Depew, NY

The Huge Flavor at Smokin’ Little Diner

J.M. Lesinski
A shot of the front entrance of Smokin' Little Diner in Depew, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

When it comes to barbecue in Western New York, one of the best kept gems is tucked away in Depew, New York. The diner aesthetic might throw some barbecue critics off, more used to visible smokers and big wood backsplashes in the typical BBQ joint, but make no mistake Smokin’ Little Diner brings the flavor just as good if not better.

For starters, Smokin’ Little Diner offers nine exclusive barbecue sauces in store and online, each unique and exceptional in their own ways. The FireBerry brings heat with the sweet taste of raspberries and blackberries, while the Mellow Mandarin offers up a tangy orange sauce. The sweeter, fruit-inspired sauces continue with a tantalizing Branded Cherry sauce, as well as a smooth and subtle Apple Cinnamon.

The Apple Chipotle BBQ shares a similar pallet to the Apple Cinnamon, with a heavier kick on the spice side. The Sweet Chipotle has a milder heat compared to the Kickin’ Q, for those looking for a hotter BBQ. The Bourbon Street has the best, sweet molasses aftertaste, not too rich, but just rich enough, bearing the most resemblance to the Original BBQ, a masterful staple sauce no matter how you dice it.

Barbecue is best experienced in as many forms as possible, as the sauces demonstrate, making the combo specials a great place to start for a meal at Smokin’ Little Diner. The Ribs and Wings section of the menu is combined with the Combo Specials section, making it that much easier to order in this fashion. The ribs and wings combos themselves come in at five wings and a half rack or ten wings and a full rack, both served with fries.

For a full-blown smoked meat barbecue sampler, there are three options: mini, BBQ, and big. The mini sampler features a half rack of ribs, pulled pork or chicken, and fries plus one other side, while the BBQ sampler features the same half rack and pulled pork or chicken with a total of four sides. The big sampler, always recommended the highest, comes with a full rack of ribs, brisket, pulled pork or chicken, and four sides for the ultimate barbecue feast.

The ribs themselves come in half racks with two sides or full racks with three sides. The wings themselves come in fives, tens, or twenties, and really are another excellent example of the Buffalo classic dish done right at Smokin’ Little Diner. Being a BBQ joint, the BBQ wings are a must-try, while there are hot, medium, mild, and a garlic parm (medium heat) options too. The weck and wings are a great combination option too, as the beef on weck is hearty and seasoned nicely.

Another barbecue combination portion of the menu, barnyard insanity, is where the pit smoked burgers and pulled pork combos dwell. Burgers are moos, pulled pork is called oinks, and pulled chicken is referred to as clucks. The oink and moo is about eleven bucks, but for a dollar more you get the oink, cluck, and moo or the double oink and moo with bacon. Of course, for one more dollar, one can get the works in the double oink, cluck and moo.

With all the talk of pulled pork, one’s mind of course wanders to brisket, which is available in many forms at Smokin’ Little Diner. The double oink, cluck, and moo with brisket too rounds out the barnyard insanity, while brisket sandwiches are some of the highlights of the BBQ sandwich section. The brisket Texan comes with garlic Texas toast and coleslaw, while the regular brisket sandwich is a handful on its own.

All the staple BBQ sandwiches are there, pulled pork, pulled chicken, as well as a few other notable bites. The BBQ pulled chimichanga is one of a kind, available in pork or chicken, and of course the Texan with pulled pork or pulled chicken brings a heap of flavor to an already stellar dish. The pork belly with slaw and choice of peach or pineapple habanero sauce is an absolute must-try.

The pit burgers are a great find too and come in so many options that just blow away any notion of a typical easy burger. The BBQ Bacon brisket burger is a monstrous mound of amazing barbecue that is so much less expensive than any major chain restaurant BBQ burger, and it comes with more ingredients. The jalapeno bacon queso burger literally melts in one’s mouth, while the same goes for the earthy succulence of the mushroom Swiss.

The pit chicken sandwiches are the same deal, just creative, tasty dishes at a fraction of a big chain food’s cost. The staple grilled chicken breast sandwich has so much good barbecue char flavor just by itself. The big cheese, the jalapeno bacon pepper jack chicken ranchero, is a true piece of cuisine art in the sheer oozing cheese and spicy goodness it is.

Smokin’ Little Diner even does hearty pastas and BBQ mac and cheese spreads. Pork belly, brisket, or even the unicorn of the BBQ world – the bacon brisket – are all mac and cheese options. There are five different alfredo dishes, each unique enough like the chicken Cajun or steak and broccoli, that one just will not find the variety like that anywhere else.

There are even more sandwich options on the menu that are not even barbecue related necessarily, and they are just as good and better priced than any area competitor for the taste and quality. The hot stackers like the meatloaf and pot roast are the perfect dinner sandwich, while Buffalo classics like the Reuben and the kickin’ chicken are right up there too with a pickle and some chips on the side.

Of course, there are dinners too, which are both a blend of barbecue classics and down-home country cooking, like the honey glazed fried chicken. The country fried steak is always just a little spicy, while one knows the BBQ kickin’ chicken and BBQ meatloaf are too.

There is also always breakfast all day at Smokin’ Little Diner, there are Friday fish fries available, and even floats and homemade desserts all the time too. No matter how one slices it, there is just about everything on the menu for just about everyone.

Comments / 5

Published by

Professional journalist for over five years, covering topics all up and down both coasts of the United States, including arts, music, food, politics, and culture. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

More from J.M. Lesinski

Comments / 0