BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster!

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salembrewer
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2003/03/02 22:22:26 (permalink)

BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster!

I've logged some miles trying BBQ. I can't say I have tried them all, not by a long shot...but I have been judicious in my choices. I've had the crunchy-skinned quick-smoked perfection of ribs at the Rendezvous in Memphis, the spicy bite, the crunchy-cool, the creamy-crispy slow-smoked pulled pork at the old original, now gone, 40's-early 50's counter at the original "Leonard's Pit BBQ". I remember the pure folk art masterpiece of a neon sign, a top hatted and tuxedo'd pig reclining calmly over a flickering log fire. "Mr. Brown Goes to Town" the sign boldly stated, referring to the crunchy "Mr. Brown" bits of the barbecued pork, his companion being the "Divine Miss White" the buttery soft and rich light meat of the smoked shoulder. I have sampled the intriguing and rich Owensboro,Kentucky slow-smoked mutton sandwiches from "The Old Hickory B-B-Q", and had perhaps a bit too much joy at the "hot guts" and beef-over-a-live-log-
fire East Central Texas shrines such as Kreuz', Black's and Smitty's in Lockhart, the Southside in Elgin and City BBQ in Luling. We can certainly stand united in our pride of these uniquely American and internationally acclaimed cultural icons, they are most certainly among our most important traditions.
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    Michael Stern
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/03/03 09:45:22 (permalink)
    OK, then, if the warden said you could have one last barbecue meal, which would it be? I've debated this question for years, and tend to waffle among The Ridgewood in East Tennessee, Bub Sweatman's in South Carolina, and Louie Mueller's in Texas. Then there's the Cozy Corner in Memphis ...
    #2
    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/03/03 12:11:08 (permalink)
    Well, for us, it would have to be the rib and fry plate at McClard's, in Hot Springs.
    #3
    mayor al
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/03/05 09:50:24 (permalink)
    The LAST MEAL choice is difficult. I have to agree that Louis Mueller in TX is near the top, As is the Central Texas BBQ in Castroville, CA (Artichoke Country-Go figure!!) BUT I would have to ask for a couple hours of released time to visit the MOONLITE BBQ in Owensboro, KY...WHAT a great Place to Chow Down. Thank heaven it is only 90 miles from home...time to think about lunch for today.
    #4
    John Landsberg
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/03/15 04:16:16 (permalink)
    The Ridgewood, for me, has never been surpassed. And it isn't a matter of my last barbecue meal -- we're talking last meal of any kind, period.
    #5
    Mark Romney
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/03/17 15:01:30 (permalink)
    It would be a hard choice but I would have to go with either the prime rib at Kreuz in Lockhart or the pork chop at Cooper's in Llano, TX.
    #6
    harriet1954
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/03/29 18:34:19 (permalink)
    I just flashed backwards in time to Spring, 1984. I was newly married; we were moving from Los Angeles to New Jersey, and we were driving with a cockatiel and a parakeet in the backseat. We took the scenic route, Route 40, and once night we stopped in Memphis and ate at Gridley's. To me (I don't know about him; we've been divorced since 1993 and he probably forgot all about it), this is the best BBQ I have ever eaten and nothing even comes close. I can't explain it in detail, but I do remember that one side of the place was pick-up at the window and take back to your table, and the other side of the place was waitress service. And it was set up almost like two different restaurants in that way.

