East Idaho Eats: Shawn’s Smoke and Fire brings sit-down BBQ to Pocatello
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POCATELLO — When Shawn Corrales moved to Pocatello just over one year ago, he immediately recognized a void that needed to be filled.
While there are food trucks that serve tasty barbecue, he said, the Gate City needed a brick-and-mortar, sit-down barbecue joint. That was what inspired Corrales to open Shawn’s Smoke and Fire BBQ at the corner of North 10th Avenue and East Oak Street.
As the name would suggest, it isn’t just smoked meats you can expect at Shawn’s — it’s also thick, juicy, flame-broiled burgers.
“I want you to be able to get burgers here that are unique, sandwiches that are unique, plus the platters, you know because that’s the big draw,” Corrales told EastIdahoNews.com.
The son of a U.S. marshal, Corrales grew up thinking he would follow his father’s footsteps into law enforcement. Instead, a love and natural knack for cooking guided him through culinary school and into a previously vacant building that once housed an A&W fast-food restaurant.
Boasting more than 30 years of experience cooking professionally, and years of cooking at home ever since he was tall enough to reach the stovetop, Corrales brings an all-encompassing approach to his menu.
“One of the things you find, when you go to a barbecue restaurant … they tend to try to be put a lot of emphasis on their meats, but their sides they kinda let go by the wayside,” he said. “I want the whole shebang.”
Along with his own homemade rubs and sauces, Shawn’s proudly serves specialty sides made in-house — including the Gorgonzola potatoes and Fuji apple coleslaw he served EastIdahoNews.com.
Both sides definitely carry a unique flavor, but the coleslaw was especially tasty — coming from someone who usually avoids slaw.
And speaking of sauces, Corrales really brings the flavors home to Idaho with his Huckleberry barbecue sauce — a slightly sweet spin on his original house sauce.
But, as Corrales said, “Idaho is a meat-and-potato state,” so although special focus is placed on the sauces and sides, the star of the meal is the meat.
Shawn’s provided EastIdahoNews.com with samples of his ribs, pulled chicken thighs and the “Country Boy Burger.”
The pulled chicken was something that doesn’t make a normal appearance on barbecue menus. But in his search for uniqueness, Corrales included this pulled chicken thigh meat as a leaner, healthier alternative to the classic pulled pork. (Don’t worry — you can still get pulled pork at Shawn’s).
The ribs are delicious and are perfectly enjoyable without any sauce.
But the burger was the best-in-show during our visit.
One of Corrales’ “two-hand” sandwiches, the Country Boy Burger is a half-pound brisket patty, topped with cheese, an onion ring and pulled pork. It also comes with the house waffle fries.
The waffle fries are a big deal at the restaurant. They play a starring role in dishes like the meatball slider — it’s a meatball sandwich where the fries serve as the bun.
Because Shawn’s Smoke and Fire BBQ is brand new — having opened this month — things are expected to evolve. First up, Corrales explained will be limited specials, available while supplies last on special days.
The plan for now, he said, is a Thursday smoked prime rib special, beginning the first Thursday of the new year.
Shawn’s Smoke and Fire BBQ is located at 1015 North 10th Avenue, in Pocatello. It is open Monday to Saturday, noon to 8 p.m., and closed on Sundays.
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