A few days in Arkansas

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buffetbuster
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2008/11/03 06:33:14 (permalink)

A few days in Arkansas

The plan is to fly into Memphis and spend the next few days checking out the sights and Roadfood in Arkansas.

Friday October 31, 2008 
After landing at Memphis airport, I took the shuttle to get my car rental. At the counter, the guy recognized me from my last trip here a month and a half ago as the "bbq guy". He told me again I need to go to Tom's BBQ on Getwell in Memphis.

But, my destination tonight was Neeley's BBQ. I know that they have a tv show, but I have never seen it. The reason I wanted to eat here is it came highly recommended by cecif and I think wanderingjew made positive comments about it in the past.

When I pulled up, there were plenty of cars in the parking lot, but the inside was deserted.

Where was everybody? I'm sure most people were busy with Halloween. Speaking of Halloween, since I was by myself, they sat me down at a booth right in front of the tv, which I appreciated. So, I sat there and watched Milla Jojovich kick some zombie butt in a movie. Ah, nothing whets your appetite for good bbq like seeing the undead feasting on the living!

Since this is Memphis, I had to start off with a side of bbq spaghetti.

The version here at Neeley's has plenty of small bits of pork and is heavy on their own bbq sauce. This was really good!

The bbq beans was also loaded with meat and sauce and was equally delicious.


Unfortunately, I didn't feel the same way about my pork sandwich.

I have never seen a sandwich like this before. The pork came in the shape of a tower, making it impossible to eat as a sandwich. The hard bun didn't help.

For dessert, they offered pecan pie or peach cobbler. Since I would be eating plenty of pie in the next few days, I went for the cobbler.

It was nice and warm and tasted fine.

After my recent experience in north Florida, where I could not get a decent glass of sweet tea, what I drank was a big improvment. I am ready to crown Memphis the sweet tea capitol of the South!

Since I was planning on just relaxing in my room for a few hours and watching to see if Milla survives or not, I placed a to go order for another Memphis specialty, bbq bologna.

Instead of a bun, it comes on toast, which was a nice touch. The cole slaw and the sauce ensures a messy meal, but still a very good sandwich! Overall, Neeley's gets a thumbs up. It is no Cozy Corner, but I would definitely go back for those sides.

http://www.neelysbbq.com/home.htm

Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 15:44:09
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127 Replies Related Threads

    Sundancer7
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 06:37:35 (permalink)
    BB: We missed you in Nashville but it appears that you did very well. Nobody knows pies like BB. How did you rate the BBQ spaghetti? Even though the sandwich was a little tall, how was the taste?

    Perhaps we will see you in February in Charleston or Savannah for the Presidents day event?

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #2
    ChiTownDiner
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 07:34:41 (permalink)
    BB - Nice start...and the rental guy knows you! It must have been that Captain Pie Halloween costume! Were you able to just squish down the sandwich and then eat it? The cobler, and crust or topping? Can't wait to see more. My brother would love that bolagna sandwich!
    #3
    buffetbuster
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 07:57:32 (permalink)
    Just returned from breakfast at Wagon Wheel in Greenbrier, where I had biscuits with gravy. Chocolate gravy! More on that later!

    Paul-
    This was a weekend I wish I was twins, so I could have been in both places. Even as late as Saturday morning, I was debating whether I should head east or west out of Memphis. As great as it would have been to see my Roadfood friends like you, Travelin Man, The Mayor and Poverty Pete, I had been planning my trip to Arkansas for too long and had already made too many plans.

    I will absolutely be in Charleston or wherever for the President's Day weekend. That reminds me...... I need to go buy an official Glee Club shirt!

    The bbq spaghetti I had at Neeley's was as good as I have had anywhere!

    CTD-
    The reason the guy remembers me was because we had a nice long conversation about Memphis bbq while I was filling out the paperwork. And he was right about A & R BBQ, which I really enjoyed. Still, I was surprised he recognized me. BTW, I loved the line about the Captain Pie Halloween costume!

