Saturday, July 30, 2011

The real thing in St Louis

So, I went to a conference in St Louis and while there, apart from being a scientist at a national conference, I also wanted to 1) see the Saint Louis Art Museum, and 2) eat some good barbecue.

For 1, that was easy.  The Sunday morning before things started, me and a friend walked 2 miles (3 km) through their central park in 90-degree heat and high humidity (that is about 30 degrees Celsius for Europeans) to the Art Museum, which is chilled like an icebox.  Rarely has air conditioning felt that good.  But more about the art museum later.  But where to find the best bbq?  My tactic was to ask cab drivers.  They really should now where the best things are.

We took a cab back to the hotel from the art museum, and when asked, the cab driver said "Pappy's is the best, but you have to be there early, they sell out".  So we looked it up, planned out a Pappy's Smokehouse attack, and decided that Wednesday at 5.30 PM was the time to go.  We got everything ready, mainly cameras and appetites, and got a cab from our hotel on Wednesday.  When the cab driver heard our address, she said "Did you call first to make sure they are not sold out of bbq?".  And yes, we had.

Pappy's Smokehouse: road sign

Pappy's Smokehouse

We arrived at Pappy's Smokehouse, which you can find based on smell or smoke, your pick.  It looks like any regular place, but when you get inside (through the back door, please), you are met with many tables and one single counter where you order.  It turns out their BBQ is not St Louis style but Memphis (Tennessee)-style, a difference I didn't know about earlier.

Pappy's Smokehouse: the menu
So, the first question, what to order?  Nothing was sold out yet (lucky us!). The menu is scribbled with chalk over the ordering counter. Generally speaking there are five choices of barbecued meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and sausage). Then there are the traditional side dishes, baked beans, deep fried corn on the cob, green beans (overcooked as they always are in the South), sweet potato fries, potato salad (lots of mayonnaise), cole slaw, and apple sauce.  Don't ask me about the last one, it makes no sense to me, but must be a traditional thing.

So, I ordered. I got food. I ate.  I shared with my friends. I ate some more.  It was amazing.

Pappy's Smokehouse: deep fried corn on the cob
Deep fried corn on the cob.  It was a lot better than it sounds.

Pappy's Smokehouse: beans
Baked beans.
Pappy's Smokehouse: my plate
Half slab of pork ribs with side dishes.  Mmmm, melting meat in your mouth, and with three different barbecue sauces to add onto them.  Original was best, as it should be.

Pappy's Smokehouse: shirts for sale
If you need to prove you have been there, you can buy a Hog Whisperer T-shirt.  That phrase doesn't translate well to Swedish - who would want to be a 'grisviskare' in Sweden?  Nobody. But in America, it is the best thing ever. If you get to St Louis, try to get to this restaurant, it is worth the effort!


Sarah said...

I like that goofy tye-dyed shirt, and the deep fried corn on the cob is something I definitely want to try. I think I kind of get the applesauce thing--pork and apples are such a good combination (in my opinion anyway.)

LS said...

Sarah, you are right about the pork and apples, and it is ancient connection I bet - in the Swedish old times a roasted hog had an apple in its mouth when you served it at Christmas.