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Moonlight BBQ – Owensboro, Kentucky
Was headed on my way back to Chicago from Cincinnati when I got jonesen for BBQ.
The idea of making a 5 hour detour to Owensboro Kentucky to visit the Moonlite BBQ crossed my mind. Seeing as I had the time, a beautiful Volvo 860 as a car rental and it just happened to come with the Hertz GPS Neverlost system in the car, I thought this was the perfect time to make such a detour. I just entered the address for the Moonlite into the GPS system outside of Cincinnati and it steered my right to the Moonlite.
I have seen the Moonlite written up in many places. They are know for good BBQ and are one of the only that I’ve read that serve Mutton BBQ. Being a lamb/mutton as well as a BBQ lover, I thought that the BBQ mutton would be a culinary highlight for me.
Sorry to report, the mutton just did not hold the BBQ flavor that brisket or pork does.
It was good, but the sliced pork was better. On your table are two bottles of sauce. One is a black pepper, tomato based BBQ sauce that goes very well w/the meats. The other is a
Worsteshire/Vinegar based sauce for the mutton, this sauce was almost all water and not anything special.
BBQ buffets served 11am-2pm and 4pm-9pm. According to the Moonlite flyer I picked up in the restaurant, the buffet serves BBQ mutton, pork, ribs, chicken, ham and beef. When I was there, only BBQ mutton, pork and chicken was present on the buffet, which for lunch cost me less than $8 w/tax.
The sliced pork (shoulder) was my favorite meat here, the brisket was next, then the chicken and finally the mutton (did I already tell you I was disappointed w/the mutton???).
If I was in the area I would go back, but IMO it was not worth the detour.
Moonlite BBQ Inn
2840 West Parrish Avenue
Owensboro, KY 42301
Hours: Mon-Saturday 9am-9pm
The restaurant reviewer for the Bowling Green Daily News found a gem.
Bar-B-Que Junction’s Russellville Road dining room, full of booths and tables, is a tribute to the pioneer spirit. …
From the pulled pork to the hash brown casserole, there was a foundation of quality ingredients. The meat on the ribs was abundant and tender, the pulled pork unfibrous and the chicken thick, full of butterlike meat that fell gently off the bone. I chose the mild sauce for the pulled pork. It was subtly sweet with a hint of chili pepper. There is also a spicy sauce if you’re looking for a bit of kick. The pork comes with buns, rolls or pancake-like corn bread that housed the pulled pork easily and appetizingly.
Bar-B-Que Junction is a must try if you love barbecue. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with everything – even the burgers or the veggie plate with three sides and bread. You can drive through on your way home for a family pack or let Bar-B-Que Junction cater your next event. Either way, bring your pioneer heart to Bar-B-Que Junction and enjoy! …
2225 Russellville Road (270) 783-8902
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday
A great sign was the huge pile of wood and the wonderful blue smoke coming from the smoker.
We parked and went in and were told we could sit anywhere we wanted. There are several seats at a bar and in another section booths and tables. We were seated at a table and our server was there in an instant. We decided on a half slab of ribs with baked beans and potato salad.
Expectations were very high. I wasn’t disappointed. Our plates where there within a few minutes and we dug in. I picked up the end rib and the bone slid right out and the meat was cooked perfectly. A slight smoke ring was visible but there wasn’t an overpowering smoke taste. I did not add any sauce at this point and the flavor of the ribs stood on it’s own. They were excellent. On the side were baked beans and potato salad, both of which were good but the ribs were definitely the main attraction.
For desert I had a peach cobbler and my travel partner had a chocolate pie that must have been stacked 6 inches high. Both were very good and a great end to some good old fashioned Kentucky bbq. I did order a side of pulled pork and mixed in a little of the home made sauces, both a sweet and hot and polished it off as well.
All in all my experience at Backwoods BBQ was great and I give them a big thumbs up and recommend anyone going through Paducah stop by. For those of you not from Kentucky but are travelling on Interstate 24 it is just a few miles of exit 4 and very easy to find. Definitely worth the detour.
When you visit Monroe County Kentucky – and you must – as soon as you cross the county line, roll down your car window, open up the sunroof, and I swear you will smell barbeque.
Monroe County has about eight barbeque restaurants, down one because earlier this month the legendary Frances Bar-b-que restaurant burned to the ground.
Not very impressive, until you consider that at the population of the entire county is about 11,000. One Q joint per 1300 people, yeah, that’s the way it should be!
Another very popular, and in a legendary location, is Backyard BBQ, legendary because it was known as Paul & Nora’s Bar-B-Cue, before it became Backyard BBQ.backyardsign
It’s scenes like this one pictured that just make a barbeque lover shed a tear: rolling blue smoke.
