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i have been to bbq heaven! x-country road trip (heavy pron)
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RustNRoll
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10 10 1:17 pm    Post subject: i have been to bbq heaven! x-country road trip (heavy pron) Reply with quote

well, i'm back from my cross country trip (july 3-9). flew from philadelphia to colorado springs, then drove back. my goal was to see the sights and taste the different styles of bbq across the midwest.

we spent the first three days in colorado springs/manitou springs. i was excited to see that there was a buffalo bbq festival going on in manitou springs that weekend. however when we arrived there, it was 10 tents of venders selling touristy jewelery and not a smoker in sight. i finally had to ask someone who pointed me in the direction of the big pavillion where some guy was flipping 'buffalo burgers' on a gas grill and said that they were out of 'buffalo brisket'. needless to say i wasnt too impressed, so we took a drive to a place that i had seen on the way in.



Rudys Country Store BBQ (http://www.rudys.com/)
we ordered 1/2 lb of 'moist' brisket, a half lb of ribs, a side of bbq beans and a side of coleslaw.
the brisket was nicely barked but had no discernable smoke ring. it was also extremely fatty.
the ribs were perfectly cooked with a nice toothsome quality and a nice smoke ring, but the rub was very very bland.
the bbq beans were very unflavorfull and lacked any flavor to speak of, the slaw was decent, which was a creamy slaw that could have used more tang.
the sauces available were regular and sissy, but i couldnt really see why sissy was graded as wimpy as the regular sauce was no spicier. also they were overly tomatoey and so although they sold all their sauces and rubs, i passed on buying any with no hesitation.
i do have to give them credit for good service though. friendly place and the decently long line moved quicklyy, and i saw at least 6 full briskets cut up while we were making our way to order.

we stayed at a guest house on top of a mountain overlooking colorado/manitou springs with some amazing views. watching 4th of july fireworks going off close to a mile below you is a cool experience, and hearing the booms echo off the mountains is also something ill never forget.





anyways we were driving through old colorado city and i noticed this awesome rig belonging to 'broken bones bbq'. obviously not not a good picture but very cool all the same.



however as we were driving up the mountain to where we were staying lo and behold what we saw parked!







very sexy setup!

heres a cool pic of the garden of the gods in colorado springs.



anyways, there were two prime stops we were making on our trip cross country kansas city and st louis. home to what most americans would consider the quintissential bbq style. when in kansas city i was torn. should i go to the birthplace of bbq in bryants? to gates? nope i chose a smaller lesser known but what turned out to be an absolutely amazing experience. in a gas station even!



Oklahoma Joes (http://www.oklahomajoesbbq.com/oj/
well, im sure some of you can remember my starting a thread a few weeks back asking for places to go on my trip. one place that came up consistently was oklahoma joes. and the z man. oooh that z man. it is heaven on a bun. so amazing that i was saying 'omg this is so good' the whole time i was there. we got there after the dinner rush, so there was no line, and plenty of seats. i ordered the z man on the recommendation of a couple of smoke ringers that replied to my thread. just let me say that if i die now, ill have died eating the most delicious tasty amazingly beautiful meal ever created. the bbq beans were excellent and the slaw was seasoned so well i was in heaven. the z man:



the brisket was pulled and so so moist and tender without being greasy or fatty, such a delicate smoke flavor that perfectly accented the natural beef flavor and those little pieces of bark were so amazing!!!!. the onion rings were cripsy and sweet, the provolone was lovingly draped over everything and the sauce...omg that sauce... perfection. sweet, tangy, spicy, so perfectly balanced! ive been to 100s of bbq joints from south carolina to colorado and i have to say oklahoma joes is by leaps and bounds the absolute pinnacle of bbq taste. bar none. if i could ever humbly bbq up something that tasted a 1/4 as good as oklahoma joes, ill consider myself lucky. btw did i say it was bbq heaven in a gas station?

so after reluctantly leaving oklahoma joes, albeit with a huge stash of rubs, sauces and a shirt (the rubs and sauces they claim are one ingredient short of the stuff they use in-house) i made my way to st louis, in the heavenly afterglow wondering how anything else could top that bbq experience.



