Pull of barbecue



We're always on the lookout for new barbecue places, which is why we were pleased to hear of the new Smokey Hollow BBQ Co. The mostly carryout restaurant opened last year in a Laurel strip mall near Route 29 and Johns Hopkins Road and devotes almost all of its menu to smoked meat.

It's also fairly cheap - two sandwiches and two plates cost about $30. Both of the plates came with a side of four hush puppies and a side of our choice. Here's what we thought:

Smokey Hollow BBQ Co.

7500 Montpelier Road, Laurel -- 301-617-4227

Hours --11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; noon-5 p.m. Sundays (This large order took about 15 minutes to prepare.)

Texas brisket plate --For $11, you get a mound of beef - more than most meat lovers can eat in one sitting. It's heavy and smoky but soft enough to slice with the side of a plastic fork.

St. Louis Ribs --Meat slipped off the bones when we picked up pieces of the quarter-rack, $7. Each rib was charred black and glazed on both sides, but still tender through and through. They were gone in no time.

Pulled BBQ chicken sandwich --Bun? What bun? We plucked off the bread and went to town on the pile of super-moist - not greasy - meat, $5.95. Our only gripe: The chicken could have been smokier.

Carolina pulled-pork sandwich --Though not as juicy as the chicken, the pork, $5.45, had more of a full-bodied flavor. Just like the chicken, you could make a meal out of the meat alone.

Sides --Go ahead, try the zucchini sticks. They're thin, deep-fried vegetable spears that look and taste a lot like mozzarella sticks. You only get the zucchini flavor at the end, and it's not too strong. The hush puppies, mashed corn and onions rolled into a ball and deep-fried, also made good partners with the smoked meat. They're sweet at first, but the onion accent is not too far behind.

Sauces --Both sandwiches came with our choice of sauces in small side containers. The passable pig sauce is thin and made with tomatoes and vinegar, and the mustard sauce was on the sweeter side but had a nice twang to it. (The mustard sauce took fourth place in the 2006 National Barbecue Association Awards of Excellence.)

Our favorite was the gorilla sauce: robust, peppery and slightly thicker than the pig sauce. The restaurant picked the right name - this sauce is savagely delicious.

Know of a good carryout place? Let us hear about it. Write to sam.sessa@baltsun.com.

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