Fyah at Zack's Smoke House

Fyah at Zack's Smoke House

Thursday, January 16, 2020

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Award-winning restaurateurs Lisa and Kirk Chin (Fromage Bistro and Cafe Dolce) are at it again with a new restaurant concept that is as classic as it's trendy. Cue: barbecue joint Zack's Smoke Shack located in Market Place.

In the States, barbecue is serious business. The Chins, who are avid travellers, not only fell in love with southern barbecue during their travels but realised the similarities with Jamaica's jerk process. This shared culinary history as well as the desire to meet the expanding palate of the local dining public are what convinced the Chins that Zack's would be a sure-fire hit.

When Thursday Food visited the barbecue joint had barely been open for a week. However, post-lunchtime, there was still a steady stream of customers eager to partake of the offerings.

The menu comprises southern barbecue staples — ribs, cornbread, baked beans, coleslaw, mac and cheese, sweet tea, sausages, and an array of homemade barbecue sauces. There's also smoked chicken, Cajun fries, potato salad, and roast pig. The latter has quickly become a crowd favourite. Brisket, gourmet smoked hot dogs, and beef ribs will be added to the menu in short order.

If you're a fan of proper baked beans, Zack's version, replete with deep smoky flavour, sweetness and shards of bacon, will impress. The potato salad is delightfully toothsome and has just enough richness, the coleslaw and mac and cheese are as decadent as they are supposed to be, and the Cajun fries are crisp, hot, and ever so piquant.

The smoked chicken and sausage pair well together on a platter.

For the roast pig, a whole hog is split and placed in a smoker for six to eight hours (depending on the weight of the animal). Its smoky unctuousness is perfectly paired with one of the restaurant's side dishes or consumed in one of the two pork sandwiches — Pork Boss (roast pig, coleslaw and barbecue sauce) and Messy Hog (roast pig, smoked sausage, coleslaw, and smoky barbecue sauce).

Barbecue joints will always boast about three things — ribs, cornbread, and sauces. Well, if that's the rubric against which Zack's is graded, then it has won the trifecta. Also, many will boast about the type of wood they use, whether it's hickory, mesquite, oak, maple or pecan. Zack's has a proprietary combination that will be guarded for as long as possible.

But back to the trifecta. The ribs are beautifully smoked and are a delight to eat. The cornbread (in this instance a muffin) has a delicate crumb and has so much flavour it can stand alone against the barbecued meats. There are four housemade sauces: three barbecue — sweet smoke, bourbon, and hot — and a Scotch bonnet-based sauce appropriately called Bun Fyah. Barbecue sauces tend to easily get cloying. However, all of those at Zack's are balanced and complement the menu items versus being needed to round out the flavours.

Zack's Smoke Shack

Shop #9H Marketplace

67 Constant Spring Road,

Kingston 10

Opening Hours:

Sunday to Thursday

11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Friday & Saturday

11:00 am –11:00 pm

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