If you haven’t noticed, Eat Wisconsin has been on somewhat of a barbeque kick as of late. Aside from stops at Ashley’s and Pat’s in Waukesha, I have also recently been smoking chicken, ribs, and brisket myself. That didn’t deter me from checking out another barbecue place, Casey’s BBQ & Smokehouse in Egg Harbor, while on a recent trip to Door County.
The ambiance at Casey’s is like any Northwoods Supper Club. In fact it kind of reminded me of Ed Thompson’s Tee Pee restaurant in Tomah. The menu even features supper club favorites like broiled steaks, Fried Lake Perch, and a Saturday night prime rib special (though Casey’s is smoked instead of oven roasted!). However Casey’s menu really focuses on barbecue with offerings ranging from appetizers of smoked wings or pulled pork stuffed potato skins to barbecue dinner favorites like ribs, brisket, and shoulder.
As you walk in you’ll see some of their smokers just outside the front door. Once you enter you’ll likely get a whiff of the smoked meat from other diners. I decided to try a combo with the cherry wood smoked ribs and chicken. You also get to pick two sides, I tried the red beans and rice and the cream corn nuggets. The red beans and rice wasn’t bad, in fact I really enjoyed it. However if you are expecting something resembling the Louisiana staple, this isn’t it. The rice is fluffy and sticky, the beans are not creamy, and while there is sausage in the dish it is missing the smoky notes imparted by Andoulle sausage. The cream corn nuggets were pretty good, consisting of balls of cream corn that have been breaded and fried, I quickly devoured them. All barbecue items are served with mediocre corn muffins thankfully served along with some incredibly delicious and addictive honey butter.
The ribs were out-of-this-world good. The cherry wood imparts a lighter smoke flavor than the oak or hickory used by most pit masters. The result is a great balance of meltingly tender pork with a perfect amount of smoke. These ribs are excellent without even a drop of sauce but they do offer two homemade sauces; one is a great traditional bbq sauce and the other is a chunkier bourbon sauce. Both of them were very good, with a slight edge to the bourbon.
The chicken was a disappointment. While the smoke had imparted a nice flavor to the meat, the chicken was very dry. A little sauce was needed to ease the dryness. I probably should have asked for dark meat instead. I also tried the brisket, which had great flavor and melted in your mouth. It was a tad on the fatty side and maybe could have used some more time in the smoker to render some of that out, but I’d rather have them err on the side of fatty instead of dry any day.
The beer selection is ok, with typical offerings like domestics and mainstream imports. There are also some micros like Spotted Cow, and Capitol Island Wheat, which appears to have become the unofficial beer of Door County due to its use of Washington Island wheat.
The service was ok and given that one waitress had the entire dining room, including a table of at least 10 people, I was surprised she kept up as well as she did and managed to remain friendly and never seem rushed. It was a Tuesday night and I have a hunch they may have gotten more customers than they expected.
Casey’s Inn is located at 7855 Highway 42 in Egg Harbor. Their phone number is 920-868-3038 and they can be found on the web at http://caseysbbqandsmokehouse.com/