Well we arrived in St. Louis tonight around 8pm. I dropped PD1 at the Adam's Mark so that she could link up with her team, and I went off in search of que.
My sojourn tonight took me to a seedier side of St. Louis. Not a bad area, I think, but definitely and underdeveloped neighborhood. I found C&K exactly where google maps said it was, parked the car and went inside.
C&K is a hole in wall, carry-out only operation. When you enter the place two thoughts strike you immediately; "Gosh the place ain't real clean", and "where the hell is the window to order". Neither of these things really stops you - I mean what good bbq place is clean? - but it is momentarily disorienting if for no other reason than there are cars in the lot, but nobody in the store. Casting these unimportant thoughts aside, I found the window and placed my order for a pork steak and some middle cut country ribs.
While I waited for my order I looked around the joint. 6 signs requesting that customers have their money ready when ordering, one sign informing us that our order will not be taken while we're on our phones, and most incongruously, a framed copy of the "St. Louis best article proclaiming C&K one of St. Louis' best. As I waited (what was the dude doing back there?) several people came in, ordered and then went out to their cars to wait. Mystery solved!
After about 10 minutes, my order came and I loaded it into the car and drove back to the Hotel. Sadly, the food wasn't really worth the trek. Oh, it was good, but to be honest, my ribs are better, and most of the ribs that we had on our tour this summer were far better. C&K serves country ribs, which are fine, but they had virtually no smoke flavor and were covered in a fairly pedestrian sauce. I understand that C&K sells sauce locally but I really wonder why. It's ok, but the locally produced Maull's is better.
Oh, the pork steak? Not bad actually. I think it is basically a grilled slice of pork shoulder with sauce on it. If you've ever had a grilled pork chop, you pretty much get this. Except a grilled pork chop, properly cooked is better.
So, I wasn't impressed. Perhaps Texas spoiled me. Maybe I'm just not a St. Louis kind of guy. Who knows? What I do know is that I'm quite happy I had the presence of mind to pack a 2001 les Caves de la Columbe Chateanueuf Du Pape. I found this in a close out bin last week, and it is pretty good. So all is not lost. Tomorrow we'll seek salvation for the St. Louis rep at Phils. I think I'll go for lunch, and then perhaps talk some of the parents into a Ruth's Chris for dinner. I hope they have one here. Mmmmmm, martinis and beef.