top of page

Smokey Joe's

Stop for





Sometimes you just get lucky. A long weekend in Dothan proved that. With no recommendations for barbecue, I turned to Google. It proposed options from Ozark down to Rehobeth, all of which had Chase’s attention. We ended up just a few miles from our cottage, at Smokey Joe’s. It’s there I found something I think I’ve been in love with my entire life only I didn’t know it…mustard based barbecue sauce!

I’d heard of mustard sauce before. In the late ‘90s, Lee Sentell, who is now the state Director of Tourism, told me about a barbecue joint in the southern portion of Alabama that featured a yellow sauce. White sauce was already popular in the northern part of the state and red was the preferred color for the central counties, but knowing that folks were making sauces out of mustard, that was wild. My taste is moving from sweet to acidic as I age. I prefer saving my sugar intake for desserts, which I’ll never outgrow. Sauces and dips that are astringent and sharp are finding place with me and Smokey Joe’s fine mustard-based sauce does a pit move on traditional blends.

I love having a variety of sauces on the table. It’s fun to experiment, try each one solo, mix some together, and decide on a favorite by the end of the meal. Smokey Joe’s screens homemade versions of Sweet ‘n Tangy, Hot, and Mild, but the feature is the Mustard base. It packs a punch and delivers a zing that zips through your taste buds like a zany lightning bolt. It’s well seasoned and flavorful, delivering a depth that contrasts its three table mates. Offering a quartet is a performance most joints don’t attempt, but the mustard base sauce takes the lead and is worthy of anyone’s hit list.

I can vouch for the pulled pork. It’s well smoked with a crispy bark and a good chew, but it does need sauce, which is perfect for the private buffet of tabletop options. The chicken also had a very smoke forward flavor, was tender and moist. The barbecue beans were unlike any I’ve had before. The bean itself was a larger variety than is typical and came in a thin, sweet tomato and onion sauce. Shredded pork was also in the mix, the mark of a true barbecue side dish. The Brunswick stew was good but needed more seasoning. Broiling or otherwise crisping the top of the hashbrown casserole would have taken it to another level. The fries were golden and crispy and served with a seasoned salt that added an extra pop. They were worth the risk of sneaking some off Mary’s plate.

A few other, very notable observations. During our visit, a variety of items were chosen by a steady flow of customers, both order-in and take-out. The table beside us had a brisket sandwich and wings, which made me actually wonder if I would dare snag potential leftovers off the table. From the moment we crossed the threshold, we were greeted warmly and served with courtesy and professionalism. Then, a feature that had to be present because of another middle-aged man’s nostalgia, there was a working video game cabinet featuring Ms. Pacman and Galaga, the two most iconic games of my youth. Oh, and Chase found a friend in the Smokey Joe’s pig, smack in the middle of the tabletop amongst ads from local businesses.

We look for the unusual, the creative. Surprises are good, as is finding the qualities you expect from good barbecue. If you find yourself in Dothan, find your way to Smokey Joe’s. Tell them the mustard sauce brought you.

bottom of page