The smell of smoking meat. Behind Wire Mill BBQ in Georgetown, gray smoke curls above two hulking, black, portable smokers. A man pulls wood from a split, stacked cord. Inside, the walls are corrugated tin, with acid-washed rusty patches. Diner chairs from the 1950s have a glitzy Southern country look. Wire Mill BBQ, which opened in late January, is funky, but clean and new.
One thing's evident: Men love barbecue. The tables are full of men, and there are more men at the bar. The few women here are accompanying the men. But it's popular with families, too. On Saturday nights, there can be a one-hour wait, but now that the weather's warm, there's seating on the front patio.
Wire Mill's barbecue balances spice, smoke and meat. The dry rub is simple. The meat isn't over-seasoned and salted. Depending on the cut, the meats are slow cooked between 8 to 16 hours over oak, cherry or apple wood.
Smoked wings are mahogany brown and crisp. Inside they're meaty and smoky. A quarter rack of baby back ribs ($7.95), an appetizer for sharing, has lots of meat, which pulls easily from the bone.
Homemade barbecue sauces can be squirted on as the whim strikes. There are six of them. Classic, chipotle, honey, mustard, white and hot sauce. The least thrilling is the white, a doctored mayo served with the smoked wings. The wings are good enough on their own.
The Famous Smoked Platter ($21.95) offers two meats and two sides and cornbread. Pulled pork has the black exterior known as the "bark," crispy brown bits and moist, white meat. The kielbasa-like sausage is made by Gino, the owner, and it's hammy, smoky and rich and tastes great with a bite of the grainy yellow cornbread. But we wish the mac and cheese was creamier. Coleslaw was finely chopped, mostly cabbage, more bland than vinegary.
The Cobb Salad is a meal. Chopped romaine, thick, crisp homemade bacon, cherry tomatoes, avocado and (properly prepared) hard boiled eggs come liberally showed with smoked chicken pulled from the bone. The chicken is a real treat, tender, not overly smoked. It's a reminder that Wire Mill BBQ is a meat fest.
The craft beer list includes Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Brooklyn Lager and local Two Roads brews.
For dessert, Deborah Ann of the eponymous Sweet Shoppe in Ridgefield has made a special ice cream, corn bread and jalapeño in creamy, rich vanilla ice cream. It's weird, and it doesn't quite work, but points for courage and creativity.
Workers wander in, looking for sandwiches, and then wander out. The friendly waitress calls to them, handing them take-out menus. Pulled pork sandwiches and homemade sausage and peppers on a pretzel roll, lunch for a working man or woman. I'll take the BLT with thick-cut house-smoked bacon.
Wire Will BBQ, 12 Old Mill Road, Redding, is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Information: 203- 544-9988 and www.wiremillbbq.com.Copyright © 2015, CT Now