The Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival is one we always look forward to all year but still manages to sneak up on us. It’s next weekend, in case you were wondering. Anyway, we’re pumped to see big acts like Jason Isbell (for a third time) and the Avett Bros. and hyper-talented lesser-known acts like Nathaniel Rateliff, Houndmouth and Shovels & Rope. But food plays a much bigger role here than at Columbia’s other world-class festival, so let’s get to it.
A full list of Roots ‘n Blues food vendors is here, but like anything else, there are a few highlights.
- Sugarfire Smokehouse – The St. Louis-based ‘cue mini-chain is one of the most playful and creative outfits when it comes to smoked meats. So when their menu for the fest reads like a list of old stand-bys – “brisket sandwich,” “pulled pork sandwich,” etc. – know that there will be curveballs in order, and that they will be delicious. We ate Sugarfire four or five times last year and can’t wait to see what they come up with this time around.
- Broadway Brewery – Last year Walker and company cooked up seven Patchwork hogs to fill plate after plate with heaping amounts of ridiculously good pork. They basically have one option here – the Whole Hog Plate – and it’s all they need.
- Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co. (for anything), Grill-A-Brothers (yeah, anything as well), Jamaican Jerk Hut (beef patties!) are all back and worth a visit or three.
- Intrigued by: Not’Cho Ordinary Taco truck, a gourmet taco vendor from Bolivar.
Drinks-wise, the fest is upping its local game even more, featuring Logboat, Bur Oak, Broadway Brewery, Top Ten Wines and DogMaster Distillery along with more nationally-distributed/owned options. Plenty to quench your thirst there.
- Skip Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, one of the lamer bbq options in the crowded hellscape that is Columbia barbeque. Get their sweet tea if you must, but then make haste over to Sugarfire, Big Daddy’s, Broadway or MO Legacy for your smoked/grilled meats. Please.
- Eat lunch at 11 or 2 and dinner at 4 or 9. Otherwise, prepare to wait…possibly for a long time.
- Bring the kids. They will take naps.