Friday, December 4, 2009


I have been hearing good reviews about a barbecue restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri. It was rumored that my old Executive Chef from RUB in Las Vegas was running the kitchen and serving the best barbecue in the city. It was time to find out if the reviews were true, so yesterday I took a road trip to St. Louis to find out for myself. After driving for a little under 4 hours, making a couple of pit stops, and dealing with a cranky GPS system, we arrived in mid- town St. Louis. My anticipation built as we arrived right around the time that the lunch rush begins to die down. I’ve heard stories of how the line to place your order during lunch comes out of the front door, wraps around the side of the building, and back inside to a hallway via a side door. We were lucky. We just missed that experience. Once you walk in you are greeted by the inviting smell of wood and meat becoming barbecue. This seemed promising.

As I made my way from the back entrance to the front counter, I say to myself “is that a familiar face that I see?” Yes! It is Skip Steele, Executive Chef of Pappy’s Smokehouse! I was greeted by a welcoming handshake that had surprise and glee. Skip is both an accomplished barbecue cook and chef. He used to compete on the Memphis in May contest circuit (now known as MBN), cooking in both the whole hog and ribs divisions. He has placed first, second, and sixth place overall in the whole hog division, and third place overall in the ribs division at the Memphis in May Championship contest between 1996 and 2006. This barbecue championship contest is held each year in Memphis, Tennessee. It is the world’s largest pork barbecue contest and is known as” the Super Bowl of Swine”.

As Skip led us to our table we were then greeted by Mike Emerson, owner of Pappy’s Smokehouse. Mike has been in the restaurant business since the early 70’s. He started out owning a pizza restaurant. After a while Mike opened a white cloth establishment. Mike tells me that in the 80’s he walked away from restaurants all together. Well, I for one am glad that he decided to come back.

It was time to validate my reason for coming to Pappy’s. We were served a sample platter that included sliced brisket, sliced smoked turkey breast, pulled pork, loin back ribs, potato salad, sweet potato fries, and baked beans. Skip describes the food as “Memphis style slow smoked barbecue”. Some cuts of meat spend up to 16 hours in the smoker. We were told that on a Saturday Pappy’s sells 700 to 750lbs. of ribs, 300 lbs. of brisket, 400 lbs. of pulled pork, 250lbs. of chicken, and 30 gallons of beans. According to Mike, Pappy’s is the largest seller of sweet potato fries in the United States.

Folks, let me tell you, if I could use only one word to describe the food from Pappy’s it would be OUTSTANDING! The brisket is smoky, moist and flavorful. The pulled pork is melt in your mouth tender and moist. And the ribs… WOW! The ribs are so tender that your grandmother can eat them without having her dentures in. The three sauces that Pappy’s has to offer really compliment the meat and can accommodate the pickiest of eaters. They do not skimp on the portions at Pappy’s and their service rivals the food. This is what I came to St. Louis for!

If you are ever in St. Louis or just live close by, I recommend that you pay Pappy’s Smokehouse a visit! They are located at 3106 Olive (on the corner of Cardinal & Olive streets next to Harris – Stowe State University). They recommend that you call ahead to place your order (314- 535 – 4340). Or you can check them out online at

Skip Steele and the Baron

Catching Up

The Menu

Skips Trophies

Mike Emmerson and the Baron

Mike and Paul talking shop

No time to talk

The smile says it all

Skips special sauce!

Enough said!

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