Smokey Mo 4 Meat Sampler

Smokey Mo turns a famous Tucson Drive-In into a mesquite marvel

We’re on a family vacation this week, exploring Tucson, AZ for the first time, and you know that means we’re on the hunt for good BBQ. On the way to the Pima Air Museum, we took a short detour down the Miracle Mile to Tucson’s Smokey Mo BBQ where the service is as great as the food.

Smokey Mo in Tucson, AZ

Walking in, the Pitmaster came out to greet us and on learning it was our first time, offered a walkthrough of the board for the day. I do mean the WHOLE board. This is the type of customer service that goes a long way, especially with two kids (a.k.a. picky eaters) in tow. Smokey Mo regularly updates their menu, looking to mix things up. Kansas City-style BBQ typically smokes meats using Hickory wood. Smokey Mo has their own twist, using mesquite wood which is native to the area and imparts a subtler smoke.

With a big crew we ended up going with two large samplers family style along with some rib tips, and wings to try. The 8 year old was sold on the smoked Chicken Sandwich special. We sampled the Brisket, Smoked Tri-Tip, Pulled Pork, Hot Links, Ribs, Wings, and Rib Tips. Throwing caution we ordered two tacos on the side. Burgers are also an option all-day, particularly as they tend to sell out of smoked meats during the lunch hour.

We sat outside under the canvassed patio, comfortable in the Arizona sun. Within minutes our food starting arriving with a smile. We asked for sauce on the side for a Keto friendly option, and so we could get a sense of the smoke and rub.

The Brisket, Pulled Pork and Tri-Tip delivered. They weren’t dry at all, a challenge in the desert climate. The Ribs were also well smoked. The Link wasn’t as hot as we were expecting, but delicious nonetheless. For sides, the Collard Greens had a kick, the beans had a lot of meat in them. The coleslaw was also fresh and cool.

The Wings were a huge hit, smokey and not overdone and generously sauced. The Rib Tips were a little hard to navigate, but the rub on them and the ribs had just the right balance, not too sweet. I tasted smoked paprika and a hint of cayenne along with the salt and pepper.

The sauce was all about Smokey Mo’s Kansas City roots. A heavy tomato base, with some molasses and spices. It took me back to Arthur Bryant’s or a Jack Stack with more tang. It went well.

As we were departing, the crowd was lined up outside the door, on a Sunday. It’s a good thing we arrived early as the locals started streaming in.

Be sure to check them out next time you’re in Tucson, AZ.

Smokey Mo BBQ
2650 N 1st Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85719

(520) 203-8250

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