The Whole Nine Yards: The Smokeyard

8 months ago


Go the extra mile to discover this joint. The Smokeyard goes above and beyond to offer diners the authentic American barbecue experience.


Words by Janelle Año

Photographed by Yukie Sarto of Studio 100

Address: Ground floor, 5666 Don Pedro Street, Brgy. Poblacion, Makati City


WALK ALONG DON PEDRO STREET IN BRGY. POBLACION, MAKATI AND YOU MIGHT FACE THE IRRESISTIBLE SMELL OF MEAT MINGLING WITH SWEET WOODY SMOKE. You’ll then find yourself led to a barbecue joint that prides itself on preparing American-style barbecue the good old-fashioned way, with absolutely no shortcuts.

The Smokeyard is one of Barangay Poblacion’s newest restaurants. The neighborhood, which is known for straddling the boundary between being a wholesome foodie destination and a red light district, is known for being home to some of the hippest watering holes and trendiest restaurants. And now, one of the most promising up-and-coming barbecue places.

“I started thinking about creating The Smokeyard about five years ago when I thought about quitting my corporate job,” says Troy Conine, chef and owner. “I wanted to do something I loved, something I could do for the rest of my life. At that time, I was grilling meats for my friends’ parties and convincing them to buy a smoker so I could smoke meats for them.” His hobby quickly turned into an all-consuming passion, and he signed up for barbecue classes to learn the ins and outs of smoking meats.

“I went to barbecue school in Murphysboro in Illinois. I was under Mike Mills—he’s kind of known as a ‘legend’ in barbecue! He’s a world champion with a room full of trophies,” Troy laughs. “When I went to barbecue school, I met a lot of barbecue celebrities (and people who were just starting out) and we always wanted to learn from the great masters.”

Inspired by the barbecue greats he met at school, and after countless attempts at creating his own signature recipes—including sampling 30 different brands of sauces to figure out what made a sauce good or bad—he decided to take the plunge and move back to the Philippines to open his own barbecue joint.

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The Smokeyard’s menu is small but well-curated, offering beef, pork, and poultry. The Pulled Pork Sliders has lean pork slow cooked for 12-16 hours until it’s supremely tender—but never mushy! The sliders come with mustard vinegar for tang and coleslaw that’s just a little on the sweet side, creating a balanced bite each time. The Beef Brisket Sandwich has thick, hefty slices of beef brisket with BBQ sauce and pickles, but we think the brisket is so good that it deserves to be ordered on its own. The briskets are cooked Texas-style, with premium US beef seasoned simply with salt and pepper, cooked for 8-14 hours until a rich depth of beefy, smoky flavor shines through.

The Pork Ribs may be a revelation for those used to ribs that are cooked until they’re fall off-the-bone tender. The Smokeyard’s ribs are tender and utterly juicy, but they also have a little bite. It’s a different but extremely satisfying take on the usual ribs. The Chicken Wings are on the spicier side, and need no sauce, although all of the meats can be paired with the restaurant’s three housemade sauces. There’s Original, a mildly sweet and tangy blend; Fiery, a spicier formulation; and Mustard Vinegar.

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Side dishes are equally important in a barbecue joint and The Smokeyard offers a roster of tried and tested comfort food favorites. The must-tries are the Smoked Beans, which are cooked under the smoked meats (so they catch the drippings and some meat!) and served the next day to let the flavors intensify, just like good adobo; the Mac n’ Cheese, a gooey four cheese crowd pleaser; and the Dirty Rice, fried rice with onions and beef brisket.

Given the restaurant’s unique location, what kind of ambiance can diners expect? “Families usually eat here for weekend lunches. Office workers go here for lunch because we have lunch specials with prices that are really competitive. The dinner crowd is usually backpackers from nearby hostels. At night this becomes a sort of haven for…” Troy pauses, thinking of the right word. “Hipsters? Because we have a really good selection of drinks so it becomes a drinking place too!” The Smokeyard is one of those few restaurants that can transform seamlessly, where anyone from students, expats, yuppies, artists, socialites, and night owls can rub shoulders knowing they’re all there for the same reason—for barbecue that’s so good, it demands to be devoured.


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