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Cheap Eats: Smokin Barrel BBQ

Posted at 8:32 AM, Mar 03, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Barbecue enthusiasts know there are four types of barbecue in the United States: Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis and Texas.

A metro man loved Texas barbecue so much he started his own restaurant.

In this week's Cheap Eats, 3 News Now Anchor Serese Cole is taking you to Smokin Barrel where it's all Texas "Q" all the time.

It's a Thursday morning at Smokin Barrel Barbecue.

The restaurant opens in about an hour and customers are already lined up.

"We get people come in early all the time," said owner Wayne Dinges.

Dinges knows most of the diners by name.

They all come for one reason: good ole Texas-style barbecue.

It's why Dinges opened the place.

After spending a few years in the lone-star state, he missed that Texas flavor.

"There really wasn't any place up here that I enjoyed brisket like I did in Texas," he admitted. "It's the most simplistic out there. Our brisket, we use 50-50 salt and pepper. That's it."

He believes the secret is the smoke, the wood and time.

His brisket smokes for up to 18 hours.

The brisket is the top dog at Smokin Barrel.

It keeps customers like Larry Hufford coming back. Larry doesn't even live in Nebraska. He's in from South Carolina to visit his son.

Serese: Every time you come visit...

Hufford: Oh, we're here.

Serese: And how many times have you been here this visit?

Hufford: Four times already.

Serese: What's your favorite?

Hufford: Brisket. It's so difficult to get it right and he is on point every time.

The Andersons moved to Nebraska from Memphis.

"We know good barbecue," Tiffany Anderson said. "This is the best in my opinion. I'm more of a brisket person the beef brisket is top-notch."

Dinges says his smoked meat is so good you don't even need sauce.

"If you do it right, you don't need it," he smiled.

Sauce is on the tables if you want it. What you will likely need is a to-go box. The servings here are generous.

"We're giving you more than you're expecting," he said.

"We have brisket, pulled pork sausage, turkey and spare ribs and that's it. That's all you need," Dinges said.

That's what you'll find daily on the menu. On Fridays, there's a special like Wayne's Smoked Brisket Meatloaf or the house Reuben.

"You have to try his specials. His Brisket Jalapeno Mac and Cheese is to die for," Hufford shared.

There's also apple and peach crisp for dessert.

While Dinges is all about this smoked meat, the veteran also has a soft spot for those who serve, first responders, and some of his cutest customers like little Melody Anderson. She has her own space at the restaurant called Melody's Corner.

From the finger-licking ribs to the bourbon sauced, pork belly burnt ends, it's not unusual to sell out of the smoked goodness.

But as one of Dinges' signs says: "It's better to have burnt and lost than to have never barbecued at all."

Smokin Barrel BBQ is open Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The special this Friday is the Smoked Brisket Meatloaf.

It's $15 and comes with a side and drink. If you are in the military or a first responder and bring your patch to the restaurant, your meal is on the house. The restaurant is near the Millard Airport at 13508 Discovery Drive. For more information, call (402) 598-4855 or go to

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