5 Best Barbecue Joints
Barbecued meats, a.k.a. sauce-drenched tender goodness, take a combination of grilling, seasoning and sauce-covering. Each of the three tends to be a well-kept secret in the barbecue restaurant business, but we’ve found our favorites among 417-land’s checkered-tablecloth set. Speaking of those well-known table coverings, none of the five BBQ joints on our list use them anymore. The times, they are a-changin’.
Buckingham Smokehouse & BBQ, Springfield
A Springfield institution for years, this restaurant is best known for its pulled pork sandwiches ($6.26 or $7.25 for jumbo size) and plates of ribs, which sell for $7.99 for a 1/3 slab (four ribs) dinner with two sides. If you’re into grilling at home, though, you can take the Buckingham’s taste home with you with a bottle of its barbecue sauce for $4.25 per pint or $6.50 for a quart. 2002 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, 417-886-9979.
Crosstown BBQ, Springfield
Now in its third generation of Williams family owners, Crosstown is a small, quiet establishment just north of Evangel University campus on East Division Street. The burnt ends are the food of choice here, small bits of brisket served on their own or in other dishes such as Jesse’s Chef Salad ($6.59). (Regulars like to eat the salad topped with a combination of ranch dressing and spicy BBQ sauce.) Want some of Crosstown BBQ’s sauce? You can buy it by the pint for $2. 1331 E. Division St., Springfield, 417-862-4646.
Pappy’s Place, Springfield
With pop-culture artifacts and memorabilia galore along the walls and behind the bar, Pappy’s is a welcoming dive with a very in-demand hickory-smoked pork sandwich ($6.50 for 12 ounces). As an added bonus, there’s live music every Monday and Saturday to listen to while you eat. A pint jar of sauce here goes for $4.50, or you can get it for $21.95 by the gallon. (They fill five or six gallon orders a year.) 943 N. Main Ave., Springfield, 417-866-8744.
Downtown BBQ, Willard
The look of Downtown is brand-new and spick-and-span, with tile floors and red vinyl booth seating. The brisket is the most popular dish, but for a to-die-for side try the pea salad. The sauce is yours in easy-to-take-home pint size for just $3, but you have to know to ask; it’s not on a menu anywhere. 104 W. Jackson St., Willard, 417-742-1131.
Richard’s Hawgwild BBQ, Aurora
We’ll hyphenate for emphasis: This place is awe-some. Located in the historic center of Aurora, not far from the town square, Hawgwild is not super-spacious, and it’s anything but fancy, but it is the place for Memphis-style barbecue and huge-normous (yes, that is is now a word) nachos. A plate of them feeds four people. The beef brisket and pork are best among the meats. 22 E. Olive St., 417-678-4294.
What's your favorite local BBQ joint? E-mail us and let us know.