Your 1st barbecue restaurant


Brad Olson

TVWBB Diamond Member
Tonight I smoke-grilled a small rack of beef ribs and about 30 minutes before they were done I gave them a nice dollop of Head Country Original sauce. When I took a bite I flashed back to the fall of 1981; I'd just been dropped off in Des Moines for my freshman year of college and my roommate's family included me in their dinner plans, which was a trip to Stuart Anderson's Cattle Company (located in the parking lot of Merle Hay Mall). I honestly can't remember why I chose them but I went with the beef ribs, which were big, meaty bones doused in a KC-style sauce and I thought they were one of the greatest things ever. In fact, whenever my parents would come out to visit after that the Cattle Company was almost always my first choice.

When I was growing up, "barbecue" was chicken or pork chops cooked over direct heat and those Cattle Company ribs were a revelation. Granted, it took me almost 20 years after that to actually get serious about barbecue, but they flipped the switch and I actually grilled them a number of times in my early days of cooking.

So who else who grew up in a non-barbecue environment remembers the first restaurant, roadside stand or carryout they experienced? Good? Bad? Almost turned you vegan? In my case the Cattle Company certainly wasn't a true barbecue place but it planted the seed in my mind; in fact, I can't really remember the first "real" barbecue place I visited!
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When I was a kid, my dad worked at Kaiser in Santa Clara (the "old" hospital on Kiely Blvd that has since been replaced.) Around the corner from the hospital was a true, hole-in-the-wall joint called Lonnie's. Lonnie was an older gentleman from MO (I think), and every now and then, mom would take us down to have dinner with dad when he was on an evening shift. Lonnies was one of dad's favorite places to take us, and is the first place I had a true bbq'd rib. Eventually, Lonnie closed up shop in Santa Clara, and, after a failed venture in SoCal, and an attempt to bring BBQ to Los Gatos, I think he headed back home to MO (again, I think.) When Lonnie's closed, my dad and I tried some other Q joints (there weren't many), and their inability to produce anything nearly as good as Lonnie led me on my mission to learn the art of low/slow BBQ.......and down the rabbit hole I went, haven't seen the light of day since! :) (After I landed here, learned what the heck I was doing with my WSM, I eventually gifted one to my dad and we enjoyed quite a number of cook sessions on his patio before he passed away.)

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, @Brad Olson!!

I think Wibs BBQ in Jackson MO might have been my first. I posted something about it around a year ago. They sell mostly skinny thin little sliced smoked shoulder sandwiches on white toasted bread. Sounds weird, but they've been serving these sandwiches since 1947, and they've been imitated in at least 2 or 3 different places within a 50 mile radius. I've never tried to duplicate it myself, it would just feel weird. I remember mostly going with my Mom on occasions when we were in Jackson, MO. I don't remember "my first time" but whenever it was it was good. Here's a link to that post.

I've never been to a BBQ restaurant. But that's about to change soon. My daughter moved to Surprise AZ An hour's drive from where we live.
We are going to spend a couple of nights with them and one of the must do things is going to little miss BBQ in phoenix. It's the one that our leader Chris wrote about.
Really looking forward to it.
Camp 31 Paris, Ontario.
One of their tastier dishes is what they call smoked wings which we all know is a rubbery mess.
Apparently they are smoked for 2 hours then.........
These guys flash fry them in what I would guess pretty hot oil......smoked and delicious and crispy edges.
Feels like just enough to get the rubber out of the skin and just the edges are crispy......they are very nice.