Pappy's Smokehouse (http://www.pappyssmokehouse.com/index.php)
so we pull up to pappys around lunchtime. lots of people going in around the back of the unassuming red brick building.



but the first thing you see hanging out front was this amazing and beautiful sight:





after admiring that beautiful piece of art, we went inside and found the place jammed full. what an atmosphere. whereas oklahoma joes was cool because of the gas station location, pappys just exuded total bbq love. check out this collection of bbq sauces they have on display:



the line moved quickly, and soon we were at the front ready to order, and i saw one of the staff cutting up a beautifully barked brisket. before i know it he had offered me a delectable piece of the bark. omg sooooo good. and only a taste of what was truly my most amazing bbq experience ever. so i ordered a brisket sandwich with beans and slaw and my buddy ordered pulled a pulled pork sandwich with sweet potatoe fries and fried corn. so in conversation i told the girl at the register that i was on a cross country trip on a search for awesome bbq and that pappys was the place to be in st louis. before i knew it she had put some ribs in my hands and we went and sat down. the ribs were perfectly cooked, toothsome, pink to the bone with a really awesome smoky flavor which i later found out was a mix of cherry and apple. the rub was perfectly married to the tastes of the pork and smoke, with a slightly sweet taste. it was heaven all over again. it didnt need any sauce, but i tried dipping it in all of the sauces at the table anyways and they all were perfectly concocted: original, spicy and sweet baby jane.

our food came while i was still savoring those amazing ribs:
the brisket, beans and slaw:



the pulled pork, fried corn and sweet potato fries:



as we were looking and absorbing all this deliciousness one of the staff came over and asked if i wanted more ribs, and i was already on overload lol. so then the owner mike came over and introduced himself and we chatted a bit. i asked him what sauce he recommended for the brisket and he said the original, so thats what i had. i told him that we had just come from oklahoma joes and told him of my amazing experience i had there and he said he said he loved oklahoma joes too and wore thier 'my favorite bbq joint is in a gas station' all the time. he also expressed his hope that his food would come measure up to the food i had had from joes. well, he didnt have to worry about that. the brisket was sliced thinly, sooo juicy and tender with a nice distinct smoke ring and the sauce complimented it perfectly. the bbq beans were by far the best beans i have ever had, spicy, sweet, with bits of onion and soo tasty. the slaw was new to me, a vinegary style but man was it good. sweet and vinegary and seasoned perfectly, it was a perfect meal. my buddys pulled pork was so delicious, he had it with the sweet baby janes sauce. the sweet potoatoe fries were a new thing for me as ive never had them before, but they were delicious, as was the fried corn, also a new discovery. i was in full sensory overload, with a huge grin and staffers would come by and see how we were doing, as well as mike. i have never been in a friendlier more welcoming place in all my 40 years. when we were finally getting ready to leave i went to buy a shirt (i had already bought one of each kind of sauce) one of the staffers told me the 'man' had given the signal and that it was on the house. so i went to mike and thnked him profusely and told him with 100% full honestly that his food was right up there with oklahoma joes, but his atmosphere and customer service were light years beyond anything, and that the experience i had had at his establishment would forever be a treasured memory. we talked some more, and i asked him about the rig out front and he told me that was thier old smoker and that they used it for pulled pork. he then invited me into the back where he showed me 'walter' thier main smoker. he showed me the firebox and i was in total awe of how nice and friendly everyone there was. i got a picture of myself and mike in front of walter, which by the way was full of delicious racks of ribs:



so in those two days at those two unassuming bbq joints i had a bbq experience that really opened my eyes to what bbq culture and bbq people are like. i really cannot stress enough how awesome oklahoma joes and pappy's are. oklahoma joes for the beyond amazing food, and pappy's for the equally beyond amazing food and the above and beyond friendliness and experience that will always stick with me as one of the best experiences of my life.
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smokin'gal
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10 10 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great write-up - thanks for sharing! I was born and raised in Kansas City. The BBQ is the only thing I miss--well, that and Boulevard beer. Laughing
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BigPhil32
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10 10 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hell yeah RustNRoll!!!! I read this at 1:46 in the morning as I am waiting for my smoker to get up to temp. What a great story and an amazing trip! If you took an other photos, I would love to see them. Thanks for sharing with us...I am VERY jealous!!! Next time you do this trip, stop on by in North Texas and the BBQ here is on the house!!! Thanks again for sharing a great read....
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Tater_68
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10 10 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great write up and pictures, I am hungry just thinking about that food Very Happy
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tnbarbq
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10 10 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you had a good que trip! Thanks for posting this. Good stuff!!
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Cory Hess
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10 10 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool review. Thanks for sharing your experience. Now I've got a couple of places to add to the "must see" list for our next road trip.
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Beertooth
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10 10 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a very cool road trip! Smile Thanks for the pics.
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johnnyrocco
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10 10 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

