Monday, August 11, 2008

Two Men Travel Across America to taste C&K

A Semi-Christian and a Semi-Muslim take a road-trip across America in search of great BBQ, each other, and themselves They snap pictures and blog about each experience around the country. Pretty cool huh? We were reluctant to take a picture but these two charmers talked us into it, and we're glad we did, Check out this most appreciated review on C&K Barbecue.

We walked into C&K’s BBQ about 9pm, and it was packed. It’s take out only, and there was quite a crowd waiting. We walked up to the counter and Syed quickly ordered a plate of the beef ribs. I asked one older gentleman waiting for his order what he liked, and he said, “I get the snoot, and I get ‘em hot.”.

Well, how could I say no? I looked at the faded paper menu on the wall behind the counter and saw that one option was snout. I asked the guy tending the register what it was and he explained that it is thinly sliced pig snout, flash fried crispy, and then covered in barbecue sauce. I ordered it and waited excitedly.

Our orders came out quickly and we retreated to the parking lot to taste our final barbecue stop for the day. Syed’s order of ribs had to weigh 8 pounds. It was an enormous pile of the largest beef ribs you’ve ever seen. And the flavor was incredible, almost like a pot roast, and the meat just fell off the bone.

And the ’snoot’ was equally impressive. They are thick and crunchy and slathered in C&K’s own tasty sauce. I enjoyed them on their own and also wrapped in a piece of white bread.

With food this good, it was amazing how hungry we became once we started eating.

Brother and sister owners Jamila and Omari agreed to let us post their pic to the blog, and they even snapped a picture of their own of us! They sent us on our way with a bottle of their sauce to share with our friends back home… get ready, it’s excellent!

If you are anywhere near St. Louis, you’ve got to stop by C&K and enjoy their great food!

To see more of their roadside adventures to taste the Best BBQ in the country, go to their website: BBQPILGRIMAGE, They are going to pick a winner by the end of the summer! Enjoy.

Monday, May 26, 2008


C&K BBQ Combo

The Combo ($6.00)
C&K Barbecue, St. Louis, Missouri

In this tiny BBQ shack on a lonely stretch of I-70, the Brantley family bakes pig snout until it’s good and crunchy, then they simmer rib tips and plop it all on Wonder Bread. In Barbershop Cedric the Entertainer informs his boys that they haven’t had good BBQ till they’ve had C&K. He’s right. A sign reads, THE SECRET’S IN THE SAUCE. We agree, and we’re not ashamed to say it! (4390 Jennings Station Rd., 314-385-8100)

Check out Maxim’

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


C & K Barbecue
By Betha Whitlow
No ever one said that dating a food writer was easy. In the game of love, people promise each other all sorts of things, even if it eventually leads to profound regret. So discovered my gentleman caller, Dave, when his time came to pay the piper. In a moment of weakness, he pledged to this restaurant reviewer not wine and roses or chocolate and puppies, but something far more romantic: to eat a different part of the pig. That's where C & K Barbecue came in handy.In business for more than 40 years, C & K Barbecue is a local joint with national press, as regarded for its way with pig snouts, ears and tripe as it is for chicken and pulled pork. The 1950s building housing it is space-age angles and orange fiberglass insets, while the tiny, tidy interior is equipped for carryout only. Expect friendly counter service with an earnest, "Let me see if we have it" attitude. And if they don't have it, don't fret — C & K has plenty of amazing barbecue to go around.
We chose to start easy with a plate of pulled pork ($4.50). Prepared just the way I like it, with textural play between soft and crispy shreds of meat and hot pockets of fat, it became a revelation with a heavy dose of C & K Barbecue's astonishing sauce. Tomato-based, mildly sweet and black pepper-infused, with a thick, 10-napkin sloppiness, it was worth eating by itself with a spoon.Thankfully, the sauce made a return appearance on C & K's fabulous barbecued chicken ($5, half chicken), which was so juicy and tender it virtually melted off the bone. Were it not for my preference for dark meat and Dave's for white, I suspect a hearty battle would have ensued for perhaps the best chicken we've ever had. Lulled if not primed, we took on the tripe sandwich ($3.25). While not particularly appealing in concept — tripe is a stomach lining — C & K's preparation of it dispelled our doubts. Spicy breading gave it the air of a chicken-fried steak, drawing out the tripe's surprisingly mild flavors and complementing its uniquely chewy consistency. A dose of pickles, onions, mustard and hot sauce added body, and soft, white bread, a comforting familiarity. Then, just when Dave thought he'd lived up to his promise, the snout plate ($6) arrived. Yes, that would be pig muzzle, sliced thin and flash-fried. Crunchy like pork rinds and sauced like barbecue, it wasn't our thing, but it wasn't half-bad, especially with C & K's clever take on potato salad — a thick, rich puree dotted with a lively pickle relish.Later, as we gobbled up a huge slice of C & K's superb lemon layer cake ($1.50), Dave quietly uttered, "Don't make me eat more snout," and as my romantic gesture to him, I promised I wouldn't. C & K Barbecue — perhaps the top restaurant of its kind in St. Louis — offers far more than a grand tour of the pig. It also gave a guy a chance to impress a girl. And it worked

