Meet you in St. Louis you say? Why? Answer: BBQ FOOD!
The mid-west has a reputation of being “the middle of no where.” St. Louis, more specifically, is rarely talked about besides for “Ferguson” or “the floods;” two events that are not indicative of how much St. Louis really has to offer.
The food in St. Louis is worth the trip, and if the food being absolutely delicious isn’t enough, the average dinner in St. Louis is less than $25 for a big amazing meal. St. Louis has amazing brunch places, but they’re most known for their BBQ (I know its not Texas, but… second place).
St. Louis’s Pappy’s BBQ makes a presence in NYC Big Apple BBQ Block Party, that’s a BIG DEAL! Pappy’s is so popular in St. Louis that they have a line out the door by 1pm on the weekends. I especially love Pappy’s pulled chicken, its really flavorful and filling. Their also known for their ribs, which I should add are deliciously messy (Hence the paper towels on the tables, and the abundance moist towelettes available). Pappy’s is a must-have experience if you’re going to visit St. Louis.
Vernons was a BBQ place of my past. I used to go there once every two weeks to get my smoked turkey, brisket and apples. (The apples were always my favorite part). Besides the food, Vernon’s is known for their abundance of different sauces ranging from little smokey to XXX. I have never tried XXX, because why would one ever think an XXX sauce would compliment their perfectly smoked meat? Not sure. But I will give credit where credit is needed, this joint’s atmosphere is lacking, their location is iffy, but their food is always good AND there are always people there. Another perk, they give student discounts! No other BBQ place finds students worthy of discounts. I guess Vernon’s discounted prices makes up for their location and garage atmosphere. I know I’m being a bit harsh, so let me make up for it through my critique of their brisket. It is one of the best in St. Louis. I love Pappy’s, and Sugarfire, but Vernon’s brisket reminds me of home. I really appreciate how their brisket is not sliced thinly, its more pulled than sliced. (sliced meat always reminds me of carvery stations or deli meat counters… not a huge fan of it when it comes to red meat.) Overall, I do think this place is good. It’s simple, tasty, and local BBQ food that you won’t have to wait hours on a line for!
The Shaved Duck was featured on Diners, Drive ins and Dives just a few years ago. I felt compelled to go try it and judge it for myself because some of the “Dives” that Guy Fieri goes to makes me question his taste buds. When I went to The Shaved Duck, the wait was around 45 minutes (consequences of Food Network featuring restaurants). Upon sitting I ordered the Corn bread (I was so hungry I didn’t want to wait for my main meal). It was so good that I finished the whole thing before the main course even came! The butter was salty and sweet, incredible! Then I got the two meat platter, chicken and burnt ends with a side of fries (duh). I loved both the chicken and burnt ends, really exceptional BBQ. The restaurant setting, however, of having a waiter bring me BBQ was a pleasant change of pace from most BBQ places.
MY #1 Sugarfire Smoke House
Sugarfire Smoke House is my favorite BBQ place in all of St. Louis. While this is not the popular belief, I am drawn to Sugarfire for their plethora of different smoked meats, sides, and sweets. While I love having many options, I am a creature of habit and tend to always order the same thing: The Chef salad ($10) (Brisket, turkey, hard boiled farm egg, tomato, cucumber, cheddar cheese, red onion, lettuce and cider vinaigrette). The Salad has the same amount of turkey and brisket as the platter, but also has the fresh crunch and health factor of a salad. I love this salad, I walk out of BBQ feeling full, not fat. While I always get the salad, I usually add fries or cornbread– side note: Sugarfire has the BEST HAND CUT FRIES! (super salty). Not only do they have the best food: fresh, fast, filling and affordable, they also have an amazing pie shop next door. Their pies are exceptional! Really incredible! I love their apple crumb pie, their brown sugar gooey butter bar pie that goes under the title “Sugarfire pie.” I should also mention their smoked chocolate chip cookies, which have the perfect balance of salty, smoky and sweet chocolate chip cookie! I don’t know how to express how much I will miss this place when I graduate, there is no where else like it. Beyond the food, the place itself holds a spot in my heart. After you order and get your food on a tray, you sit at communal tables with paper towels, lots of sauces, and the most interesting people you’ve ever met! I love having to ask for a sauce and striking up a conversation.