There’s a new brick and mortar BBQ shop in town, but it’s far from the new kid on the block.
Wedged in between Local Cantina and a full-service salon on South High Street sits an old brick house with large inviting windows lining the face of the aging property. It rests far away from the street, a charming little homestead with elegant porch trimmings, a jarring contrast to the bland structures flanking it on both sides. Walking up the creaky wooden stairs to the stoop, you almost feel like you’re visiting a grandmother or an elderly relative. But hidden inside this brick farmhouse from the late 1800s is the city’s newest BBQ spot: Smoked On High.
The vintage charisma continues even after you cross the thresh hold.
Solid brick walls, polished wood floors, and mason jars full of copper wiring define the interior’s personality. Trophies and knick knacks decorate the eating area, carefully avoiding kitsch and safely landing on personable charm. This isn’t just a restaurant, you’re being invited to eat in someone’s home.
Max McGarity is the visionary behind Smoked On High.
Though their South High location in the brewery district has just recently opened their doors, McGarity is far from new to the scene. He’s been slinging smoked BBQ perfection from the back of a food truck since he was 20 years old. His original concept was Buckeye Back Ribs, which later became Papaya BBQ, and finally their most recent incarnation as Smoked On High.
McGarity has been all over Ohio “Slangin’ smoke from spoke to spoke”. Racking up experience and cooking up ideal southern style barbecue. As the popularity of his food truck and catering business grew, Max began to set his eyes on a more permanent location. He eventually settled on their current site, previously an old law firm and a farmhouse even before that.
But how does their barbecue stack up? In two words: Spot on. Max loaded me with ribs, brisket, barbecue chicken, mac and cheese, pickled onion, coleslaw, and cornbread. It was an intimidating enough plate for anyone. The barbecue was cooked perfectly, the ribs juicy and falling off the bone. There were several sauces to choose from, I picked a whiskey bbq that left a lasting smokey flavor but was sweet to the taste.
The sides were surprisingly distinctive in their own right.
A lot of places lean heavy on their barbecue, as well they should, but they leave their sides as an after thought. Tasting the slaw and the mac and cheese I could tell just as much care and consideration went into those recipes as they did with the barbecued meats. The pickled onion was particularly awesome, especially considering how skeptic I was of liking it before trying it. But it was sweet and sharp, perfect for nibbling on in between the main dishes.
When they first stacked my plate full of food I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to finish it. But here’s the thing about me Columbus:
Smoked On High is sure to be the talk of the town, and very soon. You can catch them open now in their new location at 755 S High St, Columbus, OH 43206. Their hours are Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Trust me, you won’t regret it. Check out their website here.