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Where there’s a smoker, there’s barbecue at Blackstone firehouse-turned-restaurant

August 31, 2013

BLACKSTONE – Steven J. Seagrave of North Smithfield has worked in the high-tech industry and managed a major construction project, but these days it’s the Firehouse Tavern and Smokehouse, 200 Main St., that has most of his attention.

Seagrave has owned the Broad Street Tap in Cumberland for five years and decided to try his hand a running a full-menu sports pub by taking on renovation of the former Station House and Archie’s Firehouse business in the town’s original firehouse building off Main Street.

“We got in here in February of 2012 and opened in August of 2012,” Seagrave said, noting the business just celebrated its one-year anniversary on Aug. 8.

The new Firehouse not only features seven new large-screen televisions to keep track of sports, but also a renovated bar area and a completely updated kitchen.

Best of all, Seagrave and his head chef, Shawn Boucher, also took on training in the operation of a Cookshack Inc. smoker that they now use to add authentic smoked meats, ribs, pork and beef brisket to the Firehouse Tavern & Smokehouse menu.

The smokehouse products are slow-cooked, six hours for ribs and 12 hours for pork and beef brisket, Seagrave said, and seasoned with a dry rub of flavorings, in keeping with the traditions of smokehouse cooking.

“We let the customer add the sauce if they want to,” he said. But “in the barbecue world, really good smoked barbecue doesn’t require barbecue sauce,” he said. “The flavor should be cooked into the meat already.”

The smokehouse cooking is done in an upstairs area set up just for that purpose. The Cookshack smoker is fired by authentic hickory wood pellets.

The expanded menu features a full line of appetizers in keeping with the Firehouse theme, including Blazing Saddlebags — two overstuffed twice-baked potatoes with melted cheddar, green onions, bacon bits and your choice of smoked beef or pork; Burnt Endz — chunks of extra-long smoked beef brisket, the classic Blackstone Pulled Pork Sundae — a layered pulled pork and mashed potatoes offering in a sundae dish with sweet BBQ sauce and topped by sour cream and a cherry tomato; and Spot’s Mozzarella Cheese Sticks — fried golden brown and served with marinara sauce, to name a few.

There is a Lighters menu which includes salads, RescueMe Stuffies, Steamers by the Pound and Firehouse-Spiced Tomato Soup, 5-Alarm Firehouse Chili with ground chuck and tender beans and tomatoes, onions and cheese topped with corn chips, and Engineer’s Baked Beans and Cornbread by the cup or bowl.

The menu also includes “Roll Call” Angus half-pound burgers and sandwiches, featuring the Hook’N Ladder burger with Swiss, cheddar and blue cheese crumbles, and LT’s Prime Rib Sandwich.

The menu features full smokehouse ribs and pulled pork, and brisket dinners as well as all-haddock fish and chips and baked haddock plates, steaks and prime rib. The menu also has the Tillerman Rotisserie half-chicken or barbecued half-chicken with fries and penne pasta for $6.99 all day, every day. The pub features a kids menu for Junior Firefighters, desserts, and a wide selection of draft and bottled beer, liquor and wine.

Seagrave said the smokehouse dishes now on the Firehouse menu have been well-received and are unique to the area because of the full-smoker cooking method the pub employs.

“The closest similar cooker is in Attleboro or East Providence,” he said, noting other restaurants typically use regular ovens and additives to achieve smokehouse flavor in their dishes.

The renovated pub also has live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays, karaoke every Thursday night, and open mike entertainment on Wednesdays. There is a full-service patio outside the Firehouse building on Main Street.

The pub is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and on Sundays from noon to 10 p.m.

Shawn Boucher, a longtime line cook in restaurants, said he likes his new techniques in smoker cooking and plans for it in his schedule everyday he works.

“Depending on how busy we’ve been, you got to get it started in advance because of how long it cooks,” he said.

The Firehouse Tavern is located in the historic fire station built by the town in 1895 and still has a portion of old hose drying equipment in its upper level entry way. Seagrave said he appreciates the work firefighters do everyday and is always happy to see them stop by for a meal.

For more information on the pub and its menu, call the Firehouse Tavern at (508) 928-2164.

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