Food + Wine

American Food

by JANE AND MICHAEL STERN

ARKANSAS: Barbecue ribs
If we had to select the best ribs in America (what an awesome task!), we'd think about Dreamland's smoky bones in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the racks of velvet succulence at Van's Pig Stand in Shawnee, Oklahoma. But our holy grail is McClard's in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The town was named for its salubrious waters and is still a mecca for travelers in search of a cure on Bathhouse Row. Around here, pork is king, and the pulled pork is ineffably tender and moist. But the signature dish is a rib and fry plate: Customers get a meat-heavy slab with a sticky glaze of peppery red sauce (according to lore, the recipe came from a customer in lieu of payment back in 1928). The ribs are presented with a pile of gorgeous honey-tone French fries to create what may be the best plate of barbecue anywhere.

McClard's bar-b-q
505 Albert Pike
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Tel: 501 623 9665

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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