UPDATE, OCTOBER 9: You're either open, or you're not. But the folks over at Smoqued BBQ in Old Towne Orange are naming today their official grand opening. Orange Mayor Carolyn Cavecche will conduct the ribbon cutting at 3 p.m.
In the spirit of all things meaty and competitive, Chapman University's Lacrosse team will be launching the restaurant's first annual Meat Lovers Burger eating competition at 6 p.m. Those who maintain a strong stomach are welcome to stick around for live entertainment of the musical variety at 8 p.m.
ORIGINAL POST, SEPTEMBER 14, 2 P.M. As a former tipster, we were delighted to not only receive one, but from a friend 400 miles away. Besides Shuji, the other barbecue judge I know is our friend Amber. Her connection to the BBQ circuit got the scoop that Smoqued BBQ held a soft opening on Tuesday, with their first official day Wednesday.
With an incomplete website (tsk tsk), we scoured for information. Here's what we found:
Their smoker has a 1,000 pound capacity. That's a lotta pork butt! Some of the wood used in their slow and low cooking method include cherry, hickory, apple and oak.
Smoqued's executive Pitmaster is Ryan Chester. He's associated with The Rub Company, specializing in all-natural seasonings. However, he's best known as a fierce barbecue competitor.
Wendie Huffman is executive chef, formerly of 2nd Floor in Huntington Beach and Ten Asian Bistro in Newport Beach. Wendie's chef training hails from the California Cooking Academy in San Francisco, with advanced schooling through the Culinary Institute of America.
Some of their menu items include BBQ nachos, Cuban sandwich, smoked brisket and ribs, and hot apple pie. Sauce options will have a signature Smoqued, Carolina mustard and raspberry habanero. California craft beers are the beverage pairing of choice-- the first one he shared on tap with his Facebook fans was from Coronado Brewing Company.
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Their operating hours are until 2 a.m., Friday and Saturdays; midnight the rest of the week.
Shuji is already working on a write up, complete with video interview, so you can expect more comprehensive coverage in the not-too-distant future. If you've been lucky enough to dine there this week, let us know what's tasty. Inquiring carnivores want to know.
Smoqued is located at 128 N. Glassel, Orange, (714) 633-7427; www.smoquedbbq.com.