SMOKE ON THE WATER BBQ, Gibsons.

August 2015

Friends told us about this new southern-smokehouse takeout located right on the Gibsons wharf. Fabulous food! we heard, great fries, beef that melts in your mouth, etc. We’ve been looking for better-class eats on the Sunshine Coast for at least a decade, mostly resulting in disappointment, so we headed down for an early dinner on our way home.

We parked (probably illegally) right on the wharf, 20 m from Smoke’s takeout window. It was barely 5 PM and we were the only customers on a sunny windy day. The welcome was enthusiastic and professional, and we looked over the menu: pulled pork, brisket, heritage chicken, smoked vegetable, tuna wrap, etc.

Our choices were the brisket platter and tuna wrap. We sat in a windy high picnic-table space behind the kitchen, with a nice view of the mixed-use Gibsons marina.

The brisket is fabulously tender beef with a succulent slightly smoky beef flavour. It was definitely the high point of our experience. Alongside, are “cowboy beans” (sweet chipotle-flavored), coleslaw (nothing special, needing salt and lacking flavor), and macaroni and cheese. The latter not far north of Kraft dinner pressed into a rectangular solid, breaded, and deep fried.

The tuna in fairness might not be everybody’s choice at this kind of a concession. It was slightly fish-flavored, not especially tender, and wrapped in a taco. Alcohol is not available. There was nice lemonade which we were warned correctly could need sugar, available in a squeeze bottle.

$57 (we didn’t tip for takeout). That brisket is unique in my experience for tenderness and I would go back for it alone. If the other meat items and the chicken are as good they would be worth the trip as well. But I’d pass on the platter containing coleslaw, cowboy beans, and mac and cheese. As suggested, I suspect the other traditional smoked dishes would be superior to the tuna wrap which isn’t worth the trouble or the money. By way of comparison, up at the inland end of the pier you can get really good pub food at Molly’s Reach, where you can also buy a drink.

Food is a range: 8.6 for the meat, 6.8 for everything else, service not applicable, ambience… it’s a rough and ready dockside, value 6.9.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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