In every recollection or Hollywood interpretation of a great rib shack, there are usually a few criteria that are always met. The place always has to be located in the middle of nowhere. It has to be homey. The cook, the recipe and the sign on the door can't have changed in the past 15 years. While Smokin' M's doesn't exactly fit any of these standards, its barbecue makes an excellent case for itself. Blues classics and jazz-club chalk drawings on the walls let you disconnect a bit from the modern era, and the loud sounds of the kitchen reveal a staff that's getting the job done rather than worrying about a few bangs and crashes here and there.
The menu itself doesn't stray too far from the classics; ribs and chicken dominate for obvious reasons, but Smokin' M's also offers shrimp by the pound and farm-raised catfish. For $8, you can get a rib tip and hot link combo, in your choice of mild or hot sauce. The combination of the links and the hot will have you racing for the Tums, but the flavor is smoky and sweet when not paired with another spicy element. Two slices of white bread and a bundle of fries in wax paper are provided to sop up any stray sauce that might have been missed. Don't forget to save room for dessert; slices of sweet potato pie are only $2, and just one bite will make you forget even the best pumpkin pies.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Dan Morgridge