Sunday, April 15, 2012

Smiley's Fuel City

Smiley's Fuel City on Urbanspoon4/7/2012 Barbecue seems to be coming up pretty often on alphageek talks food. That is kind of strange, given that we are not really barbecue experts here. However, there seems to be demand for barbecue reviews, so we are trying to fill that demand.  This review will be one sandwich, and that is all, but what a great sandwich it was.
We drew some inspiration from reading a blog post on the subject.  You can read Down Home Foodie's blog post on Smiley's Fuel City here.  That is correct, for those of you paying attention.  We are reviewing food at a place that is more or less a gas station.  Good food?  We are all over that.  Heck, we did not even know that Smiley's served any  food, until we read the previously mentioned blog post, so we owe them our thanks.  Smiley's is located in Raphine, VA off of I-81.

I was going to eat this sandwich inside, where they have seating, but someone spilled gas on themselves.  The smell of gas was not what I wanted with my brisket sandwich and potato salad, so I ate outside, in my car.  Just looking at the sandwich, I noticed that the brisket had a great pink color, which means it had absorbed a lot of smoke flavor, and the essence of smoke greeted my nose.  I also noticed some fat.  The extra fat is not my thing, and it was easily removed from the sandwich.  I took a bite through the white bread sandwich roll and said "wow".  How the heck do they slice this stuff?  It is so tender, it should just be falling apart.  I quietly ate my sandwich, jealous of the great flavor the barbecue had imparted.  I only dream of smoking brisket this well.  I wrapped up, and took the trash out of the car.  When I returned, I noticed that the smell of smoke still permeated the car, making the inside of the car smell like a great roadside stand.  I left knowing I just had a great sandwich.
Brisket Sandwich

Oh, there was some potato salad too.  You can just skip the potato salad, unless very average potato salad is your thing.  Just get the sandwich, and you will leave happy.

Make sure you call first if you are using the map below.  The map is just not correct, but google won't change the map.

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  1. No sauce? Was this a conscious decision?

    Always like reading your reviews!

  2. It is so good, and cooked so perfectly, no extras are needed.

  3. Two comments:

    1. This post brought back some fond memories of when I lived in TN in the 90s. My brother lived in Arlington, and I'd regularly spend my weekends hanging out with my brother. The drive was a long one, around 8 hours of driving, mostly on I-81, and Fuel City was my normal stopping point, due to exactly two reasons (a) they were way cheaper than anywhere else on that stretch, and (b) the food was decent. The BBQ sandwich you describe is not much different from the last one I remember having there in 1995.

    2. I'm glad you talked about the saucing issue: too often people have been conditioned to think of "barbecue" as primarily a sauce-based concept and not as a "smoke-based" concept. Good barbecue is enhanced by a little sauce. Great barbecue doesn't need sauce. :)

  4. Thanks for the blog mention. I'm glad you enjoyed the brisket as much as I did. Great palates eat alike.