“Smokey Mo” smoking meats with mesquite at former Shari’s Drive-In

The local barbecue joint has no affiliation with the Texas barbecue chain Smokey Mo's BBQ

Smokey Mo restaurant quietly opened mid-July in previously housed burger icon Shari’s Drive-In at 2650 N. 1st Ave.

First off, be aware that the local barbecue joint is not affiliated with the Texas barbecue chain Smokey Mo’s BBQ.

While barbecue from Smokey Mo is influenced from Kansas City and Texas styles, the restaurant is adapting to local tastes as they learn the preferences.

For example, the menu features barbecue tacos on a corn tortilla with cabbage, cotija, and avocado cream. Additionally, mesquite is the wood of choice.

Although barbecue is the specialty, the restaurant is also proud of their house-smoked pastrami, brined for 12 days and smoked for 12 hours. Since the smoked meats may sell out through the day, the kitchen also offers charbroiled burgers prepared to order.

The tiny restaurant seats about 20 inside and about 22 on the patio.

Smokey Mo Menu Highlights

  • Half-Slab of Pork Ribs ($18)
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich ($9) – spicy house barbecue sauce, jicama citrus slaw, sesame bun
  • Pastrami Sandwich ($10) – 12-day house brined pastrami, sauerkraut, mustard, marble rye
  • AZ OG Burger ($9) – Pepper Jack cheese, serrano aioli, tomato, crispy onions
  • Tacos ($2.50 each) – choice of pork, chicken, or calabacitas on a corn tortilla with cabbage, cotija, avocado crema

Operating hours are 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday.

Keep up with Smokey Mo on Facebook. For more information, call (520) 203-8250 or visit smokeymo.com.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.