I was lucky, the wind was moving the smoke right past the front door and over the road. Best advertising ever.
I moseyed around to the pit and found Randy hardly working on some shoulders. I introduced myself and chit chatted for a bit.
Then came the question: what should I eat. Rather: What do you like to eat?
He didn’t hesitate long. He likes shoulder. I like shoulder. I was going to be happy.
Dipped I asked?
He said that would be good if I liked it hot, which I do. But you never can beat the advice of the guy running the pit. I asked how he had it and he said dipped, mild.
Barbecue in Monroe County is all vinegar based.
Once inside, there were the usual choices, shoulder, chicken, pulled. The sides were vinegar slaw, mayo slaw, baked beans. It was fantastic, three shoulder pieces, and if you ate it there, free refills on the slaw and beans! $5.50 + 60 cents for the Dr Pepper.
With meals like this, and by the number of people getting take-out Randy and Backyard BBQ Pit are on their way to becoming legendary. All Randy needs to do is get older!
How to get there: Tompkinsville, Kentucky, is just 83 miles from Nashville International Airport. From the airport, take I-65 North out of Tennessee and into Kentucky. Make a right onto exit 43, the Cumberland Parkway, and then take exit 14 to Highway 90. Make a right on 90 and go 20 miles to Highway 163 South. Tompkinsville is 13 miles down the road.
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2768 Edmonton Rd
Tompkinsville, KY 42167
Where to sleep: The Tompkinsville Inn on Highway 163 North. Contact the inn at (270) 487-9228.
Remember: Most of the barbecue restaurants are only open Thursdays through Sundays, and when they’re sold out, they shut tight. Call ahead to make sure your favorite cut of meat — or some pulled pork — is still available.
BBQHub.com loves Rigdon’s Trackside BBQ in Madisonville, Kentucky. Even though the location was only open for two weeks, check out this rave review.
We both had a 2 rib plate with baked beans and cole slaw as well as a pulled pork sandwich. It was unbelievable!!I picked up one of the ribs and the meat just started to slide off the bone and when I bit into my first bit I knew I had found a truely great bbq joint. The ribs were of the dry persuasion and Cecil said that was the first time he had ever had ribs that required no sauce. I could have eaten an entire rack (which they do serve). The sides are all home made and you can tell that they are not out of a food suppliers can. The baked beans had a great taste that made the sides of your tongue tingle and the cole slaw was just right, not to dry and not to wet and seasoned to perfection.
There’s more raving here. I think I feel a trip to Madisonville, Kentucky, and Rigdon’s Trackside BBQ coming up very soon. Rigdon’s Trackside Barbeque 1750 E Center St Madisonville, KY (270) 821-2300 and also at Trackside BBQ 14978 US Highway 60 W Sturgis, KY (270) 333-4227
It was Abe Lincoln’s 200th birthday. Seemed only appropriate that we set out to wander around Abe Lincoln’s Birthplace National Park near Hodgenville in search of some good barbeque.
Lo and behold, there seems to be a lack of any barbecue places in or near Hodgenville, Kentucky. If somebody knows differently, please let me know.
The size of the sign is your first clue that this place is for real.
It’s a sign like road construction contractors use for highway alerts. Big a$$ sign! for a tiny place. Big Bubba Bucks Belly Bustin’ Bliss BBQ is located just off I-65 at exit 65 on Highway 31W.
The day we visited was Munfordville’s city-wide yard sale. On first glimpse I wasn’t sure if the place was open, or they just were having a yard sale. But the neon “Open” sign beckoned us inside.
Six booths, half full at 1 p.m. on a Saturday. About right. The counter worker asked “carry out or eat in?
Whoa! Upscale! We turned and took the booth furthest from the counter closest to the door (a total of six steps) 🙂
I asked what was cooking and was told if this was my first time there, I needed to eat ribs. Ribs it is. 1/2 rack dinner, please.
For sides, I asked if the slaw was vinegar or mayo and she said the slaw was made with Miracle Whip. She said she was partial to the slaw.
I looked over the other choices (spelling is theirs):
Homemade Tator salad
Sweet tator fries
Fried corn on the cob
Fresh fried green maters
Fresh fried zuccini
Fresh fried squash
Deep fried Dell pickles
While I was pondering my choices (only two???) she piped up and said “fried green maters.” And like the BBQ robot I am, I repeated: fried green maters.
As Buck (pictured) headed out the door with some foil roasting pans, I knew he was fetching some ribs right off the smoker. I asked if I could follow and he obliged.
Tell me that doesn’t make your mouth water! His smoker may have been small, but the food he created was mighty. Buck’s shirt says “Taste so good it will make you smack your momma.”
