Fault Lines
17 January 2018

The Great Fault Lines Barbecue War

August 2, 2016 (Fault Lines) — Ed. Note: In the course of hashing out who wants to write about what, and how we can help to use our experience to help people gain a deeper understanding of criminal law, it occurred to Fault Lines contributors that we shared one common thing: a love of barbecue.  What we did not share, however, was agreement on where the best barbecue could be found. And so, we’ve asked contributors to state for the record their favorite barbecue.

Chris Seaton

Sweet P’s Downtown Dive in Knoxville. Great “dive” restaurant feel, fresh “soul food” style sides to go with amazing, bring peace to the Middle East barbecue.  You know it’s good when you can smell the meat two blocks away.

Noel Erinjeri

Bogarts Smokehouse, St. Louis. I left Misery a year and a half ago and I still dream about the ribs, the sandwiches, and the sauce. The pulled pork was luscious, tender, and melted in your mouth like the bastard offspring of an M&M and a stick of especially pretentious artisanal butter…how the ribs were smoked to utter perfection, complete with a dry rub that formed a crust that kissed your tongue before the meat embraced it…how their variety of sauces each had their own personality, from dark-and-mysterious-femme-fatale to perky-and-sassy-tomboy-next-door. Ahhhh, Bogart’s! Like Ilsa, I would have regretted it if I had stayed in Missouri, but at least we’ll still have St. Louis.

Greg Prickett

The best Que in Texas (and therefore, in the world) is in Lockhart, at the Kreuz Market. It’s served on butcher paper by the pound, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. The sausage is to die for, and everything else is good too. I don’t get to eat there often enough, so I’ll cover the best Que in Fort Worth, and no, it’s not Angelo’s or Cousins. It’s Riscky’s BBQ, home of the beef rib. For $13, you get all the beef ribs you can eat, great big hunks of perfectly cooked beef on a big rib bone, covered with their rub called “Riscky’s dust.” They serve a BBQ sauce with it, but to be honest with you, I never use it. Did I mention that you got all you could eat, and it was perfectly cooked?

On a side note, some people will be talking about smoked pig as barbecue. Listen to them speak, because that’s the polite thing to do, and then find you some real beef barbecue. There’s no need to hurt their feelings.

Judge Richard Kopf

I always eat at least two orders of bacon when I visit my favorite diner, the High-Way Diner not surprisingly on Highway 2.  Why would you eat barbecue when you could eat mounds of bacon? I suppose you could ladle the bacon with ketchup, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

JoAnne Musick

I must agree with @gjprickett: Best BBQ in Texas: Kreuz Market, Lockhart, Texas, land of my ancestors! I spent many a time hunting on our family property and eating at Kreuz.

David Meyer-Lindenberg

It’s not there all the time, but when McDonald’s brings back the McRib sandwich, my mouth starts to water. I hop on my Big Wheel and peddle my legs off to be first on line at Willy-Brandt-Platz 4 for those boneless delights.  I spend the entire ride back licking my fingers, dreaming of the next time McDonald’s brings me a little taste of Houston.

Josh Kendrick

James Beard, namesake of the highest award in the culinary world, said if he had to pick one meat for the rest of his life, it would be pork. If he was still alive, he would eat it at Henry’s Smokehouse in Greenville, South Carolina. Henry’s is old school. The meat is slow-cooked over hickory logs in open pits. The pulled pork and ribs aren’t just a tradition in Greenville, they are a religion.

Luckily, we live in America. The First Amendment protects people’s right to make the outrageous claim one can make barbeque from a cow. But James Beard knew barbeque should be made from pork. And now you know it should be eaten at Henry’s Smokehouse.

Matt Brown

Little Miss BBQ, Phoenix. Brisket so good you’ll forget the scorching heat, long outdoor wait, and hipsters who liked it before it was popular.

Andrew King

My BBQ pick is City BBQ. It’s a local chain headquartered in Columbus. The brisket is the best I have had. It’s so good we usually get at least one smoked turkey during the holidays.

Mario Machado

Miami’s The Pit Bar-B-Q is my choice.  Despite some fellow Fault Lines contributors’ reservations when it comes to labeling pork as BBQ, this place’s pork ribs are insane.  It’s located in the swamps near an immigration jail, behind a shooting range.  They also have this “gold” BBQ sauce that makes any dish edible.  Plus, they’ve got alligator bites and frog legs on the menu, which are bananas.  We can call it the place for those BBQ weirdos.

Ana Sofia Walsh

My vote is for Salt Lick outside Austin, TX because 1) it’s the only BBQ place I’ve been to, 2) it’s BYOB and 3) their BBQ sauce is legendary.

Jeff Gamso

Jug Little’s in Lubbock, Texas.   Back when Jug was still alive, owned, and ran the place at its original location. (The place was never the same after he died and it moved.)  It’s long since gone now.

Lee Pacchia

I have an awful lot of favorites, but I would feel really bad if Spooney’s Bar-Be-Que in Greenwood, MS missed out on this list.

