This is the first installment of a weekly feature for Kevin’s BBQ Joints where prominent individuals (BBQ or otherwise) provide a list of their favorite BBQ Joints (or simply joints they always have to hit when they travel around the country).
I was lucky enough to have Amy Mills as my first participant. The reigning 17th Street heiress, Amy is the barbecue go-to girl and a writer, restaurant consultant, television personality, brand, marketing and PR pro, and member of the Missouri Mafia. (The list of her joints and info on her company OnCue Consulting is at the bottom of this post)
Without further ado (always wanted to type that), here are Amy’s favorites:
Asking me to name my absolute favorite barbecue is like asking me to choose my favorite child. I love them both equally, although they’ll each claim I have a clear favorite! Also, I’ll inevitably leave out a name or two and for that, I apologize in advance.
While I am partial to my Daddy’s barbecue, I like and appreciate all kinds of barbecue and I have favorites all over the country. Instead of making sweeping statements, I’ll focus on a few of my favorite barbecue bites.
I’m in New York City almost every month. Blue Smoke is near and dear to my heart as Mike is a partner. Every visit to New York City includes an order of salt and pepper beef ribs, barbecue chips with bleu cheese dip, deviled eggs and one of the most outstanding macaroni & cheese dishes on the planet. This meal is accompanied by a Porch Swing (which gets its refreshing flavor from Hendrick’s gin and Pimm’s) or bourbon, neat. I have a huge soft spot for Dinosaur Bar-B-Que as well. Everything on the menu is good, but I’m usually in a drinking and snacking mode when I’m there. Tequila, wings, brisket and deviled eggs are downed in copious amounts. Hill Country Barbecue also means fabulous tequila — añejo, neat or in the form of Mayor of Lockhart margaritas made with spicy Serrano peppers and Don Julio blanco, shaken, and topped with sparkling wine along with requisite nibbles of brisket, corn pudding and cucumber salad. “The Legend” pork chop at Fatty ’Cue was sublime.
Hill Country Barbecue courtesy of Daniel Krieger
I travel to Memphis at least once a year and we head straight to Cozy Corner, where we’re welcomed like family by Desiree Robinson and her daughter, Val Bradley. I always have a bologna sandwich with slaw and their hot barbecue sauce and a Cornish game hen. Over near Nashville, on my way to The Jack, I like to stop at Jim n’ Nick’s in Smyrna for a platter of pimento cheese and sausage and Martin’s Bar-B-Que in Nolensville for a redneck taco.
Whole Hog Cafe in Little Rock serves some of the most consistently good barbecue out there. Brisket and ribs = very well done. Don’t blink as you travel along Highway 14 and zip through Waldenburg, population 80. Wednesday through Friday, at the four-way stop, is an RV where Woody’s Bar-B-Q serves monstrous, delicious pulled pork sandwiches.
As children of legends, I have a special bond with a trio of barbecue boys from Texas. A swing through the state means hours knocking back ice-cold beers, brisket and jalapeño sausage at Kreuz Market with Keith, Rick and Evelyn Schmidt. I even have my own page in Rick’s beer log — used to track who owes what. When I spend time with Wayne Mueller at Louis Mueller’s, it usually involves giant bones of those meaty, peppery beef ribs. Elgin sausage, homemade by Bryan Bracewell and his family at Southside Market, is hard to beat. Ending on a sweet note with Blue Bell ice cream is a good palate cleanser. They have the biggest selection of flavors I’ve ever seen.
Louie Mueller Barbecue courtesy of Full Custom Gospel BBQ
Way south in Ocean Springs, Mississippi is The Shed. Sitting at picnic tables outside, smelling the salt air and feeling the warm, sultry breeze while listening to live music with a bucket of beer and a plate of barbecue is a singular experience. My annual trip to Sparks, Nevada includes a plate of Kick-Ass Fries at BJ’s Nevada Barbecue Company. A serving of crispy hand-cut fries, topped with pulled pork and BJ’s homemade sauce can feed an entire family. They also have a cherry chipotle sauce that’s really good.
Barefoot BBQ in Seaside, Florida makes its home in an airstream trailer and the two Ole Hickory Pits CTOs churn out consistently fine barbecue. They serve a superlative pork sandwich on toasted garlic bread made from Texas toast. While Big Bob Gibson is famous for their chicken and pork shoulder, they also have outstanding ribs. One of the best side dishes I’ve tried in a while is the homemade Szechaun green beans from Acme Barbecue in Williamsport, PA. I’ve made several trips to Hubba Hubba Smokehouse in Flat Rock, North Carolina. Their pulled pork is good and the homemade mustard sauce, packed with flavor, sends it over the to. Also, over in Hemingway, South Carolina, a bite of Rodney’s Scott’s whole hog transports you to heaven.
I have a pretty packed travel docket for 2011 and on the short list are Sweet Baby Ray’s in Wood Dale, Illinois, Big Mista’s, multiple farmer’s market locations in Southern California, Q Barbeque in Midlothian, Virginia, Company 7 BBQ in Englewood, Ohio, and Ubon’s in Yazoo City, Mississippi. And I’m certain to find some new-to-me gems along the way.
Here’s the entire list:
Blue Smoke – NY, NY
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que – NY, NY
Hill Country Barbecue – NY, NY
Fatty ‘Cue – Brooklyn, NY
Cozy Corner – Memphis, TN
Jim n’ Nick’s – Smyrna, GA
Martin’s Bar-B-Que – Nolensville, TN
Whole Hog Cafe – Little Rock, AR
Woody’s Bar-B-Q – Waldenburg, AR
Kreuz Market – Lockhart, TX
Louie Mueller Barbecue – Taylor, TX
Southside Market & Barbeque – Elgin, TX
The Shed BBQ and Blues Joint – Ocean Springs, MS
BJ’s Nevada Barbecue Company – Sparks, NV
Barefoot BBQ – Seaside, FL
Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q – Decatur, AL
Acme Barbecue – Williamsport, PA
Hubba Hubba Smokehouse – Flat Rock, NC
Scott’s Bar-B-Que – Hemingway, SC
Sweet Baby Ray’s – Wood Dale, IL
Bigmista’s Barbecue Catering – Los Angeles, CA
Q Barbeque – Midlothian, VA
Company 7 BBQ – Englewood, OH
Ubon’s in Yazoo City – Yazoo City, MS
For more information about OnCue Consulting check out the piece I did on them late last year here.