Harold Jackson, Owner of The Smokehouse


Harold Jackson explains the importance of types of wood when smoking meat.

Real barbecue isn’t cooked on a gas grill it is smoked. Here in the dunes we have our own slice of southern heaven in The Smokehouse. You’ll find it on Sherman on the south side of the road (fitting, that) before you crest the big dune to the beaches. Harold Jackson, owner and master smoker, followed his passion for authentic southern smoked barbecue after retiring from a career in corrections. His dream became our delicious reality when he opened three summers ago.

There are many components to smoked barbecue, everything from the cut and selection of meat, to brine or not, the dry rub ingredients, the heat source, the wood used and more. There are many variables to ‘the perfect’ smoked barbecue. In short, it is an art form and Harold is a master artist. It is agonizing to pass his place on Monday and smell that intoxicating scent knowing that you can’t have rib tips or brisket until it is ready on Tuesday. Real barbecue takes time.


smoker details

Harold designed and set up his smoker to his specifications. Envy is the word to describe what I felt when I saw his specialized compartment for drying the next day’s wood. If you aren’t from the Upper Mid-West you must forgive my fascination, the winters are long and the getting, keeping, curing, storing and burning of our wood is as vital as a well stocked larder. 

DSC_0260      By the nature of smoking the choice of wood is key to flavor. Harold uses Live Oak, Pecan and Hickory from Texas and when he can’t get to Texas he has Live Oak and Pecan shipped from Florida.  He also uses apple and cherry wood from West Michigan’s orchards. This day he was smoking with local Sugar Maple, Red Oak and White Oak.

DSC_0252smkhs     DSC_0255

checking the brisket

DSC_0266 Ashley Jackson, Corky Wolf, and Harold Jackson are the team that runs The Smokehouse.

This is Southern Barbecue with authentic Southern Sides. Everything offered, from baked beans and slaw to their green beans, has a southern accent we rarely see this far north. I stop in just for their Rum Soaked Bread Pudding. Below is a close up of Corn Pudding. I had never had it before yesterday. How did I live this long without it? Alas, they, like many  businesses close to the beach, are seasonal.


Harold is just one of the interesting locals who moved here to follow their passion. Unfortunately it is the end of the season and he is closing down today. The Smokehouse will be sorely missed until next May when the beach traffic returns and Harold re-opens. See you then!



7 thoughts on “Harold Jackson, Owner of The Smokehouse

    • USA is truly a mix of cultures. BarBQue, Bar B Q, or Barbecue there are regional variations on ‘the correct way’ to do it. I’m here to tell you the BEST is pit barbecue but it is also the hardest to come across. You have to be invited to a party where someone is doing the Barbecue. There are people who pull around a barbecue smoker behind their car and they will set up and do your party nice. More info on USA Barbecue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbecue_in_the_United_States

      • Wow, that was an interesting article. Peru also is a mix of cultures (although not in the high scale of your continent country), for example our national cocktail, Pisco Sour, was made by a US gentleman in our country, I’ll add pit barbecue to my wish list. Thanks!

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