Scott Greenfield

Not that there’s any really good reason to be in Des Moines, but if you are, go to the Flying Mango. Purists may grumble about its subtle Caribbean subtext, complex flavors, the fact that it’s not dirty and disgusting and its relative creature comforts, but who gives a damn? It almost makes a trip to Des Moines worthwhile.

33 Comments on this post.

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  • Neil Stout
    2 August 2016 at 10:57 am - Reply

    You poor benighted Philistines. If any of you had ever been given the opportunity to visit the Holy of Holies of barbeque, Eastern North Carolina, and eaten at Parker’s in Wilson (pronounced Wiltson by the natives) you would understand why the Gods on Olympus throw down their ambrosia in disgust after having eaten a barbeque plate with slaw and corn sticks, washed down with tea so sweet that a spoon almost stands up in the glass.

    • maz
      2 August 2016 at 11:41 am - Reply

      Frightening. I dropped down to the comments to bemoan the lack of real (i.e., Carolina-style pulled-pork, with tomato-less sauce) barbeque, and I find someone has already recommended one of the two restaurants I was going to mention. In my family, there’s been a multi-generational disagreement for decades, now, over whether the best barbeque can be found at the aforementioned Parker’s or at Stephenson’s Bar-B-Q in McGee Crossroads, some 30 miles south of Raleigh. Personally, after 20-some years on the West Coast, which is very nearly a real-barbeque-free zone (sorry, Baby Blues), both taste like heaven to me.

      • Neil Stout
        2 August 2016 at 3:53 pm - Reply

        I went to law school in Buies Creek and am from Wilson so I know of Stephenson’s, but, of course, have a bias towards Parker’s. Also love the Skylight in Ayden and Bee’s in Greenville, and will eat Wilbur’s in Goldsboro. Everything else is crap, and that texas stuff is some kind of meat in drag.

        • maz
          2 August 2016 at 7:59 pm - Reply

          Wilbur’s! I’d forgotten about them.

          Over the years, my family’s barbeque consumption shifted in response to th evolution of North Carolina highways: Essentially, we frequented whichever place to which we passed nearest en route from Southside Virginia to Topsail Island. Since the modernization of 70, that’s been Stephenson’s.

          I believe all three of these are mentioned in ‘B.B.Q. U.S.A.,’ by my old high school pal, Mojo Nixon. The song is essentially a recitation of Mojo’s favorite establishments across the country. Being of more cosmopolitan tastes than I, he includes a number of places that [shudder] believe tomatoes belong in barbeque sauce. On the plus side, he includes a mention of the now dearly departed Short Sugar’s Barbeque, where my father recalled eating as a young boy. That would have meant a 25- or 30-mile journey each way over a lot of un- and barely paved country roads — quite an undertaking in the early 1920s for a family of six. You just know that was some mighty good barbeque.

          • Neil Stout
            3 August 2016 at 9:51 am -

            Outstanding! I am familiar with the paucity of barbeque in Southside having gone to undergrad there. Great Mojo post!

  • Greg Prickett
    2 August 2016 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Just to be clear, there is no real barbecue east of the Sabine, north of the Red, west of the Pecos, or south of the Rio Grande.

  • Chris
    2 August 2016 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Fleischman did not participate because he has decided to become vegan I guess.

    Seriously, at least none of you are vegans, there is hope.

  • TMM
    2 August 2016 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    You poor folks need to come to KC, where every BBQ place is better than the next, and you could start civil strife by even suggesting which place is the best in KC.

    • Greg Prickett
      2 August 2016 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      I will merely make the observation that the only state with more than one barbecue place listed is Texas (with four), and that two of those were nominated by foreigners (or at least people who don’t live here)…. KC and NC didn’t even rate a mention…. lol

      • shg
        2 August 2016 at 1:22 pm - Reply

        If I got a second pick, I would have gone with Jack Stack in KC. Just sayin’.

        • Greg Prickett
          2 August 2016 at 1:25 pm - Reply

          Which would still have left KC with a total of one vote.

        • Jim Tyre
          2 August 2016 at 1:43 pm - Reply

          You choose now to play by the rules?

          • shg
            2 August 2016 at 1:53 pm -

            They’re my rules. If I made everyone else pick one, then I couldn’t do otherwise.

      • Jeff Gamso
        3 August 2016 at 7:42 am - Reply

        Hey, I’m not a Texan and don’t live there now. But I lived in Lubbock for 12 years. I didn’t just do a fly-by and discover Jug’s.

        • Greg Prickett
          3 August 2016 at 8:32 pm - Reply

          I figured you discovered Jug’s while you were at Tech, but you left. You need to come back, ‘cus I know you’re a Texan at heart…

    • Noel Erinjeri
      2 August 2016 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      If I got multiple entries, Bryant’s and Oklahoma Joe’s (both in KC) would have been on the list. Jack Stack is good too.

