Barbecue is one of those cuisines that everyone has an opinion on, and a method for. Some cities are known for their BBQ and others just think they are, but you can pretty much guarantee that any city you visit will have at least one barbecue restaurant. Here in Louisville there are quite a few smoke spots to choose from. Some might come across as a hole-in-the-wall, and others might make you feel under-dressed. Either way, these people are stoked on BBQ!
1 | Momma’s Mustard, Pickles, and BBQ | 102 Bauer Ave | St Matthews
Momma’s would have to qualify as my favorite brick and mortar BBQ restaurant in the city of Louisville. While all of the restaurants I am about to mention have a unique take on the barbecue cuisine, Momma’s has a lot to offer. First off, the menu is pretty straight forward. No tricks here, just awesome BBQ and awesome sides… Kansas City Style! Maybe I have no frame of reference since I’ve never had BBQ in Kansas City, but wow. I have had the pleasure of eating the wings (holy cow, best wings ever), pulled pork, pulled chicken, pork ribs, beef ribs (best ever), mac’n cheese, green beans (again, best ever…sorry mom), fries, and mashed potatoes at Momma’s, all of which are ridiculously delicious and reasonably priced. They make their own amazing pickles, and the homemade mustard is like crack. You can even get a carry out family pack that feeds 6 people for $50! If you happen to visit Momma’s Mustard, Pickles, and BBQ in the spring, the patio is awesome. They are open until 10pm weekdays and midnight weekends. Do it.
2 | 502 Cafe | Food Truck | Various Locations | U of L
Louisville has an emerging food truck movement that just continues to amaze me. Our food truck scene is taking off because all of our food trucks are different. We don’t have 30 food trucks trying to push cheeseburgers on us all. Instead, we have variety; and Chris Williams brings the barbecue variety directly to the streets with the 502 Cafe. UPDATE: Since the date of this post, 502 Cafe has opened a brick and mortar restaurant on U of L campus! Obviously, when we talk about barbecue some of the menu items tend to overlap, but the difference in style and flavor speaks through the rubs, sauces, and secrets. Chris, whatever your secret is, DON’T TELL ANYONE. Also, those pork belly sliders are outrageous and you have to have the homemade bourbon bacon jam! As far as flavor is concerned, the 502 Cafe BBQ takes the cake!
3 | Frankfort Ave Beer Depot and Smokehouse | 3204 Frankfort Ave | Crescent Hill
Arguably the most recognizable BBQ name in the city, Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot becomes obviously legit when you see the serious smoking station that is setup in their parking lot. The building is nothing fancy. In fact, it’s the opposite of fancy. But the building doesn’t make the food, and because of that you should try the fried green beans, the brisket, pulled pork sandy, smoked salmon, and the smokehouse wings. The salmon is a specialty item that you must order in advance, but totally worth it. The wings are amazing, and the fried green beans are even better that they sound. FABD produces a BBQ sauce that will make you give up on most other sauces. I actually buy their sauce by the bottle at Kroger. Beer Depot typically has a regular crowd for sporting events, beer specials, and of course, the food. You can also play ping pong, foosball, or venture out back to play a quick a 9 holes on their very own putt-putt golf course dubbed, “Beerhalla”. Open every day of the year, you must try the Frankfort Ave Beer Depot.
I still have four other favorites to drool about in another blog post dealing with the barbecue realm, but I’m tired, and I got a little long-winded tonight about these three awesome BBQ joints in Louisville, so I will bring the rest in “How to do BBQ in Louisville Part 2“. Goodnight.
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