Lovey’s BBQ & Smokehouse

Neighbourhood: St. Boniface
Address: 1-208 Marion St
Phone: 204-233‑RIBS (7427)
Entrees: $8-$23

Standing outside Lovey’s BBQ and Smokehouse, the haze of grilled meat hangs in the air. Before setting foot inside, you can taste those summertime barbeques where the aroma of juices sizzling on the coals wafts down the street making neighbours green with jealousy.

It is a soulful rendering of authentic barbeque served in a down-home atmosphere where licking sauce off your fingers is not only acceptable but a requirement.

The interior of the St. Boniface eatery transports you to Memphis circa 1955. Red and white checked tablecloths combine with vintage pressed-tin wall hangings and corrugated-tin lined walls. Photos of Elvis and Johnny Cash add hip personality to the decor. Place your order at the counter and kick back in the relaxed setting.

Most of the meats on offer are available as sandwiches or as full-sized meals. Generous combo platters let you sample several items while filling up packs of hungry carnivores.

The mantra at Lovey’s is food that not only feeds the body but also feeds the soul. This slow-food sentiment is illustrated in numerous ways. Pork shoulders are roasted for a whopping 20 hours in the wood-fired, self-basting barbeque pit; sauces are all  made in-house; and crispy, seasoned French fries are hand-cut daily.

The pulled pork is the star of the menu. The rewards of spending a day on the coals are evidenced with its deep smoky flavour and the tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. The shreds are doused in barbeque sauce that is sweet and tangy.

Lip-smacking ribs spend seven hours in the pit causing the meat to fall off the bone. The rich, juicy segments can be enjoyed either dry or smothered with sauce. The heat in the sauce is enough to add some kick, but gentle enough that the smouldering flavour of the meat seeps through.

Keep napkins on hand to wipe the juices that run down your chin when you bite into the moist roasted chicken. It comes perfectly crispy and seasoned.

The farmers’ sausage is given added dimension with a healthy dose of sweet barbeque sauce that contrasts the salty flavours in the meat.

Meat entrées come with choices of sides, where the same attention to home-cooked, feel-good flavour is maintained. Crumbly mini-corn muffins are flecked with salty bits of bacon, sweet kernels of corn and spicy jalapeno peppers, while delicate slices of bannock are dense and flaky. A piquant shot of mustard punches up saucy pit (baked) beans and thickly coated onion rings offer complete gratification with their crunchy exterior and sweet interior.

A notable menu item is the barbeque poutine—its inspiration taken from the restaurant’s St. Boniface location. French fries are topped with a mountain of pulled pork, pit beans and melted cheese. The result is a dense, hearty dish that deliciously combines mellow and zesty flavours.

Lovey’s is open Sun-Wed 11 am-8 pm and Thu-Sat 11 am-9 pm.