It WAS that good.
I noticed Buck chatting into a microphone giving a list of their menu. My first reaction was that he was calling in a live spot for a radio commercial. But the come back was from a trucker asking a couple questions and placing an order.
Turns out, this is a big part of their business. Consequently, they monitor the CB, take orders and have a huge gravel parking lot for semi trucks behind their small restaurant.
Remember what they used to say about eating at truck stops? Hardly true anymore, except for Big Bubba Bucks Belly Bustin’ Bliss BBQ.
The ribs fell off the bone, the meat didn’t really need any additional sauce, the fried green mators were delish and the blueberry cobbler was just yummy.
Another customer told me I needed to try the Banana Cream puddin’ so I got an order of that to go. Man that was some good eatin’.
Big Bubba Buck’s Belly Bustin’ Barbecue Bliss
US 31W • 270-307-8309
Open 10 AM-10 PM Mon-Fri,
10 AM-8 PM Sat-Sun
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Even though they now try to call it the “Driftwood Restaurant”, the dining area in the Nunn Lodge at Barren River State Resort Park will always be just “the Lodge” for myself and many others. The Lodge has always been a good place to eat. Growing up in southern Barren County, I have spent many Sundays after church enjoying the buffet. But, until a few weeks ago, I had never experienced their annual “Buffalo Night”.
The Kentucky State Park System (http://www.parks.ky.gov) offers Buffalo Night at several of the state’s resort parks each year offering an evening of entertainment and sampling of buffalo dishes. Buffalo Night is apparently a tradition for lots of people in our area. Everyone I talked to said they look forward to returning each time. The dining areas were full the entire time we were there which was a good thing as the food on the buffet was constantly being refreshed.
The state park makes it much more than just an event to consume bison meat. It’s a full-on experience. Upon entering the lodge that evening, there was an area set up just off the lobby where several historical re-enactors dressed in period costume had interactive exhibits. They featured historical artifacts used by the pioneers including hunting knives, flint rifles, blankets, household items, and other everyday items from early days in Kentucky.
The entertainment continued as you entered the dining area where there was live music. This year’s band was Kentucky Blue (www.kyblue.net) who did many bluegrass and country standards. They were a very good group (if you like bluegrass) and were a good dining accompaniment without being too intrusive.
The flavor of buffalo is much like beef, but a little drier with a sharper taste. I have had buffalo steaks a few times and enjoyed them. But the state park expanded my buffalo horizons and offered up several buffalo dishes on the buffet including a carved steamship round, BBQ buffalo brisket, buffalo stew and chili, and buffalo meatloaf. And I sampled it all. (in the interest of this story, of course)
The only preparation that I didn’t care for was the carving station. I love the normal beef steamship round at the Lodge, so perhaps I was in comparison mode. The piece of buffalo I was dealt off the carving station was grisly. On the converse, the best dish was the BBQ brisket. The meat was tender and flavorful. The buffalo stew was good and I found the chili to be reminiscent of Wendy’s chili (a good thing). The meatloaf was good, but could have been made of beef and no one would have known. There were also Lodge standards of catfish and fried chicken on the buffet for timid souls who were accompanying diners with more adventurous palates.
I was excited when I saw there was grilled asparagus on the buffet, but everyone at the table was disappointed when we ate it. Asparagus is a delicate flavor and grilling is a good way to prepare it, but the charred taste had permeated all the stalks on the steam table. All the other sides, corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, green beans, other vegetables, and the items on the salad bar were very good. As were the typical Lodge desserts of Baked Alaska, banana pudding, and others.
Overall, Buffalo Night is a fun experience that that I suggest you try the next time it’s offered.
Chris Houchens is the Online Director for the Bowling Green, KY Daily News and the Amplifier. He lives on 25 soggy acres on the Warren/Barren county line. He is also known in some circles as a marketing guru. Find out more at www.ChrisHouchens.com.
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OLD KENTUCKY BBQ – Lexington
A former editor of mine who had worked in Owensboro, the barbecue capital of Kentucky, gave me a piece of advice that has stood in good stead for about two decades: If a barbecue joint doesn’t smell like a smokehouse, it isn’t any good.
Old Kentucky BBQ on New Circle Road has managed to turn the original McDonald’s location in Lexington into a smokehouse.
Old Kentucky serves three things: smoked brisket, smoked pork (including ribs) and smoked chicken. It smokes the meats in contraptions in the parking lot. Once the smoked meats come inside,
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Tiny Town Red Top BBQ, Guthrie, Kentucky
On our way home from picking up the Corvette in Clarksville, TN, we intended to eat mexican. We took a shortcut which took us out of Clarksville and past the recommended mexican place. Hee. No problemo. I had spotted a couple of BBQ places on the way down.
