Monday, September 1, 2014

Company B Bar-B-Que

4583 Hunter Lane
House Springs, Mo.

Earlier in the week we'd discussed grilling some food for the three day weekend. This put Angel in the mind of barbecue, slow smoked meat. I don't do that, I'm a burgers and chicken thigh guy on the grill.
So we lamented again the loss a couple of years back of our nearest favorite barbecue place, Bandanna's. It burned down, not slowly.
There are other barbecue places, some pretty good ones, then Angel recalled one that we'd intended to go to a few times, but never made it.
Thus, Company B.
One of the reasons we never made it is because it sits right beside one of our favorite Mexican Places, Cinco De Mayo. (translated, ' a Fifth of Mayo') So we decided to head over to Highway 30 and since we'd had Mexican two or three times this month already, not fearing we'd detour yet again.
The Place:
It's kind of small. This is a sure sign of a good barbecue joint though.
The place is definitely locally owned and they don't waste a lot of money on interior decorators or contractors. Not that it wasn't nice enough, just a little kitschy. Corrugated sheet metal covered the walls, rough wooden shelves decorated with wash basins, wash boards, rough wooden objects. Mismatched paper towel racks hung above each table. On one of those racks was a twelve inch nutcracker. . . which didn't make any sense at all until Angel pointed out the nut cracker was wearing a bib apron and holding grilling tools. I don't have one of those.
The tables were covered with vinyl checkered (easy to clean) cloths accompanied by simple wooden chairs.
There was a erasable marker board with a note to patrons to take a seat. We did, but only after two or three ladies greeted us warmly.
There were menus at the table, we passed them around. It looked good, it all looked good. Once again we decided to try to get a variety. We're cooperative.
The Food:
Angel had mentioned the macaroni and cheese, which gets some buzz on the internet, even though Company B  doesn't itself have very much of an internet or social media presence. I like mac and cheese. Not the crappy boxed powdered cheese stuff, no, it has to be thick, really thick and creamy. Angel and I recalled some of our favorites, chief among them the stuff they made many, many years ago in the cafeteria at the  Litton plant in Springfield, Mo. that her and I both worked at. We also agreed that KFC makes a pretty good batch.
As for meats though, she pointed out to me the 'loaded potato', which is exactly what it sounds like. The meats listed were pork, chicken, turkey, beef brisket and ribs. I knew Angel would grab the ribs, she did. I decided that a baked potato with smoked turkey would hit the spot. Adam decided on a 2-platter of chicken and pork.
When Brian,(not her actual name) the lady that waited on us stopped by for our order, she dropped a confounding bomb. "Macaroni and cheese is seasonal."  Not available till October. I still can't quite wrap my head around what would make M&C seasonal, but, whatever. Oh, and no brisket either. They'd run out.
This was okay, we understood that. Wanting meat that is slow cooked in bulk for six or more hours means that a small place like this might just run out of a thing or two as a day goes by. It's not like they can just throw another quarter-cow into the microwave.
So we worked around the unavailable options.
It didn't take long. Since everything is already cooked, serving time is fast. My big potato was covered in cheese and green onion, I had to dig a little to find the turkey, but it was there. The potato itself was perfectly cooked, the butter, sour cream, smokey turkey blended together to deliver a smooth taste profile. I didn't eat all of the potato, spuds are so filling that I concentrated on the meat and cheese.


Angel's Rib platter was a feast for a queen. Thick, meaty ribs, a big ball of potato salad and a fistful of slaw, along with some nicely grilled thick, buttery toast. She tore away at the meat. It wasn't quite sliding off the bone, but she seemed to be enjoying it nonetheless. She shared some meat, pretty good, not as greasy as I tend to find ribs at most places. That's my problem with ribs, they seem greasy to me. The slaw was sweet, good, the potato salad was also sweet. Maybe too sweet together. I declined her offer of a slab of toast, because, potato. Adam took it though.
Adam's two meats were as good as one can expect. Slow cooked chicken and pork doused in one of the three sauces on the table, sweet and smoky. The tin bucket of chips was delightful. I  tried one, quickly decided that I could not eat just one, so I grabbed a few more. They were house-made and dark. Like those delicious 'overcooked' chips you find in a bag once in a while if you are lucky. I loved them, he did too. They disappeared.
His beans were of the vinegar style, none of us are fans of that style. We understand that many people like that, just not us.


Summary:
The food was fantastic. Fresh, same day fare. The people at the smoking equipment know what they are doing. All the meat was exceptional, simple, perfectly cooked. Of the sides, the chips were the clear winner, though none were bad. The price was very reasonable at just above forty bucks, more than a Mexican or Asian place, but . . . slow cooked meat. . .
We were disappointed that the mac and cheese was not available. Earlier in the week I'd answered a Food Network Facebook query "What's your favorite pasta dish?" I responded just as you  think I did. 'Mac and Cheese'.  I doubt that this was what Food Network was going for.
Brian delivered the check and earned her name. At the top of it was the name 'Brian'. in the spot where the
server's name usually goes.
I asked her about it at the counter. "What? Oh, no, Brian's the owner."
About the drinks, unsweetened tea with no sugar for me, sweet tea for the lovely bride, and Pepsi for the boy. Nothing remarkable, at least it wasn't nasty.
We highly recommend the place, even without the mac and cheese. We'll probably go back 'in season' though.
BTW When I grilled chicken this weekend, we made a run to KFC for a tub of mac and cheese. We haven't figured out how to make it right ourselves.











Company B BBQ on Urbanspoon