Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on April 6, 2023.
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Southern Yanks Smokehouse in Washington, PA, is the kind of spot we love to find.
This unassuming restaurant right in the heart of downtown Washington screams homemade barbecue where the main focus is, as it should be, entirely on the food.
While we left this one satisfied and stuffed from all things delicious meat, it was also speaking to the owner that showcased why this one was a gem.
The Experience Starts When You're Greeted
It feels a bit weird to dive into the hospitality of a restaurant as a main feature in our reviews, but at Southern Yanks Smokehouse, you get just that.
We were greeted by the owner when we walked in the door with a friendly welcome and a “have you been in before?”. When we replied no, the real fun began. We were walked through the entirety of the menu, the stylistic choices made for every dish, and given a breakdown of some of the unique flavors offered on the menu (particularly in terms of sandwich combinations and sides).
This was not a quick, 10-second walkthrough, but a 5-10 minute conversation where we really got a firm understanding for the passion and efforts that go into making the meats here. At first we thought this was for us, but as guests after guest after us got the same walkthrough, we really appreciated the love that goes into making this restaurant work.
To no one's surprise, the meats here are delicious as a result.
Southern Yanks Smokehouse Offers Tender Meat
As we had arrived to Southern Yanks Smokehouse rather late in the day, we had a limited sampling of the meats that were left on the menu as this one can and does regularly sell out.
We ended up with a half rack of ribs, a loaded pulled pork sandwich, cowboy tater salad, and mac ‘n cheese which amounted to a feast.
The pulled pork sandwich featured a generous amount of tender pork plus topped with slaw for a tangy zing. The texture of the meat had a nice balance of fat without being dried out and really highlighted the pork as the star ingredient all around.
The ribs were equally impressive for their texture (only a little effort needed to pull right off the bone), a modest amount of smoke, and a robust spice rub that helped accentuate the flavors of the meat beautifully. These are the kind of ribs that we could eat entirely by themselves, without any sauce needed, but we'd be lying if we didn't mention that the five or so house sauces available did make their way on our food all the same (because when you have a spread like those at Southern Yanks, you have to try them, right?).
The only real downside from the meats we ordered here was that there was little bark to speak about on the meats; however, the texture and flavor profile of these ones more than made up for that and they quickly disappeared from our table.
On the side front, the mac and cheese here had a mix of cheese in with the macaroni as well as shredded cheese on top. Although we always like a textural element in our mac, no one can argue that this one was cheese overload. The cowboy tater salad, on the other hand, was quite unique. This one had all the normal potato salad ingredients plus bacon bits and cheese on top for good measure. Tangy, cheesy, and richness from the bacon? Consider us converts!
Overall, Southern Yanks Smokehouse is one of those unassuming barbecue joints you'll simply fall in love with at first bite. Our only real regret is that this one is located about 40 minutes away from Pittsburgh in Washington. But whenever we're in the area and craving barbecue, you know where we'll be.
Southern Yanks Smokehouse is located at 57 W Chestnut Street in Washington, PA.
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