PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
This is one of the best cheap and cheerfuls in Tasmania. Well, it's cheapish, the staff and Joe himself are very cheerful and it's really very good. Like nothing else in the state, in fact. Joe grew up in the hill country of Missouri, USA, home to outlaw Jesse James, catfish, crawdads (yabbies), gumbo and French/Negro-influenced Creole food – what's known over there as "Ozarks" or "Delta Creole". Joe kitchen-grubbed in restaurants through high school, spent years with the US navy around the Caribbean, went to university on a GI Bill and taught English for a while before landing in Australia and opening Smokey Joe's in late 2002.
You can almost track his gypsy life in his menu – Ozark BBQ beef, Choka (a traditional smoked tomato and flat bread Trinidad breakfast dish), Jamaican goat curry, muffelleta Creole sausage, Cajun chicken salad, a number of Yucutan dishes and, of course, smoked spare ribs, dry-rubbed with spices or hit with his own Ozark Mountain BBQ sauce. He makes everything from scratch, smokes tomatoes, ribs and chillies in a wood smoker at the back of his kitchen, grinds and fills his own muffelleta, grows and dries exocet Habanera chillies and flies powdered sassafrass leaves (filee) in from the Missouri mountains. As he says, you can't make a real gumbo without filee – preferably picked under a new moon. And that's probably why he is the preferred caterer for international music acts when they tour Tasmania.