    No squishing down of the sandwich. I ate it with a fork. As for the cobbler, I have the feeling it wasn't homemade. Since I didn't ask, I can't say for sure. Still liked it, though.
    #4
    wanderingjew
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 07:59:00 (permalink)
    Buffetbuster

    Good start so far. What a difference 3 1/2 years makes. The pork bbq sandwich at Neely's looked normal when I was there. None of that fancy schmancy tower stuff.
    #5
    Mrs.Crunch
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 09:00:04 (permalink)
    Great stuff !........ a hard bun will ruin a sandwich everytime.....
    Does this experience make you want to check out a few episodes of their show??
    #6
    The Travelin Man
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 09:45:46 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster

    Just returned from breakfast at Wagon Wheel in Greenbrier, where I had biscuits with gravy. Chocolate gravy!


    After last night's Treehouse of Horror Simpson's special, I know that I can't be the only one thinking....



    Mmmmm.....chocolate gravy.
    #7
    Nancypalooza
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 10:16:16 (permalink)
    The tower thing seems to be very in but it almost always makes whatever it is harder to eat. I guess I'm anti-tower then.

    That BBQ bologna sandwich looks terrific!
    #8
    CajunKing
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 16:17:36 (permalink)
    BB

    We missed you in Franklin and Summertown, I tried to pay homage to you as you will see in the trip reports.

    I agree about neely's sides, I wasn't fond of their pulled pork the last time I was there it was mushy. That towering pile of pork looks interesting, but as you found out it is hard to eat.

    looking forward to chocolate gravy and the rest of your report

    #9
    blinky193
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 16:25:33 (permalink)
    My mouth is watering once again at your photo's! Hope you are having a good time. You'll hve to make another pit stop at Neely's on the way back with a few zip loc baggies and bring some of the bbq spaghetti back home!
    #10
    susanll
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 16:45:16 (permalink)
    It is just me....but the spaghetti is a little too sauced for my tastes. Waiting for more!
    #11
    mayor al
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 16:46:05 (permalink)
    I am looking forward to your insight into BOOMING DuValles Bluff! Did you visit both Craigs and the Family Pie Shop ??
    #12
    wanderingjew
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 16:48:29 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by susanll

    It is just me....but the spaghetti is a little too sauced for my tastes. Waiting for more!


    Yeah, it's just you....

    I thought it tasted fine...
    #13
    buffetbuster
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 17:21:43 (permalink)
    CajunKing-
    I had no idea that you were going to be there at the bbq get together in Tennessee! It sounds like a real all-star line up. Sorry I missed you.

    Actually, I was thinking about you earlier this morning when I was at the Wagon Wheel restaurant. You would have loved my dessert. Yes, I had dessert after the chocolate gravy!

    Travelin Man-
    As a huge Simpson's fan, that is priceless!!!

    Al-
    You are way ahead of me. De Valls Bluff will be in an upcoming installment. No way I could pass up a place called the Family Pie Shop.

    blinky193-
    Can you see me trying to bring bbq spaghetti home in my luggage? I can just imagine what my clothes would smell like! BTW, I tried to text you from Neeley's, letting you know I was there, but it didn't go through. Oh, and get back to work!

    susanll-
    It was just on the verge of being oversauced for me, which means it would have been too much for others. Luckily, I like a lot of sauce!

    Nancypalooza-
    Other than the cole slaw at Belgrade Gardens in Ohio, count me as anti-tower, too.

    Mrs. Crunch-
    Yes, it does make me want to watch the show. My co-worker (the previously posting blinky193) has watched the show and told me about it. Have you seen it? Is it worth watching?

    wanderingjew-
    Glad to know that isn't something they have always done. They might have been thinking they were doing me a favor by giving me so much. Who knows!
    #14
    buffetbuster
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 17:56:22 (permalink)
    Saturday November 1, 2008 

    Happy birthday mom!

    I got off to a nice early start out of Memphis and arrived at my breakfast destination, Gene's BBQ in Brinkley, AR around 7:00AM.

    As you can tell by the light, the above photo was taken on the way out. The parking lot was packed with pickup trucks. Good sign #1. There was a banner over the front door declaring it.....

    Does that mean Ivory Billed Wood Pecker will be on the menu? Luckily, no. It turns out the inside is a veritable shrine to the elusive bird.

    Apparently, a hunter spotted this once thought extinct fellow in 2004. And, no one has seen him since. But, he sure is a popular one here at Gene's BBQ.