  • Mark W. Bennett
    2 August 2016 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    I practiced law in Des Moines for 17 years after going to law school there. It’s a great city and is routinely rated in all kind of surveys as a top city to live in. I know that’s hard for bi-costal folks to believe but if I could live anywhere it would be Des Moines, and believe me I spend a lot of time in East and West coast allegedly great cities. Any BTW, had BBQ at Kruetz Market this year and rated it a D+ but it was a solid D+. So Scott, if you want me to post again on your blog please walk back your implicit criticism of DSM 🙂

    P.S. NC BBQ kicks ass

    • shg
      2 August 2016 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      I find your sensitivity to DSM totally understandable, Judge. I would think you would give me points for having been there at all. 😉

      • Mark W. Bennett
        3 August 2016 at 9:43 am - Reply

        Touche!!!

  • Peter Orlowicz
    2 August 2016 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    If there was ever a post that should have been held until midday (like right before lunch) instead of posting first thing in the morning…

  • Kelly F
    2 August 2016 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    The Carolina Bar-B-Q is, indeed, the best. If you’re in Phoenix and want the best approximation of it, go to Honey Bear’s. Their motto is “You don’t need no teeth to eat our meat. (Local tip: teeth is pronounced “teef.”) http://www.honeybearsbbq.com/
    They are self-proclaimed Tennessee style, but for those of us from Raleigh, and who live in AZ, this is awfully good stuff. The go-withs are great too! And, having worked in KC for a few years, I’m going to go ahead and object to anything from there. If I wanted overly salty meat, I’d just eat beef jerky.

  • MIchael
    2 August 2016 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    There is no “t” in Kreuz, and they generally do not run out of food. It is a wonderful place (as are country cousins Black’s in Lockhart and City Market in Luling). But sadly, they have been surpassed by the young guns in Austin. Louie Mueller in Taylor comes closer.

    • Greg Prickett
      2 August 2016 at 3:30 pm - Reply

      You’re right. I can never pronounce it correctly either. Mueller’s got good BBQ too. Both the Salt Lick outside of Austin and Franklin’s are good.

  • Rick
    2 August 2016 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    I’ve eaten barbecue in every state I’ve ever been in and don’t think I’ve ever had any that was bad. Many years ago when I lived in Charleston, SC I had a sales route that took me through eastern Sc and up into NC. On those trips I would eat barbecue at little roadside joints 3 times a day. Every now and then I’d make it to Wilson and Parkers for comparison. Barbecue was pork. Period. Then I discovered Rudys Country Store and brisket. I feel like a traitor to my southern roots but the brisket is to die for.

  • Lee Pacchia
    2 August 2016 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I’m surprised Memphis and the State of Georgia didn’t make an appearance.

    • Andrew King
      3 August 2016 at 2:39 pm - Reply

      I did eat some BBQ in Nashville, and it was nothing special. Granted it’s not Memphis, but still it made me wonder.

  • Neil Stout
    2 August 2016 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    Outstanding! Southside is a barbeque free zone, unfortunately. Did undergrad there. Outstanding Mojo post!

  • A HREF
    2 August 2016 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    No body listed Alabama, Mississippi or Memphis BBQ. Good. More of it for me to eat.

    Best BBQ I ever had were ribs bought from a guy smoking them in front of his house on Oporto-Madrid Blvd. in East Birmingham.

    And the McRib? Seriously what the HELL is wrong with you?

    • Mark W. Bennett
      3 August 2016 at 9:45 am - Reply

      Gotta love the Memphis rub !!

  • David Meyer Lindenberg
    4 August 2016 at 8:07 am - Reply

    Fool. The McRib is the apex of human civilization.

  • Brian Urban
    4 August 2016 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Now you’ve gone and started a religious war on a legal blog.

    Just to inform the uninformed, Louie Mueller’s in Taylor, TX has a James Beard award hanging on the wall (2006, American Classics category)(Why they got the award I don’t know; the ‘q isn’t that great.)

    Salt Lick (Driftwood and Round Rock, TX) are variations on Carolina BBQ, not Texas style. That’s why the best thing at Salt Lick is the pulled pork, which is excellent.

    You can legitimately call Lockhart the BBQ Capital of Texas, four good BBQ joints in a town of 15,000 (Kreuz, Black’s, Lockhart Chisholm Trail and Smitty’s)Kreuz’ sausage is top notch. Black’s brisket is the best in Lockhart.

    As to sauce,, if your BBQ needs sauce, it isn’t good ‘q. The meat should stand on it’s own. Sauce is an adjunct, not the main flavor ingredient. Kreuz Market doesn’t have sauce, never will, don’t ask. (Well, ask if you want to be a pariah)

    Now that I have started another religious war (sauce/no sauce), I return you your regularly scheduled law blog.

    P.S. Each region has it’s own unique style of BBQ. Good ‘q is good ‘q regardless of style.

  • Mario Machado
    5 August 2016 at 10:01 am - Reply

    I was expecting to get a good thrashing for suggesting a Miami BBQ joint. But nada. Are Miami’s BBQ joints perennial pariahs? Like its CDLs?? 😁

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