Late last year, Ryan tipped me off to a new restaurant on Via Provenza called Humo BBQ & Bar.
When he mentioned it was a new venture by Carmen Angel, the chef/co-founder of Carmen Restaurant, I knew I had to check it out before leaving Medellín for the holidays.
I invited Viviana to join me, and together we took a taxi to the restaurant early on a Saturday night in mid-December.
Humo, like La Bicyclette, features a front facade that is fully open to the sidewalk, and allows for those seated inside to partake in people-watching along with the diners seated at the two outdoor tables.
Above the entrance is a little pig, a beacon of barbecue goodness, upon which the Humo sign hangs down.
The restaurant was bustling, and I hadn’t made reservations, so I was thankful when we were able to be seated without a wait.
Feeling festive, I ordered a Grey Goose and tonic, which was brought to the table as a shot of vodka and a bottle of Fever-Tree tonic water, with a highball glass of ice and a slice of lime.
Next, we surveyed the food menu, which consisted of classic American-style southern barbecue. Some dishes were clearly meant to appeal to paisa preferences.
Starters ranged from 9,500 pesos to 18,500 pesos ($4.65 to $9.05) and included: Hush Puppies de Chicharron, Nachos, Shrimp and Grits, Smoked and Fried Chicken Wings and to my surprise, Poutine.
Poutine is a Canadian comfort food. At its most basic, it’s french fries covered in cheese curds and smothered in gravy. It’s so greasy and delicious, it’s hard to believe it wasn’t created in the United States.
Humo’s version is clearly designed with Colombians in mind, as it includes criolla potatoes (instead of fries) and chicharron, in addition to cheese and gravy.
Served in a cast-iron skillet like all the dishes we ordered, it was fantastically rich, and sure to please Canadians and Colombians alike.
We also ordered a side of corn on the cob, and sweet corn bread (7,000 pesos, $3.50), because it’s not a southern barbecue without it.
The corn bread was so moist and delicious, I didn’t want to think about the amount of butter they put into it.
Additional sides ranging from 5,000 pesos to 9,000 pesos ($2.50 to $4.50) include Biscuits, Blue Coleslaw, Mac ‘n Cheese, and Curly Fries.
Where to find the best ribs in Medellín is a topic of hot debate among expats, but I can now say without a doubt that Humo has the best.
MU may offer the largest ribs, but Humo is the only place in Colombia where I’ve been able to slide the tender, juicy meat right off the bone with a fork and knife. No making a mess, or fussing around with plastic gloves. It was just the way I like it.
I ordered the 300 grams of pork ribs with a Kansas City BBQ sauce for 21,000 pesos ($10.50).
The four ribs might not look like much, when you factor in the side dishes, dessert and drinks, it turned out to be plenty.
Those with a bigger appetite, or who want to eat family style, should opt for 600 grams (37,000 pesos, $18) as it’s the better deal.
Viviana ordered the 300 gram Cordero (pork) bathed in Kentucky Black BBQ sauce, I believe, for 34,000 pesos ($17). She was very happy with it, and I may have had a bite or two too.
Other main dishes that caught my attention included the Duck in Bangkok BBQ sauce for 57,000 pesos ($28.50), NY Strip Steak for 32,000 pesos ($16) and the Slow Roasted Pulled Pork in Lexington dip for 24,000 pesos ($12).
They also serve a variety of sandwiches, including hamburgers, fish ‘n chips, and pulled pork.
Dessert was a challenge. I was already full, but at least I could count on Viviana to share something with me.
Fried Apple Pie, Peach Berry Crumble, Fried Cheesecake. If it wasn’t already clear we were dining in the deep south at Humo, the dessert options cemented it.
We opted for the Blanco y Negro (7,000 pesos, $3.50): white chocolate ice cream smooshed between two chocolate cookies. Served with a serrated knife on a silver platter, it was a little too frozen for its own good.
Anxious to enjoy it, I didn’t wait around for ice cream to warm up, and instead struggled with the knife to break it in half without cutting a finger off in process. I eventually gave up on the knife and we began taking bites out of it directly.
By the end of dinner, I was in a serious food coma, but thankful Carmen chose to open an authentic American barbecue restaurant in Medellín.
Not only will foreigners appreciate the menu and the courteous and prompt service, but I believe the dishes are sufficiently tailored to Colombians’ tastes to make it a hit with the paisas too.