BBQ Saloon – St. Louis, MO

Name: BBQ Saloon
Date: 11/29/16
Address: 4900 Laclede Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108
Order: Pulled pork barbecue sandwich with southern corn bread and a beer (link to menu)
Price: ~$18

Monk: Unlike Speedy, I don’t travel that much for work and thus haven’t had nearly the same opportunity to try barbecue around the country. However, I recently found myself in St Louis and while I wish I could have revisited Pappy’s Smokehouse (visited pre-blog), Sugarfire Smoke House (which Speedy liked), or Bogart’s Smokehouse downtown (which Johnny Fugitt ranked #12 in his book) but those were a little too far away for the little over an hour of free time I had. Instead, in the Central West End neighborhood where I was staying there was a somewhat promising looking joint within walking distance – BBQ Saloon.

As I walk up from my nearby hotel, the first thing I notice is the large smoker on the sidewalk going full blast at dinner time; it was hard to miss honestly. Interestingly, I later confirmed that all meat is smoked in that smoker on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.

At the bar, I ordered a pulled pork sandwich with a honey topped cornbread. The pork was coarsely pulled chunks full of flavor and smoke. The sturdy bun was a nice touch even if was a little unwieldy to eat as a sandwich.

The southern corn bread was brushed with honey but even still not quite as sweet as i’d like.

I would definitely go back to BBQ Saloon (particularly if I was able to check out the extensive whiskey list – checking in at over 520 strong), but if I find myself in St. Louis again I hope to check out some of the other joints on my list first. And also pork steaks – the St. Louis barbecue specialty that I have yet to try.

Atmosphere – 3 hogs
Pork – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs
The BBQ Saloon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Linkdown: 12/9/15

– Robert Moss follows the mustard line from SC down through Georgia and into Florida

– If you are looking for a gift for the NC barbecue or beer lover in your life:

– Daniel Vaughn explores the greaseballs of Southwest Texas at Patillo’s Bar-B-Q

-Johnny Fugitt profiles Smokee Mo’s BBQ for St. Louis Magazine

– Marie, Let’s Eat! revisits the 50 year old Hickory Hut BBQ in Dallas, GA

– NPR’s The Salt food blog profiles Sam Jones’ new barbecue joint, Sam Jones BBQ

To understand the significance of Sam Jones BBQ, you have to understand the place in the barbecue firmament. And you have to start with barbecue’s place in the Tar Heel state. Aficionados regard North Carolina not only as a capital of barbecue, but a cradle of the cuisine. It is as central as basketball to the state’s identity.

But so many barbecue joints have replaced wood with gas that some folks feared the impending death of all-wood pit cooking. The North Carolina Barbecue Society estimated a few years ago that only 30 wood-pit barbecue restaurants were left in the state. To diehards, the demise of traditional wood-smoked barbecue in North Carolina would be tantamount to a death in the family. Maybe worse.

Linkdown: 9/2/15

– The BBC reports on black pitmasters being left out of the barbecue boom

“National press is infatuated with white, male hipster BBQ,” writes Robb Walsh on the blog First We Feast. “Believe it or not, blacks, Latinos, and women are involved in the barbecue biz too.”

– On a related note, Robert Moss’ list of the 15 most influential people in barbecue history

Here, arranged chronologically, is my list of the 15 most influential figures in American barbecue history. By “influential”, I don’t mean the best cooks or the most successful restaurateurs, necessarily. We’re talking about impact and legacy: the people who helped shape the South’s rich barbecue tradition and create and promote the diverse regional styles we enjoy today. It’s a list that cuts across lines of race and class.

– Moss also has the first part in a series for the “Best of Southern BBQ” Awards

– Just saw that Bill Spoon’s now has a barbecue food truck serving the greater Charlotte area

– La Barbecue – #1 in our recently released Austin rankings –  is moving again in order to stay open during nights for patrons of the neighborhood bars

– The Smoking Ho’s recap of the TMBBQ Behind the Pit Dinner at Snow’s BBQ

– Marie, Let’s Eat! continues his Alabama barbecue travels at Bar-B-Q Hut in Heflin and The Rocket in Jacksonville

– This list is from 2012 but worth a revisit since it has been retweeted in the past week

– The Southern Sauce Festival,  which combines the Q-City Charlotte Barbecue Championship and the Charlotte Beerfest, is one of the 10 things you must do in September, according to Charlotte Five

– From friend of the blog Johnny Fugitt, the most underrated barbecue in St. Louis

– More lists: Yahoo’s 50 best barbecue restaurants in the America by state; gotta say, some headscratchers in this one


-NPR article on how locals are turning 5-hour long lines at Franklin’s into cold hard cash

– The Daily Meal’s list of America’s 35 Best Ribs 2015 was compiled from 40 different “rib experts” and includes The Pit in Raleigh at #34; Louie Mueller takes the top overall spot (check out Rudy’s recent review here)

Sugarfire Smoke House – St. Louis, MO

Name: Sugarfire Smoke House
Date: 10/28/14
Address: 9200 Olive Blvd, St. Louis, MO
Order: Combo plate with pork and brisket, collards and fries (link to menu)
Price: $14

Speedy: I recently found myself in St. Louis for a brief work trip. So of course I reached out to friend of the blog and St. Louis native Johnny of Barbecue Rankings in order to figure out where to go. Johnny rattled off a bunch of places (most notably Bogart’s and Pappy’s), but unfortunately, those are the type of places that sell out before dinner time and were too far away from my client for lunch. The only place on Johnny’s list that was logistically feasible was Sugarfire Smoke House. It wasn’t a place he had been, but was on his list (editor’s note: Johnny has since been as well), so I figured it was worth checking out. So I forced my work team to take a trip with me for a long lunch one day.

Monk: Wow, such power Speedy doth yield…

Speedy: Though St. Louis is known for its ribs, I decided to go with the pork and brisket combo plate, as I felt like that would give me a good feel for the restaurant. I added a sausage link to my meal as well, but wasn’t able to try it, as it ended up having cheese in it (which I do not tolerate).

Monk: I can attest that Speedy does not tolerate cheese. Or any dairy, for that matter.

Speedy: The brisket was solid. I had a nice, fatty slice with decent bark on the outside. It wasn’t too dry, but I wasn’t overwhelmed with the flavor. Rudy always says that a great brisket needs no sauce, but I felt like this did. Sugarfire has quite a selection of sauces, but I stuck with the traditional spicy sauce, which was good.

I felt pretty similarly about the pulled pork. It had a nice bark, but could have used a little more smoke on it. The spicy sauce went well with the pork as well, and, overall, it was enjoyable.

Monk: Though both may have been enjoyable, it seems a little dubious to me that they both required sauce. Not exactly a ringing endorsement…

Speedy: I’m not much into sides, but Sugarfire is actually known for having great sides – particularly the mac & cheese, which I didn’t sample (obviously). For my money, the collards were great. I was surprised to have such goods collards outside the South, so kudos to Sugarfire for that.

I also feel it’s important to note that Sugarfire is famous for its odd barbecue creations. For example, one of my co-workers had chorizo stuffed pork tenderloin with chorizo gravy. It looked amazing, and my co-worker confirmed as much. I think if I ever take a trip back, that’s the route I’ll take. Either way, I do think Sugarfire Smoke House is worth checking out, though there are probably better options in the area.

Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Brisket – 3 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 3 Hogs
Sugarfire Smoke House on Urbanspoon
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