Food + Wine

America's Best Barbecue

by Jane and Michael Stern

HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS

Hot Springs attracts vacationers for its mineral waters and let's-have-a-beer-in-the-tub spirit. It's also host to one of the South's premier barbecue parlors, McClard's. The dish to get: a rib-and-fry plate. Don't worry when it arrives and all you see are french fries. Just below these ravishing dark-gold potato logs you'll discover a mountainous rack of meat-laden spareribs sauced with a dark red potion that the joint has been using since 1928, when McClard's was a trailer park and they secured the recipe from a customer in lieu of rent. (How Southern can you get?) The process of picking up a few fries every time you heft a rib is a skill regulars have perfected. Electrified with a rainbow of different peppers, and just sweet enough to make its heat all the more pleasurable, the sauce will gradually set your tongue on fire, making iced tea refills (or multiple beers) a happy necessity.

McClard's
Tel: 501 623 9665

NEXT: The glory of barbecue bologna >

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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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