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Make Room for Some Smoke
Is that the smell of hickory-smoked meat in the Third Ward?

Thank You for Smoking
When it comes to good brisket, “the crust is the crux,” says Sports Nut Howie Magner, who spent 10 years in Oklahoma. He often looks over my shoulder as I’m writing Dish on Dining. He often makes peanut gallery comments as I’m writing Dish on Dining. Brisket will be served at the Smoke Shack (the former M.J.'s) once it opens – Jan. 24 (next Tuesday). Owners Joe and Angie Sorge, whose names are most often associated with their AJ Bombers burger place, turned their attention to barn wood, humanely raised animals, barbecue sauce and, once again, the Third Ward (where they run both Water Buffalo and Swig). The Sorges, who have spent time in Texas and South Carolina, have worked with Flux Design on restaurant interiors before. They’ve done it again. In the beginning, you’ll eat your Q in a 50-seat joint surrounded by barn wood taken from a structure that stood somewhere in the state of Wisconsin. This summer, the seating will expand (to include another 75 seats) once the patio opens. There will be more seating later, on a second level. As for the food, meat is the first thing. The Sorges are working with Black Earth Meats, a Wisconsin company that boasts of providing meats from animals raised in humane conditions. You’ll be able to get your ribs, brisket, rib tips, barbecued chicken, as well as vegetarian items (barbecued seitan) and sides like coleslaw, four-cheese mac and cheese, cornbread, creamy braised leeks and others. The stylish shack – and I’m sure it will be stylish – will also offers its Q for carryout. Rough price breakdown: sandwiches $9-$13.75; entrees $12 and up. And it will be open for lunch and dinner. (332 N. Milwaukee St., 414-431-1119)

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