awesome pics and description

thanks for giving me some ideas for my own roadtrip
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lokin4deer
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10 10 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great write up! I live about 30 minutes from Pappys and we love it there. His food is the reason I have jumped into this smoking thing. Funny story. Me and my wife were there for our anniversary in April (her first time there my second) We are in line looking at the menu and one of the managers asks if he can help her decide he says the ribs she says I have never liked ribs he says you will like ours. She orders the combo platter chicken and pulled pork (because she is stubborn) Part way through our meal he comes over and checks on us and notices my wife didnt get the ribs. She says she was scared that she wouldnt like them. So he says I will be right back he brings her out 2 rib bones. Let me just say this it is a beautiful thing to see your wife of 16 years finally chewing on a rib bone. She loved them! The next time we went back she ordered the ribs! Sorry to steal your thread a little RustNRoll.
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kingofcool
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10 10 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's why we all love the cue. Brings a tear to my eye.
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lokin4deer
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11 10 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.stltoday.com/vmix_ef5d1b0c-85e8-11df-8604-0017a4a78c22.html

Here is a story about Pappys and another local BBQ place.
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Tim_Abrahamson
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11 10 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad you took my reccomendations to heart! Ok Joe's is BBQ nirvana and Pappys is in the same league. I have eaten Que all around the country (Carolinas to California) and I have never found anything in their league (Maybe Rendevous...maybe). I love your write up and am glad you got a chance to see for yourself. Now if I can get Ok Joe's to airmail Z-mans (or is that Z-Men) to me I would never leave my home!

Well done!
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RustNRoll
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11 10 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes, those recommendations were amazing. thanks so much. the z man has to be the single most delicious dish ive ever eaten. i tell you if i lived close by either of those places theyd be able to retire comfortably just relying on my continued patronage. however since i dont, its a good inspiration to try to get my own bbq skills up to snuff. Very Happy



the rubs and sauces i picked up.

oh, and heres another pic from the trip i forgot. we stopped at a rest area in missouri and they had these fully automated sinks. you just stick your hand in there and it soaps it, washes it, and drys it. goodbye dirty stinky sinks and bathrooms. so amazing Wink


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RustNRoll
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11 10 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

btw my green egg is now named Sam, and my el cheapo grill is now named Son of Sam. this is a direct result of hearing from mike of pappy's tell how all rednecks name thier smokers, and being from the most redneck part of Canada, it was appropriate, as well as that Sam and green eggs go hand in hand.
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Remmy
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11 10 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice pics.

I love Rudy's. I ordered smoked turkey, ribs, brisket, AND chicken. I had creamed corn and beans on the side. Laughing It went well with my Shiner Bock!

I'd love to go back.
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Grills Gone Wild
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11 10 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are a lucky man that you got there during lunch because usually after that they start running out of meat. When I visited there in the spring it was around 3pm and they had already ran out of chicken, down to 18 slabs of ribs. By the time we left, they ran out of the ribs and brisket and were down to just pulled pork. The smokers there were outside was just the big one. I see they added the smaller one out there too. One of the pitbosses showed me the cooker outside which had 48 butts on it Shocked
It had to be one of the best BBQ experiences I've ever had too. I'm a fan of BBQ sauce and I got through a rack of ribs without a single drop. I did like their Sweet baby Jane sauce on the pulled pork.
My wife's family lives there and we lived there for a couple of years so when we go back to visit there is usually about 5 places we always go to eat. I told her after that trip that all we need is Pappys.
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RustNRoll
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11 10 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah i can believe it. mike said they went through 250 tons of meat last year Shocked Shocked Shocked !!!!!
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11 10 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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rodneymeatsnsweets
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11 10 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice write up. Thanks for all the helpfull information. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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12TH AV SMOKERS
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12 10 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thumbs up RustNRoll..nice write up. My next trip from Phoenix will include BBQ stops recommended here. I'll have to go out of the way but these sound worth it.
BTW: you sure Mikes not a relative..maybe it's just the face fuzz Razz
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