Smokehouse 52 BBQ: Chelsea, Michigan

The 52 in the name Smokehouse 52 BBQ references Highway 52 that runs through Chelsea, Michigan. This part of the road is also known as Main Street.

Location: Smokehouse 52 BBQ located at 125 South Main Street in downtown Chelsea, Michigan. Find the restaurant’s website here. Smokehouse 52 BBQ has two locations in southeast Michigan, one in Chelsea and one in Saline.

Menu: This BBQ menu focuses on authentic BBQ that will please BBQ-lovers from several regions. Apple and cherry woods give a light and smoky flavor to this BBQ. It isn’t too heavy on the smoke flavor; so, those who sometimes don’t like BBQ are pleasantly surprised.

In addition to BBQ, Smokehouse 52 BBQ has an extensive bourbon menu.

Thoughts: Since they smoke BBQ with authentic wood-fired pits, it’s appropriate that much of the restaurant’s décor is wood. Recovered barn wood covers the back wall of the main dining room, while chicken wire covers slices of tree trunks decorating another wall.

You can choose from five types of house-made BBQ Sauce to accompany the meat. The unusual one here is the Root Beer BBQ sauce. They also have an All-American Sauce, Steakhouse Gold, Kiss and Vinegar, and 52-Alarm. The 52-Alarm isn’t as spicy as it sounds. As once again, the 52 references the road, not the level of heat in the sauce. With this variety, you’re sure to find one that you’ll love.

Order a combination plate to taste a variety of meats and choose your favorite for future trips.

The cowboy caviar is an out of the ordinary side—something you won’t always find in a BBQ restaurant. Made with a combination of black beans, corn, onions, green and red bell peppers, tomato, black-eyed peas, and then dressed with the Kiss and Vinegar BBQ sauce, it is a corn and black bean salad. They serve this as a side dish, and it also comes as a base with the honey-citrus grilled salmon, which is another favorite.

The pitmaster creates the pit beans by combining red beans, white beans, and butter beans. These are a slightly sweet, slightly smokey version of pit beans with the addition of apples and smoked pork.

Just a short walk from Smokehouse 52 BBQ is the Jiffy mix manufacturing plant. Smokehouse 52 BBQ supports that local business by making their cornbread made from Jiffy mix. I believe they make the mix their own by changing up the package directions. It’s a moist cornbread.

My favorite dessert was the peach cobbler. First, the chef lightly smokes the peaches. This step is what makes the dish special. Then they slice them and place them in the bottom of a ramekin. They mix the peaches in a caramel sauce and top the mixture with a crumbled cake made from Jiffy baking mix and then lightly toast it. The dessert comes with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Price Range: Pre-Q range from $5.99 for the fried pickles, aka frickles, to $16.99 for the Brisket BBQ Quesadilla. An entrée salad is about $15. From the Pit, items range from $15.99 for pulled pork or chicken to $29.99 for a full rack of smokehouse ribs. Desserts are $5.99 for either the banana pudding or the root beer float—dinner for two runs about $50, including tax and gratuity.

Amy Piper
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