Ever the slaves to mass media, Tara and I decided to try Stacy's Smokehouse Friday night. Michelle Laudig gave it a really good review in the current New Times and it sounded too good to pass up. Stacy's is located on the NW corner of Indian School and 17th St. We nearly missed it and had to turn quick before I drove past. The tiny parking lot was full and I had to squeeze the Camry between the curb and a sweet Audi Cabriolet.
We entered the bright purple building from the rear entrance and were immediately hit by the saliva-inducing aroma of good smoked BBQ. A bunch of people were sitting in plastic chairs that lined the short hallway, waiting for their to-go orders. The main room is somewhat small, with five tables (four four-tops and a very wobbly two-top) and all but the two-top were taken. You order at the counter and the menu is written on a large chalkboard above the entry to the open kitchen area. The very busy but friendly lady at the counter also pointed out paper copies of the menu that definitely saved us some neck pain.
Judging by the aromas, I figured it would be hard to go wrong. After looking over the extensive menu, I decided to get a half-rack of pork ribs, a piece of white meat fried chicken, onion rings, and an Orange Crush. Tara got rib tips, beans, cornbread, and a Coke. Our order came to about $27. The lady handed me the drinks and I sat down at the two-top with Tara to wait.
It was quite chilly in the dining room and Tara was turning a bit blue as we were sitting under a ceiling fan going about 200 mph. I leaned on the table and nearly catapulted Tara's Coke into her. The table top was loosely secured to the base by four small nails that weren't pounded all the way in. Eventually a couple at a table near us left and after it was bussed, we jumped over to it.
Our food seemed to be taking quite a while, but we also noticed a constant stream of to-go orders coming out. After about 1/2 an hour, a table that was there before us got their food and ours came out immediately after.
First out was Tara's rib tips, cornbread, and beans, along with my onion rings topped with a great-looking piece of fried chicken. Tara's tips were good, but she said the little white cartilage pieces grossed her out. The beans were ok. They reminded me of canned baked beans. She really liked the cornbread. She thinks the rib tips were probably really good for what they are, but that she just ordered badly. Rib tip fans will probably love them.
The fried chicken was excellent. Moist, perfectly fried, and a bit crunchy. I was able to take a nice big bite and loved it. Tara tried it and wished she'd gotten a few pieces instead of her tips. The onion rings were very sweet but not too crunchy. They were good, but I wished for a bit more crunch.
A few minutes after the first food arrived, the lady came out with large styrofoam container holding the "half-rack" of ribs, cut into single ribs for convenience. I'm not sure if this is a different cut or what, but they filled the container and were covered in what turned out to be an outstanding bbq sauce. Since there was no way I was going to eat the ribs with the provided plastic utensils, I dove in with my hands. Luckily the lady also put a huge stack napkins. I took a bite of the ribs and they were amazing. Fall-off-the-bone tender with a great smoky flavor. I was able to eat three of the seven or eight ribs before I had to give up. Despite being cut with more fat then I like, these are my favorite ribs in the Valley. I ended up eating the leftovers cold and they were still great.
Between the fried chicken and ribs, we'll definitely be going back. According to Michelle's review, the chicken is only available after 3pm. I didn't see anything saying that in the restaurant, but I might have missed it. It's a true Mom-and-Pop place and the long wait for food might put some off, but after sampling the goods, we both think it's well worth any service quirks. Everyone was very friendly and helpful.
We'll definitely be back.
1650 E Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