Restaurant: Smokey D’s | 5055 NW 2nd Street Des Moines, IA 50309 | Twitter: @SmokeyDsBBQ | 4/18/15

Josh & Garrett!, smokey d's, des moines, ankeny, bbq
Garrett joined us! So fun to have friends along – see more from him below!


Grace: 2.3/5

Josh: 3.125/5

Garrett (yay!): 4/5

Why Smokey D’s?

Grace: We ❤ BBQ, and I had never been there before (though I’d heard about their gajillions of awards). Our good friend Garrett joined us for this adventure, so he’ll sound off down the page a little too – yay!

Josh: Grace and I were getting coffee and just talking and stuff. Grace was like, I’m feeling BBQ and I was like, OK. Then we chose Smokey D’s because it’s a BBQ place. Pretty scientific things going on here.

Garrett: Out of the blue one day, I received a group text asking if I wanted to join them at Smokey D’s? Since I had never been there, but drove past it all the time, I accepted the invitation.

The Meal

Smokey D's Rib & Meat Platter | Smokey D's | Ankeny, IA
Smokey D’s Rib & Meat Platter

Grace: I got the rib & meat platter; for my meat I chose the burnt ends. Sides: marinated vegetables and spud sticks (french fries) AND it came with a piece of garlic toast. So much food. Start with the good: the meat was delicious. The burnt ends were my favorite; they practically melted in your mouth. Their BBQ sauce was also delicious – my favorite was the Sassy! Sides were not great. At all. The garlic toast tasted like the frozen garlic bread you buy at HyVee, the marinated vegetables were just raw broccoli and onions in some balsamic vinegar, and the fries were nothing special. For an award winning restaurant, and as much as I’ve heard people rave about it, I expected more!

 | Smokey D's | Ankeny, IA
Smokey D’s Two Meat Platter

Josh: I enjoy a good piece of meat (hehehe). But seriously I do enjoy meat. I have been to D’s before so I knew what I was expecting. It’s a seat-yourself place where you find our own table and go up to order your own food. No waitresses, no waiting. The menu is up where you order and you order on your own time. It can be overwhelming if you don’t know the process and how the system works. Grace seemed confused (what’s new?) by the process but being the man I am, I saved the day. I was the hero we all needed that day.

We found a table in a separate room thingy and Garrett and I went up to order (Grace had to stay and save the table which is a disadvantage of this sort of service). We wanted beer but we had to order it at the bar which is in a different part of the restaurant. It was a little inconvenient but whatever, that’s life.

The food now! It was good! I got the “Dinner Platter”. Two meats, two sides and a piece of garlic bread. I chose brisket, burnt ends, mac and cheese and potato salad. You definitely got your money’s worth! The brisket was good, but not great. I know I shouldn’t compare restaurants but the best brisket I have ever eaten was at Uncle Wendell’s. Holy God that stuff makes Jesus cry tears of joy. Smokey D’s brisket only makes Jesus smile. Big difference there. The burnt ends doe…Oh the burnt ends. The freaking burnt ends… Those were A+. I would order a bucket of that and wallow in my own filth while eating that delicious meat. Damn was it good. The sides were hit and miss. The mac and cheese was a little bland but still edible. The potato salad was excellent though! It had horseradish in there (which the server warned me about once I ordered) but it gave it a nice kick. I’m pretty sure the garlic bread was frozen and not homemade but I actually enjoy frozen garlic bread so it works. As for the beer, it was cold and I drank it.

Smokey D's Two Meat Platter | Smokey D's | Ankeny, IA
Smokey D’s Two Meat Platter

Garrett: When we arrived, we were on a hunt to find a table, due to seat yourself policy. Once a table was found, Grace was left to protect the table while Josh and I went to the ordering window. After waiting an average amount of time for BBQ, my two meat dinner plate arrived. With this meal I got chopped pork, beef brisket, spud sticks (french fries), macaroni and cheese, and a piece of “garlic” bread. I know this was a BBQ restaurant and not a high-end place, but the presentation of the food was sloppy. When my food arrived it seemed like all I received was a basket full of spud sticks, a bowl of macaroni and cheese, and a piece of “garlic” bread. I had to move a decent amount of spud sticks to the side before I could even see the two meats I had ordered.

