot), which is just spicy enough to let you know it’s there, but not so spicy that it overwhelms the flavor of the chicken.
Just as we were staring each other down over the last chicken wing, our entrées arrived. The enormous plates of succulent, hickory-scented meats placed on our table made the three of us pause, ever so briefly, to contemplate the bounty that we were about to receive. My sons had not been able to decide on one dish, so they both ordered a Half Slab and Pulled Pork combo; I was focused on one thing from the moment I entered the door: a Flintstone-esque, full slab of fall-off-the-bone-tender ribs, which is exactly what was placed before me.
The first thing I noticed was the excellent meat-to-bark ratio on my ribs. “Bark” is the jerky-like crust that forms on the outside of quality prepared ribs and could possibly be the most delicious bite of food on Earth. I separated the first rib from the rack with a gentle tug, revealing a pink smoke ring that BBQ enthusiasts look for as a first sign of a finely smoked piece of meat. The meat clung to the bone just enough to retain its integrity, but not enough to resist any attempt to be eaten. Each bite demonstrated the skill and dedication that Sticky Fingers has to the smoked-meat arts.
I was halfway through this parade of pork ribs before I looked up from my plate and realized I had not touched my baked beans or slaw and had possibly not taken a breath since I started eating. My sons had almost finished their feasts and were already discussing whether the housemade bread pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream or the banana pudding would be the best finish to the meal. I will always pick Sticky Fingers’ banana pudding because their simple, three-ingredient version is the same as my grandmother’s, using only vanilla pudding, fresh bananas and crunchy vanilla wafers. I cannot think of a more perfect end to our meaty monster of a meal.
Whenever you feel the need to bathe your taste buds in the glory of BBQ meats, Sticky Fingers Smokehouse will be there for you, whether you are downtown or near Hamilton Place. They will even bring their smoky gospel to you with catering for five or 500 people—wet naps for your own sticky fingers included.