Mmmmm! Pork Steaks!

November 10, 2008

porksteak-300x19911Apologies to my vegetarian & vegan friends: I have not yet evolved to where I don’t Jones for a good barbeque every few weeks. Anyone who has been to a barbeque in St. Louis knows there’s a cut of meat here that is practically unknown anywhere else: the pork steak.


There’s a lot of good ‘que in St. Louis, but most people would probably agree that Phil’s Barbeque in Affton (St. Louis County) has the real St. Louis style. Phil’s is a St. Louis landmark. Don’t dress up, because it’s not fancy (which is a tremendous understatement), and eating St. Louis style barbeque is not a tidy endeavor. That’s because the key to St. Louis style is the slathered-on sauce. We don’t smoke the meat and then dip it into sauce at the table–we slather on the sauce right on the grill. That way you get kind of a sauce reduction from the heat working on it, and we all know the result of any reduction in a recipe is more intense flavor.

Maull’s would be the #1 St. Louis style sauce (the old commercials used to say, “Don’t baste your barbeque: Maull it!”) Maull’s is a tomato based sauce on the slightly sweet side (not as sweet as they like it in Kansas City, our barbeque rival across the state). It has a little tang to it from the vinegar in the recipe; it’s a nice balanced sauce that way, and then it has a nice amount of hot spice to it, as well. Heck, we’re just up the Mississippi from New Orleans by way of Memphis–we’re all river towns, and we take our barbeque seriously. You can’t be upriver from NOLA and not have some spice in your sauce.

After you finish up at Phil’s, you can head down the road to Federhofer’s Bakery, another Affton institution, for some gooey butter cake (another St. Louis tradition.) Somehow lately I have seen this being called (chef) Paula Deen’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, but I’m going to have to take issue with her on this. Gooey Butter Cake is a St. Louis thing, and while we will share, she can’t just slap her name on it and claim it as her own invention. 

If you actually need or want to know more about St. Louis style barbeque, here is a link to the Wikipedia page on it. Many thanks to the person who put that out there.

If you want to know more about the St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake tradition and see a photo of one, here is a link to something on that.


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