Chasing BBQ: Kentucky, Illinois, and St. Louis Stops248
with Mike Johnston
Chasing BBQ Illinois Kentucky St. Louis
When I was Chasing BBQ in the Carolinas, I expected to find a focus on pork and that definitely proved to be true. But when I headed to Kentucky, Illinois and St. Louis, I found a few surprises along the way. The first one being a Kentucky speciality: mutton. This protein may not be familiar to you, but it's simply meat from mature sheep. Now, "mature" doesn't mean "old" - think of it like veal vs. beef. Many people wrongly think that mutton is tougher and gamier than lamb, but in Kentucky, they celebrate this often overlooked meat. I particularly enjoyed mutton in Kentucky that was served with a regional sauce known as black dip. This vinegar and worcestershire-based sauce made such a big impression on me that it's now available to Savory's customers as one of our eight small batch BBQ sauces. Kentucky is also where I discovered burgoo, a brunswick-like stew that also takes all that leftover BBQ meat and makes good use out of it by creating a whole new dish.
While I found a lot of Southern influence in Kentucky's BBQ, Illinois brought a Midwestern touch. I grew up on confort food like my grandma's cole slaw, and I found similar hearty, simple dishes during my Illinois stops which you can recreate at home with one of Savory's staff's new favorites, Hash Brown Casserole. As I moved on to St. Louis, I knew what was coming: ribs. St. Louis style ribs are smoked and slathered with a sweet and sticky BBQ sauce that had me asking for extra moist towelettes everywhere I stopped.
|Learn from my mistakes - get to Knockum Hill early
so you don't miss their massive smoked pork chop!
Knockum Hill BBQ
Herndon, KY 42236
Owner and pitmaster: Oscar Hill
Can't miss: Pork ribs and veggie-laoded burgoo stew.
4687 Pembroke Rd
Hopkinsville, KY 42240
Gotta try: Pulled pork with a spicy BBQ sauce, the slaw, and a slice of chess pie.
701 Atkinson St
Henderson, KY 42420
Owner: Frank Gibson
Highlights: Chip and dip with a side of beans.
Old Hickory BBQ
338 Washington Ave
Owensboro, KY 42301
Favorites: The outside edges of the mutton ribs, burgoo, and the perfectly cooked green beans.
|The "magic dust" spice mix they use at 17th St Barbecue is loaded with balanced flavor.|
17th St Barbecue
32 N 17th St
Murphysboro, IL 62966
Owner: Mike Mills
Gotta have: The tangy balanced sauce, the glistening whole hog, and spice dusted sour cream potato salad.
Salt + Smoke
6525 Delmar Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63130
Don't miss: Texas style 'cued brisket, St. Louis style ribs, and flaky pop overs.
Bogart's Smoke House
1627 S 9th St
St. Louis, MO 63104
Pitmaster: Skip Steele
Must have: Ribs with a "torched" apricot glaze, cherry and apple smoked pastrami, and deviled egg potato salad.
3106 Olive St
St. Louis, MO 63103
Owner: Mike "Pappy" Emerson
Highlights: Turkey, bark filled burnt end chucks, green beans and, fried corn on the cob.
|Spotting a statue like this one at Sugarfire Smoke House is
a good sign of tasty things to come!
Sugarfire Smoke House
9200 Olive Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63132
Favorites: Freshly made sausage, super juicy turkey, and the coffee BBQ sauce.
The Shaved Duck
2900 Virginia Ave
St. Louis, MO 63118
Gotta have: Meatloaf, burnt ends, and the stellar service.
Vernon's BBQ and Catering
6707 Vernon Ave
University City, MO 63130
Owners and pitmasters: Matt Stiffelman and Tim Zolman
Can't miss: Smoky peach cobbler, sweet and spicy glazed ribs, corned beef, and string beans.
Smoki O's BBQ
1545 N Broadway
St. Louis, MO 63102
Must order: Pig snout, mac and cheese, and sugar spiced baked beans.