Well that was short hiatus! I'm actually sitting at a computer in the library in St. Joseph, Missouri. Mrs. Roadhouse is stting next to me, at another computer, doing geneology work with her Mom.
although I'm plannig a seperate thread about our KC Xmas trip I decided that the good Dr. deserved his own thread because:
1. His BBQ stand is in Springfield, Illinois, not KC, and
2. His 'Que is so good it deserves its own thread!
We left Chicago aalittle after 2pm amidst heavy rain and heavier fog. The traffic was obscenely slow taking more than two hours just to ge tsouth of Kankakee. The normal trip from Chicago to Springfield is normally about three hours. It was now after 4pm and we had only gone about 70 miles! I was starting to worry that we might not make it to the Dr.'s shack before his 7pm closing time.
South of Kankakee the traffic cleared up but the fog did not making for white knuckle driving all the way to Springfield. I was determined to get there in time so I just stayed alert and zipped past all the other more timid (read "not obsessed") drivers.
We would normally stop in McLean at the Dixie Truckers Home for a quick pit stop and perhaps a snack. Time kept on moving and so did we, skipping the Dixie (no great loss; the sign out front was about 3/4 burnt out and has been steadily deteriorating on each trip we've made over the last couple of years, not a good omen for the state of the restaurant inside) and pressed on the last fifty or so miles to our capitol city.
Things finally went our way as we spotted the Kmart off to the right and the Dr.'s smoker rig spouting smoke out towards the front of the lot. We pulled up to the Dr.'s stand at about 6:30pm. There he was, standing in the little window looking right at us as we approached. I flashed my brights at him and pulled into a nearby parking space and started to get out of the car. The Dr. pointed to the Drive Thru sign so we pulled up to his window (minus the snow):
I asked him, "Are you the Dr."
"Yes I am," He replied.
"Well I'm BuddyRoadhouse, glad to meet you!"
"Well park your car and come on inside!" He said.
"That's what I was trying to do when you told me to pull up."
"Well I didn't know who you were then, come on in!"
I explained that we had missed our usual rest stop in an effort to get here on time, so we ordered our food and headed over to the Kmart to do what you got to do when you've been in a car for four hours drinking from a big jug of water. When we got back we were invited in to the little yellow trailer to eat in comfort and splendor (compared to the front seat of a Toyota Corolla anyway).
The Dr. is a wonderful host and a fine pitmaster. Mrs. Roadhouse and I shared some outstanding Brisket and Pulled Pork, both rich and moist with a perfect balance of smoke and natural meat flavor. He serves his sandwiches with the sauce added minimally as an afterthought--nothing to hide.
Along with the meat, we had some very tasty slaw, chopped fine with a slightly tangy, creamy mayo based dressing.
His potato salad has a very appetizing yellow tint hinting at some mustard in the recipe. Good flavor.
He's very proud of his corn on the cob which he seasons with butter, salt and chile powder. It is tasty, but he was a bit disappointed when I told him it tasted like the "elotes" that is commonly found sold off of carts around Chicago's Hispanic neighborhoods. Now he wants the "elotes" recipe so he can improve on what he's got!
The champion of his side dishes though, are his baked beans. Sweet and tangy with a distinct flavor of bell pepper giving them a wonderfully complex flavor.
The stand itself is IMMACULATE! His stainless steel floors, walls, and ceilings are cleaner than most brick and mortar kitchens. This is a mobile trailer you can really feel good about ordering from.
The Dr. is a very friendly and generous host. We traded sauce for our sandwiches and he ended up giving us about 1/3 of a whole pork loin that had just come off the smoker.
We will definitely be back on our return trip to pick up 'Que for New Year's Eve.
Springfield has a few Roadfood classics, The Cozy Dog Drive In, the Horseshoe sandwich and an original art deco Steak and Shake. Now there's one more reason to stop in Springfield: The Dr. of BBQ!