By : MELISSA RICHTER
19 February 2019
Billy's Smokehouse is an underrated hidden gem and the brainchild of the same powerhouse couple Billy (William Bautista) and Oh (Kasama Laopanich) behind the wildly successful Mexican taqueria La Monita. In the 10 years since they started La Monita, they have since added Billy’s Smokehouse which opened up in the fall of 2018, along with Osito Spanish tapas bar and their new Michelin recognized Thai eatery Thainiyom.
With all those balls in the air, it may seem like a bit of a balancing act to effectively execute so many different styles of cuisine, but don’t let them fool you, Chef Billy is a “master of meat”, and his soulful interpretations of American style BBQ is some of the best you will find in Bangkok. However, be forewarned, this place is not for the faint of heart, and you should be prepared to forego the cutlery, eat with your hands, lick your fingers and make sure have both your manicurist and dry cleaner on speed dial after a visit here. It’s best enjoyed when you get down, get messy and leave your inhibitions at the door. I’m not going to waste words describing the decor and the vibe, expect to say that it’s a warm, welcoming industrial urban hangout that beckons you in and dares you to stay. “Most people don’t truly understand the time and labor that goes into producing real BBQ” shared Billy; “it is not just sourcing the meat, the trial and error of finding the right wood be it hickory or cherry wood, but it is the sheer investment of time it takes to smoke meat properly. It’s often days, not hours, and you have to be very committed to the process.”
I should also mention the stellar collection of spirits and libations you will find at Billy’s Smokehouse. Because of the close proximity to their various other restaurants, you gain access to an amazing wine cellar, some of the best Mexican tequilas and mescals, a selection of more than 55+ of world-class international bespoke gins, and admirable craft beer selection. I personally fell in love with the small batch Four Pillars from Australia which is served with pink peppercorns, artisan Fentimans tonic water and a twist of lemon peel. You can enjoy a daily happy hour with drink specials, but those in the know hanker for the “off the menu” Bourbon Mojito which is made with no less than 4 shots of Jack Daniels bourbon.
Once you’re ready to tuck into the main attraction which is the BBQ, you'll once again be confronted with a dizzying array of options. There is pork, poultry, seafood and beef, but the real show stopper is the 24 hour slow cooked brisket and short ribs. Smokey, succulent, and juicy both pieces of meat literally left me a little weak in the knees. We began with the Chef's Choice Premium Platter made to share. It includes USDA Choice mesquite smoked Black Angus beef brisket, Australian Black Angus beef short ribs, smoked pork spare ribs, beef Hot Link sausage, pork Botifarra sausage, 2 buttermilk biscuits, 2 slices of corn bread, coleslaw, potato salad and corn salad. All the side dishes are yummy too, with nice acidity and a bevy of tantalizing sauces to appeal to any palate; although, frankly the meats really are perfect on their own.
When it comes to steak they do only ribeye and tenderloin and we were treated to the Australian Wagyu 5+ Rib Eye which was to die for. They also have some pastas and a bevy of smoked and grilled seafood(clams, mussels, scallops, crab, bass and cod), but instead we tried some dishes from the lunch menu which included their Billy Burger made with 100% Australian Wagyu Beef Chuck. This sloppy masterpiece features two thin beef patties, white cheddar, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and secret sauce. The other highlight was the Reuben made with their juicy and succulent Corned beef, sauerkraut, Gruyere cheese, Russian dressing on a whole wheat Panini pressed with butter. I haven’t had a sandwich this good since I left NYC, and the fatty richness will knock you off your feet in the best possible way. Everything I tasted here was scrumptious, and it was a BBQ experience that made me feel close to home in a way I have never experienced in 15 years of living in Bangkok. If you’re looking for the real deal when it comes to American style BBQ in the city, run, don’t walk to Billy’s Smokehouse.