Moonlite BBQ Inn – Owensboro, KY

Restaurant Name: Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, Inc.
Address: 2840 West Parish Avenue, Owensboro, KY 42301
FACEBOOK / WEBSITE  / TWITTER


Our first stop for dinner for the 2019 Bang Bang BBQ Tour took us to a restaurant that I saw in an episode of BBQ Pitmasters called Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn. 

Moonlite is located on the west side of Owensboro, KY in beautiful rustic red brick building. The restaurant is a majority of the building but there is also a general store type of place on the side that sells sauces, rubs, shirts, and a few other southern themed trinkets. The restaurant side has a “fancy” restaurant in the wild outdoors woods type of theme with some nice dim lights, a wood burning fireplace (thankfully not on because it’s summer time), and an atmosphere that is true southern hospitality.

The most unique thing about Moonlite is that it has a true legit all you can eat BBQ buffet!?!?!?!?!?! That’s right…a buffet…of BBQ smoked meats! The BBQ smoked meats on the buffet featured the staples: chicken, pork, brisket, and spare ribs. The buffet also featured a Kentucky BBQ staple: mutton! If you don’t know what mutton is look it up. It’s very unique and quite tasty too.

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This plate is a bit messy but it is a plate of literally every smoked meat on the buffet. There’s a chicken leg on the top, a spare rib right next to it, some pork chunks between the rib & the chicken leg and the fried cornbread muffin, beef brisket slices on the lower left and the chopped mutton on the right. This plate was awesome. I can’t quite tell if I was still giddy from the fact that I could go back and get more of this food or from the sheer size of this meat plate.

Some quick thoughts on this plate: The mutton was delicious! It was interestingly enough more “beefy” in flavor than I expected but it was good to not have a gamey flavored lamb meat. The chicken leg was sweet & tender. The pork chunks with sauce were moist & delicious, but if it didn’t have sauce it was a little dry. The spare rib was fall apart so overdone but the sauce saved it and I’m pretty sure I was still giddy at the fact that I was eating at a BBQ buffet. The brisket was ON POINT! The slices were perfect tenderness. A good pull test qualifier each time with a visible smoke ring showed that it was truly cooked low and slow.

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My second plate at the BBQ buffet did feature some sides. I went back for more BBQ pork chunks and chicken as they were tasty, but added a side of baked beans and mac and cheese. The beans were average…they had a little bit of smoke flavor but nothing really took it over the top for me. The mac and cheese had a really nice burnt crust on it and it was super creamy! 

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My third plate at the buffet (who’s counting?!?!?!) I only got more brisket but tried sides of green beans, ham & beans, and the creamed corn. Of these side dishes the creamed corn stood out the most as it was creamy but it was also using like baby kernels of corn which added a little twist to the texture of each bite. I do want to note that the cornbread muffins were LEGIT! I couldn’t get this confirmed but I’m almost 100% certain they bake them to about 90% doneness and then drop them into the deep fryer until done as the outer crust was CRUNCHY! 

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After three plates of smoked meats, sides, and cornbread muffins…I found room for dessert! I didn’t finish them though even though there were really tasty. The picture above features a peanut butter pie in the middle, chocolate covered pecan pie on the right, and a blackberry cobbler with ice cream on the left. All three were good caps to a delicious meal. My favorite was the peanut butter pie. It was light, creamy, and peanut buttery delicious and a great call on the Oreo crust! The cobbler and the chocolate covered pecan pie were also good, but I just couldn’t stuff it all in so had to tap out.

The service at Moonlite BBQ is great! I don’t think my sweet tea ever got less than 1/3 of my glass. Our server Bryan was on his game this evening. He had a very delicate balance of present but not like breathing down our necks. He was always offering to get us more of this or can I get this out of the way so kudos to the staff on training your employees to take care of their tables!

SUMMARY

Buffets are some of my favorite places to go and most buffets these days rely on quantity of food vs. quality of food. Going into my first BBQ buffet I had mixed hopes honestly…I was thinking I’d have a large quantity of some of my favorite smoked meats that were prolly leftovers from the night before just reheated in a pit, and placed on a warmer but I was genuinely surprised to see all the meats are freshly smoked and Moonlite provides a really excellent product when it comes to BBQ to feed the masses for a buffet.

Feast BBQ – Louisville, KY

Restaurant Name: Feast BBQ
Address: 909 E. Market Street, Suite 100, Louisville, KY 40206
FACEBOOK / WEBSITE / INSTAGRAM / TWITTER


The 2019 Bang Bang BBQ Tour is here! Me and my friends Adam and Jacob are on the prowl again for some of the best BBQ around. Last year we did a “Best of St. Louis” trip and after much debate we decided to do a Best of Kentucky & Tennessee trip this year. 

