Penticton’s Smugglers Smoke House has only been in its new home for a few weeks, but is already loving the change.
“The new location has been fantastic for foot traffic and exposure, and everyone’s finding us that knew about us before, which is really great,” co-owner Shayna Shulman said of their new spot at 536 Main St. “It’s been very busy, but of course we could always be a little bit busier!”
Customers from their old location on Winnipeg Street are thrilled it’s back, and new ones are thrilled to discover it.
“So far everybody that comes in is loving the space,” Shulman said. “It’s comparable to the other one. It still has that cozy vibe, and they just feel at home like they should. Thumbs up all around.”
She owns the business with her husband Josh. Together, they launched in Naramata in 2016 and moved to their first location in Penticton soon after.
“We’re trying to be the most authentic southern barbecue place that we can,” Shulman said. “We do use an indoor smoker that’s like an oven, but we find it turns just everything into magic.”
You’ll find all types of smoked meat on the menu offered with a mouthwatering list of sauces, as well as fresh homemade corn bread, beans, coleslaw, potato salad, mac and cheese, and more.
As tourism season gets going, they have had quite a few American visitors lately, who have all been impressed, calling the Smokehouse offerings “the real deal.”
“That’s always nice to hear, because I’ve never even been to Texas!” Shulman said with a laugh. “We wanted to do something that’s not already being done in Penticton or the Okanagan really, so it’s a good feeling when you get the thumbs up from people like that.”
As much of their food as possible is made in-house from scratch, and nothing is hurried. Their brisket, their most popular item by far, takes the longest to perfect of anything on the menu.
“That’s a 16- or 20-hour cook cycle for that, plus we like to marinate it in just some salt and pepper before we smoke it. It helps tenderize is a little bit,” Shulman explained. “It’s in that rub for 24 hours before it goes in the smoker, so we are constantly planning in advance.”
It’s a lot of work, and that’s on top of being a new mom. Shulman’s infant daughter Mavora is a frequent and much-loved guest at Smugglers, hanging out while Shulman works. Mavora sat and giggled contentedly on Shulman’s lap throughout the interview with Castanet.
“I am very fortunate to be able to bring her to work with me, and my husband works across the street, so he takes her sometimes,” she said. “And my staff, they all also have their own families and kids, so they’re very understanding of a child in the restaurant. They sometimes are stoked to get paid to stand around and hold my baby!”
Smugglers Smoke House is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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