Smokin' Toad's BBQ is located in Sarver, PA, just under an hour northeast of Pittsburgh, and is one of those places we've driven by a number of times but never quite made it in to try.
It was only when visiting Cellar Works Brewing next door that I was able to put in an order from the menu (available at the brewery).
While a robust menu with a number of options, I left wishing I was able to sample a bit more.
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A Wide Array of Barbecue at Smokin' Toads BBQ
At first glance, the menu at Smokin' Toads BBQ reads like our kind of menu- an array of smoked meats like chicken wings, ribs, and pulled pork, non-smoked items like fried shrimp or chicken, sandwiches, and combo plates featuring two or three meats.
What the menu does not have, however, is an option to build-your-own plate based on the kind of meats you would like to try. You may get lucky with the set combo plates, but my traditional order was not available unless I wanted to order two plates (which would've been a bit cost prohibitive for the meal), sadly.
So I deferred from my standard of ordering 1/4 lbs of various kind of meats and instead opted for wings and a sandwich- two conventional options to pair with the beer.
I first sampled a half-dozen wings which are smoked and then fried, which resulted in a rather light crunch on most of the wings. The entire thing was generously tossed in the house raspberry jalapeno barbecue sauce which had a delicious sweet and spicy flavor that was a bit more on the sweet side (a good thing).
Overall, the wings didn't have a particularly strong flavor from the rub or smoke but instead picked up most of their punch from the sauce itself.
From there, I went with the Plain Jane (a sandwich that is anything but). This one is a pulled pork sandwich served on a massive challah bun with a good amount of pulled pork and an absurd amount of toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion, and jalapeno).
While the meat had a decent flavor, I felt like the sandwich had almost too much going on and the vast amount of toppings took away from the meat overall (thankfully, that was rectified by just removing them). Going with a spicy barbecue sauce coupled well with the jalapenos to give the sandwich a kick as well- a perfect thing to match with the beer.
On the side of the sandwich was a generous serving of sweet potato fries that were cooked quite well and had a nice, subtle sweetness to them- my kind of fries.
Overall, Smokin' Toads BBQ has a pretty robust barbecue selection, and I probably did myself a disservice by not ordering a combo plate of two meats to try them on their own as the toppings and sauce did a fair bit to mask the flavors of the meats as served.
That being said, without the option to order meats a la carte like most traditional barbecue joints it may take multiple visits to this one in order to get the full experience from the menu.
All things being equal, however, when barbecue is an option to go with delicious beer, we have a hard time saying no.
Smokin' Toads BBQ is located at 110 South Pike Road in Sarver, PA.
Looking for more Pittsburgh barbecue? Click the previous link to check out all of the spots we've visited to date!