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Feast BBQ is located just east of downtown Louisville in the East Market district. It’s in a really cool looking storefront with an open air, exposed ceiling, backyard patio night-time type of vibe. The black painted exposed structure and rope light bulbs provide a nice homey type atmosphere when you walk in. They have a very cool looking bar area with a wide variety of craft beers from all over the area along with BOURBON milk shakes! We didn’t partake in any of the shakes because we had a round of sporting clays to do at Indian Creek Shooting Center shortly after lunch and as responsible gun owners we don’t mix firearms and alcohol.

When it comes to the food I ordered the pulled pork sandwich with a side of collard greens and a brisket taco on the side. Jacob ordered the pulled pork sandwich as well but had the baked beans as his side and some fried mac n cheese balls as well. Adam went with a half rack of ribs, mac n cheese, and baked beans.

My food review is going to be focusing on my specific meal. Let me start with the appearance of the food when it comes out. I liked the metal tray with butcher paper, it’s a nice step up from the plastic tray that a lot of BBQ places are notorious for. I liked the “open face” on the sandwich which highlighted some of the smoke on the pulled pork. The red onion slices had a nice color pop along with the cole slaw and green onion on top of the brisket taco.

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The pulled pork sandwich was good. It had a nice amount of smokey flavors in it and mixed with any of their three sauces was a really nice bite every time. The bark pieces were totally delightful. The pulled pork itself was moist, tender, and smokey. I wish the bun would’ve had a little bit of char on it to get some firmness as the sandwich got a little soggy at the end. 

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The brisket taco was SPOT ON ON FIRE! When I return to Feast BBQ in the future, a trio of brisket tacos are definitely coming to my taste buds. This was my favorite part of the meal. The tacos just scream “I want to eat more of these ASAP!” and I really did want to order more after finishing this first one. I did the American style taco which had cole slaw, green onion, and BBQ sauce on top of the chopped brisket and every bite was awesome. Very balanced flavors and textures. I would’ve liked to have seen sliced brisket but I do understand tacos tend to go better with chopped brisket and I typically prefer flour tortillas over corn tortillas but they doubled up the shell so it held up well.

 

I will admit that I wasn’t a big fan at all of the collard greens. They smelled really good too but sadly didn’t deliver to my flavor pallet. The greens themselves were cooked to a good doneness, but they were really salty. There was a good amount of pulled pork in the greens too which probably added to the saltiness but overall I wasn’t impressed with the greens. I would recommend the beans or the mac n cheese.

SUMMARY

Feast BBQ was a really good experience. Classic yet trendy atmosphere with legit smoked meats and scratch made sides. They had the big hole to fill of being the first stop on the 2019 Bang Bang BBQ Tour. They set the bar for the next few days worth of BBQ. We’ll see how they stack up!

Bombers BBQ – Munster, IN

Restaurant Name: Bombers BBQ
Address: 435 Ridge Road, Suite F, Munster, IN 46321
FACEBOOK / WEBSITE 



In 2017, I did my annual BBQ Tour Trip and focused on just the state of Indiana. Visited six of the highest rated places outside of Indianapolis (my hometown) and the winner was Bombers BBQ in northwest Indiana in Munster. I didn’t have the food blog back then so I didn’t write about the winner, but I recently revisited this place coming back from the Chicago Auto Show with some college students from MyChurch Indy. 

Bombers BBQ recently moved. I will admit that when I pulled up to their original location and saw a bunch of white paper signs posted on the glass I thought the worst had happened and the health department shut them down. I was very relieved when I walked up to the signs to see them simply say they’ve moved just down the street. Inside the restaurant it’s got a great open concept and cafeteria style tables so you can sit with new people and enjoy BBQ together! The exposed ceiling with pendant lighting is on point and really provides a warm feel to the place. The wall decorations showcase the Air Force and has a few jackets from past wars and some neat articles. The dining area has views into the kitchen where they assemble all the food so that’s cool.

Top Left: Baby Back Ribs & Fries
Top Right Top: Alligator Eggs = Deep Fried Oreos
Top Right Bottom: Beef Brisket, Coleslaw, & Mac & Cheese
Bottom: Brisket Burnt Ends, Mac & Cheese, & Fries

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Brisket Burnt End Sandwich with smoked beans

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Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

The three students I took with me on this trip each ordered a good array of BBQ. One student ordered a full rack of baby back ribs. They were super tender (too tender for competition) and flavorful with a good amount of smoke. The beef brisket just melted in your mouth. It was super tender as well (too tender for competition again using the tug method) and had a very solid smoke ring. The burnt ends were delicious. I’m used to them being sweeter so they needed a little bit of sauce but if you’re a fan of just straight salt & pepper flavor on your beef then Bombers burnt ends are on point. The sides were good. Mac & Cheese was the guys favorite and it was good. Creamy and I liked the fact that they used shells vs. macaroni…always a nice unique twist to the dish.

