Monday, August 19, 2013

Pappy's Smokehouse - St. Louis, MO

When you ask people about where to get good BBQ in St. Louis, you’ll find that Pappy’s Smokehouse comes up a LOT. I’ve had a few friends eat here and tell me I need to check it out. So, when Coach and I were in St. Louis for roller derby this weekend, I strongly encouraged him to drive us there and check it out – it honestly didn’t take much encouragement.

We pulled up to the building and didn’t see a line or anything – good sign. We drove to the back of the building to park the car. And THAT’s where we saw a short line. Nothing to worry about, since the building looked large and we’d be in and out of there in no time. We hopped in line.
It wasn’t until we actually hit the door to the place that we realized how long the line was. Oh, buddy.
The line, once you got inside the door, goes down the hallway. Where they hand you a menu to look at so you’re prepared when you get to the counter to order. …And then the lines doubles back on itself before making another turn.
Once you get to halfway point, they have painted an indicator on a random door in the hallway so you don’t get depressed.
Then, you head back down the hall towards the entrance of the dining room.

Once you get to the entrance of the dining room, there’s a host/hostess that indicates when you can move into the dining room. TO GET IN LINE. I’m not kidding.
Then, you round the corner as the line continues to the ordering counter.
We laughed at the hand-written sign posted, since it was a Cubs-Cardinals baseball weekend and there were a LOT of people in town for the game.
All in all, it was about a 80-90 minutes wait in line. Thankfully, Coach and I had a lot of catching up to do, so the time went quickly. I’m not complaining at all – I’m just telling you maybe this isn’t a first date restaurant or a quick lunch venue.

While we were close to the front of the line, they sent out free samples of the beef brisket. I’m glad they did – it was delicious and made us re-guess our order. Coach and I decided to get one of the larger items and split everything to save costs. We decided on the second largest thing on the menu, obviously. The counter girl mocked us for our long hair and told us we both looked like Jesus. Very funny – like we haven’t heard that before. No seriously, it was pretty funny.

After you order, you get seated by another hostess. They are constantly cleaning off tables, so as soon as you order, you get seated at a place appropriate for the size of your party and it works pretty efficiently. We got a seat near a window where we could watch them throwing hundreds of racks of ribs into the giant smokers on the side of the building. Very fun.
Then, to our surprise, the server brought out our food. And it wasn’t what we ordered. We ordered the second largest menu item and they brought us the largest menu item. I’m guessing the girl felt bad about making fun of us and upsized our order. They brought us what is affectionately known as the Adam Bomb – named after Adam Richman of Man VS Food fame. It is enormous and I have no idea how one person would ever eat all this. I’ll list what we have on the multiple trays in front of us:
  • Full slab of ribs
  • Half a roasted chicken
  • Pulled pork sandwich
  • Beef brisket sandwich
  • two orders of sweet potato fries
  • Coleslaw
  • Baked beans
  • Texas toast
  • Frito pie
That’s a serious amount of food. I’ll try to explain a little about each, so you’ll know what to order next time. There is a roll of paper towels on your table, so grab a handful of them. There are also three different sauces on the table, so try each of those, as well.
Coleslaw – This isn’t the creamy kind. At all. It’s the straight vinegar kind. I didn’t mind it and it went fairly well with the rib flavor. The zing comes from the vinegar, but there isn’t any sort of tang to it – just bite.

Baked beans – I really liked these. Great smoky flavor and some meat bits in them. I’m pretty sure these all managed to get eaten. (Well, not the scoop that ended up on Coach’s shirt and shorts. Hahaha)

Sweet potato fries – These were an odd thing that I liked and Coach didn’t care for. They were salty so you kept craving them, but they were also really sweet, like they had been sugared. That’s what turned Coach off from these. I thought they were great and I did some damage to them, but was unable to finish them all.
Ribs – Plenty of meat on these and they had a great flavor. They were a dry rub, so you could add sauce if you wanted to. They weren’t fall off the bone tender, but with a little work, you could get all the meat clean off the bone. They didn’t actually need a lot of sauce on them, since the meat was quite tasty and smoky on its own. And no fat, gristle, or cartilage – quality meat. I for SURE ate all of these.

Roasted chicken – Probably my least favorite thing. It wasn’t bad, necessarily, but it lacked the flavor of the ribs. I thought there should have been more seasonings on the skin of the thing (my favorite part), but it was just a little bland overall. And there was a lot of chicken there – we didn’t finish this guy.

Texas toast – good solid buttered white bread. BAM. Great for sopping up drips.
Frito pie – If you’re not familiar with this southern dish, it’s basically, chili or baked beans (in this case, baked beans) covered with cheese and Frito’s corn chips. This one also had onions thrown on top. And as a bonus, this Frito pie had hot links thrown in – spicy sausage links. I really liked this, but there was no way we could finish this pile of deliciousness.
Pulled pork sandwich – This was a pretty good sandwich. Again, served dry, so you get to add your sauce. The flavor was good, but there was a lot of bun here. A good showing for a pulled pork sandwich, but not my favorite. I didn’t even eat all of my sandwich.

Beef brisket sandwich – One of the best things on the menu, in both Coach’s and my opinion. The free sample we had earlier didn’t like. The meat was very juicy and flavorful and didn’t need the amount of sauce the pulled pork did. This was top quality brisket. Again, a large bun – so I ended up eating most of the bun, and all of the meat.

We didn’t eat ALL of the food on our trays, but we made a monstrous dent in it. We were absolutely stuffed to the point of being in pain. In fact, we went to the Cubs-Cards game that night and didn’t eat anything, and then didn’t eat anything for breakfast. It was more food than we should have eaten, but we loved everything we got. These people at Pappy’s Smokehouse know what they’re doing.

You might ask if it was worth the wait. I think both Coach and I would say yes, it absolutely was worth it. Thankfully, they hadn’t run out of anything by the time we ordered, but I understand that happens. Just come before you’re actually hungry, and then all the smells and walking by everyone else’s food will make you hungry enough to eat ALMOST all your food. I’m glad we went here – in effect, it saved us money, since it took the place of about three meals for us. And THAT isn’t easy to do.


Top 5 things about Pappy’s Smokehouse
1. Ribs
2. Beef brisket sandwich
3. Frito pie with hot links
4. Sweet potato fries
5. baked beans

Bottom 5 things
1. You WILL have to wait. No question about it. Anytime you go. It is always the lunch/dinner rush
2. No cornbread
3. The fried corn on the cob sounds better than it looks. No verdict on how it tastes.
4. Coleslaw was just too bland for me
5. Roasted chicken was a little bit of a let down

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