The Smoking Joint on Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque

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COCONUTS HOT SPOT — It calls itself The Smoking Joint and on weekdays, it opens at, ehem, 4:20pm in the afternoon. If that doesn’t send the smoke signal to potheads and stoners, we’re willing to make a bet it’s because they’re still high up in the haze.

Unfortunately, all those reefer references are all just serendipitous. “We are a joint that smokes ribs,” says Chef Dino Dizon. “We smoke meat, fish, duck, eventually things like crocodile also, so the name was perfect.”

The restaurant used to be a burger place with a heavy slant on boxing. But Dizon, along with his partners decided to give it an overhaul. Anyway, there were already so many burger places on Aguirre and “since I was so used to smoking meat, I decided we’ll be that place [in the neighborhood].”

When the partners realized that Aguirre was an afternoon kind of a crowd, they decided on two things: (1) they’ll spend their mornings smoking ribs and (2) they’ll ride on the 4:20 stoner joke.

“We call ourselves the low and slow barbecue because that’s how Paranaque is naman, right? It’s steady and low-key,” reasons Dizon who went to the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco — a major counterculture center, if we may point out the obvious, and one that he also references in the 30-seater super casual restaurant.

There’s a smoker at the right side of the entrance as if to say they’re serious about their smoking business. Enter the joint and its red brick walls will welcome you. Wooden stools, a shelf where beer and liquer bottles stand, plus a few neat posters make the place feel very masculine, but also very clean and new and hip. 

Dizon readily admits the menu was a result of a food trip craving, so unsurprisingly, the food at The Smoking Joint can very well address the craving that comes with a high. 

It may not look it — the portions are small — but they’re hefty and hearty and the Mac n’ Cheese (PHP100) especially, has a texture that people inclined to have a cottonmouth will super appreciate.

It has a basic smoked meat menu comprised of the brisket (PHP190/100 grams), pulled pork (PHP160/100 grams), and ribs which you can have as a single (PHP250), a half (PHP490) and full (PHP950).

The single looks, well, petite at three pieces, but it was well-enough to satisfy a Wednesday afternoon craving.

The sandwiches come looking like an open-faced soft taco. An order comes with two sandwiches. We tried the BBQ Pulled Pork (PHP150), which was high in flavor but a tad too dry. The Smoked Pastrami (PHP150) looked and tasted the healthiest what with the layer of green. The most winsome of our orders, however, was the Smoked Cheese Steak (PHP180). The cream cheese-based combination is so beautiful in providing the contrast to the sharp barbecue flavor of the steak.

As though pertaining to a stoner’s snacker nature, the menu of side dishes is longer than the regular menu. There are things there like sweet potato melt (PHP100), jalapeno corn muffin (PHP40/1 piece), garlic fried wedges (PHP90), a coleslaw (PHP35) all very inviting.

Here, we found ourselves wanting. We finished the garlic fried wedges faster than we can say “puff the magic dragon” and the jalapeno corn muffin was really, so cute in size! But it’s hard to complain when (1) it’s so affordable, (2) there’s so much to choose from and (3) it’s so tasty and flavorful!

It is in the sides menu that you’ll find the Mac N’ Cheese (PHP100), which is what we’re still thinking about a day after the experience. It was rich, it was good — we’re guessing it had the same cheese base as the Smoked Cheese Steak — it was gooey, and it was gone *snap* just like that. 

Needless to say, we left The Smoking Joint highly satisfied. 

308 Aguirre Ave, BF Homes Parañaque. +63 2 8342970. Mon-Thu 4:20pm-11pm. Fri 4:20pm-12am. Sat-Sun 12pm-12am.

The Pulled Pork Sandwich (PHP150). The pulled pork was a bit dry and tangled, making it difficult and messy to eat.

The single serve of ribs (PHP250) looks small and petite but did it pack a punch.

The Smoked Cheese Steak (PHP180) was the most winsome of the sandwiches we tried.

Two open faced sandwiches comprise a serving of the Smoked Pastrami sandwich (PHP150). 

This is what will greet you when you enter The Smoking Joint.

Clean, neat, and hip.

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