Last Updated on January 26, 2021 by Angie
Disclaimer: Our site uses demographic data, email opt-ins, display advertising, and affiliate links. Please check out our Terms and Conditions. Pricing, operating hours, or menus may have changed since our initial visit and may not be reflected in subsequent updates. Please confirm these directly with any business or attraction prior to visiting.
As of early 2021, Smoke has once again become a taco shop. We visited this one many times prior to it changing to a burger joint in 2020, and will return for an updated review of the taqueria shortly.
Prior to 2020, if you had heard of Smoke in Lawrenceville, odds are good it was in context of being a barbecue taqueria with some pretty flavorful offerings including what was arguably the region's best chips and queso.
Over time, Smoke would do a weekly sandwich night where they sold their products on a bun instead of in a tortilla. In early 2020, Smoke changed concepts altogether to be a burger and barbecue sandwich shop and left its taqueria menu behind.
Naturally, we had to check this one out as soon as we heard about it, and sadly, we kind of miss the tacos.
Smoke Taqueria Becomes Smoke Sandwich Shop
When you look at the menu for Smoke Sandwich Shop, you'll see an array of burger options, breakfast sandwiches, and sandwiches with smoked meats including brisket, pulled pork, and chicken.
To try a nice cross-section of the menu, we ordered a brisket sandwich (with bacon and jalapeno added) and an All American burger, which included one side each (we went with vinegar fries and jalapeno apple slaw), and added house pickles and a 16 ounce cocktail for good measure.
As we ordered takeaway, we got home and quickly unwrapped our sandwiches and were getting ready to enjoy them when we noticed that the All American burger was saucy. Very saucy. So saucy, in fact, that in just the ~7 minutes it took to drive home the entire bottom bun was dripping with sauce which pooled out all over our plate moments after unwrapping it.
We quickly got over this as the flavors were, in true Smoke fashion, exceptional; however, we would be quite concerned about ordering this particular burger to-go and traveling more than across the street with it anytime soon.
The brisket sandwich, on the other hand, was not soggy, and highlighted everything we love about Smoke's meat in each bite. Rich, smoky flavor through and through. Like the burger, we had a concern here, and was mostly that we felt like the sandwich itself was fairly small in terms of the amount of meat you get, and my add-ons of jalapenos and bacon were hardly noticeable.
My main point of concern was that with the add-ons this sandwich ended up being almost $19 (noting it did come with a side). In the future, I definitely would not be adding on any extras to make the price a bit more manageable.
Smoke's Sides Are Delicious and Huge
Ignoring a few of the concerns about the sandwiches at Smoke, we do have to admit that the sides are quite delicious.
With our sandwiches, we received an order of vinegar fries that were fried and soaked in vinegar- producing a soft, almost gummy-like texture that was more chewy than crispy. As we're not ones to regularly eat vinegar fries, this one took some getting used to but we have to admit they grew on us by the time we finished.
The jalapeno apple slaw had a perfect balance of sweetness to a faint heat and the homemade spicy pickles offered a nice tanginess that we could always appreciate.
One thing it is worth noting here is that the sides at Smoke are huge. While our sandwiches went down fast we had ample leftovers of sides, and we'd almost go as far as calling them family portions as opposed to a conventional side you'd expect when ordering an entree. One side of fries alone would've been enough to fill us up with our meal, and having two more certainly offered a nice bit of excess.
Don't Miss a Cocktail
The final item to round out our meal was a cocktail-to-go in the form of the Jungle Bird using a mix of pineapple rum, Campari, and lime juice.
While this is a play on the traditional cocktail using pineapple-flavored rum instead of pineapple juice, it worked and was a flawless cocktail that makes us excited to try more creations from Smoke.
Overall, we have mixed feelings about Smoke's new sandwich shop concept. On one hand, the flavors are incredible and a testament to Smoke's mastery of meats. On the other, something about the price-to-portion size doesn't add up. But perhaps, when it is all said and done, we're simply going to miss the taqueria and the thought of never being able to get their famous chips and queso again is a hard one to shake.
I'm sure we'll get over that one with a few more brisket sandwiches and burgers, though.
Smoke is located at 4115 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.
For more barbecue in Pittsburgh, click the previous link!