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Island Smokehouse a game changer for food

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Island Smokehouse a game changer for food

Justin Dietz

As resident food expert, I run the Our family travels around to all of the Cedar Fair amusement parks to have FUN and try all the latest food offerings. Come join us to share a funnel cake sundae and see some of the great food options you may not have known existed.

Planning for the new Island Smokehouse inside Kings Island's Soak City started during the summer of 2016. Chef Nathan Gushulak helped customize the layout of the Island Smokehouse from top to bottom, turning a blank canvas into a masterful piece of art. 

Inside of Island Smokehouse, the park installed custom smokers, grills, and a new state-of-the-art kitchen that can create barbecue masterpieces, and that they did!  

Lets take a look and taste at all of the amazing menu options at Island Smokehouse (by the way a lot of the menu options are also on the dining plans!).

Smoked Chicken Wings

We eat a lot of amusement park food because, well, it is our job at the CPFoodBlog! It is no secret that both Don Helbig (Kings Island Public Relations Area Manager) and I have an affinity for amazing chicken wings, and we take it seriously! It was only within the last year or so that our world was turned upside down (and not from a roller coaster) when we had our first smoked chicken wings instead of the standard fried version (or worse yet, the baked version). 

So we were really excited back in February when Kings Island broke the news of Island Smokehouse coming to the park and that they would introduce guests to a smoked version of chicken wings. 

Kings Island smokes all of their meats for 12 hours to lock in that smokey flavor. One could stop there and make very happy customers. However, Chef Nate takes it one step further and gives the wings a 30 seconds flash-fry before giving them to the guests. This gives the wings the perfect crispy outside with incredibly moist and smokey chicken inside.

We have tried chicken wings at Cedar Fair amusement parks across the country, and think the Island Smokehouse has taken the crown as best! 

While we really enjoyed the chicken wings as is, we also tried them with some of the Island Smokehouse spicy BBQ sauce, and they were incredible! 

Smoked Shredded Pork

Kings Island rubs their pork down with dry rub before smoking for 12 hours and hand shredding. Guests have the option of having the pulled pork alone or in a bun and served with a side. 

Create an enhanced meal with either a sweet BBQ sauce or spicy version. We think the spicy BBQ sauce is fabulous and paired it with the pork for the perfect meal. The pulled pork packs tons of flavor and is an incredible option that appeals to a wide audience.

Hand Breaded Chicken Tenders

We have a weakness when it comes to visiting Kings Island in that 99% of our visits must include some of the Chicken Shack hand breaded chicken tenders. The Chef marinades the chicken in buttermilk, hand tosses them in breading, and frying them golden brown. The Kings Island Chicken Shack tenders are superb! 

So we were very excited to learn guests in Soak City can get the same recipe chicken at Island Smokehouse. Why mess with perfection!?

Hand Breaded Shrimp

One of the new menu items up at Cedar Point this season are breaded butterfly shrimp, which we thought were really good. However, Kings Island hit the ball out of the park with their Island Smokehouse shrimp.

They hand toss the shrimp in breading before frying, giving them a subtle sweet flavor on their own. However, make sure to grab some of the "Boom Boom" sauce from the cooler for dipping, which you will recognize from the Reds Hall of Fame Grill. The final product is a fantastic meal with a great combination of sweet and heat. The shrimp will surely be a regular meal on our All-Season dining plans!

Smoked Brisket

While the brisket will not be a regular menu item at this time, when it is available you will want to make sure you grab some to eat! If you are like us, you might want to choose one of the end slices, loaded with tons of the crispy dry rub that packs a powerful flavor. 

The brisket was really good, featuring a very moist piece of meat with the crispness of the rub. We tried ours as is but you can always add either of the Smokehouse BBQ sauces to the meat.

Side Options

We have gone over the incredible lineup of meat options at Island Smokehouse, but there is more not to be missed menu options. Each meal includes a side and you have the option of purchasing additional. 

Chef Nate has taken care to hand make a variety of sides to suit a wide audience. 

Guests can choose Sidewinder Fries, which are a really good spiced (but not spicy) fry. Or a really good creamy coleslaw that is the same as that served in Reds Hall of Fame Grill. Try mac and cheese or baked beans, both of which are very good, especially when paired with the variety of meats. However, there is one side dish that was absolutely fantastic! 

The corn bread pudding is not only good, it is not only great. It is easily the best corn bread pudding we have ever eaten! Super moist with a nice sweetness from the corn and the crispy top layer of bread is the perfect side option. We could seriously eat a giant serving of the corn bread pudding on its own and go home happy! 

If none of that meets your fancy, the Island Smokehouse also offers a variety of wraps, salads, fresh fruit, parfaits and more. Plus you can grab your favorite Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages. The menu at the new Island Smokehouse is really a game changer when it comes to food at Kings Island! Grab a plate and chill at the Soak City wave pool, because this is going to be the best summer ever! 

If you do not have a Kings Island dining plan, this is the time to do it, because the new Island Smokehouse will be your go to stop each visit.


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Justin Dietz

As resident food expert, I run the Our family travels around to all of the Cedar Fair amusement parks to have FUN and try all the latest food offerings. Come join us to share a funnel cake sundae and see some of the great food options you may not have known existed.

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