The Hippo


Jul 4, 2020








 Smokehaus Barbecue

Where: 278 Route 101, Amherst
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (or until food runs out that day). Closed on Mondays.
More info: Visit, find them on Facebook or call 249-5734

Smoked to perfection
Smokehaus Barbecue opens in Amherst


By Matt Ingersoll
After leaving the military, David Mielke of Amherst got serious about barbecuing. But it wasn’t until his father, Harold, tried one of his homemade sauces that the two started planning what would become, years later, the Granite State’s newest slow-cooked barbecue eatery.
Despite its southern influences, Smokehaus Barbecue, which opened on Route 101 in Amherst on May 7, is uniquely New Hampshire. The lumber used for cooking is red oak grown from Burbee Firewood in Brookline, and every menu item is cooked fresh daily, according to Mielke, right down to the rubs and sauces.
The father-and-son team even completely rebuilt and redesigned the interior of the former Burger Mill restaurant themselves to give it its rustic look. While Harold focuses more on the business side of the restaurant, David is the pit master, working with head cook Pawel Rutkowski on constructing the menu, which includes sandwiches, wings, dinner plates, sides, salads and craft beers.
“What happens is I put the rubs on the meat at about 7 o’clock every night. It goes in the smoker for about 14 hours overnight. Then I come in the next morning and let the meat sit for 15 minutes before reloading,” Mielke said. “It runs non-stop, essentially. … We believe that those are the keys to success. People don’t want to eat leftovers or what was thrown into the fridge the night before.”
Smokehaus Barbecue is open six days a week for lunch and dinner, featuring several sandwich and dinner plate options. Sandwiches can be ordered either separately or with one or two sides. Plates can be made into combo meals with two or three meats, all coming with two sides and bread. Meats include pulled pork, pulled chicken, chopped pork, Angus beef brisket, half chicken, baby back ribs and hog wings.
“We’re one of the few places around here that actually do hog wings. [The meat] comes from the bottom shank of a pig’s leg, at the very bottom of what would be considered our calves,” Mielke said. “A lot of people don’t realize that there’s actually a lot of good muscle down there. So we’ll slow roast them and fry them in the fryer like a chicken wing, and I can’t even tell you what a hit it is. It’s changing people’s lives.”
Mielke added that all of the meats are pulled as you order rather than ahead of time.
“Doing it ahead of time may make it easier to portion on people’s sandwiches,” he said, “but myself and my guys are taking it and pulling it right there for you. That truly is the best that meat will ever be on a sandwich.”
Sides can be ordered as small sizes, pints or quarts and include creamed corn, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, collard greens, hand-cut fries, and hush puppies (fried cornbread bites). There are also salads  and a children’s menu.
A line of about a half dozen craft beers comes from local breweries like Laughing Crow Beer, a nanobrewery in Amherst.
“We really wanted to support local beer,” Mielke said. “In fact, our Haus Brown beer is made at Laughing Crow just for us. It’s more on the nutty side of a brown ale.”
In addition to featuring the same sauce Mielke had his father taste that inspired the duo to open Smokehaus Barbecue — now known as the “Haus Original” sauce — other homemade sauces are a sweet sauce called the “Haus Sweet,” a yellow mustard sauce called the “Haus Gold,” and a white sauce called the “Haus White” that Mielke said is specifically designed to go on chicken.
Mielke said he would love to eventually explore the possibility of going commercial with his sauces but for now he’s focused on contributing to the growing barbecue .
“Barbecue is not that big up in New England. The fact of the matter is that it’s kind of an untapped resource up here,” Mielke said. “The barbecue that we’re doing here … goes from the pit to us cutting it and you getting it in five minutes. It never sits under a heat lamp, so you’re going to get the freshest cuts you can get.” 

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