Pappy’s Smokehouse (St. Louis, MO)
By the time we traveled to St. Louis, it had been roughly 2.5 months since we’d had BBQ (way back in Texas), and Scott was starting to exhibit withdrawal symptoms. Luckily, the Gateway to the West was home to some great BBQ spots where Scott could get his brisket fix. We did a few Google searches for “Best St. Louis BBQ” and happened upon Pappy’s Smokehouse.
Pappy’s Smokehouse is a St. Louis institution. It is the winner of countless “Best BBQ” awards, both locally and nationally, and has played host to hundreds of celebrities and sports stars (including Adam Richman for an episode of Man v. Food). The walls are decorated with signed menus or t-shirts from such notable patrons, plus an extensive collection of every BBQ sauce imaginable. A good variety of blues music plays over the speakers while you dine.
The staff at Pappy’s wear t-shirts bearing slogans like “Hog Whisperer,” “Yeah Dude…We Smoke,” and “There’s No Such Thing As Too Much Butt.” Clearly, the folks at Pappy’s are having some fun while serving up their variety of smoked meats and sides.
The ribs are Pappy’s house specialty – slow smoked over cherry & apple woods and dry-rubbed (all meat is served dry at Pappy’s, with three sauce options (regular, sweet & hot) on the side at each table). They come in full or half slab options with 2 sides and bread, plus you have the option to add on a 1/4 lb of any other meat for $3.00.
Scott ordered a half slab of the ribs. They were large and meaty with good flavor, though not especially smoky. And they were tender, though not quite fall off the bone tender like the ones at Stubb’s.
For Scott, brisket is almost a requirement when we get BBQ. If it is an option on the menu, he’s getting it. Thus, since Pappy’s had it, we added a 1/4 lb on to the rib plate to give it a try.
Again, the brisket was tender & flavorful, though this time, it was quite smoky. Texas is still the place for beef BBQ, but Pappy’s does a fine job on its brisket.
On our prior BBQ outings, we had never really been drawn to turkey as one of our meat choices, but after hearing the hostess say that the turkey was her favorite meat at Pappy’s after the ribs, we decided to give it a whirl. Edie added it as one of her meat options on the combination plate, served with 2 sides and bread.
We were smart to listen to the hostess. The turkey was incredibly moist and tender, requiring only a fork to easily tear it apart. It wasn’t especially smoky but it still tasted amazing, both with and without a little sauce.
What BBQ experience would be complete without a little pulled pork? Edie chose it as the second meat on her combo plate so we could try Pappy’s version.
Moist, tender and flavorful – we sound like a broken record, but again, Pappy’s came through on the pulled pork, too. Again, it wasn’t super smokey, but add in a little of one (or more) of the sauces, and the pork tastes incredible.
Deep-Fried Corn On The Cob
We’ve had corn many different ways, but we had never had our corn deep-fried. Seeing it as a side option at Pappy’s, we decided it was worth a try.
YUM! It’s hard for something not to taste incredible after being deep-fried, and corn is no exception. The flavor was sweet, the texture was crunchy, and the corn was still juicy. Note that the corn isn’t breaded first. It’s just dropped into a fryer.
The green beans were probably our least favorite of our side choices. They looked like they might be fairly crisp, but they ended up tasting a bit over-cooked.
Kudos to Pappy’s for its cole slaw – not a drop of mayo in it!! It was a vinegar-dressing slaw with a good amount of pepper added in for more flavor. The cabbage was also still crisp and crunchy, too.
Sweet Potato Fries
We LOVE good sweet potato fries. Prior to visiting Pappy’s, the best ones we had ever tried were at Bluegrass Burgers back home in Louisville. According to Scott, Pappy’s version ties with those at Bluegrass Burgers. According to Edie, Pappy’s are a close second. Either way, these fries are incredible and should definitely be one (or both!) of your side choices when you visit Pappy’s!
As we mentioned above, the meat is served dry at Pappy’s but there are three BBQ sauce options on every table. There is the Pappy’s Original, a pretty classic tangy, peppery sauce, the Sweet Baby Jane, Pappy’s sweeter & slightly thicker sauce, and the Holly’s Hot Sauce, Pappy’s spicier version of BBQ sauce.
We were pretty impressed with the Pappy’s Original and the Sweet Baby Jane – both were great compliments to the various meat options. The Holly’s Hot Sauce, however, wasn’t so great. It didn’t really have much flavor and wasn’t even that hot. On a positive note, though, when you combined the Hot and the Original, you got a good combo!
Pappy’s is not a sit-down, full service restaurant. You order at a counter, then pick up your drinks, and a few minutes later, a server brings your food out (they yell out the name you put on your order so be listening and ready to flag ’em down!). That said, we have to compliment all of the staff at Pappy’s. They are friendly, helpful, and more than willing to give out recommendations (and sweet potato fry samples while you wait in the long line to order…at least on our visit!).
While placing our order at the counter, we could see in the kitchen and noticed that some of the burnt ends got thrown away. We flagged down one of the staff to ask if he could snag us one of the throw-aways for Knox. He happily returned with not only a huge chunk of burnt end, but a meat shoulder bone, too!
For 4 types of meat, 4 sides, a bottle of water, tax and tip, our total came to $39.35. While it isn’t exactly cheap, we were definitely full by the end with a small box of leftovers, too.
The Doggy Bag, By Knox
*sigh* Another BBQ place that won’t let dogs in the door. At least the staff is willing to part with tasty morsels for the benefit of man’s best friend. If only I could meet the kind young man who gave Scott & Mommy the foil-wrapped package of meat and shoulder bone…I might actually lick him!
Pappy’s certainly knows a thing or two about meat – that stuff was TASTY! I gobbled it down super fast…perhaps too fast. Scott and Mommy were none too pleased when I yacked it back up on the floor at 1 a.m. Oh well, it tasted good on the way down! *sigh*