Stephen “Kloby” Klobosits has a thing for smoke. He attended culinary school after burning out as a paramedic firefighter. After a few stints in big-name themed restaurants such as Hard Rock Cafe, Klobosits, 47, decided to use the power of smoke for good, opening the first iteration of Kloby’s in Baltimore County in 2004.
Since moving to Howard County in 2008, Kloby’s has had a separate entrance for takeout orders, but a three-month-old neon “Q to Go” sign has given its next-door access point a higher profile.
The kitchen, with a smoker that Klobosits says is “about a third of the size of a tractor-trailer,” separates the takeout area from the restaurant. An average of 900 pounds of Boston butt and nearly 600 pounds of beef brisket emerge from the smoker each week.
The pulled-pork barbecue comes Carolina-style on sandwiches ($7.99) or served as a Meat Plate ($10.29 for a meat, two sides and corn bread). Its side of fries was soggy before we even left the parking lot, but the sandwich was piled high with large hunks of slow-smoked pork ladled with a traditional vinegar-based sauce, and just enough coleslaw for crunch.
The smoked turkey breast ($8.99 for a sandwich) gets its moisture and flavor from brining. The sandwich was so tall we had to remove some meat to eat it — but we can think of worse problems. It is slathered with a mayonnaise-horseradish sauce and comes with boardwalk-style, hand-cut fries, which we subbed with tender collard greens ($1.89) studded with bits of smoked brisket.
“We don’t put pork in any side,” says Klobosits, adding that they use brisket or smoked turkey trimmings instead. “We’re trying to keep it friendly across the board.”
Baby back pork ribs ($12.99 for a half slab; $21.99 for a full slab) are tough to eat on the go, but they’re a wonderful choice if you’re not on a road trip. Their mild sauce is still a bit a spicy, and the meat slides off the bone. For sides, we ordered the Brisket BBQ Beans, which are heavy on the cumin and chili powder, and a lackluster mac and cheese that Klobosits admits is engineered to be kid-friendly. He plans to offer a more grown-up version soon. And we wished the corn bread was packed outside of the ribs container, because it was steamed into oblivion by the time we ate it.
But we’ll be sure to return for an outstanding order of hush puppies (four for $1.99; eight for $3.89), stellar pork ribs and compelling ’cue.
Kloby’s Smokehouse 7500 Montpelier Rd., Laurel. 301-362-1510. klobysbbq.com. Hours: Sundays through Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.