Smiley Guys Smokehouse

11 Aug
Smiley Guys sign

Sign over Smiley Guy’s kitchen

I have a confession: We love Smiley Guys Smokehouse.

Heading into Smiley Guys.

Heading in to Smiley Guys.

We go there every chance we get, which isn’t nearly often enough because it is 40 miles away in Grass Valley California.  We were in Grass Valley last night for the Nevada County Fair (best county fair ever!) and stopped by Smiley Guy’s on the way to grab some dinner.  BBQ is better than fair food any day.

The menu has a good variety of meat choices – including tri-tip and tempeh, which we don’t often see at BBQ joints.  They dry smoke all the meats with a robust pellet mixture.  If you like smoke, you’re gonna get it here.  First you choose your meat,  then your pick how you want it served – sandwich, salad, or  platter.  You can also buy meat by weight.   Oooh, and the sides!!  In my opinion this is what sets them apart from other local joints.  Everything is home made and the portions are large.  Hand-cut fries – yum!  And the home made sweet potato chips are great too.  We haven’t had a side yet here that we haven’t loved.

Honestly – we have really enjoyed everything we have tried here over the years.  It is hard to decide what to order because you have to pick between trying something new and something you already know you love.

HOT!!! wings.

HOT!!! wings.

Last night we started off with some hot wings.  The menu has a few “small plates”, and this was our first time trying any of them.  These may be the best wings I have ever eaten!!! They make their own hot wing sauce and it is HOT!  It includes a variety of peppers, including habaneros, and they have done a great job making it spicy without making it bitter.  And its also not super vinegary like many sauces are.  Its just perfect.  But be warned – its hot.  You’ll want some ranch for dipping and a cold beverage to douse the fire.

Plate o' Pork

Plate o’ Pork

Allen decided to go straight for the meat and pass the sides.  He ordered a half pound of the pulled pork and topped it with their homemade Texas BBQ sauce.  Tender, moist, hand pulled and delicious.  I stole a few bites and dunked it in some of the very tasty Memphis sauce.  This is good stuff.

Pulled pork sandwich and slaw.

Pulled pork sandwich and slaw.

If you can’t tell by know, I live with some pulled pork lovin’ boys.  Jake ordered the pulled pork sandwich with a side of slaw.  Same juicy, smoky pork on a freshly sliced french roll.  He topped it with the Anja sauce, which he describes as a mild sweet bbq sauce.  Like all the other sides, the slaw is made in store.  Its crunchy with a mild sauce and a bit of celery seed.  The slaw may be my least favorite thing on the menu, but its still pretty good (I think Allen’s spicy slaw creations have spoiled me).

Worlds Best Cobb Salad

Worlds Best Cobb Salad

Right now they have a cobb salad on special.  I love cobb salads, so I had to try it.  A fresh mix of spring greens are topped with tons of blue cheese, smoked chicken, bacon, avocado, eggs, tomatoes and onions.  I topped it with their delicious homemade ranch dressing.  The smokey chicken pairs perfectly with the blue cheese.  This was the best cobb salad I’ve ever had!  And the portion was huge – you could easily split it with another person, throw in a small plate appetizer and have a very full meal.  I really hope they make this a permanent menu item.

A few more important things to note.  The service is great.  Even though its a causal dining experience where you order at a counter, the staff stopped by to see if we were happy with our food and answered all my questions about how they run their smoker and make their wing sauce.  The also have a big selection of beers, including lots of northern California microbreweries.  Allen loves that they have North Coast Brewing’s Scrimshaw pilsner on tap.  Its yet another thing that keeps bringing us back.

Who needs fair games?

Who needs fair games?

Besides great food, they also have a fun atmosphere.  With a pool table and darts, its a great place to hang out on a Saturday night.  Heck, I almost didn’t want to leave to go to the fair.

I can’t say enough good things about Smiley Guys.  We have eaten there at least five times now and always walk away full and happy.  Find a reason to drive up to Grass Valley and “get yer belly full”.  You’ll be glad you did.


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