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Smokin' Zee's

Go hungry, 'cause it's a lot of food

The Sassy Carolina pulled pork sandwich is ginormous. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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ANNOUNCER: Dutch and Jackie's cravings for sweet and tangy smoked meats takes them to Lakewood this week. Fortunately, Smokin' Zee's parked the seasonal food truck and opened a permanent location just off Steilacoom Blvd. in Lakewood, so now we can all enjoy their barbeque year-round.

JACKIE: This space is funky. It's an intimate dining space only housing a handful of booths with a walk-up counter to order from. The ambiance is charming, deep red walls, fun farm animal motif adorning the walls to add some character. It's nothing too fancy, but an excellent step up from waiting in the elements for food truck fare. At full volume, I imagine it being an awkward space to navigate, but on our visit, we were the only patrons.

DUTCH: I popped in late on my visit and was greeted with a limited list of what was available from the menu. The silver lining is that it is clear that all the meat here is prepared and smoked daily and the sides are made fresh each day as well. If you're hankering for a specific barbeque, they've got it here, just don't wait till the last hour like I did.

JACKIE: I'm sensing a theme here. We went early in the afternoon and were informed that there was no mac and cheese. I'm not going to lie, I had my heart set on some ooey-gooey noodles. My advice, don't anticipate anything specific on the menu and go with the flow. The owner was in the house during our visit and greeted us warmly. After our meal, I had half a mind to hug the man. They know their barbeque.

DUTCH: I was pretty hungry and went with the two-meat plate, which turned out to be enough for two people. Spicy sausage was piled high next to an equal portion of pulled chicken that when combined with sides like fresh slaw and the sweet and smoky chili, gave me exactly what I was craving -- a balance of spicy, sweet and smoke.

JACKIE: You aren't kidding, the portion sizes are ginormous. Which I suppose is appropriate for a barbeque joint. Since they were out of the mac (I know, I'm still harboring a broken heart) we opted to try a couple of the sandwiches. They did not disappoint. Both the Southwestern pulled chicken and the Sassy Carolina were behemoths presented on an herb butter-toasted hoagie topped with coleslaw. On the side you can choose between slaw, potato salad, chili, cornbread, baked beans or fries. The potato salad was creamy and zesty and the chili is subdued in flavor (for those who crave the heat) but thick and meaty. They also bring a selection of four house-made barbeque sauces some sweet and smoky, others boasting a little more depth and spice.

DUTCH: I took an order of the Sassy Carolina pulled pork sandwich home to eat later, but with a teenage boy in the house, it's always a risk.  This proved to be a bigger risk than I imagined. After a few bites, I encouraged my son to give it a try and I never saw it again! Served on a fresh hoagie roll and piled with sweet pulled pork, this may be the best barbeque sandwich I've ever eaten. Clearly my son agreed.

JACKIE: That kid must have a hollow leg -- the sandwich is a beast!

Smokin' Zee's, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday, 8813 Edgewater Dr. SW, Lakewood, 253.432.4374,

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