Monday, January 21, 2008


The C&K Barbecue experience begins and ends with agony. First you have a five-minute wait at the carry-out hut, awash in the aroma of tomato and vinegar. Torture. Then there's the drive home, fighting the urge at every stoplight to tear into the steaming, sweet-smelling takeout containers. C&K has been taunting barbecue lovers like this since 1963. And as one longtime fan notes, "Those in the know know there's no other barbecue like it." Current owner Daryle Brantley runs the place with the help of his wife and four children. Every day at least one of them is on the premises manning the rotisserie and dishing out super-size slices of sweet-potato pie. The pork comes from Jayson Meat Co. on Martin Luther King Drive, says Brantley's eldest son, Oz. "And everything we sell here, we make here." The rib tips, loaded with meat, literally shimmy off the bone. The sauce is thin, and tingles underneath your fingertips. By the time the Styrofoam is empty, your gut, legs and noggin have gone numb. Pain is pleasure.


Belly Up to a Plateful of Ribs, Pulled Pork, Chicken or Beef!
Smoking Out America’s Best Barbecue
by John Mariani

The Ribs at Sonny Bryan's Get Raves

Anyone who has ever smelled the smoke curling from a chimney at a barbecue eatery knows that cooking meats in a closed pit over a slow wood fire is not just quintessentially American but one of this country’s great gifts to gastronomy. That gift is multifaceted, considering that there are so many different regional styles of barbecue, sometimes depending upon little more than which side of the river you call home.

There is Southern ‘cue and its many subcategories—by state, then by county. There is Texas ‘cue, which is principally beef, not pork, and Southwestern style, which has more chilies and spice. Then there’s Big City barbecue, from New York to Chicago, St. Louis to Kansas City. It seems that wherever you go in this country, you’ll find good barbecue to eat somewhere. Here’s a sampling of some I consider among the best and most representative of regional styles.

As Jane and Michael Stern point out in their “bible for motorists” Roadfood, Lexington, N.C. is a “small city with more than one barbecue restaurant per thousand citizens.” That means folks there have a dozen barbecue joints to argue about. For me there’s no argument: Lexington Barbecue (10 Hwy. 29-705, Lexington, NC; 336-249-9814), which opened in 1962, is to my mind the overall best and most consistent. The pork shoulder at what the locals have dubbed Monk’s undergoes ten hours of smoking, plus basting with a vinegar-rich sauce that defines the area’s style. Founder Wayne “Honey” Monk displayed his pit mastery at Ronald Reagan’s International Economic Summit in Williamsburg, Va.

Lonnie is Proud of Charlie Vergos's 'Cue

Locals do take their barbecue personally. In Memphis, Tenn., there’s a real insiders’ feeling to Charlie Vergos's The Rendezvous. Duck back in an alley near the deluxe old Peabody Hotel, go down a few steps, and sit yourself down at a counter or table in a raffish atmosphere of fiery grills giving off the smell of good smoke. Then, you salivate and wait. Finally, your dry-smoked pork ribs arrive, and you slather them with as much or as little sauce as you wish. The key ingredient is the dry rub of spices, which you can also sprinkle on the ribs to your taste. Charlie himself once wrapped up some ribs for me to go as I was heading out of town to the airport, even though he hadn’t opened for lunch yet and hadn’t a clue who I was. So I’m prejudiced. But don’t just take my word for it. When the Rolling Stones play Memphis, this is where they eat and drink. Tack your business card to the wall. Everyone else in the world does.

