Lil Benny’s Smokehouse has an interesting set-up: Instead of the usual table service, you take your shrink-wrapped order home and heat it up. If you pre-order, they’ll make sure it’s table-ready for your dinner or event.
Since we’re incognito, we arrived without pre-ordering and had our pick of anything they had on hand, which was plenty. We chose the pork spare ribs, premium pork sausages, barbecue pulled pork, barbecue pulled chicken, lemon pepper wings, pork baked beans and smoked chicken salad.
The prices vary, depending on the weight of your items. Because we wanted to try a large variety of meats, we went for the smallest quantity available of each. The price per pound stays the same regardless of the total weight.
Lil Benny’s provides an instruction sheet for reheating all of their meats; everything is fully cooked when you take it home. We put the rack of ribs ($16 worth, including the large tip piece that Benny says other places keep for themselves) and our wings (six large and meaty ones for about $8) in a glass dish in a 350-degree pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes while we heated everything else in the microwave.
I snuck a little smoked chicken salad with a spoon while I waited for everything else to heat up and it was fantastic. At $8 a pound, this chicken salad is perfectly smoky, finely chopped and not much else added. It reminds me of the ham salad from Heavenly Ham. It would be a great party platter or office lunch with some crackers or even celery sticks.
Not knowing I was reviewing, the owner showed me with pride the smoke ring on the ribs, saying people call it skill but he calls it luck. Something tells me that Benny has a lot of luck with smoking meats. The spare ribs were tender and meaty enough to bring out the caveman in our testers. The smoked chicken wings were chewy and not greasy and it wasn’t necessary to smother them in sauce.
Of course, the pièce de résistance was the pulled meat. Fans of two legged meats loved the chicken, which had none of that weird gristly fat that comes in the grocery store version.
Piggy eaters loved the smoky flavor of the pulled pork, which is finely shredded and free of chewy chunks. Both versions come with our without sauce, and “good sauce” and “ooh-wee” sauce can be purchased and used at home. Fresh cole slaw, buns and pork baked beans are always available.
Other than party-givers, Lil Benny’s ideal customer would call ahead and place an order for dinner pick-up or just drop by about 30 minutes before they wanted to pretend to make a home-cooked, perfectly smoked meal.
Address: 881 Wimbish Road, Macon
Hours: 3-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: No
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 100
Price range: $3.99-$130
Rating: 3 stars