Tell the truth, when you think of Christmas, do you think of barbecue? I’m guessing most would not, but we aren’t like most people. When we descended on St. Charles, Missouri, for their annual Christmas Traditions event, we knew that we would be looking for some unique meals. This St. Louis suburb is steeped in history and the perfect setting for wining and dining during the holiday season. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Hendricks BBQ sat next door to our hotel, so we knew a visit would be in order. I decided to save this for our last meal in town, so I had plenty of time to dream about the meaty goodness that awaited us.
This time of year is filled with office parties, friendly gatherings, and family get togethers. When we stepped through the door, we could see that others had the same idea as we did. The interior of Hendricks BBQ is designed to be comfortable and inviting. Large booths line the space, which is decorated with images of Jazz and Blues greats. This seemed appropriate, since the St. Louis region has a long history of music and food. As the Gateway City, many musical greats graced the various venues found throughout the city.
The hostess led us to our table and provided menus for us to peruse. Being an over planner, I had already scanned the menus online. Of course, we still needed to check to make sure there wasn’t some new items I overlooked. The drinks menu has some interesting sounding concoctions. Being our last stop before the drive back to Kansas City, we decided to pass on them and stick to water. Now it was time to focus on the barbecue, which was the whole reason for our visit.
After a short review, we decided to order The Whole Shebang. This menu item is well named, since you get to sample their entire BBQ options. It also includes four sides, so we knew we wouldn’t be leaving hungry. Being aware that we would be taking some meats home with us, we decided to focus on devouring these sides. The Cole Slaw had a nice sweet tang to it, which paired well with the smoky Baked Beans. The Onion Rings had a delightfully crispy coating, while the Mac & Cheese had a creamy texture with a touch of heat that kept bringing us back for more.
The main event for our visit to Hendricks BBQ was the meat. The sampler platter has plenty of options to sample. The tray was weighed down with beef brisket, smoked turkey, pulled pork and chicken, ribs and rib tips, and smoked sausage. Kansas City barbecue is usually made with a dry rub and a sweet tomato based sauce. St. Louis style barbecue has some similarities but they often use a vinegar base. This results in a thinner sauce that features a tangier sweet-and-sour type of flavor. Being BBQ lovers, we readily accept all flavors but prefer our meats not to be heavily sauced.
The Whole Shebang
With so much food to devour, we knew that we would be satisfied no matter what approach we used. By working through the sides primarily, we found ourselves running out of room before we could finish the meats. Of course, we still had to give it our best shot. Those around us were probably wondering why we would order so much food. After giving it our best effort, we finally threw in the towel and asked for a to-go box. Wrapping up our time in St. Charles, we looked forward to another meal of Hendricks BBQ when we got home. That’s the magic of barbecue. Even when you are stuffed, you are looking forward to your next meal.
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