Alan, Pete and I embarked on a BBQ road trip from Sunday, Dec 18, thru Friday Dec 23, 2016. Alan and I left Cumberland MD, that Sunday morning and drove thru the West Virginia hilly wasteland and into Kentucky and our first stop was a tour of the Jim Beam Distillery. I recommend this tour, it was interesting, but I won’t go into detail as the focus of this trip was BBQ.
From Sunday to Friday, every meal I ate was BBQ, aside from 2 Kind bars, and some coffee, every meal was BBQ based. This is not exaggeration. Sunday we ate BBQ once, Monday we ate BBQ three times(E-town, lunch place, Peg Leg Porker), Tuesday twice (Paynes and Central), Wednesday twice (Leonards and Alex’s Tavern), Thursday once (Martins), and Friday once (The Blue Door). These were the only meals I ate all week.
Our first stop in Elizabethtown, KY was a local chain, Marks Feed Store. It was a Sunday and other places that we might have preferred were closed, so Marks Feed it was. Overall, the ribs and pork were fine, tasty, but it did not stand out in my opinion. Alan thought the pork was pretty darn good, but mine was covered in sauce and while it was good, it was not noteworthy.
Marks Feed Store
After a day of driving, no breakfast, no lunch, and a tour of the Jim Beam Distillery, we were, you might say hungry. The problem was that is was Sunday, and in hindsight, we should have realized that many places would be closed on Sunday (and Monday as it turns out). But we were lucky in that Marks Feed Store, a local chain was open. So, quite hungry and looking for BBQ our first stop was a chain. We each got a platter that had ribs and pulled pork. As you can see from the one picture I took, the ribs and pulled pork had a sauce. It was my goal to avoid sauce as much as possible because I was worried about gluten, and because I think sauce can hide less than stellar meat. I thought the ribs and pulled pork at Marks Feed Store were good, but unremarkable. I don’t even remember what sides I had, I think a salad maybe.
Sonny’s Backyard BBQ
Monday morning we headed towards Nashville, and instead of the taking the interstate, we traveled smaller roads, and in the Elizabethtown town center we happened upon Sonny Boys Backyard BBQ. It was open! Breakfast! Sonny Boys is a very small place owned by an Elizabethtown deputy sheriff and his daughter. They only had pulled pork. The pulled pork was good, but nothing special. The sauce though, was the best we had during this trip. Unfortunately, or maybe a better description is uniquely, the sauce and recipe we were told varies depending upon who makes it. We had the stepmom’s version, which was fairly tangy. Other versions might be sweeter. She also asked us to put pins in the map where we lived. She told us that she left Kentucky (to visit North Carolina) once with her boyfriend, and that was it, she had no plans to leave Kentucky again. While I would not make this place a go to destination, it is a super small BBQ place and the sauce was excellent, so if you pass thru Elizabethtown, KY, and you are hungry for pulled pork, stop in.
As we drove towards Nashville, we scoped out places on yelp, and while we had eaten at Sonny’s only hour or so earlier, we decided to stop in Glasgow, KY to have lunch at the Bar-B-Q Hut. I am not sure what we got counts as BBQ. I ordered the pork, and it was a very think slice of pork shoulder, definitely not smoked, not really seasoned at all, and it required sauce. I also had coleslaw, which as fine, and potato salad. Which is the mashed potatoes looking mound in the pic. The potato salad was essentially mashed potatoes with potato salad ingredients added and all processed to smoothness. But in the end, not particularly remarkable. I think Alan and I would agree this was the worst BBQ meal we had during our travels.
Peg Leg Porker
Nashville! After a bit of wandering and visiting, we received recommendations for two places in Nashville, Peg Leg Porker and Martins. We decided to go to Peg Leg Porker, it was closer. A exemplary choice! This place was fantastic.
The ribs here have a good coating of a tasty rub. It is a bit milder than what I make at home, but very good. The meat is juicy, which I think is so very important. Good ribs must not be dried out meat. The meat stuck to the bones a bit, meaning that ribs didn’t fall apart if pressed with a fork. I think I prefer this, but not completely sure. The pulled pork was also good, not dried out. Sauces came on the side, and the spicy sauce was a good addition. I also like the ranch like sauce. The pork was/is good, but I was consistently a bit underwhelmed. The atmosphere was excellent, a very casual restaurant/bar. The people working cared about the food, and one busboy stopped by and made sure we tried the sauces