There are times when you want a good sit-down restaurant in which you wear upscale attire and enjoy that upscale table service. Especially when on vacation. But then there are days when you just want a good plate of food and cold beer served in a fun and friendly environment. This is the type of experience in which Smokehouse BBQ thrives.
Smokehouse BBQ is a wonderful mom-and-pop barbecue restaurant located in the south end of Lahaina on the island of Maui. In Lahaina, Front Street, a long avenue that runs alongside the waterfront, gets most of the tourist attention, but you will find plenty of fantastic culinary gems if you choose to walk just a few blocks from it. Smokehouse BBQ is an excellent example of this. This cozy restaurant is located in a small white-painted strip mall on Wainee Street with mostly office buildings as its neighbors, including one acupuncturist.
Of course, if you go by Smokehouse BBQ early daytime, on any day, you might be confused to see a “Closed” sign. That’s because unlike most restaurants in the Lahaina area, this place might be best known for the food, but it’s also quite firmly a late-night, more dive bar operation — although you can snag a late lunch and early dinner.
The good news with such a late-night operation is that you can enjoy a solid meal well into the evening, with kitchen closing hours lasting up to 12:30 am. However, that late-night closing hour reflects more of a late-night menu while the more general menu at Smokehouse BBQ is available between 3 and 10 pm. Also, as you probably expect, you have plenty of alcohol options at Smokehouse BBQ.
Some might even argue that Smokehouse BBQ should be reamed Smokehouse Bar due to the solidly more dive bar feel the location has. This is probably not going to be a place you will want to take the kids. It is probably the place you will want to be for big sports games and to relax after a long day exploring Maui. This place has plenty of beers, wines, and liquor options as well as an extensive menu of outstanding food.
The vibe overall is relaxed with most evenings having windows opened to let in the evening breezes and let out the good cheer. The dining room consists of large wooden tables with plenty of room for groups big and small. Or you can opt to keep things even smaller with a stool pulled up to the bar and close to some of the restaurant’s big televisions (almost always tuned to a sports channel).
A few local favorites on the menu at Lahaina’s Smokehouse BBQ include:
Kalbi Ribs with Egg
This entree features three juicy, mouth-watering, finger-licking ribs grilled with a house teriyaki sauce and served with a heaping of steamed rice, potato salad, and egg served according to your style.
Smoked Pork or Turkey
Every BBQ place has to have a fantastic smoked meat platter and the Smokehouse BBQ is no different. This big entree features your choice of smoked meat smothered with savory brown gravy and served with sauteed onions and big scoops of steamed rice and potato salad.
-A note of caution. Before you visit this location, keep in mind that the vibe in the front and back of the house is very much a low-key, dive bar. This isn’t to say that the kitchen isn’t clean, or the bartenders aren’t friendly. It is to say that food generally is all grilled up in one area and things like cross-contamination should be expected. If you have food allergies or other sensitivities to food being potentially mixed (such as a strict vegetarian who does not want any risk of meat juice), this is probably one to skip.
-This is quite possibly the best place to go in Lahaina when you’re looking to end an evening out on the town with a filling meal and local company.