Monday, May 30, 2011

Craig's Bar-B-Q

ARKANSAS: Craig's Bar-B-Q
15 W Walnut
De Valls
Bluff, AR 72041


Open Daily 9-5

Some of the best BBQ joints are know and even revered for having less than ideally maintained facilities. A little dirt here and there is probably more easily accepted in a BBQ joint than any other food establishment, but this joint takes it to another level. A puddle of water had settled in the middle of the dining room floor where concrete was exposed beneath several layers of well worn linoleum. I pondered the duck hunting themed paneling that was more than a few years old (it's been open since 1947) while I waited for my order of ribs and a pork sandwich.

I didn't have the stomach for the hot sauce this day, so I wussed out and got mild. A sandwich of sliced pork would have been a bit dry if not for the addition of the runny but crisp mayo-based slaw and the thick grainy sauce. The sauce was in no way sweet, but had aromatic flavors from cinnamon, allspice and possibly cloves (although this site claims it's more simple). While unique, it wasn't a sauce that I particularly enjoyed, mainly for its texture, but there are many who love it.

Although there were fewer ingredients to compensate for the sauce, the ribs were more enjoyable. Certainly not butchered to be lookers, these ribs were well cooked, had a good smoky flavor and were plenty tender. What I needed after this meal was a good sweet dessert, so I am now kicking myself after learning that one of the best pies can be found just across the street from this joint. I didn't have a chance to sample Mary Thomas' pies this time, but I'll be sure to stop if I''m that way again.

Rating ***
Craig Brothers Cafe on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Nice post! Craig's strong bar-b-q reputation was never based on it's interior ambiance. I always get the pork sandwich. Never had the ribs - good to hear they meet your approval. I will try this summer when I get back down.

Pork Belly said...

Too bad you cant follow the link (although this site claims it's more simple)I would like to replicate that sauce. While it was unique it complemented the sandwich.

Cedric said...

I always grab a few bottles of the sauce when I'm down there. Grew up a few miles away, ,in Brinkley, live in Chicago now. On last bottle now, time for another trip home!

Unknown said...

My favorite BBQ in Arkansas. The sauce is heavy on the celery seed, which I find distinctive and marries well with the slaw. I love how this place draws people from every corner and county. Everything you've ever heard about Mary Thomas's voodoo pie abilities is exactly true, btw. If she were in NYC, she'd be rich and famous, yet there she is in DeValls Bluff humbly turning out profound pie day in and day out at age 87, even as her doctor has told her to put down the pin and take a rest. There will be no one else like her once the day comes that she passes away. I'd hope you get the chance to revisit before its too late.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.