Yankee Smokehouse is easy to find but hard to get to. It’s right at the intersection of routes 16 and 25 about a half hour south of the outlets in North Conway. Huge billboards remind you of its existence 23 miles and 1 mile before you get there. With a huge pig sign and a one-of-a-kind country vibe, Yankee Smokehouse looks like it could be good. You can see the smoker attached to the side of the building. The inside is very country-crafty, with a souvenir stand and lots of pig-related knick knacks. They don’t have a bar, but they serve beer. There’s a deck for outside seating in the summer.
The menu has Smokehouse ribs (spares) and Danish babybacks, along with barbecue chicken, sliced beef and sliced pork. Platters and combo plates come in two sizes. Besides larger portions, the large choice gets you baked beans in addition to the standard fries, cole slaw and garlic toast. Yankee Smokehouse also has burgers (beef or veggie), hot dogs, chicken filet, haddock and smoked chicken salad.
I tried the Smokehouse ribs and sliced beef combo, large of course. The ribs themselves were very large. I was a little surprised to see such big pink ribs with an almost bloody smoke ring. There was a good crust on the outside and just a faint drizzle of sauce. The flavor wasn’t bad but the ribs were very rubbery in some spots and very tough in others. I spent several hours the rest of the afternoon trying to dislodge a hunk of rib meat from my teeth. The beef was interesting, with a flavor and presentation unlike any brisket I’ve had. Sliced very thin, it had the look of pastrami minus the spices, the texture of Steakum, and a boil-all-the-flavor-out taste. The plastic bottle of sweet and tangy BBQ sauce was a bright spot, served very warm.
Sides were just OK. Steak fries were thick with skins on. Beans were ordinary. Cole slaw was like a poor man’s version of the Colonel’s.
Smoked chicken salad had no smoky flavor.
The bottom line: Average barbecue at best. Yankee Smokehouse must do a bang up business from vacationers, bikers and shoppers headed up to the outlets. I can’t imagine them getting many repeat customers.