Hats off to Chef Skip Steele and the rest of the Bogart’s Smoke House Crew for bringing yet another BBQ masterpiece to St. Louis. My St. Louis family Donna and Jeff introduced me to Pappy’s Smoke House where I met Skip and toured the smoker with them. So when I read about Bogarts in the June 2011 Issue of Food and Wine Magazine as one of the Best New Barbecue Restaurants, Jeff and Donna were dispatched to Bogarts and found more BBQ heaven in St. Louis.
On our way to the Murphysboro 2011 Barbecue Cook-Off we determined that a lunch at Bogarts was in order, too much BBQ is just
enough. We arrived at Bogarts prior to the lunch rush at 11a and were greeted by Skip Steele at the door who was sharing ribs with the city workers and fire fighters who stood in line with us. The rib sample was sublime, tender and smokey with a crust that is a signature of Bogarts. The crust is created with a roofing torch that is blazed over the ribs to finish them! (See the photo of Skip in action.) Well worth a taste. While we waited in line, Skip brought me a small sample of hot pastrami right off the slicer and I was in love!
We ordered three sandwiches, the Smoked Pastrami, Smoked Prime Rib and a Brisket which I had determined to be the three things to try since the ribs were out of the way. I also got outside my comfort zone and ordered the Pit Baked Beans. They are cooked directly under the brisket drippings in the smoker with bits of brisket burnt ends smothered in for good measure! What a treat for a confessed baked bean virgin. A memorable first time to say the least.
The Smoked Pastrami is thinly sliced on a marble rye that is locally baked and procured to compliment this tender, salty masterpiece. The brine creates a perfect pink color and taste balanced out with just the right amount of fat which is required on a good piece of pastrami. Another unique preparation worth mentioning is the slicers that Bogart’s has going behind the counter. All of their sandwiches are sliced in something that is unique to most BBQ joints I have seen that use knives. This makes the pastrami is thinly sliced and well worth the trip.
The beef brisket was fantastic, great little smoke ring fills it with BBQ flavor and tender like brikste should be. It is served on a special bun made by the same bakery that does the rye bread with a consistency that compliments the well flavored meat. Skip has a mastery of brisket and a unique cooking style that makes it almost medium well and not over cooked. The slicer adds the finishing touch, slicing it thin enough that there is plenty of flavor and a perfect amount of fat!
The final item I tasted was the Smoked Prime Rib, we had to try this one as it was all about the unique at Bogarts. I had not had
smoked prime rib at a BBQ joint and this did not disappoint. It was definitely different from the brisket with some delicious grilled onions on top of the sandwich, but was just a little dry for my liking. It was also very difficult to erase the pastrami from my memory and tough to top the flavor.
Final Words: The Smoked Pastrami is a must try and in my opinion, the house specialty. Loved the place and please don’t miss the small batch St. Louis made Billy Goat Chip Company Potato Chips. Use the chips for dipping into the beans, you will be glad you did. The sauces were a lot of fun to try as well. Make sure you check out Bogarts when you are in town and support this new St. Louis BBQ gem!
Bogart’s Smoke House
1627 S. 9th St., Soulard