When I started my weekly feature ‘My Favorite BBQ Joints’ at the beginning of this year I knew that I wanted to interview people from all walks of life, not just the BBQ world. Being a BBQ junkie I wanted to see if these lists would mirror my own favorite BBQ Joints and hopefully hidden gems would pop up along the way. Wonderfully, both of these have occurred. This week I am very honored to have food writer, author, and broadcaster Simon Majumdar contribute his favorite BBQ Joints. He is someone I have been following for a good amount time (both his writing and his TV appearances) and while the name might not spark immediate awareness for some of you, you’ve more than likely seen him as a judge on Iron Chef America as well as The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
Here are the favorite BBQ Joints from who some have deemed ‘An Indiana Jones for the Foodie Set’ in his words:
Some of these places are already famous, others are a little less well known. However, each and every one has added to my belief that BBQ in all its varied glory is one of America’s greatest contributions to world cuisine.
In some cases, such as Oklahoma Joe’s, they are on the list because everything they do rocks. In othercases, like that of Roper’s Ribs, they are there because of one particular house specialty that is so good I have been known to have inappropriate dreams about it.
OKLAHOMA JOE’S BBQ – Olathe, KS
Justly one of the most famous BBQ pits in the whole USA . It’s all good, but a slab of the “short end” ribs is hard to beat.
Photo of Oklahoma Joe’s courtesy of EG. Design
PAYNE’S BAR-B-QUE – Memphis, TN
I always combine a visit here with a trip to Graceland. The pulled pork sandwich with a thick layer of their sharp, lurid yellow slaw is in my top five sandwiches in the US and, if I was as rich as Elvis I would probably pay to have them flown across country when I was feeling in the mood for “Q
Photo of Payne’s BBQ courtesy of Roadfood.com
BLUDSO’S BBQ – Compton, CA
SoCal is not particularly known for its BBQ, but this unassuming place in Compton, run by, Kevin Bludso, an uprooted Texan more than represents. The two meat lunch combo with two sides ($9.50) is enough to feed an army.
Photo of Bludso’s BBQ courtesy of LA Addict – Flickr
CITY MARKET – Luling, TX
To win awards for your brisket in the competitive world of Texas BBQ you had better be pretty good. Luling City Market is better than good. It is arguably the best BBQ joint I have ever visited. ‘Nuff said.
Photo of City Market courtesy of Full Custom Gospel BBQ
FINCHER’S BAR-B-Q – Macon, GA
I “discovered” this drive in ‘Q joint while en route from Atlanta to Savannah. It came highly recommended by the locals and one bite of their ribs and Brunswick stew showed just why. Special mention should also go out the their excellent peach cobbler.
Photo of Fincher’s Bar-B-Q courtesy of A Guide to Southern Food in Central Georgia
ROPER’S RIBS – St. Louis, MO
This place drew my attention for one reason alone and that was that it sells St. Louis style “Snoots”. For the uninitiated, these are pig snouts that are braised, deep fried and then served in a sharp & sweet St. Louis style sauce. It is like eating hot sweet & sour pork rinds and, for the record, that is never a bad thing.
Photo of Roper’s Ribs
NICK’S BBQ & CATFISH – Carlisle, AR
This thriving 40 year old institution is worthy of mention for serving some of the best smoked chicken I have tasted at any BBQ joint in the US. Often it is greasy and acrid. Here it was just delicious and, when followed by a traditional Southern fried pie with ice cream, proved just the ticket to fuel me on a road trip around the Southern states.
So what do you think of his picks? Have you been to any of these?
Here’s a little more information about Simon:
Brought to the tipping point by a genuine mid-life crisis, the death of his mother and stressful changes in the work place, he decided to quit his job and fulfill his life’s ambition to “Go Everywhere, Eat Everything” beginning a journey which cost him his life savings, took him to thirty one countries in a little over a year and resulted in his critically acclaimed book, EAT MY GLOBE (The Free Press, 2009)
Along the way, Simon not only ate thousands of meals, from the divine and delectable to the unusual and unpalatable, but he also encountered hundreds of people. Some he knew through interaction on food websites and his own internationally popular food blog, www.doshermanos.co.uk and others he met along the way. What they all had in common was the fact that they welcomed an often weary traveller into their lives with incredible generosity and showed him the glories of their culture through the medium of food. This led to such extraordinary experiences as sharing the picnic lunches of passengers on the train from Marrakech to Casablanca, working with a team of meat enthusiasts at The American Royal, the world’s biggest barbecue competition and even sharing home cooked meals in places as far apart as Finland, China, Mongolia and Mexico. In 2010, Simon’s next book, EATING FOR BRITAIN, was published to acclaim. In it, Simon travels the country to find out what British food — from Arbroath Smokies to Welsh Cakes to chicken tikka masala — reveals about British identity.
Simon’s wit and food exptertise were put to good use in 2010 when he was selected as one of the three recurring judges for season three of Next Iron Chef America (The Food Network). The show premieres in October of 2010 and this has also led to appearances on Iron Chef America as a judge and on Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever ate as a food expert. Simon’s next great adventure, “Fed White & Blue” will see him travel the length and breadth of the United States of American in search of what it means to become an inhabitant of that beautiful, strange, chaotic and ultimately glorious nation through the one medium he knows…food, of course. In 2008, Simon Majumdar was voted by The London Evening Standard as one of the 1000 Most Influential People in London. In 2009, GQ Magazine chose Majumdar’s blog, Dos Hermanos as one of the “100 Best Things In The World” calling it “Michelin starred food blogging”