    He even makes an appearance on the menu cover.


    From talking to the waitress, apparently there are some skeptics as to whether the bird was really spotted or not. Including my waitress, though I don't want to get her into trouble. That is why it says "We Believe".

    As for me though, "I Believe" in a big country breakfast.

    Especially if it stars country cured ham,

    plus biscuits and gravy.


    The hash browns were straight from a box and the eggs were rubbery, but the gravy more than made up for it. Creamy, peppery, with unusually large chunks of sausage in it, this is something my Kentucky-born gramma would enjoy!

    The crowd at Gene's was nothing but locals, all men, wearing ball caps (although they probably call them farmer's caps around here) speaking in hushed tones.


    You can see they have a dessert case and I took a look. But nothing appeared homemade, which the waitress verified. My next visit here, I would prefer to try their bbq, but the sausage gravy made this a worthwhile breakfast stop.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=2102&RefID=2048

    I headed on to DeValls Bluff, home of two famous Roadfood joints. I knew it would be way too early for Craig's BBQ, but I was hoping to get lucky with the Family Pie Shop. It was only 8:30AM.

    I parked across the street at Craig's and walked over to snap an outside photo.

    The exterior looks exactly the same as my last visit in 2001! A woman came out of the house next door and I asked her what time the shop opened. She told me to go ahead and knock on the door. When I hesitated, she told me to follow her and she went in. It turns out she was Mary Thomas' daughter and they had sweet potato, coconut and chocolate pies ready. I ordered a small sweet potato and small chocolate. As I was waiting for my pies, I got a photo of their menu

    and some whole sweet potato pies cooling off.


    Mary Thomas was very jovial and didn't mind answering all of my questions. She did tell me she doesn't open for a few more hours, but I was in the right place at the right time. WOO-HOO!!!!

    I went ahead and ate the chocolate in my car.

    There is no doubt, that this was as good a pie as I have ever had. The meringue was airy and light on the tongue. The chocolate filling was incredibly dense, yet not rich at all. It was very sweet, but not too sweet. Absolute pie perfection! Here is a close-up of the chocolate filling.


    Mary Thomas is a master of her craft! And to think how close I came to going away emptyhanded.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=316&RefID=316

    I stowed the other pie away, since I had plenty more meals to hit.

    Much more to come.....
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 15:44:36
    #15
    CajunKing
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 18:06:00 (permalink)
    You Are Killing Me!!!!
    #16
    Twinwillow
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 18:21:33 (permalink)
    Damn!
    #17
    ChiTownDiner
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 19:28:13 (permalink)
    It keeps getting better...love those pies!
    #18
    joerogo
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 19:41:55 (permalink)
    BB, Looks like some good down home cookin'. Great report.

    After the meal at Neeley's BBQ only you would have to get a sandwich to go.
    #19
    Sundancer7
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 20:07:30 (permalink)
    BB is definately the RF pie man. Great report. One other note is I do not believe that the Ivory Bill has been spotted but it works great for that exit.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    buffetbuster
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 20:56:09 (permalink)
    Saturday November 1, 2008 cont.

    I arrived at McClard's Bar-B-Q in Hot Springs around 10:30AM. Since they didn't open until 11:00AM, I had some time to kill. So what do you do, waiting for your lunch spot to open? Eat, of course! So, I went ahead and devoured my sweet potato pie from Family Pie Shop. As for how good it was, I will let the photo do the talking!

    I don't know if the photo does the pie justice, but the portion size is huge. These are two slices or a 1/4 a whole pie each.

    While sitting there, I admired the nice mural of the building next door.

    At five minutes 'til, people got out of their cars to start lining up at the front door.

    The inside is comfortable and is half counter seats and half small booths.


    I had a bit of a dilemma on what to order. The rib and fry plate was my intended, but I also wanted to try some of their famous tamales. But, there was no way I had room to eat all that. The waitress said she would be happy to substitute a tamale for half of my fries, which was just what I needed to hear. Here is what I ended up with:


    Here is a close up of the tamale:

    There was nothing wrong at all with the tamale. But, I only ate about a quarter of it. That was because of how spectacular the ribs were. Big, meaty, full-flavored, doused in wonderful sauce, I loved these ribs!

