POCATELLO – When Shawn Corrales moved to Pocatello just over a year ago, he immediately recognized a void that needed to be filled.
While there are food trucks serving delicious grills, he said, Gate City needed a traditional grill. That’s what inspired Corrales to open Shawn’s Smoke and Fire BBQ on the corner of North 10th Avenue and East Oak Street.
As the name suggests, not only can you expect smoked meats at Shawn’s, but also thick, juicy, fire-grilled burgers.
“I want you to be able to get hamburgers that are unique here, sandwiches that are unique, in addition to the dishes, you know because that’s the big draw,” Corrales told EastIdahoNews.com.
The son of an American sheriff, Corrales grew up thinking he would follow in his father’s footsteps in law enforcement. Instead, a love and natural ability to cook guided him through culinary school and to a previously empty building that once housed an A&W fast food restaurant.
With more than 30 years of experience cooking professionally and years of cooking at home since he was tall enough to reach the stove, Corrales brings a holistic approach to his menu.
“One of the things that you find, when you go to a barbecue restaurant … they tend to try to put a lot of emphasis on their steaks, but their sides are left out,” he said. “I want the whole shed.”
Along with its own homemade dressings and sauces, Shawn’s prides itself on serving specialty homemade sides, including the Gorgonzola Potatoes and Fuji Apple Coleslaw served by EastIdahoNews.com.
Both sides definitely have a unique flavor, but the coleslaw was especially tasty, coming from someone who generally avoids salad.
And speaking of sauces, Corrales really brings the flavors home to Idaho with their Huckleberry BBQ Sauce, a slightly sweet twist on their original house sauce.
But, as Corrales said, “Idaho is a meat and potato state,” so while special emphasis is placed on sauces and sides, the star of the meal is the meat.
Shawn provided EastIdahoNews.com with samples of his ribs, shredded chicken thighs and the “Country Boy Burger.”
Shredded chicken was something that doesn’t normally appear on barbecue menus. But in his quest for uniqueness, Corrales included this pulled chicken thigh meat as a leaner, healthier alternative to the classic pulled pork. (Don’t worry, you can still get pulled pork at Shawn’s.)
The ribs are delicious and are perfectly enjoyed without sauce.
But the burger was the best of the show during our visit.
One of Corrales’ “two-handed” sandwiches, the Country Boy Burger is a half-pound brisket burger topped with cheese, an onion ring, and pulled pork. It also comes with the house waffle fries.
Waffle fries are a big problem in the restaurant. They play a starring role in dishes like the meatball slider – it’s a meatball sandwich where the fries serve as bread.
Because Shawn’s Smoke and Fire BBQ is brand new, having opened this month, things are expected to evolve. First, Corrales explained, there will be limited special offers, available while supplies last on special days.
The plan for now, he said, is a smoked rib special on Thursday, starting the first Thursday of the new year.
Updates on those plans and others will be available on the restaurant’s Facebook page and website.
Shawn’s Smoke and Fire BBQ is located at 1015 North 10th Avenue in Pocatello. It is open from Monday to Saturday, from 12 to 20 hours, and closed on Sundays.
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