Chicken in a Barrel pulls out with a taste of the South

Anyone driving Northbound out of Kapa‘a can’t help get a hankering for BBQ. That’s because there’s no escaping the smoky scents emitting from Chicken in a Barrel’s custom-made barrels.

The Eastside restaurant opened a year ago, and it has quickly garnered a following of BBQ loving faithful.

Don’t be deceived by its name — although its logo may be a surfing chicken, the restaurant also offers beef and pork plates, in addition to homemade chili, rice and sautéed vegetables.

The fan favorite (including this reviewer’s) is the sampler plate ($14). It comes with “a little of everything,” including smoked chicken, a spare rib, beef brisket, a side of rice, chili and home-made coleslaw.

The restaurant also offers daily specials, which usually are priced around $12 a plate and include a drink.

The secret is in the barrel, and the restaurant’s employees aren’t shy to show it off if you request a peek. The chef stacks a layer of coals on the bottom of the custom-made, 50 gallon barrels. The meats are hung from racks and smoked with wood chips.

The restaurant uses a “secret” dry rub recipe (the chef remains tight-lipped over the list of ingredients).

The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender and doesn’t need any BBQ sauce to compliment it. For those who aren’t smoked-meat purists, Chicken in a Barrel does offer spicy and mild BBQ sauces, which they make in house.

Most entrees range between $10 and $14, and the portions are hearty.

The only thing better than its food? It’s their customer service. The staff is friendly and more than willing to answer questions, refill your beverage or just talk story.

With more than three decades of cooking experience, owner Mike Pierce’s goal “is to spread the love of God and this extraordinary culinary joy,” according to the restaurant’s website. That explains the bible passage written on the takeout box.

Chicken in a Barrel is a great find — it’s fast, tasty and won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Chicken in a Barrel is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The restaurant is located at 4-1586 Kuhio Hwy. in Kapa‘a.

Visit or call 823-0780 for more information.

Best Bet: The Sampler Plate ($14). Perfect for first timers. It offers a little bit of everything to fulfill your carnivorous needs.

On a Budget: Single portions of beef or pork ($6.50) or a quarter chicken ($6). Or grab a friend and split a regular plate. Since the portions are hearty, you won’t be leaving hungry.

Skip: Rice and chili bowl ($5). If you aren’t ordering smoked meat, you might as well not stop. It’s the BBQ that is the star of this Eastside joint.


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