    The tastebuds never forget.
    #7
    bumper
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/03/30 13:44:17 (permalink)
    Bar H Bbq in Franklin Springs Ga. Is the best I have tasted in Ga. To much tomato in Memphis and K C Q for me
    #8
    mobley
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/03/30 16:05:45 (permalink)
    Here's my list. I'm from North Carolina, so it's a little biased, but here goes: 1) Pete's Skylight in Ayden NC. It don't get more authentic than this! The menu consists of BBQ either in a tray or a sandwich, cole slaw, soft drinks and flat pan cooked cornbread, and thats it. You know it's the "real deal" by the wood piled up outside. 2) The Ridgewood in East TN. It's been a few years, but the taste is still fondly ingrained in my memory. 3) Van's Pig Stand in Shawnee OK. A great little small town joint. My only experience with Western style BBQ. If I remember, the pig, beef and chicken were all great. 4) Wilber's in Goldsboro NC. once again, good ole' REAL wood cooked BBQ. 5) Stamey's in Greensboro NC. I never make a trip to Western NC without detouring off 1-40 to visit Stamey's 6) Charlie Vergo's Rendevous in Memphis. I stayed at the Peabody Hotel across the street for three nights and ate at the Rendevous 5 times! Dry ribs are the greatest!!! 7) B's BarB-Q in Greenville NC. I have never seen this place raved about in print, but I think it's awesome. The Q is so fresh that they close as soon as they run out of that day's supply. The chicken is also quite tasty. Places I find over-rated: Parker's in Wilson & Bob Melton's in Rocky Mt NC (they use gas)..also GA Pig in Brunswick GA. The place looked filthy and the people were very rude, besides that, I didn't care for the food. Ditto for Piggy Park in Columbia SC, I just can't acquire a taste for mustard based BBQ.
    #9
    dbear
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/03/31 18:00:52 (permalink)

    I LOVE BBQ. I don't really live in the right part of the country for the classic kinds, but I used to live in Austin, TX for years back in the 70's and 80's. If I had to pick one last BBQ meal, of Texas BBQ it would be at what we used to call Kreuz Market in Lockhart, right off the town square near the courthouse. I think it is now called Smitty's, not sure. Simply put, the best prime ribs, sausage and brisket I have ever had in a setting where nothing detracts from the taste; if you want a fork, bring your own!

    The Salt Lick, further north in Driftwood was also excellent, but I hear its sort of become touristy.
    #10
    mayor al
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/01 19:26:49 (permalink)
    It is interesting how the reviews of BBQ seem to give extra points to places that have "less than prime" facilities. I think it helps us accept that BBQ is used to prepare the 'less expensive' cuts of meat, than some of the more Upscale food places.
    Hard to think of Great QUE coming on a fine china plate, with three sizes of forks on the cloth tablecloth, two wine glasses, and a server dressed in formal dining attire!! Anyone know of such a place?
    Even the 'modern' BBQ Houses seem to want to create that downhome image.
    #11
    pigface
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/01 19:49:23 (permalink)
    I can remember our best BBQ Experience was found in Chattanooga,
    Heading back home from Georgia, found some place, 20 minute before they closed. named like ...
    The Smokey Pig, off I-40 and it was like eating bacon with bones attached.
    Not that we don't have delicious Boiled / Baked BBQ here in the Mid West
    #12
    Bushie
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/01 22:12:50 (permalink)
    Central Texas Barbeque (Austin area):

    Salt Lick food is still great, although dbear is right in that it's not the same place it used to be. They still let you bring your own beer, though (no liquor license), so that certainly helps. Plus, you can't beat the sauce.

    I agree with the "Mayor" that Louie Mueller's is just about the best. I live 10 miles from there. Mayor, you ought to visit and see the "extension". They did an awesome job; it looks old and natural, just like it's been there for years.

    Something y'all may not know is that Bobby Mueller (Louie Mueller's son, who is the Pitmaster since Fred Fontaine is gone) and his son John had some kind of falling out, and John Mueller's BBQ opened in Austin during this past year. I hear it's great, but loyalty to Bobby has kept me away.

    Again, dbear is correct about Kreuz's. Still the best in Lockhart. Smitty's is real close, but it resulted as a family feud, so we Texans are forced to take sides (it's a matter of honor). Kreuz's has moved to a new building. Black's, I don't care much for, but that's probably because if I'm going to make the drive, I want to eat at Kreuz. There's a "new kid on the block"; Chisholm Trail BBQ out on 183. It's REALLY good, and you have to admire the man's cajones for going up against the other stalwarts in Lockhart. I will usually eat at Kreuz and get some Chisholm Trail to take back home.

    Southside Meat Market in Elgin is not ANYWHERE as good as it used to be when it was in downtown Elgin, so I rarely go there anymore.

