This is my second of four posts on bbq in the north Texas, Arkansas area. For the overview, see the post on Naaman's Championship BBQ in Texarkana.
We drove to Hot Springs in order to eat at McClards Bar-B-Q. This was apparently President Bill Clinton's favorite restaurant growing up in Hot Springs and I read a post on Arkansas bbq which said McClards was probably the best bbq in Arkansas, or at least the most famous. Their website has a quote from F. Murray Abraham, the academy award winning actor in Amadeus: "I am an actor and have made movies all over this great land. I've eaten BBQ from Kansas to Missouri to the Carolinas to Alabama and McClard's is the best, no doubt about it." Unfortunately, when we arrived, it was closed. A sign in the window said they were on "Vacation" until January. Bummer. I'd read that Hot Springs has some other good bbq places, so we went to Smokin' In Style BBQ which had the next highest rating for bbq in Hot Springs, although down the rank of overall restaurants a ways.
|Inside, looking at the back where the order window is located.|
As we were sharing and trying to taste-test various items, we ordered the "Sampler Platter" which included pork ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket and sausage. It also came with two sides, and we chose "smokin' baked potato salad" and "smokin' baked beans." It also came with the standard slices of bread and a roll.
|The sampler platter.|
The sausage was very moist, smoky and good. After our sausage at Naaman's in Texarkana, which was kind of cold and tasteless, this was savored. It ended up being my second favorite sausage.
The pulled pork was a little more traditional than Naaman's, it was moister, but seemed not as fresh. It was my favorite of the pulled porks, but because I'm not a pulled pork fan it didn't hold much weight with me in my rating.
The brisket was very thin and relatively tasteless, but was good with salt and bbq sauce. It ranked third out of four for me.
The ribs were more moist than Naaman's, a little fattier, but had less bbq flavor. They were my least favorite ribs.
The smoked potato salad was virtually identical to the potato salad we got in Little Rock. It had a smoky taste and was prepared with sour cream. I liked it much better than normal potato salad. But it did not hold a candle to the twice baked potatoes at Naaman's.
The baked beans were very much like canned pork n' beans. Not my favorite.
Overall, this was probably third out of the four bbq restaurants for me.