It certainly feels like everyone in the world comes to the Boca Raton, Fla. institution known as Tom’s Place (7251 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton, FL; 561-997-0920). An old Army barracks turned into an open shack has been, since 1979, the setting of Tom and Helen Wright’s beloved roadside eatery, which is always filled with locals, tourists, truckers and Latino families. The ribs and chicken come out on family-style platters, with cornbread and greens. The sauce is so good that one impassioned New Yorker offered the Wrights $100,000 for the recipe. The couple just laughed. Sometimes, when the cashier is feeling chipper, she tears up the check and your meal is on the house. Don’t bank on it, of course, but nothing here will cost you very much anyway.

The Goods at Sonny Bryan's

There’s something just so down-to-earth about Dallas’s famed Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. Success—with a dozen branches around the state—hasn’t hurt the place’s reputation much, despite Sonny’s demise a few years back. But you’ll get the ultimate experience by heading for the rustic—well, okay, make that "shabby"—1958 original on Inwood Avenue. The likes of Eric Clapton, Katie Couric, Governor Schwarzenegger and the late Julia Child have praised the place, and on any given afternoon there are as many Mercedes and Maseratis in the lot as there are lowriders and Rancheros. Whatever your lot in life, you give them your order, they jot down your first name, and a few minutes later your name is called and you bring the steamy beef sandwiches and onion rings back to a one-arm schoolroom chair to eat. It’s proletarian food paradise!

A Texas Great: Goode Co. Barbeque

As long as we’re in Texas, I ought to share with you another one of my favorites: Goode Co. Barbeque. The city’s finest now has two locations, as well as a seafood restaurant, a taqueria and a brand-new saloon. The original barbecue joint on Kirby is in a no-frills building where you grab a tray, get your food and head outside into the Houston heat. Take a slug of Lone Star beer, then tuck into such house specialties as brisket piled high on a po’ boy, a smoked turkey leg, jalapeƱo-laced pork sausage, a stuffed baked potato and some jambalaya “Texacana.” End off with a slice of pecan pie and coffee, and you’ll be happy all week until you’re ready to come back for more.

That craving for barbecue can hit a person at any time, which is one of the reasons why I like St. Louis’s C & K Barbecue so much. C&K can soothe my hunger pangs at just about any hour—eleven in the morning, three in the afternoon or even around midnight. It’s a take-out place with all the usual ribs, chicken and wonderful potato salad. But connoisseurs come here for the “snoots”—hog snouts and ears—which come out crispy and lavished with Daryle Brantley’s no-kidding-around barbecue sauce. Whatever you order, be prepared to eat it in you car, because it’ll be impossible to smell that aroma and not begin tucking in on your way back home. Just be prepared to have to give your car a good wiping down later.

Arthur Bryant’s Original Location

Barbecue lovers often glory in the mess of it all. Kansas City’s Arthur Bryant’s, made famous 30 years ago by homeboy Calvin Trillin, endures as the revered “Grease House” among locals, who can be very argumentative about who makes the best barbecue. Things aren’t quite so greasy there anymore, but the new owners since Arthur himself passed away have the old recipes down cold, and Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson and Wilt Chamberlain have all chowed down here. The sauce is key to Bryant’s uniqueness appeal, and I find a perky, piquant, piney flavor behind the heat—and it is very orange. Beef brisket is smoked over hickory and oak, then sliced thick and set on white bread; the potatoes keep their skins on and the owners keep their beer mugs on ice.

When I want damn good barbecue in New York, I know my best bet is to head uptown to Harlem and Sylvia’s.The pork ribs at this beloved institution run by three generations of the Woods family are as tender as can be, and they’re joined by other great platters of soul food, from black-eyed peas to sweet potato pie. The place can now sit 450 people at a time, which makes the Sunday Gospel Brunch quite an event, filled with families in their Sunday best after church. There’s often a line, but you’ll be hanging with everybody from local pols and Columbia students to soul singers and sports figures who love this place like home. You can even buy Sylvia’s Beauty Products on your way out.

So have no doubts that a steady diet of ribs, chicken wings, turkey legs, sausages and sliced brisket is a sure path to beauty!