    A place I heard about through one of Michael Stern's reviews is Charles BBQ in Smithville. You haven't had sausage until you have theirs. Simply perfect.
    #13
    fdm813
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/02 01:23:15 (permalink)
    Several years ago I went to BBQ in Salisbury, N.C. called the College Drive In. I do not know if it is still there but I will always compare other "NC" BBQ to the chopped I had there. Great smoke, and Taste.
    #14
    Nictimo
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/02 21:04:13 (permalink)
    Re: Arthur Bryants. Sorry to say but they've hit bottom. Visited there two weeks ago and the old greatness it gone. Maybe bad management or just apathy. But take it off the list of great BBQ.
    #15
    mayor al
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/03 05:48:23 (permalink)
    RE-Arthur Bryants- I hope your experience turns out to be a temporary let-down!!! That kind of a downfall seems to happen often when a parking lot fills with BMW's !
    Can someone try it again and either confirm or deny NIC's report???
    #16
    Defessa
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/03 20:15:35 (permalink)
    Thanks for all the great BBQ suggestions in Memphis! Making a road trip this weekend, taking oldest son to see CBU. We'll have to stop at one or two to sample their wares.

    While in St. Louis, you might want to try to find Charlotte's Rib [url]CharlottesRib.com[/url]. My favorite (and St. Louis Speciality) is BBQ Pork Steak. The steaks are thick and meaty, yet tender and smoked just right. There are 4 or 5 sauce choices to go along with the meat, as well as choice of 2 sides. I usually go for the BBQ beans and homemade potato salad, while the kids love their Chunky Applesauce.

    Our family loves to have 'Charlotte' smoke a couple of young turkeys for us for the holidays. They actually smoke any meat selection you would like at any time of the year.

    #17
    Sundancer7
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/03 20:33:59 (permalink)
    I was down on Beale Street while we were racing at the NHRA event in Memphis and while I enjoyed all the street stuff there, the on street BBQ was wonderful. I bought pork butte from a street vendor right off the grill. Juicy, tender, delicous and I enjoyed too much

    Paul E. Smith
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    rumbelly
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/04 01:04:50 (permalink)
    Having participated in Memphis in May's pork BBQ contest for about 6 years a while back I can say the best I've had was in contestants booths. But a memorable one was the Interstate BBQ. Weird location but the BBQ spaghetti has inspired dishes we serve in our white tablecloth establishment along side BBQ bologna. Serve honest and they will come to you!!
    #19
    Stogie
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/04 10:57:32 (permalink)
    Like rumbelly, I too compete around the country in cook-offs. We have taken 2nd and 3rd Place in Ribs at the big Memphis event, so whenever asked about the "best" BBQ places, the stock answer is....in my backyard! LOL

    Anyway, I can't believe folks still enjoy the Rendevous. Possibly...no scratch that.....THE WORST ribs I have had for a "famous" place. The first time I gave them the benefit of the doubt. The second time confirmed it...terrible ribs and atrocious service. I will never ever return. The problem is, they don't slow cook them, they grill over direct heat for an hour. This does not give the ribs time to render the fat and tenderize. They were so tough, BOTH times, you run the risk of yanking your teeth out!

    I am also surprised no one has mentioned the Germantown Commissary or Corky's. These are the 2 best in town. I prefer Corky's dry to their wet ones. Others of note..Interstate BBQ, Cozy Corner, Leonard's Pit BBQ and finally Willinghams's. I actually learned at the knee of John and have been forever grateful, though it has been several years since I ate at his joint.

    Stogie
    #20
    mayor al
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/04 11:42:30 (permalink)
    Question for you Memphis in May participants. We visited last May, and as novices, wandered the booths and watched the 'Talent Show', but the only 'Que' available to the public was at the vendors stands, and that was foil-wrapped in 1961 and held for sale at a later date ( read not very good). What is the secret to coming down and getting a crack at the stuff being done on the spot??
    #21
    rumbelly
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/04 15:07:33 (permalink)
    To the Mayor;

