The High Five is a series that explores the five favorite things in a certain category. The following are Nick of Great Lakes Prep‘s five favorite barbecue restaurants. You can view my High Five post on his blog. If you’d like to participate in future posts, please send Nick an e-mail.
Living in the Midwest does have it’s drawbacks, namely the lack of great barbecue joints outside of St. Louis and Kansas City, which is a shame because anything barbecued is my favorite type of food. I’m pretty sure I could eat barbecue every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of it. That’s why whenever I do travel the first thing I’m looking for is a great local barbecue spot. Here are my five favorites.
5. Interstate Barbecue: I’ve been to Memphis once, on a layover in the airport between Mobile and Indianapolis. Luckily the Memphis airport happens to have its own outpost of one of the legendary Memphis barbecue joints. While the barbecue spaghetti is a unique signature dish I went with the chopped pork sandwich and washed it down with a sweet tea. Hands down the best experience I’ve had on a layover.
4. Dreamland BBQ: Last year while in Birmingham on business I took the advice of Brier & Moss co-founder and Sanford grad Nick to try out Dreamland BBQ. It’s always a good sign when you arrive for a weekday lunch and the only spots left are at the bar. The chopped pork is delicious but the true star is the homemade banana pudding. It’s my belief that if there’s no banana pudding on the menu, you’re not eating at a real barbecue restaurant.
3. Jack’s Bar-B-Que: You’ll immediately recognize Jack’s by the neon flying pigs on the sign outside. It’s the perfect stop before a night out on Broadway in Nashville and every time we’re in the city we usually stop by. I usually go with the pork shoulder or the brisket and slather it with their Kansas City style sauce. It’s also one of the few places outside of Alabama where you’ll find white sauce.
2. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: Upstate New York seems like one of the least likely spots to find good barbecue but thanks to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syracuse it’s not a barbecue wasteland. In fact Dinosaur is so good it’s opened new locations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and is set for a New England takeover. On our drive back from New England this summer we timed it up to arrive in Syracuse around dinnertime just to stop at Dinosaur. Here’s the gameplan for your visit. Bring at least one other person and order the Swag Sampler Plate and the Tres Hombres and split it. You’ll get hit with a combination of spicy shrimp boil, the best BBQ chicken wings, fried green tomatoes, deviled eggs, pork, brisket, ribs, cornbread and two sides. Wash it all down with a Middle Ages Smoked Porter brewed exclusively for the restaurant.
1. Pappy’s Smokehouse: If you find yourself in St. Louis, head to Pappy’s early because once they sell out for the day they’re done. Even if you showed up after everything was sold out but still got to smell the aroma outside the building I’d hardly consider it a loss. It’s that good. In town for our fraternity formal my junior year, Mrs. GLP and I made sure to visit. Being cash strapped college students we bypassed the ribs and went for the less expensive fare. And it was delicious. The best barbecue we’d ever had. And the sweet potato fries and fried corn on the cob were some of the best sides we’d ever had. And then the owner came walking around, noticed we hadn’t ordered any ribs, said there was no way we could leave without eating any and came back with a quarter slab for us to try. Chalk one up for Midwestern hospitality because those ribs were even better than everything else.