Right about the TN-KY state line, Nancy got a call which she couldn’t answer. She commented that she had been having trouble answering calls and figured she had messed up a setting. She reckoned she would have to spend the morning with her ATT buds.
In the greater Elkton, Guthrie, KY area we came upon Tiny Town Red Top BBQ. It is a great sign when they have a rick of hardwood, two big catering trucks, and an antique tractor made into a humongous portable pit.
The fact that this was a cute little place and well cared for was a little off-putting. But it was OK, because when you have a huge catering business, having a cute little place with clean floors, matching booths, and no visible grease is a luxury most mom-and-pops can’t afford.
I suggested Nancy take her phone inside and see if she couldn’t figure what was wrong.
After we placed our orders for two pulled pork platters, sides of beans and slaw for me – green beans and hash brown casserole for Nancy) we sat down.
The order-taker, order-preparer, cashier (one person) asked how we liked our Blackberry because she used to have one. We told her our problem and I asked if she would mind taking a look.
After she prepared orders, she sat down in a booth and in two minutes handed the phone back to Nancy and called her. It worked.
I don’t know if she was single, but if she would put in her eHarmony.com profile: can prepare BBQ and fix Blackberry, she would be indundated with proposals.
BTW: the place will look different when you arrive, they are sprucing up the place even more by adding log siding.
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Jimmy D’s Real Pitt Bar-B-Que, Bowling Green, Kentucky
I have been trying to review Jimmy Diemer’s “new” barbecue for months now. I wanted to see what Jimmy could come up with by condensing all his vast energy into dinner for your family. Well, what an amazing job he has done!
Entering the store, there is a plethora of food items, including honey, jams, relishes, sauces and the like, mostly from Spring Valley Farms in Holland. Then comes the signage. Times Square couldn’t compete with the signs per square inch that Jimmy has created – all letting you know how much he has to offer, that everything is homemade (down to the banana pudding), the food is habit forming and it will be the best you’ve ever tasted, hands down.
Jimmy Diemer himself greeted me with country charm to rival any country cooking show host. Jimmy could easily offer an entertaining segment on Paula Deen’s cooking show that would surely put Bowling Green on the map for outstanding barbecue!
I was allowed taste tests to decide what I wanted and began my research to bring you, first hand, what you can expect when you visit Jimmy D’s Real Pitt Bar-B-Que.
All the usual barbecue main courses are available, like pulled pork, pork shoulder and pork ribs, but you can also get pulled chicken, a barbecue chicken salad, meat loaf or juicy beef brisket sliced on a bun.
The pulled pork was excellent – tender, moist and flavorful (even without the sauce), yet the cut of pork was so lean I never came upon a bit of fat or grease. And if you prefer something even more lean, the pulled chicken sandwich is all white meat that is just as tasty and moist.
The pork ribs, too, were delicate and a savory – again, with or without the sauce. Appetizing pink perfection on the inside dusted with a light seasoning on the outside.
The mild barbecue sauce that was served with each of these dishes was a fine balance of flavors. It was as if, like a fine wine, I could taste each ingredient separately that made up the whole of the sauce. Vinegar, sugar, tomato, a hint of chili powder and more all came together in the perfect storm of flavor. I would pay for extra if, like me, you like to douse your food in sauce.
Of course, sides and desserts are just as important as the main dishes when you’re stopping to get dinner for your family or catering a party. The beans were like the barbecue sauce in that you could taste all the flavors, but for me it was the hint of brown sugar that enjoyably lingered.
In my experience that day, Jimmy’s puts his own unique twist in each side dish. The cole slaw is chopped fine with the cabbage and carrots swimming in a liquid of sweetness. The mashed potatoes feature thick chunks of potato and just a hint of potato peelings. The buttered cabbage was inviting – not overcooked, nor over buttered and the taste of the cabbage shined through. Both the green beans and turnip greens included ham for added flavor. I don’t think you can go wrong with any side dish at Jimmy’s, but there are 10 in all so I wasn’t able to try them all.
Possibly, this is because I had to leave room for the best banana pudding I would ever have – according to all the signs. For my taste, the prophecy came true. The pudding included more bananas, and therefore more banana flavor, than I have ever tasted. The bananas were the main ingredient and the headliner, the pudding and vanilla wafers played supporting roles and in this order I found the pudding delicious.
Overall, Jimmy’s country cooking is now channeled into the huge variety of gourmet country food and barbecue he has to offer to all you lucky patrons who drive by his store on the south side of Bowling Green.