Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pappy's Smokehouse

Pappy's Smokehouse has only been open since February 2008, but it already seems to have garnered quite a strong following in the St. Louis area. As yet another Adam Richman-approved stop on our food tour, we had high expectations for Pappy's. 

According to Danny, my friend from camp (not the same one from Cincinnati) and our unofficial St. Louis tour guide, Pappy's was started by two guys who would go around and cook barbeque for competitions. They won a whole bunch of awards, and because of this, decided to open their own place. According to their website, "We prepare delicious, juicy Memphis Style BBQ daily using only the best ingredients. We start by slow smoking our meats from 4-14 hours over apple or cherry wood and finish them off with a selection of three delicious sauces and your choice of sides all prepared fresh in house."

We got to Pappy's at about 12:30, and were immediately greeted with a line that snaked through the restaurant and out the door. Faced with the decision to brave the line or leave, we decided that a line this long had to lead to amazing food. We got in line. The line slowly crept along as we made our way closer to the register. While in line, we asked one of the employees what we should get if it was our first time there. Without hesitation, he answered, "ribs with sweet potato fries and fried corn." Sounded good to us.

Finally, after about 40 minutes of waiting, we got to the front. Andy and I both ordered a half rack of ribs with an extra 1/4 lb. of pork & brisket, with sides of sweet potato fries, fried corn, and potato salad. We waited for about 5 minutes at a table, and the food was brought out to us.

The worst item by far was the potato salad....and it was pretty damn good potato salad. The sweet potato fries were hand-cut and delicious, and the fried corn on the cob was like nothing I had ever tried before; the best I can do to describe is sweet corn on the cob with a roasted popcorn flavor -- but I don't even think that description does it justice.

As good as the sides were, the meat was even better. The pork came out in large, pulled chunks, and the brisket was perfectly tender. Nevetheless, both of these items paled in comparison to the ribs.

I'm a sauce person. When I get ribs, I typically pour a nice helping of BBQ sauce on them. In fact, I basically put sauce on everything -- burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings -- but these ribs needed none of it. Actually, these ribs were so tender and delicious that I didn't even want to put sauce on them. This was mostly due to the amazing dry rub; in addition to sealing in all of the rib juices, the rub added the perfect amount of both saltiness and tangy sweetness.

The Official Food Review Hierarchy
1) Not worth it
2) Stop in if you're driving by
3) Check it out if you're in town
4) I'd drive an hour for it
5) I'd drive across several states for it
6) I'd kill a man

Official verdict for Pappy's Smokehouse: I'd drive an hour for it AND wait in line for an hour. Despite having spent the first 21 years of my life living in the south, Pappy's has some of the best barbeque that I've ever had.

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