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Put Some South in Your Mouth at Doc’s

May. 9, 2017
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Smoke. Spice. Time. Those are the three must-have ingredients to meat preparation—at least according to Brent Brashier, founder of the Doc’s Smokehouse restaurants, a growing presence in the Midwest. “We never sauce meat in the kitchen,” Brashier continues. “And while we have some great regional sauces on the table, we hope you will try the meat on its own—to taste the love and care with which it has been prepared.” 

Doc's Commerce Smokehouse

754 N. Fourth St.




Handicap access: Yes


Hours: M-Th 11 a.m.-11 p.m., F-Sa 11 a.m.-12 a.m., Su 11 a.m.-10 p.m.


This is precisely one of the strengths of this restaurant’s new Downtown Milwaukee location. You don’t have to worry about ordering a meat item only to regret that the barbecue sauce that infuses it is too spicy, too sweet or just too abundant. While the meats arrive sans sauce, they nevertheless have been dry rubbed with Doc’s own selection of spices and smoked to perfection. Once in front of you, how you dive into them is totally up to you. “In keeping with Southern tradition, we smoke exclusively with hickory,” Brashier explains; but such care has a cost, too: “Everything we smoke takes lots of time, and unfortunately when we run out, we are out for the day.”

Appetizers at Doc’s include some items likely new to our city. There’s LA Caviar (“LA” meaning Lower Alabama)—black-eyed peas, sweet peppers, cilantro and balsamic marinade served with saltines. Smoked wings—of which you can order up to 50—are deliciously flash-fried and served with a thick, rich bleu cheese dipping sauce. Also available are fried pickles—house dills in a light batter served with a barbecue ranch sauce. 

The main courses are a carnivore’s delight: pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken, turkey, ribs, Usinger’s sausage, or a combination of two or three of the above. For a larger group, there’s a sampler platter that offers heaps of them all and, if you have an herbivore at your table, Doc’s even has a “Shami” vegetarian platter. All main courses come with a choice of two sides and include house dill pickles and white bread.

Sandwiches made with Doc’s smoked meats (or veggies) and house or Caesar salads are available, as well as dessert (peanut butter or lemon icebox pie). As for imbibing, well, Doc’s does not skimp by any means; among the many cocktails, whiskeys and wines are some 64 beers and other drinks available on tap.

My meal included those wonderful, meaty, crispy and juicy smoked wings and the brisket platter with mac ’n’ cheese and Brunswick stew for sides, all cooled with a chilled glass of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. The brisket was melt-in-your-mouth tender and flavorful, with that lovely, blackened crust of dry-rubbed goodness along the edges. I sampled this meat on its own and with some of each of the sauces on the table—each of which bring out different aspects of the meat. The sides were likewise scrumptious and plentiful. It’s clear you won’t leave Doc’s the least bit hungry. 

Doc’s original location is in Dyer, Ind. Ours is their second location. Soon, another opens in Mokena, Ill. There’s a success story here; thankfully, Milwaukee’s now part of it.


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