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Taste test: How 5 new barbecue joints stack up

January 25, 2013 12:00 am  •  By Evan S. Benn ebenn@post-dispatch.com

HENDRICKS BBQ WAS OUR FAVORITE!

Beer, baseball and barbecue are three things St. Louis does well — very well, if we do say so ourselves.

And just as new breweries pop up and the Cardinals bring in fresh talent, the area’s barbecue landscape is constantly evolving.

When colleague Joe Holleman and I went hunting for the best BBQ ribs in 2009, we hit some tried-and-true classics: 17th Street, Smoki O’s, Pappy’s.

In 2011, a Pappy’s spinoff called Bogart’s opened in Soulard, drawing a raving three-star P-D review (the highest rating, as far as our records indicate, that the paper has awarded a BBQ joint).

And new barbecue shops keep on rolling. In St. Louis, it seems, if you smoke it, they will come.

Here’s a look at five local barbecue places that opened in the past year and how their smoking stacks up.

BBQ ASAP

Where 15581 Manchester Road, Ballwin • Hours Lunch and dinner daily • More info 636-256-1908; bbqasap.com

Ribs A pink hue surrounds these fall-off-the-bone baby-backs, which may have seen a bit too much time in the smoker. I prefer my ribs to show some resistance.

Meat Pulled pork was pretty dry and not very smoky, but the good-size chunks were well seasoned and properly porky. ASAP’s barely spicy “hot” sauce kept things interesting.

Sides A five-bean “casserole” in a sweet, dark sauce with pork is a welcome change from usual baked beans. Warm applesauce is pretty thin, not as chunky as advertised, but as sugary as pie filling.

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