A couple of weeks ago Hubby and I tried out a new place for dinner in town, Hendrick’s BBQ. We both really like barbecue, although Hubby a bit more, so we were looking forward to trying out someplace new. This was not a sponsored meal or post – we just ended up there on our own and I wanted to share my thoughts.
Overall we give Hendrick’s BBQ an 8 out 10 rating.
That is a pretty decent score.
The location has good and bad points. It is on Main Street in St. Charles which is the tourist area, but it is kind of the opposite side of the main area down there. For parking you have to follow the little signs and go back behind the building and use the parking lot by the river and then walk across the old train track and up the hill a bit to get inside. You can use the steps but there is also an elevator. There is a large patio area out back also, but since we went in the middle of winter that obviously is not open. It will be a great spot when the weather is nicer I am sure.
The ambiance in the place is great. Casual but a little hip too. Several seating areas also, which I like as it breaks up the monotony of a giant room full of tables and chairs. Speaking of chairs, the backs were all like old shutters. Downstairs they have a bar area with live music. Hubby was pleased to see all the cool guitars hanging on the walls and I loved all the flying pigs around the dining room. The restaurant was also very clean – Hubby said the men’s bathroom was clean also.
Hendrick’s has an extensive selection of drinks. I loved that they even had three different house cocktails on tap. An Old Fashioned ($7), Smoked Sangria ($6), and the one I opted for, A Drink Named Sue (how do you do! $8). My cocktail (on the left) was screaming ginger with a touch of sweetness and a bit tart. One of my favorite drinks I have had in a long time. Plus it was happy hour so $2 off house cocktails! Hubby had a beer and he was quite happy to have it served in a mason jar. They have about 15 beers on tap plus a selection of bottles and cans. If you are more of a whiskey or bourbon drinker they have a ton of different kinds in stock including several moonshines. If that isn’t enough they even have boozy shakes!
Hubby and I wanted to try a bit of everything so we ordered “The Whole Shebang” ($36) which included all of their meats and four regular side “fixins”. This was more than enough (we had leftovers) for the two of us – but remember that I eat much smaller amounts than a lot of average adults these days also. On the left is the smoked sausage which was one of the best sausage either of us have had. Just a fantastic blend of smokey and savory with garlic and the tiniest tough of sweetness. Then the ribs – St. Louis style which are dry rubbed. These also were delicious and had just the right amount of smoke and they were tender enough that the meat easily came off the bone when you bit into it, but not too overdone where the meat just falls off. I normally do not like dry-rubbed ribs but I did enjoy these. They were still moist but did not taste overly fatty like a lot of ribs can. At the top is the smoked turkey which was just a teeny bit dry, but still very edible, just not as “moist & juicy” as the menu proclaimed it would be. A nice flavor to it, but nothing overly special. On the top right is the smoked brisket which was a bit too dry for a brisket but the flavor it had with the cracked black pepper was extraordinary! Then on the bottom right is the smoked pulled pork. This was the star! A great balance of smoke, really tender, not overly fatty, and the pork itself really shined without a ton of extra flavors overpowering it.
All of the meats are served without sauce. The sauce is in bottles at the table. A mix of different types but we were not blown away by any one particular variety. Both Hubby and I were surprised at how thin all the sauces were – here in St. Louis most folks like really thick barbecue sauce. I mixed a sweet and a hot variety of sauces to dunk my meat in. I think they could use some improvement in this area.\
Our platter included four of the “regular fixins” (ok I could live without them calling them fixins). This was a choice of sweet potato casserole, creamed spinach, cole slaw, potato salad, bbq baked beans, sweet potato fries, french fries, bacon braised greens, cheddar grits, or corn casserole. You could upgrade to “premium fixins” for $1 more each which included macaroni & cheese, green beans, fried potatoes, salt baked potato or mashed potatoes and gravy.
The two smaller dishes in the photo are the regular sides of baked beans and bacon braised greens. Both were very tasty but the portion was TINY, especially for such a large platter of meat that is being shared. Hubby and I both thought those sides should be twice the size they were. We upgraded two of our sides which are the ones you see in the small cast iron skillets. These are the size we think the regulars should be and honestly I do not really see the need to charge $1 more each for these based on ingredients. Just make them all options for the same fee and all in the larger containers. Anyway on the left is the macaroni and cheese which had a nice cheesy flavor and a good texture, but the noodles they used were like rigatoni instead of macaroni – that needs fixed. No complaints on the green beans (on the right), they were tasty with smoked bacon and onions in them.
No bread is included with the meal which is odd, especially for a BBQ joint I think. You can order bread but it costs extra. They also have soup and salad available. Appetizers include deviled eggs, hush puppies, BBQ nachos, shrimp & grits, fried green tomatoes, pork cracklins, onion rings, pulled pork turnovers and fresh cut chips. We did not try any of these – maybe on our next visit. Hubby loves a good deviled egg especially.
When we finished eating our server asked us the obligatory “did you save room for dessert” question. Hubby had said he was stuffed and I knew I was so I said no thank you but I asked her to tell us what they offered for dessert anyway because I knew I was going to blog about this. Well, I can’t remember what all she rattled off but one of the things was banana pudding with vanilla wafers. Apparently Hubby always has a reserve section of his stomach for just such a dessert and said he wanted that. Once again it came in a mason jar which made him a little giddy. I hate bananas so I cannot tell you how it tasted but Hubby said it was wonderful and it had lots of fresh banana in it and he ate every single bit of it! I think he would have licked the inside of the jar if he could have fit his face in there!
As I said earlier, we give it an eight and plan on returning. Next time we will probably ask friends to join us also – it has a fun atmosphere to hang out with folks and we always love sharing the different foods with the whole table. We arrived a bit earlier and got in easily, but they filled up quickly while we were eating dinner. You can make reservations with them on their site via OpenTable.
For those in the St. Louis area – have you been to Hendrick’s BBQ? What did you think? If you are not in my neck of the woods – what food looked the best in this post to you?[signoff]
© 2014, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.