Definitely one for the carnivores. Tucked around the corner from the heavier foot traffic of Bay Street, Smokey's is instantly recognisable as an American BBQ 'ranch'-style restaurant (as 'ranch' as you can get within sniffing distance of Port Philip Bay).
There is the heavy lumber interior, complete with American flags and memorabilia, even a wall of license plates to achieve that overwhelming Yank feel, with an Australian flag thrown in for balance.
The staff are constantly bustling, but are attentive and friendly in that sweaty, still-keeping-an-eye-on-every-table-simultaneously kind of way. They must be doing something right because the medium sized restaurant is packed. There are cosy-looking booths, tables and a bar seating option, but I have an eye on the outdoor seating area in mind for warmer weather.
Orders are taken at the counter, where there is also beer and cider available on tap. The food itself is simple but indulgent. The smoke rib servings come in pork or beef and are served with shoestring fries, with a choice of three sauces available on the side. Two little pickles top of the plate, though there are several salads and sides to round out a more nutritious meal. Eating with your hands seems more than acceptable here.
Texas BBQ chicken at Smokey's, Port Melbourne
A great taste of the U.S. with a family-friendly atmosphere. There's also a hot wings challenge for brave eaters that want a free t-shirt and their name on the wall of fame. They also seem to manage their Facebook page regularly for easy contact.