Though barbecue sauce can be used to power tractors or grease slip 'n' slides, it’s best for making beans sing and chickens dance. Start a party on the tongue's floor with todays Groupon: for $16 you get $32 worth of Vancouver Island Barbecue at Smoken Bones Cookshack, located on Station Avenue.
This homey hut cooks and cures gourmet grub seven days a week, rousing regulars with local produce and artisan meats served in country-style, blond wicker baskets. Chef and owner Ken Hueston prepares all food on-site, using the culinary treasures of independent farmers and epicurious pirates to ensure fresh, natural flavours and to promote sustainable agricultural systems. The Cookshack's smoking sages enlist the essence of various pungent woodchips to render menu favourites such as the two person barbecue taster platter ($50) stocked with samples of pork ribs, beef ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket, and the smoked half chicken ($18) which is glazed, like a dedicated salsa dancer, with fireweed honey mustard sauce.
Smoken Bones also cossets its customers with a bevy of rotating microbrews from Phillips Brewery. The local froth factory cultivates artisan suds such as Surly Blonde Big Belgian Triple and the Amnesiac Double IPA—according to the Code of Hammurabi—completely from scratch. Patrons can loosen their lips with a pint of their favourite variety or can up the ante with a jug's worth to quench a week's worth of thirst or shelter an extensive collection. A Southern–style bourbon list also hovers over the bar for snackers looking to tout tongues with twang.
Smoken Bones Cookshack is a member of the Island Chefs' Collaborative, a group of professionals from Southern Vancouver that supports local farmers and sustainable food markets. Bite-size natural noshes such as the mac 'n' cheese dinner and the kids' pork po' boy are also available for the shrink-zapped members of the family who refuse to drink the reversal potion.
Smoken Bones Cookshack
Ken Hueston grew up with a penchant for bones. According to the Goldstream News Gazette, he began his formal education in pursuit of paleontology, but he soon found that although his instincts were correct, they were slightly misguided—his place was not among dusty and brittle dinosaurs, but in the steam of a kitchen. There, his commitment to local ingredients, handmade cuisine, and chef education would earn him the B.C. Chamber of Commerce's Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2008, a spot on enRoute's Best New Restaurant list, and a 2012 feature on Food Network Canada's You Gotta Eat Here.
Today at Smoken Bones Cookshack, after a brief absence, Ken is back as head chef, bringing with him a fresh dose of creativity and heeding the traditions of artisanal cooking, forming his menu's burgers, cheeses, and bacon by hand, without additives. Ken and his apprentices prepare everything on site, using scratch cooking techniques, including smoking food with local Vancouver island woods. Featured on You Gotta Eat Here, their pork and beef ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket stake out the spotlight, though the Cookshack has not forgotten seafood, chicken, and stacked sandwiches. The emphasis on all-natural methods also extends past the cuisine and into the smoking process itself, which employs wood from Vancouver fruit and alder trees.
The forest figures heavily into the restaurant's decor too: in between praising the venue's bacon ice cream, Heed the Hedonist recounts "exposed ducts and exposed wood everywhere, including a plywood bar that was fashioned from a Douglas Fir that had blown down during a windstorm." Big-screen televisions augment the natural appeal, broadcasting sports on game nights, and live blues music twangs during special events.
101-721 Station Ave.
Victoria, British Columbia V9B 2S1Get Directions