Plush Pig BBQ

For some unknown reason, quality bbq eludes Columbia like the plague. Serious bbq aficionados are left a) settling for mediocre, b) learning how to make it themselves or c) traveling to Kansas City. Nobody can extol the virtues of Buckingham’s, Bandana’s or Smokin’ Chicks with a straight face having been to the mountaintop (which could be any of a number of KC establishments, Dreamland in Tuscaloosa or Maurice’s Piggy Park in Columbia, SC). Columbia’s too good of a town to not have at least one great place for ‘cue, but we don’t even have that (it’s been a while, but I seem to remember the late Sutton’s being a quality spot).

Unfortunately, the newly-opened Lampert’s Plush Pig doesn’t take us any further in the right direction. The menu listed fried pickles, mac and cheese and the usual assortment of smoked meats. All I tasted was salt. Lots and lots of salt. Blood pressure-spiking mountains of salt. Now, smoking meat was historically about preservation first and foremost; salt plays a role in that as well. But the Plush Pig shovels it so wantonly onto your plate I quickly downed the (just thawed out and flavorless) green beans simply to even things out.

The worst offender was the fried pickles. Done well, this Southern specialty provides a tart, crisp break from the heaviness of a platter of sausage and baked beans, for instance. It’s a palate cleanser. These nuked my tastebuds with so much sodium I was left gulping water after a single, pallid chip. The sausage and to a lesser extent the ribs followed suit. Only the smokeless, forgettable pulled pork escaped the salt lick effect.

The ribs proved decent; the “regular” and “spicy” bbq sauces were excellent, though the “Alabama gold” sauce would not have been out of place in a Happy Meal, so much did it resemble McDonald’s honey mustard.

I hear there is bbq to be had in Jefferson City at Lutz’. Some place in Rolla. It’s clearly time to venture further afield.


Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

4 thoughts

  1. We found a very good (honest) BBQ place in Hermann, MO, of all places this past weekend: Montague’s BBQ downtown on Second Street. Louie, the owner, moved to MO from Austin, TX, ten years ago, and I daresay he knows a little about BBQ. Everything arrives sans sauce, which is our preference so you can sauce at your table if desired. The brisket and pulled pork were some of the best we’ve ever had, and get this: ALL the sides were excellent, which can sometimes be a hit-or-miss proposition at a lot of places. The cole slaw was slightly sweet vinegary, the tater salad was very tasty with mustard, and the beans had a kick with some BBQ meat floating in them. Even the green beans had a pleasing flavor. I know it’s a little drive, but it’s worth it. Finish up with a visit to the new Tin Mill Brewing Company, for some REAL German beer (all ingredients imported from Germany), and you’ve got the makings for a great “pig”out fest. Sorry Lampert’s is not up to snuff yet. Hope they get it together someday. Till then, we’ll head up to Harrisburg for the pretty little drive (and much closer than Hermann) to Lonnie Ray’s and Q heaven.

  2. Good tips all around. I’ll have to hit Montague’s next time we’re in Hermann. Sides – and especially coleslaw – are an afterthought at most places.

    Lonnie Ray’s is on the to-do list as well.

  3. They iced your meal in salt, eh? Bleh. I had different problems on my visit (which you commented on already at comowhine). Sounds like an inconsistent kitchen. Better restaurants have died from less.

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