Every day, the cooks at Stottlemyer's Smokehouse are pushing about 40 pounds of brisket into the smoker to cook overnight.
What’s the dish
You might be sleeping, but the brisket is slowly cooking.
Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse, an open-air Tiki bar and barbecue eatery on Fruitville Road just east of I-75, is smoking 40 pounds of brisket every night, pushing the meat into the cooker at 6 p.m. and then rescuing it from the heat when they open back up the next morning.
The brisket is the star attraction on the restaurant’s BBQ sampler, which also includes a half-chicken and your choice of two long bone ribs or a half-rack of baby backs.
You also get your choice of two sides with the sampler. And that’s why Monica Rodriguez, the assistant general manager at Stottlemyer’s, tells people to arrive on an empty stomach.
“I always tell people when they come here they need to come prepared,” she says. “Do not come with buttons or zippers or snaps. Elastic waist is the dress code here.”
How it’s made
The meat at Stottlemyer’s is seasoned with a dry rub, says kitchen manager Felix Morales.
There’s garlic, onion powder, paprika, salt and cayenne pepper. But it isn’t spicy.
The brisket will be totally raw when it goes into the smoker, and it will stay there for 12 hours before it’s ready to be served.
The baby back ribs, by contrast, come out of the smoker in just 2.5 hours.
“We do it at a low temperature, so it takes a long time to cook,” says Morales. “Once it comes out of the cooker, it’s perfect.”
Homemade BBQ sauce
They’re also making their own barbecue sauce at Stottlemyer’s, but it only goes on the meat at the customer’s request.
The sauce has a ketchup base and is tinged with brown sugar, molasses and corn syrup and mixed with granulated onions, garlic and apple sauce.
The mixture sits overnight, and then it’s ready for the brisket in the morning. Morales says they make the sauce every other day, and they usually make 2-5 gallons of it at a time.
Can you buy it? It's not in a bottle. But they'll find a way to get you some if you want it.
Using the whole buffalo
The meat is all over the menu, starting in the authentic barbecue section and stretching into pretty much every dish. Morales says you can get a salad or a vegetarian taco plate at Stottlemyer’s, and there's also fish options like salmon, catfish and mahi mahi for people who don't want to eat barbecued meats.
But for the people who do? You'll find a wealth of options here.
Rodriguez says smoked meat will find its way into tacos, chili dishes, pizzas and meaty macaroni and cheese sandwiches. It’s even made its way into the vegetables.
“Our cabbage, our collard greens, our green beans all come with bacon and onions,” she says. “If you have a pork religion, our vegetables aren’t going to be it. Stick to the fried okra.”
Sit-down or takeout
Stottlemyer’s is equipped with a takeout window at the front for anyone who wants to grab a meal and go. But if you want to stick around for a while, the tiki bar and main seating area is ready for you to eat in and covered by a thatched roof Chickee Hut in case of rain.
You've had jalapeño. And you've had bacon. Have you had bacon-wrapped jalapeño?
At Stottlemyer's, they take the jalapeño pepper and mix it with seasonings including cheddar cheese and creamed cheese. And then they wrap it in bacon and smoke it.
"When the order is made," says Rodriguez, "we flash-fry it to crisp up that bacon, but that whole jalapeño with the filling and the bacon is initially smoked."
Join the Neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering news and information that is relevant to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining the Observer's new membership program — The Newsies — a group of like-minded community citizens, like you. Be a Newsie.