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Photography by Kevin A. Roberts
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It's always fun when a restaurant breaks the unwritten rules and brings out a winner. Gobble Stop Smokehouse is in Creve Coeur, not exactly prime barbecue country. Tucked back out of sight in an inconspicuous strip mall, it's a bird house. No, not the kind with the little round hole and dowel-pin perch. They smoke bird. There's one sausage that's beef, but other than that, this is chicken-and-turkey land.
The menu is brief, and the smoked poultry is also utilized in sandwiches like the Philly chicken and the "Flew the Coup," (below left) a turkey burger topped optionally with a chicken breast. But we aimed at the basics, beginning with a turkey ribs sandwich (below center). Turkey ribs? Yes, although I suspect they're not truly ribs. Still, there's a long, flat bone running the length of the cut, holding perfectly cooked and very juicy meat. It's brushed with a glaze that is a little sweet, a little salty, slightly Asian, and very good.
A pulled chicken sandwich holds meat that's smokier than the turkey, but equally moist. Three sauce options (at top of page) are on-hand, two of which are also untraditional in barbecue restaurants. What's simply described as "hot sauce" has that familiar orange-red color and thin consistency, but this one is saltier and less vinegar-y than most. A sweet-hot sauce is syrup-thick, studded with crushed red peppers and, again, carrying a slightly Asian set of seasonings, perhaps a little toasted sesame in there. And the house barbecue sauce, tomato-based, is one of the best in town, a great balance of sweet and spicy-hot, hotter than average, in fact, and a near-perfect balance of those elements.
Among the sides, deeply smoky baked beans seem to avoid the paste-thick consistency often found in such environments, and the potato salad (above right), mustard-based and mashed rather than chunky, is tangy and moist and utterly classic. I could eat a pint.
The basics: a few tables, a shiny-clean environment, and a counter gentleman who's knowledgable and enthusiastic about his product.
The bottom line: funny, but accurate name. We might have gone for La Cage aux Fowl.
Gobble Stop Smokehouse
1227 Castillon Arcade Plaza
On Facebook: Gobble Stop Smokehouse
Mon-Fri, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.