Rollin Smoke Barbeque
3185 South Highland Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Las Vegas seems to have it all. When people think of the great foods in this desert city, they always think of steaks, seafood, and buffets. Usually barbecue does not cross a lot of peoples minds. In fact it's kind of baffling that with all the big hotels on Las Vegas Boulevard, there's not one barbecue restaurant in any of those hotels that really sticks out.
To get good barbecue in this town, you definitely need to get off of Las Vegas Boulevard. Our best barbecue experience in this desert city so far has been at Ellis Island Casino, which is located right behind Bally's on Koval Road. The ribs were good and cheap, and we loved this locals place. Before leaving for Vegas, I had done a little research and found another spot to try, which was also a few streets over from the strip, Rollin Smoke Barbeque.
Rollin Smoke is located right underneath the Desert Inn overpass, in a very industrial, and small shopping center. There are about 20 parking spots, but plenty of street parking. We arrived here just before 11 am, and achieved our goal of avoiding the lunch rush, which we hear can get pretty gnarly. The restaurant is pretty small itself, but there was plenty of seating when we were here, and they also have patio seating out front, along with another room, which kind of seemed like a banquet room.
The barbecue here is brought to you by two brothers, who proudly serve what they call, "barbeque from Arkansas." I learned that barbeque from Arkansas is kind of a mashup of barbeque from all across the US. The menu here is pretty impressive in selection, and will satisfy almost all barbecue fanatics. Their Smoked Meatloaf and Outlaw Burger were both featured on Travel Channel, they have an all you can eat option, which goes for a very respectable price of $34.99, and there are also plenty of combo plates available. We chose the Pit Special, which included five meat choices, and three sides for $27.99, which easily could feed both Katie and I. We ordered at the counter, and waited for the food to be brought out. Here's our take on the food at Rollin Smoke.
Not to ruin anything, but yes this tasted as good as it looks. For our five meats we chose pulled pork, sliced brisket, spare ribs, hot link, and burnt ends, which were a three dollar up charge. There was not a loser in this bunch. The hot link had a great texture and flavor to it, the brisket was some of the best I have had, the pulled pork was moist and delicious, the spare ribs were meaty and fall off the bone tender, and the rib tips are not to be missed. All meats were smoked, but not over the top where it would become overpowering. They smoke their meats over hickory, and it's apparent that they cook their stuff low and slow. I was also pretty happy that they left their meat bare, and allowed their guests to apply their desired amount of sauce to the meat. The sauces were all pretty good, but with meat this great, you don't want to cover it with too much sauce. This easily could have fed another two people, but I was glad I did not have to share with anyone but Katie.
It's been our experience that when a barbecue place has really good meat, they kind of let their sides slide by the wayside. This was not the case here at Rollin Smoke. Each of the three sides we had were excellent. We selected the corn nuggets, bacon potato salad, and the collard greens. The corn nuggets were a surprise to both Katie and I. They were fried nicely, and then you get an unexpected sweetness from the corn inside. Kind of like a sweet creamed corn inside each of these. The potato salad was very good as well. Plenty of bacon topped this, which is never a bad thing. The potatoes were tender, and the dressing covering them was pretty solid. The collard greens were tasty, with some brisket in them, which added even more flavor. They were not as slimy as greens can sometimes tend to be.
I left Rollin Smoke wishing that they were located closer to my house. I could not get this meal out of my head for a long while. This might be the best barbecue I have had. It's right up there with Lillie's Q and Bludso's in my book, and I will be back here for sure when I am in Vegas. There's also another location of Rollin Smoke, which is a collaboration with Rick from Pawn Stars, and it's located right next door to the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, made famous by his TV show Pawn Stars. Service was pretty solid on this afternoon, and they checked on us numerous times, making sure we had everything that we needed during our stay. I thought the prices were more than fair for the amount of food we got. Rollin Smoke might just start making people think of barbecue when they think of Vegas food.
Out of five mule-riders, (because the guys that own this restaurant are from Magnolia, Arkansas, and that city is home to Southern Arkansas University, home of the mule-riders), five being bet to zero being worst, Rollin Smoke Barbeque gets 4.5 mule-riders.
For more information about Rollin Smoke, head to their website here: http://rollinsmokebarbeque.com/