Saturday, February 2, 2013

SMOKE (Barbeque* Taqueria): Homestead’s Diamond in the Rough

            I’m sure many of you have ventured over to the Waterfront, to go shopping or catch the latest flick at Lowes Theatre, but how many of you non-Homesteaders have literally crossed the train tracks and ventured over to Smoke on 8th Avenue?  It’s true that Homestead has seen better days, but you owe it to your foodie self to take the trip. 
            When entering Smoke, the namesake of this taqueria is fully realized and you’ll, at no fault of your own, begin salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs as a result of the all-consuming aroma of barbequed meats.  That’s right folks, you’re not going to find any bland, dry meats in this joint.  On the contrary, all meat options (chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket) are tender and seasoned to perfection.  For the non-meat eaters (you are enigmas to me), there is also a spicy veggie option.  You also have the offerings of two breakfast tacos which can be made with or without meat and are served all day.
The quality doesn’t stop at the filling, like some other taquerias in the area though.  All tortillas are made in-house on the daily.  Never have I tasted a tortilla so delicate, yet sturdy enough to serve its purpose: to get that scrumptious filling to my pie hole without making a sloppy mess.  The taco list is limited, but each offering has been thoughtfully envisioned to create a stars-aligned experience in your mouth.  A favorite menu item of mine is the chicken apple taco, which is topped with house-made bacon, cheddar, and jalapeno mayo (not spicy, just flavorful).  My second choice is often the pork taco, topped with apricot habanero sauce and caramelized onions (this one does pack some heat).  There is also a daily specialty taco.  

Chicken Apple 

Smoke also offers salads and sides to accompany your eats.  The potato salad is creamy and flavored with grilled leeks. A side of smoky beans or a dish of slaw is always a good choice too.  In terms of beverages, agua fresca, lemonade, and iced tea are sure to quench your thirst.  Smoke is BYOB ($2.50/person) so you can feel free to bring your favorite brew or some tequila to make a delicious mixer. 

Brisket Salad with Gorgonzola Dressing

So I know I’ve got you hooked on the idea of going to Smoke already.  You’re saying to yourself, “What could possibly make this taqueria any more enticing?” How about smoked wings?!  It was so hard for me not to talk about wing night first, but I had to give the tacos their limelight (it is a taco shop after all).  But let me say this now, Smoke has the best wings in all of Pittsburgh.  These smoky, crispy, saucy delicacies have officially made Thursday the best day of the week (Fridays?  Who cares?).  And my word, the house-made Gorgonzola dressing is drinkable (minus the big hunks of cheese).  


The moral of the story is that Smoke is outrageously satisfying.  And while Nelda and Jeff (owners) may not have the notoriety of being the next “Kevin Sousa” just yet, they most certainly deserve major props for bringing fresh, delicious food to the once vibrant Homestead business district.  Do yourself a favor and treat your mouth by visiting Smoke some day soon-give Homestead a chance.

I give Smoke: 5/5 forks 

Will I return?  Absolutely

225 E 8th Ave
HomesteadPA 15120
(412) 205-3039 
SMOKE Barbeque Taqueria on Urbanspoon