SALEM- Since October Smokin' Marty's has embelished its reputation as a top-notch smoke house after co-owner and chef Marty Ciminelli and his wife, Martha, opened a restaurant at 139 N. Ellsworth Ave.
Martha said her husband has catered barbeques for about eight years starting out smoking ribs, pulled pork and brisket in two split 50-gallon drums.
The smoker was deployed for Fourth of July parties.
Marty Ciminelli, right, and his assistant Matt Juillerat work a couple of baby-back rib racks in the smokehouse behind Smokin’ Marty’s BBQ Restaurant on North Ellsworth Avenue in Salem. The restaurant opened in October with a full menu and has a drive-up pickup window for quicker service. (Salem News photo by Larry Shields)
"Everyone said how good they were," she said and that led to the purchase of a Georigia-made smoker and a first place finish for ribs in a burn-off that also won a fifth-place in the "whole hog category."
Ciminelli said, "That kind of sparked it."
Their son, Marty Jr., was also "bitten by the bug."
The Georgia smoker led to an even bigger rotisserie smoker made in Missouri about two years ago. "With the catering ... and we do a lot of weddings and stuff," Martha said, "we just needed more room (in the smoker)," she said, adding the sauces, ribs and brisket recipes are all Marty's.
Martha is a 1974 West Branch High School graduate while Marty graduated from Salem in 1975. This is the couples first restaurant.
Marty smokes everything in a separate, small fenced-in area behind the restaurant.
He can be found out there in his shorts and jacket in rain, shine, hot or cold with his buddy Scott Brooks and assistant Matt Juillerat who both help out during the four-to-five hours it takes to smoke the racks.
Beef brisket can take eight to nine hours, Ciminelli said, adding it's a process.
"It depends," he said, regarding how oftern he cooks, "on how busy we are. Eventually I'd like to coof every day ... it's getting close (to that)."
The pulled pork takes six to eight hours depending on size and Marty repeatedly coats the cuts with his top secret sauce.
"The glazing makes a difference," he said.
"It enhances the meat," Martha added.
Marty said, "Slow cooked, we do all meat slow ..."
Since the smoking occurs outdoors, Marty said that while the cold weather doesn't bother him it can sometimes lengthen the cooking time.
There is a warming box attached to the smokers for baked beans and baked potatoes. The menu also includes smoked chicken, Brooks said.
"We've cooked in some bad weather," he said, explaining that people driving by on North Ellsworth Avenue and Sugartree Alley wave and some stop and talk.
You know things are running right with Marty in charge.
He's under the canopy where the cherry, oak and hickory wood-fed smoker simmers to a dim orange cooking-glow with18 racks of ribis lined up on two rows like a giant piano keyboard.
The wood burn blends with the ribs and the smoky aroma pouring from the vent has the ability to stop traffic.
And that's partly intended because Smokin' Marty's has a pick-up window on the southside of the building.
Smokin' Marty's is open with a full menu on Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m until 10 p.m.
Also popular at the Columbiana County Fair, Smokin' Marty's is on Facebook or customers can call ahead at 330-332-5322 and use the pickup window.