For reasons I can never quite fathom, Columbia is a bit of a barbecue wasteland. Shotgun Pete’s is pretty good. Rootin’ Tootin’ is solid. After that, you’re largely better off making your own. That came through in this write-up I helped Vox Magazine out with recently. Most of the sides I tried were pretty dreadful, Buckinghams’ coleslaw, jalapeno poppers and fried onion and jalapeno straws particularly so. Blech.
The diamond in the rough, of course, is Lonnie Ray’s BBQ up in Harrisburg (and subject of a nice profile in the Missourian today). It is the best barbecue around, and not by a small amount. Mike cares about the food he serves. Cares a lot. He and Brandon turn out world-class brisket, cool sides and unusual items that’ll keep you coming back (candied Brussels sprouts!). If you haven’t been, or haven’t been in a while, take the 20 minute drive north. You’ll be well-rewarded.