Wild Hog-ette

03 Apr

My mission today was to take the bikes on a road trip in search of some great bbq.  Carbondale, IL or any of the surrounding towns was the predetermined destination.

First, I scoped out the joints on google maps.

After ruling out all the chain restaurants, I narrowed the choices down to a select few.  Grumpy’s Smokehouse in Carterville, IL was first on my list.  Not because of the “average” rating, but because the name seemed to fit my mood the last week or so.

Other names caught my eye, Pat’s Barbecue, John John’s BBQ, Smokin’ Joe’s…. but the lack of reviews made it difficult to determine which one to go to.  So Grumpy’s it was.

Before heading out we went through our checklist:

Sunny Weather?


Shiny Motorcycle?


Aired up tires?



Nah…. I’ll be okay…..

With everything set, we were off.

The trip down was awesome!  Traveling to a new place is always fun.  The rolling hills were beautiful.  The dilapidated barns and the weathered shanties were charming… much more so than the occasional monstrous brick homes in the middle of nowhere.

We stopped once for some water, and to check out the maps.  As we were leaving, a kind lady warned us to be careful – she had just lost a friend last night in a motorcycle accident.  Uh….. thanks??

I didn’t let myself be concerned about that.  We’re aware of the dangers, we ride carefully, but we don’t dwell on what might happen.  It takes the fun out of it!

So off we went.  We passed through many a small town, enjoying the chance to slow down a bit, our skin tingling from constant battering of wind.  Then speeding back up again until the next town.

The hour and a half seemed to pass quickly, and we arrived in Carterville right at lunch time.  The highway through there was full of stoplights and traffic.  The traffic was a little unnerving, but I love the stop and go.  Accelerating is my favorite part. 🙂

We pulled up to Grumpy’s Smokehouse a little skeptically. I still wasn’t sure this was the place I envisioned… after all, I’ve been pretty spoiled with Pappy’s and Bogart’s in St. Louis.

It turns out I was right to be skeptical.  I ordered the “The King”, which was described as smoked brisket piled high on a hoagie bun – right up my alley.  What I received was “The Jester”.  I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of it.  It had three slices of brisket.  Three.  THREE! Three slices is not “piled high”.  In fact, three didn’t even pile.  They laid side by side on the hoagie.  When I got over that, I allowed myself a taste.  **sigh** So disappointing.  It had no flavor, no bark and tasted like roast beef. Hubby’s smoked pork was just as disappointing. The only saving grace was their homemade barbecue sauce.  My favorite was The Sassy Sauce.  Spicy and vinegary, just like I like it!  So I slathered the brisket with the bbq sauce, ate the pickle and a few bites of the creamy coleslaw (again, I prefer the vinegar slaw), and reluctantly paid the $25 for the meal.

Are you able to tell our feelings about the place?

So the mission to find good bbq was a failure, but the overall trip was a huge success.  We put over 150 miles on the bikes today – by far the longest trip I’ve taken, and it was incredibly fun!  Even with the sore butt cheeks, even with the stiff back, and even with the mistake of not wearing sunscreen…..

We’re already planning our next trip!


Posted by on April 3, 2012 in BBQ, motorcycle, My Shadow


Tags: , , , , ,

21 responses to “Wild Hog-ette

  1. Stevie D

    April 3, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I guess you’ll have to keep trying different places around until one meets your exacting standards. 🙂

    • shadowrun300

      April 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      That’s the plan! Just another great reason to ride!

  2. Rock Chef

    April 3, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Hm, hardly a Man (or Woman) vs Food encounter!

    At least the ride was fun, though. But no sunscreen? Tut tut tut, shaking head.

    • shadowrun300

      April 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      Yes, very disappointing food encounter. And I’m shaking my own head about the sunscreen. Kinda forgot it’s the first time my wintered skin has seen sun this year…….