    Along with The Brick Pit in Mobile, these are my favorite ribs anywhere. And almost as good was dipping the fries in the sweet, slightly hot bbq sauce.

    BTW, I received really good service here. When my waitress asked where I was from and I told her Pittsburgh, she told me her boss was a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. She was also wearing a Razorback ball cap and a t-shirt that said "Woo Pig Soiee"! Yet another reason to like this place! I did buy a bottle of the barbecue sauce to take home with me.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=78&RefID=78

    I headed out to do some sightseeing in Hot Springs.

    Much more to come.....
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 15:45:04
    #21
    ChiTownDiner
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 21:03:44 (permalink)
    Those are some meaty looking ribs! I like that the inside of the tamle is not all ground up...it has texture.
    #22
    Nancypalooza
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 21:21:52 (permalink)
    Cliff if you go to a place that seems closed and get the door to Pie Heaven opened up for you, I think you have experienced the opposite of being Travelin' Manned.

    I'm not a rib lover and those look perfect. Nummy.
    #23
    Baah Ben
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 22:19:55 (permalink)
    McClard's!!!This is another place I have on my "to do list" that I will probably never do. This is where Bubba Clinton has eaten many times...Right? I wonder if Hillary has also been there?

    I have a friend who has been there and he said it was terrific. Hey, BB, thanks so much for the pictures! Just wondering if you can comment...Are the tamales at McClard's as good as the ones they make in Mississippi? Never had one. Doe's in Mississippi makes them and they're supposed to be terrific. Perhaps you've been to both places?

    These Southern pies....I know you love them. In a way, I'm glad they do not do too much for me (the pictures that is) as I like a cream topped pie (not meringue) and I like huge sky high filled pies. All these southern pies from these pie shops are so thin. When you have a pie at a NJ diner, they are 3-4 times thicker. Just what one's use to I guess.

    Interesting that you compared Neeley's to Cozy Corner. That BBQ spaghetti looked nasty. Too much sauce! At Interstate they dipped my ribs in their sauce and I hated the texture. I never was even asked if I wanted them sauced. Pissed me off. Missed Cozy Corner..Heard really good things about that place. Went to Charlie Virgo's as our second dinner meal..Should have pulled a "Pastrami Queen" and gone to 3-4 "Q" places in one night! We should have "Pastrami Queened" Kansas City, too!
    #24
    mar52
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/03 23:30:28 (permalink)
    I think I need to move to the South!

    I don't know about the barbecue spaghetti, but I sure want some pie!

    What do they mean by Tamale Spread?

    Did they offer you any sauce with that tamale?

    Everything looks scrumptious!

    #25
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/04 00:38:17 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster
    ... Can you see me trying to bring bbq spaghetti home in my luggage?


    Buffetbuster,
    If you went through airport security anywhere, it would be interesting to see the looks on their faces when you told them that you had a suitcase full of BBQ spaghetti -- "Well, I can't get this at home," I hear you lament as they drag you off to commune with Napoleon XIV....
    Not Going Pastal, Ort. Carlton in Often-Just-As-Messy-As-That-Would-Be Athens, Georgia.
    #26
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/04 00:39:58 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen
    I am looking forward to your insight into BOOMING DuValles Bluff!


    Mr. Mayor,
    What?!?!? Did they have an explosion?!?!?!? -- It surely wasn't of the population kind.
    Calling Your Bluff, Ort. Carlton in On-A-Hill Athens, Georgia.
    #27
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/04 00:45:24 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    Strikes me that McClard's is only one of the famous-and-decent BBQ places in Hot Springs. Can anyone supply information on any of the others? I'm curiouser than curious.
    Wondersomely, Ort. in 30601-Central.
    #28
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/04 00:47:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster
    Just returned from breakfast at Wagon Wheel in Greenbrier, where I had biscuits with gravy. Chocolate gravy!


    Dearfolk,
    Makes me wish to have some livermush to go with that gravy. I bet it would be gooood....
    Oinkfully, Ort. in Amazing Athens.
    #29
    leethebard
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    RE: A few days in Arkansas 2008/11/04 01:01:59 (permalink)
    Nice few days here...and some great food..that country breakfast looked perfect...and ooohhh those pies....looking forward to more!
    #30
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