Baldy’s Smoked Meats brings a classic tradition to the lakeshore

By Kelsey Smith

Pulled chicken and pork platter
Pulled chicken and pork platter Photo: Urban St./Kelsey Smith

There’s a new place in town to chow down on some authentic barbecue. Baldy’s Smoked Meats opened at the Dockside Market Place building in Saugatuck earlier this summer, and is serving up slow-roasted, pit-style barbecue made from scratch.

To celebrate Saugatuck’s history, Baldy’s pays homage to the towering Mount Baldhead that overlooks Lake Michigan. 

Fueled by locally sourced cherry, white oak, apple, sugar maple and hickory, Baldy’s custom-built, giant red smoker from Texas can hold 1,800 pounds of meat per cycle. 

Mike Santo, executive chef at Baldy’s
Mike Santo, executive chef, Baldy’s
Photo: Urban St./Kelsey Smith

“So far, things have been going pretty good since we opened,” said Mike Santo, executive chef. “We’re getting a good following from the locals that stop in, it’s been really cool to see.”

Baldy’s menu is kept pretty simple with an assortment of meat platters, sandwiches and sides. Meat choices include brisket, corned beef, ribs, pulled chicken, hot links, pulled pork, salmon, turkey legs, ribeye, beef short ribs and a meat of the week. 

And, don’t forget about the house-made sides. Options include: macaroni salad, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, cheesy potatoes, Elote corn, bean medley salad, kimchi slaw and Great Lakes potato chips.

“Our brisket and ribs have been popular, but surprisingly, people have been just loving our pulled chicken and pulled pork, too,” Santo said.

“Another thing we’re trying is the Baldy’s barbecue sundae. People are a little weirded out by it at first, but somehow, it works. It’s a cup layered with our cheesy potatoes, baked beans, coleslaw and your choice of either pulled pork or chicken, topped with any barbecue sauce you want. It’s a great way for people to try a little bit of everything we have here.”

Brisket Photo: Baldy’s Smoked Meats

Aside from serving up quality smoked meats, the fast-casual barbecue joint and full-service caterer wants to provide a space for people to kick back and relax with others.

“We want people to feel comfortable when they come in here, like they’re coming in as family,” Santo said. “We want them to feel as if they’re at home, and come as they are, and just sit down and have a really nice meal.”

Baldy’s Smoked Meats
340 Water St., Saugatuck