    The secret is to somehow get involved with a team. This can be easily done by simply being friendly. Tell them your from outa state, bring an unusual beverage, travel in the company of interesting women, express serious interest in the cookers (these guys spend their life devoted to BBQ and building cookers, eating beans, slaw and pulled pork every day) so they are glad to spend an hour explaining the subtleties and nuances that make their rig the best. Once your in a team gate is it easy to connect to others, thus sharing the result from aforementioned cookers. Staying up all night Friday is joy after everyonelse is kicked out. These things take time and as we all know in the great words of my friend the Late Hoghead "Time don't mean nuthin to a hawg"

    Hope this helps
    Rumbelly
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    Badwaiter
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/04 15:32:40 (permalink)
    Just want to add my two cents to a post a few back about the Louie Mueller feud. I ate at John Mueller's a few weeks back and let me tell you, when families feud, the consumer wins. Not quite as good as the namesake but they treated us right and the food was still great. Got there right before closing and had pork ribs and a pork chop. The ribs were great but the porkchop was super-great and better still, free! That's some hospitality. I don't know the address but its right off I-35 on Manor Rd in Austin. Beats the pants off Stubbs and Iron Works for BBQ within city limits.
    #23
    Jim in NC
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/08 23:25:13 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by fdm813

    Several years ago I went to BBQ in Salisbury, N.C. called the College Drive In. I do not know if it is still there but I will always compare other "NC" BBQ to the chopped I had there. Great smoke, and Taste.



    Yes, College Drive In is still going strong. You're right about their barbecue. It's outstanding. They need to work on the hushpuppies, though...
    #24
    Bushie
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/09 14:43:30 (permalink)
    I have heard similar reviews about John Mueller's place. It's supposed to be REALLY good. I'll get there someday, but since Louie Mueller's is much closer to me than John's, it easy for me to "stay loyal" to Bobby!
    #25
    Matchstick Man
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/09 18:29:15 (permalink)
    When I'm in Fort Worth area, I'm always torn between Angelo's on White Settlement and Main Street in Euless. Since Main Street is only open Fri - Sun, and they have an AYCE choice, that's where I go on those days. OBTW, The owner also owns the trucking company that the restaraunt sits in front of, and if he enters b-b-q cookoffs, he usually wins. If he doesn't enter (especially in TX) it's not unusual for the champions to have gotten their rubs from him.
    #26
    mayor al
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/18 13:20:35 (permalink)
    Saw a thing on Food Festivals about a Goat BBQ Festival in South Texas.... Is that an annual event? Are there pits that regularly serve goat, the way a bunch of them here in the Ohio Valley serve Mutton?
    #27
    Alirush
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/18 13:44:29 (permalink)
    We live in Hot Springs, Arkansas, home of McClard's BBQ. On a good night, there's nothing better than their rib and fry plate - a huge slab of tender, flavorful ribs buried beneath a mountain of hot fries.

    I also love the BBQ sandwiches at Penguin Ed's, in Fayetteville, Arkansas - moist, flavorful meat sandwiched between two buttery pieces of Texas toast. Penguin Ed's has phones at every booth; to order, you just pick up the reciever, which makes a phone behind the counter ring.
    #28
    mayor al
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/18 15:59:40 (permalink)
    Alirush,
    We've enjoyed McClard's a couple of times also! How do you think they compare to Stubby's? We saw his place closed when we went thru last trip ('99) but I forget what day of the week that was.. Can you do a comparison for me?
    #29
    Alirush
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    RE: BBQ-American Culinary Blockbuster! 2003/04/18 16:34:08 (permalink)
    We had heard that Stubby's went downhill right before we moved to Hot Springs, which was in 2001. We did eat there once, just to see for ourselves, and although it was fine BBQ, when there are so many quality places to get ribs nearby, we just didn't see the need to return...

    We did discover a relatively new place called Echo Valley BBQ, which is on 7 South a few miles outside of Hot Springs proper. They have kickin' ribs and amazing sides - the creamiest creamed corn you've ever had, a Southern version of scalloped potatoes with bacon and lots of cream and butter, and toothsome baked beans loaded with pork shreds. They also have live bluegrass music a few nights a week, which we haven't been to but have heard good reviews.
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen

    Alirush,
    We've enjoyed McClard's a couple of times also! How do you think they compare to Stubby's? We saw his place closed when we went thru last trip ('99) but I forget what day of the week that was.. Can you do a comparison for me?

    #30
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