McClard's, Hot Springs Holy Grail of BBQ
This article is approved by Seth, Krunkinator in training.
I was born, raised, and reared in Hot Springs, AR. I still recall my parents taking me to McClard's whereby we would sojourn into the kitchen so my dad could visit with Joe McClard as he would comp me a rib. And being raised Baptist, I remember this as almost a religious experience if you will, for me, this is the Holy Grail of BBQ.
McClard's was orginal one of those original tourist courts that sprang up in the early 30's. Legend has it, a tenent couldn't pay his tab, ergo offered his "secret sauce" recipe in exchange. Much like the foretold meeting at the cross roads whereby souls were exchanged for learning the blue's, this exchange was damn good. The sauce has the heat of the devil tempered by a tomatoe puree base that is quite unique, and unlike anything I've encountered. (Shig moment, I still use this as a base sauce for some of my compitition sauces). And, it should be added, a mysterious sauce recipe is almost always a pre-requisite for a decent bbq joint (along with aforementioned slaw on a sammich, and walking through the kitchen to get to the restroom). I remember waiting outside the door just to get in to eat at times...good stuff!
My spouse, Ann, outside one of the doors I remember waiting to get in.
McClards has served presidents, rock stars, celebrities, you name it. They have been published in articles and featured in tv shows. In fact, yours truly got to tape an episode of BBQ Crawl along with Andy Allen, which is set to air this July on the Travel Channel.
Seth, standing next to the wall of presidents and governers.
But the real star in this show is the food. The tamale spread is an absolute gut bomb. The perfect "get sober" food you would crave whilst in college. Their beef is always fork tender and awesome. But for me, it has always been about the sliced pork sammich. Topped with slaw, mayo, and bbq sauce. But the hidden gems are their fries, which are the best I've ever had (and I've had those fancy frites in Belgum). They make a mean chocolate shake as well.
You have to admit, we would all have been much better if Jesus had this for his last supper as opposed to wine and bread!
I really owe much of my passion and inspiration for my bbq endeavors to this unique bbq joint in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Try it sometime, and you will see why!