On Saturdays, lineups are the norm at Pappy's.
Visited St. Louis for the MPI World Education Conference (WEC) July 28-31. It was my first time to the Missouri city, which delivered some tasty treats.
You can’t visit Missouri without sampling barbecue, which borders on religion in those parts. So as soon as I landed and checked into my hotel, I headed straight for Pappy’s Smokehouse.
Arriving just after noon on a sweltering Saturday, I encountered a lineup snaking out the door. An hour later, tantalized by the smell of woodsmoke, I finally reached the cashier, placed my order and took my seat in the chaotic, convivial room (communal picnic tables; terrific blues music blasting through the PA system).
Barbecue lives and dies by its ribs, and the ribs, this day, were meaty, with good smoke (evidenced by the telltale pink smoke ring), but fatty.
Really impressed with the turkey breast, thin slices of moist bird imbued with subtle smoke. Slaw was vinegar-based rather than mayo-based, and although crunchy, didn’t provide as satisfying an accompaniment as a mayo-anchored version.
On a second visit, at dinnertime the next day (thankfully, only a 10-minute lineup this time), the ribs were much better, with the same meaty, smoky heft, but much less fat. Loved the fat, tender pork sausage – the first links I’ve ever seen with a smoke ring! Pulled pork more than held its own in such fine company. And the green beans, scented with black pepper, were cooked to juice-squirting, al dente perfection.
Pappy’s Banquet Room hosts private events and dinners.
Elsewhere during WEC, I sampled some other noteworthy dishes. At the opening reception, held on the field of Busch Stadium, home to Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals, I sample a subtly charming local specialty, butter cake, in various forms (plain; deep-fried, with a thin, crunchy crust; and dipped in chocolate); and tacos made with wicked-good suckling-pig.
At the closing party, held on the grounds of the Missouri Botanical Gardens, I was very pleased with (what else?) meaty, tender ribs bathed in a hoisin-based sauce perfumed with five spice.