Smoki O’s: Our Top Barbecue Pick In Old North St. Louis

Coming off its 20th anniversary, Smoki O’s is both a nationally recognized culinary leader and a small-neighborhood hideaway. Its founding family, Otis and Earline Walker, grew their business through word of mouth instead of traditional advertising, trusting that news of their delicious menu at realistic prices would carry far and wide. And it has—their barbecue joint on a quiet stretch of Broadway, north of Downtown, attracts both regulars and drop-in celebrities like author, chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern.

Unless you’re in the know, you may have never tried Smoki O’s signature rib tips and snoots. Snoots—or pig snouts cured overnight—are a true barbecue delicacy, rubbed with cayenne and salt, grilled for an hour to render the fat and then coated in the Walkers’ secret-recipe barbecue sauce.

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Food is central to the Walkers’ family history, so of course there are stories behind several dishes (like Flo’s Mac and 3 Cheese or Minnie’s potato salad). The barbecue itself, with its unique reddish color as a result of the cooking process, is a story unto itself—but good luck squeezing the secret out of the multi-generational family staff.

Smoki O’s Bar-B-Que
1545 N. Broadway

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While you’re in the neighborhood, visit …

Old North Provisions
2720 N. 14th St.

After winning $100,000 in a startup competition, this grocery and restaurant is gearing up to spotlight the fresh produce of its parent organization, Good Life Growing.

Sk8 Liborius Social Club
1840 Hogan St.

A skatepark, performance and event venue housed in a former Catholic church.


This story originally appeared in ALIVE’s sister publication, “GUIDED: ST. LOUIS—Old North.” Pick up your complimentary copy on newsstands now.

Photo credit: Carmen Troesser

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