STAFF PHOTO / Smoked turkey and brisket with mac-and-cheese and cornbread

Memorial Day Weekend is the perfect time to honor our heroes and veterans, and it’s also a great time to kick off summer with some good ol’ fashioned barbecue.

Mostly Smoked, a BBQ-inspired eatery, recently opened in Manalapan and has gotten nothing short of rave reviews on social media. We can affirm that comments made on the restaurant’s Instagram page hold true: this food is finger-lickin’ good.

STAFF PHOTO / Rack of ribs

If you want to try several different dishes, the best way is to order the meat platters. You should estimate about a half-pound per person of the smoked turkey, brisket, pulled chicken or pulled pork. Ribs are sold by the half or full rack. All the meat is tender and tasty. They are seasoned but not heavy on the salt, and they are not overloaded with sauce.

You get sides with each, and it’s very hard to choose between the mac-and-cheese (with freshly shaved cheese), the parmesan chive mashed potatoes (which were the table’s favorite), the smoked burnt end baked beans (another can’t-miss, especially since it’s made with brisket specially smoked for this item) and of course, the cornbread (made fresh in the morning daily).

An interesting twist is the eggrolls, filled with either smoked buffalo chicken or pulled rib mac & cheese – need we say more?

If you’re still not satisfied, the chicken wings are smoke-fried, or grab a spoon and try some smoked brisket chili (though it’s seasonal).

If your crew prefers individual meals, the Free Bird sandwich has smoked turkey, organic arugula, sundried tomato aioli, sliced cucumber and shaved red onion on ciabatta bread. The Whole Lotta Love sandwich can be any meat topped with cabernet balsamic onion jam, organic arugula and house remoulade.

STAFF PHOTO / Parmesan chive mashed potatoes and smoked burnt end baked beans

Owner Rob Sankovsky makes the sauces, too, like the Alabama white sauce that’s best on chicken, the golden buffalo, the spicy BBQ to complement any of the red meats and mango habanero for some spicy sweetness. If you can’t get enough, get a bottle to take home.

Rob says everything is made in house – down to the pickled red onions and bread-and-butter pepper pickles, which take five days to make – and nothing is left over, so everything will be fresh once it’s ordered. The meat takes about 18 hours to smoke, so when he sells out, he’s done for the day. Check Instagram for updates to see if your favorite meal is on pause for a day or two. It’s best to order your meal in advance for takeout, or there are about 10 tables inside and a few outside as well.

STAFF PHOTO / Mostly Smoked BBQ

The eatery itself is pretty cool, since Rob loves music: there are guitars lining the wall, one of his drums turned into a clock and the table numbers are in the shape of the famous Grateful Dead bears.

Admittedly, there isn’t much here for vegetarians unless you want to try the sides or cornbread. But kids will have a ball – just make sure you have tons of napkins on hand.

They offer catering, and the eatery is BYOB.

Mostly Smoked is located at 520 Rte. 9 north in Manalapanin the Home Fashion Center shopping area. The hours are 3-7:30 pm Wednesday, 12-7:30 pm Thursday – Saturday, and 12-5 pm Sunday – or until they sell out. The eatery is closed Monday and Tuesday. To place an order, call 732-792-3636.

To see the mouthwatering dishes, check out our reel on Instagram.

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