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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Best of 2011: Pappy's Smokehouse

Even if Pappy's hadn't been on the Best Restaurants list in STL Mag, Ryan and I eventually would have made our way there. It's been raved about by people near and far, everyone from local friends to Adam Richman of Man vs. Food. We knew we wanted to take a trip there for our June Best of 2011 Challenge, but after a busy June (1 weekend away and 2 weekends with company in town), we started to worry we wouldn't fit in it. Last Saturday ended up being free and we hopped on our bikes late morning and made the seven mile trek to the restaurant, arriving only fifteen minutes after their 11:00 opening.

Not surprisingly, the restaurant was already packed, with a line winding from the counter and through the restaurant to the entrance. We busied ourselves studying the menu and before we knew it, we were placing our order. Wanting to try a variety, we settled on sharing a combo meal which came with a half slab of ribs, pulled pork, and 2 sides. Based on Yelp recommendations and advice from friends, we knew to get the sweet potato fries and then selected their coleslaw (vinegar-based, yay!) for our other.

Pappy's not only has outstanding food down to a science, as we soon came to realize, but their restaurant operations proved rather impressive. As I mentioned before, the long line moved much quicker than expected and within five minutes of nabbing a seat, my name was called and our food was delivered. When your restaurant is selling out of food every day and the crowds just keep coming, I suppose you don't have any choice but to operate efficiently!

Before starting in on the meat, we taste-tested the three barbecue sauces available at every table. They ranged from regular to sweet to spicy. The spicy was disappointingly not all that spicy, but I found favor with the sweet variation (surprise surprise) and Ryan preferred the regular. Ryan dug into the ribs and I went straight for the pulled pork, not even bothering to place it on the accompanying bread. Both surpassed our expectations, which had been set high after all we'd heard. The dry rub on the ribs was fabulous, making for a slightly charred exterior with juicy rib meat underneath. I'm rather picky when it comes to ribs, few compare to my dad's (which I'll be enjoying this weekend!!), but these rank as some of the best I've ever had. The same could be said about the pulled pork which was tender and flavorful.

Don't even get me started on the sweet potato fries. I rarely order french fries anymore because they tend to upset my stomach, but these thin fries sprinkled with crusty brown sugar were worth any resulting stomachache (which I never got!). They weren't the least bit greasy and Ryan and I had no problem finishing off the large portion. Though the slaw took second in terms of sides, I particularly liked it and don't think I left more than a bite or two for Ryan. It was simple, not much more than cabbage with oil and vinegar, but its tangy flavor was a nice match to the pork.

We cleaned our plates and rolled out of there, literally. There's no doubt in our minds, we will be back!

One Year Ago: Parmesan Baked Artichokes

Pappy's Smokehouse on Urbanspoon