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Sunday, July 29, 2018
City Butcher and Barbecue (Springfield, MO)
I swung down through Springfield, Missouri on my return trip to Little Rock. City Butcher and Barbecue was just about the only joint open on a Sunday, so that made the choice pretty easy.
Rain or no rain, I really needed to get out and stretch my legs for a bit. City Butcher did an awesome job of carrying the butcher block theme throughout, which should make anyone hungry if they weren't already. If you were looking for frills, you won't find too many here. Butcher paper and tape are all you get as far as "to go containers." Good thing I packed plenty of tupperware for the trip.
They do all of their stuff meat market style, selling barbecue by weight in any increment you desire. I asked for a small sampling of brisket, pork belly, burnt ends, pulled pork, and ribs, plus a half-link of their Austin Andouille sausage. Considering the size of my order, these guys generously tossed in a sample of their smoked turkey as well. Fantastic! Sides seemed pretty unnecessary at that point, so I figured I'd just focus on my pound-and-a-half or so of meat.
The dark, gorgeous brisket crust was covered in more coarse black pepper than I thought possible. It gave the beef a great flavor, as you might expect. Each bite of the brisket was oh so tender, and I thoroughly enjoyed the well-rendered layer of fat. The smoke ring was small though still visible, and despite its size there was a potent smoke level. I'll take that trade off any day of the week.
Big slices of pork belly were deceiving at first and looked more like pork loin. They might as well have been slices of smoky peppered butter considering how fast they melted in my mouth. The pork belly was decadent and rich, to say the least. Of all of my meat samples, this was the only one that was too phenomenal to save for leftovers. I doubt my microwave would have done it justice anyway.
Their coarse ground sausages are clearly made in house. It had the slight spiciness that you'd expect from andouille, while the smokiness exceeded all expectations. Snappy casings did a great job of holding onto the juicy meat inside. Overall, very tasty.
My burnt ends came out as big hunks of peppered beef. Unlike the brisket, these had a deep rosy smoke ring. And despite their thickness, each bite was very tender and moist. I don't eat burnt ends all that often, but when I do I want it to be a real treat, and these did not disappoint.
As I had come to anticipate at this point, the complimentary turkey was coated in beaucoups of black pepper. It was also moist and very juicy. I wasn't expecting that from poultry, in all honesty. As it turns out, they turkey ended up being one of the most tender meats on my plate, and it had a nice smoky flavor to boot.
The pulled pork had plenty of bark to go around, and plenty of smoke, too. I enjoyed the natural pork flavors, but the seasoning made things extra savory. The meat was also very tender, which always helps. I could have happily eaten a pound of this stuff.
Last but not least came the ribs. The crust was pretty much jet black, with a prominent smoke ring beneath. While copious amounts of pepper tied them to the rest of my plate nicely, a sweet glaze really set these ribs apart. The meat was cooked perfectly and came away cleanly from the bone with each bite. My only regret was that there were only two of them.
Calling City Butcher and Barbecue good would be a vast understatement. Every single thing on my plate was absolutely spectacular, even if I had to pick copious amounts of black pepper from my teeth on the way out the door.
City Butcher and Barbecue
3650 S Campbell Ave
Springfield, MO 65807