It really didn’t look like that much food on paper, when we made our order from the menu. We walked with a bounce in our step out of the Pappy’s Smokehouse with two big paper grocery bags filled with barbecue goodness. From the smells wafting from the restaurant and the long line of people waiting to get in, we could tell that we were in for a real treat.
After resisting temptation for as long as humanly possible with barbecue in the car that smelled that good, we pulled over to the side of the road at the first park we came to. We were hungry and just couldn’t take it anymore.
We sat ourselves down right there on the grass (we couldn’t even wait long enough to find a picnic table) tore into the mountain of barbecue like a group of people who hadn’t sen food in days, reveling in our glutinous feast in a park on the side of the road.
We worked our way through brisket, pulled pork, turkey, stopping to shovel in some of Pappy’s amazing sides along the way. All of the meat had the signature pink ring, indicative of good, slow smoked barbecue.
Pouring sauce on liberally as we went and sopping with the pieces of bread that they had kindly included, we enthusiastically gorged ourselves gleefully trying a little of this and a little of that.
The recommendation that we had received to try the fried sweet corn had been spot on. Perhaps the frying process caramelized the sugars in the corn just a bit, accentuating its already mouthwatering sweetness and adding in a bit of a smoky, filling, greasy taste for good measure.
The coleslaw was simple and fresh. We didn’t see any carrots, or any other vegetables except for the highlight – the cabbage. It was dressed in a thin sauce that was not too sweet and not too vinegary, just “baby bear” right, with some seeds of an unrecognizable seasoning (which might have been the secret ingredient) thrown in for good measure.
The green beans were another must try. Bacony and smoky with just the right amount of spice to them, they were one of my favorite parts of the meal.
We benched the smoked chicken that had come with our meal, completely aware that we were slowing down and we hadn’t even gotten to the crowning moment of this most worthy of barbecue feasts – the ribs.
Smoked in apple and cherry wood, these went right into our personal record books for some of the best ribs that we have ever eaten. They were pleasantly crispy and chewy on the outside, but moist and melt in your mouth tender underneath. The flavors of the apple and cherry wood really came through in the ribs, sending us right over the edge into a barbecue induced comatose state.
We sat at the end of our feast, almost unable to move ourselves back to the car that we had so enthusiastically jumped out of to dig in earlier, surrounded by wet wipes, napkins and empty styrofoam containers. We ended up taking back with us a fourth of a chicken and two thirds of a rack of ribs for later consumption.
INSIDER TIPS (shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!):
The number one most important thing that I can tell you about going to Pappy’s is DON’T wait in line. This is considered one of the best restaurants in St Louis and the line often extends out the door and wraps a long ways around the inside of the resataurant, too. People commonly wait in line for a couple of hours during times that are NOT busy.
If you call ahead for take out, your food will be ready in 15 minutes and you can pass right by all of the people waiting in line (giving you dirty looks because they wish that they had called ahead, too). Take your meal to one of St Louis’ plentiful nearby parks for a memorable feast.