Barbecue Has A Home In Northport
By Peter Sloggatt/
The red-checkered plastic cloths and a roll
of paper towels that top every table at Smokin’ Sloe’s
are the first sign of what one can expect. And if hearty barbecue
that will have you licking your fingers is your idea of a
good meal, then Smokin’ Sloe’s is the place.
Ribs falling off the bone, chunky pulled pork steeped in a
spicy sauce, barbecue chicken – plus all the fixin’s
that complete the all-American barbecue experience –
have brought a steady flow of customers to Roger Montague’s
eatery since the first day he opened five months ago.
A Northport resident for 15 years, Montague was in technology
sales, most recently wireless services, in New York City before
he cut loose to open his own restaurant. Montague went with
a barbecue place because he likes the food, and “it’s
hard to find around here.”
And while it’s typical barbecue fare, this self-taught
chef hardly feels bound by tradition. One of seven children,
he jokes that he learned to cook in self-defense. “If
you told my mother you were hungry, she would say make yourself
He did, and pretty soon his brothers were asking him to fix
them a little something, too.
With the basic skills in hand, he began replicating dishes
that he liked. “I educated my palate walking around
New York City on an expense account,” Montague said.
“I’d find something I’d like, and I’d
go home and make it myself.”
He apparently liked barbecue pretty well – because he’s
good at it.
The stars of the show – and Montague’s best sellers
– are the Barbecued Baby Back Ribs (half-rack $13.99;
full $21.99), dry rubbed, smoked, and basted in Montague’s
house sauces. Variations on his own Jack Daniels-based recipe,
the sauces range from the slightly sweet Mild Millie to the
extra-spicy Slap Your Mama sauce. The Original blend is plenty
spicy without being overwhelming.
Seekers of Southern Barbecue do not live by ribs alone, and
Smokin’ Sloe’s Pulled Pork doesn’t disappoint.
Chunks of tender slow-roasted pork are flavorful and not too
The sandwich is a hefty portion ($10.99 with one side) and
the plate ($12.99 with one side; $14.99 with two sides) is
The same sauce does service to barbecued chicken, pulled chicken,
and classic beef brisket. All are smoky and tender, and just
waiting for that special sauce. Montague’s corn bread,
moist but not muffin-like, is a great way to sop up some of
that sauce as well.
In the Southern tradition, rib plates are served with one
side dish and the selection includes all the classics –
baked beans, slaw, mac and cheese, collard greens. The mac
and cheese is homemade – so don’t be expecting
any of that gooshy from-the-box stuff.
Cole slaw breaks from tradition with the addition of raisins
and shredded carrot – but don’t let that stop
you from slathering a forkful on your pulled pork sandwich.
It’s a nice complement.
The true test of Southern food is perhaps the collard greens.
Montague said he’s tinkered with the recipe based on
customer feedback, and it stacks up with any you’ll
find at a Southern cookout. Vinegar gives it bite and chopped
hot red peppers and onion give it plenty of flavor. Montague
again breaks with tradition omitting pork fat or bacon from
his collard greens (the same is true of his baked beans) despite
Southern tradition, so that vegetarians can find something
on the menu as well.
In fact, anyone can make a delicious meal off the Smokin’
Sloe’s menu. Starters include Spicy Wings (small $7.99;
large $10.99); Barbecue Chili ($4.99 cup; $$6.99 bowl); Veggie
Chili ($$3.99, $5.99) and Gumbo ($5.99, $7.99).
We didn’t try it – but Montague said his Fried
Calamari served with his original recipe Barbecue Marinara
Sauce is a crowd pleaser. The fried squid is as good as anybody’s,
but the sauce – something he cooked up after a not-on-the-menu
experience at a little Italian place near the World Financial
Center – makes it special.
Any of the barbecue selections are available as plates, sandwiches
or salads. For a real Southern experience, try the Chicken
Fried Steak – unless cholesterol’s an issue.
Burgers are half-pounders, cooked to order and served with
popular Waffle Fries or Sweet Potato Fries, lettuce, tomato
Families are welcome and the menu literally has something
for everyone. The half-dozen selections on the “Little
Smokers” children’s menu range from a $3.99 Hot
Dog and a side to the Children’s 1/3 Rack Baby Back
Rib plate ($9.99).
Desserts, though they’re not made on the premises, are
almost obligatory for the true Southern Barbecue experience.
Assorted pies and cakes are $3.99. About the only thing missing
– and this is a suggestion, here – is a pitcher
of home brewed iced tea, sweetened, of course.
An unassuming place with fewer than a dozen tables, Smokin’
Sloe’s occupies a storefront at the Fort Salonga Road
and Waterside Avenue intersection. If you miss the signs,
just follow your nose; spicy smokehouse aromas beckon from
the kitchens daily.
847 Fort Salonga Road
Atmosphere: Southern barbecue and comfort
food; family oriented and casual.
Price range: Inexpensive
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.