I ordered the brisket burnt end sandwich with beans and the bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers. Let me start this review talking about the appearance and the plating of the food. The food comes out on metal tray on plastic paper so that’s a good middle of the road plating. The bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers looked AWESOME! I could tell that the bacon was crispy which is an absolute must for me. 

Having been at this place before, I set the bar pretty high and Bombers BBQ met it and in the grand scheme of the overall BBQ experience exceeded it. Sticking to just the review of the food I had, the burnt end sandwich was EXCELLENTLY done. The burnt ends as I mentioned earlier are simple (salt & pepper & smoke) and really allows the beef to do the talking. The burnt end chunks are a little larger than I typically see on a sandwich which caused a few pieces to fall off the sandwich. No biggie, as I got to eat those individually later.

The sandwich is served on a pretzel bun which is GENIUS! Past burnt end or brisket sandwiches I see a standard bun and if it’s not at least toasted some always makes the last few bites of the sandwich soggy. The pretzel bun, even though it wasn’t toasted any or at least didn’t appear to have been toasted any, held up very well to the moist brisket burnt ends.

The beans were good and had some of the pulled pork in it so it provided a good smokey flavor. The beans used were a little larger than I typically see for BBQ beans or baked beans which was a nice twist and they even provided a better texture as the beans were a little “meatier” so to say. The bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers weren’t nearly as spicy as I thought they’d be. Perhaps too much cheese? Regardless, it still tasted phenomenal and the bacon on the outside was SUPER CRISPY which is always a plus.

The only negative I’d have to say about the food is just the appearance and plating of the sandwich. The plate had too much “dead space” and made the sandwich look a little small. I think some red onion and pickle slices would’ve been a nice touch to the plate that could simply be used as garnish or could be used on the sandwich. It’d also provide some color that pops out to the eye.

SUMMARY

Bombers BBQ in Munster, IN won the BBQ Tour in 2017 for a reason and it didn’t disappoint again. It’s a great overall BBQ experience that everyone should try if they’re passing through Chicago area. The place is a few miles off of the interstate so it’d be a good detour well worth it.

Peg Leg Porker BBQ – Nashville, TN

Restaurant Name: Peg Leg Porker BBQ
Address: 903 Gleaves Street, Nashville, TN 37203
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / INSTAGRAMWEBSITE 



The end of 2018 ended pretty high for me. God did some AMAZING things in many areas of my life and I got to spend a few days out of town in Nashville, TN for the Music City Bowl where my beloved Purdue Boilermakers would play (if that’s what you called it) against the Auburn Tigers. Since the game really is of nothing to discuss, I’ll focus this post on the night before the games dinner that me and my two friends, ironically both named Matt, had at the Peg Leg Porker BBQ.

Peg Leg Porker BBQ is tucked just south and west of the infamous Broadway of downtown Nashville and Peg Leg Porker BBQ is worth the walk over. The building is old-school as they call it and it fits the bill but does have some modern touches. Upper level dining area for reservations, main level dining area for first come first serve seating along with an outdoor patio that’s covered. Not a lot of flash or flare on the main level dining area but the open concept and view into the kitchen is nice. The wall decorations are of country music stars and their visits to the restaurant.

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BBQ Nachos – tortilla chips, pulled pork, nacho cheese, jalapeños

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1/2 Rack of Ribs with french fries & smoked beans

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Half chicken with green beans and mac ‘n cheese

The two Matt’s and I shared an order of the BBQ nachos. I ordered a half rack of ribs with fries and beans, one Matt ordered a half rack of ribs with fries & coleslaw (not pictured), and the other Matt ordered the half chicken with green beans & mac ‘n cheese.

Let me start this review talking about the appearance and the plating of the food. The food comes out on plastic baskets, which if y’all followed my posts from my 2018 Bang Bang BBQ Tour in St. Louis, MO you know this is a turn-off, but I understand the convenience of it all. The next thing about appearance and plating is the fact that the BBQ is not sauced or dry rubbed only. I did like the look of the ribs and the chicken from an outward appearance as it is always good to be able to see some rub on the meats. The jalapeños on the nachos add some contrasting colors.