  3. agg79

    April 3, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I knew then you passed on the sunscreen it would not end well. My nephew rights his Shadow on escort duty for the Houston MS150 held every April. Two days on the open road between Houston and Austin. First year he rode without gloves – can you say lobster hands? Glad your’s doesn’t seem as bad. Just need to have Hubby apply some Aloe Vera. Hope the burn doesn’t dampen the week. Still a good ride is worth all the pain.

    And good BBQ places are hard to find. The ones that are advertised on the web are sometimes way overrated. Without somebody’s personal reference, I will Yelp a few places for some recommendations, but that can be hit or miss as well. Still, it is a good excuse to take a long ride – the BBQ run.

    • shadowrun300

      April 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      I had long sleeves on for half the ride, and only went down to the tank top on my way back, which may be why my shoulders and back aren’t near as bad as my wrists and hands. “Lobster” red is a good way to describe them.
      I’ve never Yelp-ed any places… I’ll definitely try that next time. But what I really need, like you said, are the personal references. We asked some locals when we got down there, but they directed us to chain restaurants. Not quite what I was looking for. No matter though – it just means I’ll have to keep looking! 🙂

  4. meleahrebeccah (@meleahrebeccah)

    April 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Good BBQ cam be tough to find. I am so glad you enjoyed the trip, even though you ended up with a sunburn!

  5. Abby

    April 3, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Maybe Grumpy should change his name to Stingy? At least you have your sentiments recorded in proper imagery!

    Other than that, it sounds like a great day! Were you trying to compensate for Grumpy’s by barbequing yourself? 😉

    • shadowrun300

      April 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      I hadn’t thought of that. I suppose in my subconscious I was thinkin, “if I can’t have some good smoked brisket, I can have some good smoked me.”

  6. territerri

    April 4, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Sounds like a great ride, but what a bummer that the food was so disappointing. But…. I guess if no restaurant fell below expectations, it would be hard to appreciate the really good ones.

    • shadowrun300

      April 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      You’re exactly right. And if I found THE perfect one, what reason would I have to keep riding??

  7. towardshealthylife

    April 4, 2012 at 7:32 am

    I don’t care if the bill is a bit hight when I had good food but paying for bad stuff I hate! Sounds like a great ride, I am jealous of your weather 🙂

  8. shadowrun300

    April 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    When we first got our food, I looked at my husband and asked him if he wanted to dash. I would not have felt guilty at all… but instead we ate it, then had to pay for it.
    Our weather has been awesome! Next week though we have high 50s forecasted, so I’m enjoying it while I can!

  9. Jules

    April 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    That sucks that you had disappointing bbq. I wasn’t even sure if that existed!

    Oh and don’t forget to check the expiration date on your sunscreen when you do wear it. I made that mistake and kept reapplying it on a float trip a couple years ago, thinking I was being good about being in the sun on a hot day. Turns out it was expired, so it didn’t matter how much I put on….I was BURNT. Later I peeled off my dead skin in huge chunks, like the size of a really big steak. I learned my lesson!

    • shadowrun300

      April 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm

      Ouchie! That musta been a terrible sunburn. I don’t think I’m even gonna peel at all. I usually tan pretty easily, but hubby is more fair.

  10. Mike

    April 8, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    HA! That picture cracks me up. I can see where they get the name. At least you had a good ride!

  11. David

    August 22, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Let me start off by apologizing for your first time experience in our establishment. I am the assistant manager, and I hope you will make another trip and sample other menu items. We appreciate feedback, good or bad. Thank you for yours.

    Lil Dave

    • shadowrun300

      August 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Let me start by saying how impressed I am with your professional response to my review of Grumpy’s. It’s true, I was quite disappointed with my meal, but my view of your establishment has now changed for the better due to your seemingly true concern. It’s tough running a restaurant business, trying to please different palates, but you seem to be going about it the right way. I’d be willing to give Grumpy’s another try, if I’m ever back in the area. Thank you again for taking the time to let me know I’ve been heard. 🙂


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