After all the digging, I was finally able to try the two meats. The pulled pork was amazing. The tenderness was spot on, and it was not dried out. I have been to a few places where the pulled pork was dry and smothered in BBQ sauce. Speaking of sauces, there were three different levels of sauce at Smokey D’s. I am a man that enjoys spicy food. Therefore, I chose the spiciest sauce there and gave it a shot. I was very pleased to find that the sauce, while giving the meat a great spicy kick, did not over power the flavor of the meat. The brisket took me the longest to eat. Why? Because it was probably the best brisket I have ever had from a restaurant. It was cooked right between a medium-rare to medium. This meant the meat still had some of its flavorful juices while having some cooked texture to it.
Smokey D's BBQ Sauces | Smokey D's | Ankeny, IA
Smokey D’s BBQ Sauces
The macaroni and cheese is served in a small styrofoam bowl so it didn’t mix in with the meat. The only silverware available at the table was a knife and fork. The macaroni and cheese was delicious, and had a great cheese sauce. The only problem I had was trying to get every last bite out of this bowl with a fork when a spoon is clearly called for. The spud sticks were disappointing, at first. The spud sticks that were moved out of the way so that I could see the meat I had ordered were very plain. I would say about 3/4 of the spud sticks were like this. I could easily make better “spud sticks” at home with the fries you pull out of the freezer. The last quarter of fries I got to did have some flavor, but they were not consistent. On to the “garlic” bread. If you have been wondering why I keep putting garlic in quotations, that would be because it did not taste like garlic bread at all. I know there are different types where the presence of garlic is more noticeable than others, but all this bread had going for it was that it had good texture and maybe some butter on it.

Atmosphere, Service, Price

Grace: Ehh. I did like that you order at a counter instead of having to be waited on (though Josh ordered for me so technically I was waited on – thanks bb). However, I felt like I was in a church basement. Stained carpet, plain, uncovered tables (at LEAST put butcher paper over them, yeah?), napkins and straw wrappers all over the floor, fluorescent lights…I’m too picky but again, for an award winning restaurant I was not impressed. I’d go back for the meat, but that’s about it.

Josh: I like it in there. It’s very simple and casual. It’s not a fancy place where I feel like I don’t belong, but a place where I can sit down and eat some slain, dead animals. They have their awards all over the walls and it was cool to see them all. I did notice that some of them were for 8th or 10th place in competition. Do you really want to showcase that? Does everyone get a trophy nowadays? Freaking liberals… #nobama #tcot.

As for service….this part confuses me. Do you tip?? There are no waiters or waitresses. There are people you bring your food and take away your plates. You get your own refills at the Coke machine or walk up to the bar for another beer. I feel like a dick if I don’t tip but what’s standard in this situation? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I had a good experience and I enjoyed myself. I also loved having my wonderful girlfriend and one of my best friends there with me. Things are always better with friends.

Garrett: First walking into the restaurant, you can definitely tell it is a BBQ place. All over the walls were awards that they had won, along with some famous cook/BBQ celebrities pictures and autographs. The main-seating area was nicely decorated with the awards and t.v.’s. However, they were packed in there with not much room to move around. I was happy to find out that they had what I call run-off rooms (rooms were the over-flow of consumers can sit down and eat), but I was disappointed that these rooms did not have the same level of decor as the main eating area. The pictures hanging on the wall were in cheap frames and were crooked. Working in the coatings industry I happened to notice dings in the wall that caused paint to chip off. If it was one little chip I could understand that, but where I was sitting looked like someone had shot the wall with a shotgun. I enjoyed that they brought the food to us. However, I did not like the dress code they have for their employees. I understand the relaxed t-shirt with Smokey D’s logo on it, but at least have a code on wearing blue jeans and regular sneakers. I bring this up because the gentleman that brought me my food was wearing a dark navy blue mesh pants and basketball shoes. To me, that is just sloppy. While we were eating I noticed some of the bus-boys were not well groomed. I know some might think that I am getting too critical here, but these guys prep and clean the tables you sit at. If the bus-boy doesn’t seem to take care of himself, how do I know that he actually cleaned the table I am at? While we were eating, there were a few times where the bus-boys would roll a garbage can through the area we were eating at. With the type of flooring in the room, it was very loud when it rolled by.

On to the service and price. I really enjoyed the fact that you place your order at a window and pay upfront. So when you are done eating, you can get up and leave without having to chase down someone so you can pay. I understand that BBQ can be fairly expensive, but beer? When Josh went to order a pitcher of Coors and paid $9 I was shocked. I am use to seeing pitchers that you get at bars, or the pitchers of water that they sometimes leave at your table. But the pitcher we received is what I call a mini pitcher. Although there was enough in the pitcher to fill up three glasses and have a little extra, I am use to the ones where you can fill up three glasses all the way, twice. Other than that, the food was good and priced well. I will return and would suggest it to any who enjoy a good brisket.

Anybody else ever eaten here? What did you think?


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