I will admit that I was a little bit nervous when the meat came out just dry rubbed and not sauced. Most places don’t do this because it is difficult to keep the meat moist during the cooking process but Peg Leg Porker BBQ did a fabulous job. The ribs and the chicken were full of flavor but also moist and not dry at all! The ribs and chicken were a bit past the tenderness that I like as I was able to tear the meat off straight from the ribs or chicken and I like a little tug in my smoked meats. The side dishes were good. Fries are crispy but a little too salt. The Mac ‘n Cheese is very creamy, but the portion that I got was small in my opinion even for a side dish. I love the choice to use shells for their noodles as it’s a nice twist to macaroni. The green beans were a little bland.

The BBQ Nachos were excellent! The main thing I liked about them…ACTUAL NACHO CHEESE! Most places that do BBQ nachos just put some shredded cheese on top and pop it in the oven to melt the cheese, but Peg Leg Porker uses free flowing nacho cheese and get’s a big thumbs up for that. 

The only negative I’d have to say about the food is the beans. Both the BBQ beans and the green beans seemed bland. Perhaps it was a bad batch or the bottom of a batch, but there just wasn’t must that really stood out about those side dishes. I think some pulled pork in both the BBQ beans the green beans would add a nice smokey depth of flavor complimentary to the smoked meats.

SUMMARY

In closing, Peg Leg Porker BBQ is an absolute MUST VISIT if you’re passing through the Music City of Nashville, TN. They’re smoking meats the right way and if you’re looking for a flavor adventure of dry rubbed meats this is the place to get it from. If you’ve got time to spend a few hours in the downtown area take a stroll through Broadway and step in a few honky tonks and listen sit back and relax to the southern and country tunes of old and some new ones. 

Beast Craft BBQ Co.

Restaurant Name: Beast Craft BBQ
Address: 20 South Belt West, Belleville, IL 6220
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / INSTAGRAMWEBSITE 



The final stop of the 2018 Bang Bang BBQ Tour took me and my friends back across the Missouri River to Belleville, IL to Beast Craft BBQ. We made a change to this location vs. another BBQ joint because of multiple referrals from other managers and pitmasters we got to talk to at various locations over this trip.

Beast Craft BBQ Co. has a nice joint near a fairly major intersection in Belleville, IL a few miles off of the interstate. Lots of signage so you can’t miss it. Once you step inside you have a bar area to the right and a restaurant area to the left. The bar area is pretty nice, didn’t sit over there so can’t talk too much about it but it is pretty open and modern looking. The dining area has wood lined walls, storefront windows, and a really cool map of the different cuts of meat from a cow, pig, and chicken that we pitmasters cook.

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Wagyu beef brisket, pork belly, potato salad, belly brussel sprouts

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Pork steak, chicken wings, and bread pudding

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Wagyu beef brisket & candied bacon

At this point in the trip our taste buds and stomachs are pretty full and starting to get used to the flavors of BBQ. Beast Craft BBQ’s menu is pretty unique as everything is cooked a la carte. I ordered the wagyu beef brisket (yes…wagyu beef), pork belly, potato salad, and the brussel sprouts with pork belly chunks. My friends ordered the pork steak, chicken wings, bread pudding, wagyu beef brisket (yes again…wagyu beef), and candied bacon. All plates are served with warm flour tortillas.

The look at these plates screams flavor and BBQ. Smoke rings, well placed garnishes, and look of tender, juicy, and delicious smoked meats. The pickles and okra are nice colors additions. The wagyu beef brisket has a very nice amount of char and visible smoke ring. The chicken wings had a nice crust on the skin implying a little bit of frying took place. The pork belly had some serious bark…seriously good bark that is. The potato salad had good size chunks of potato and I really liked the dill garnish. The brussel sprouts had a very balanced amount of green and char and pork belly chunks. 

My favorite thing to eat at Beast Craft BBQ was the pork belly. It’s thick cut, smokey, tender, and juicy goodness and always an adventure for the taste buds. I really liked the potato salad as well. The perfect amount of dill garnish really enhanced the flavors. The brussel sprouts mixed with some pork belly chunks was a really good touch. The sprouts were super tender, not super fall apart soft, but not tough to bite through…exactly how I like my brussel sprouts. I had some of the candied bacon, pork steak, and bread pudding and they were all tasty too. 

I will admit that I had high expectations for the wagyu beef brisket but this batch of brisket fell a little short in my opinion. I probably should have ordered the leaner brisket as the slices I got were really fatty. I like some fat on my brisket slices but when I do a pull test on a slice of brisket and my fingers are drenched in beef fat I think it’s a bit much (perfect pull though for the brisket so it was a really good tenderness). The flavors were great but amount of fat was a turnoff.

SUMMARY

In short, Beast Craft BBQ Co. was a nice addition to the 2018 Bang Bang BBQ Tour. It had a tough seat being our last joint but gave it a good fight. The pitmaster has experience in fine dining and makes the transition to BBQ really well. Looking forward to visiting this place again if I’m in town.

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