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:
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.
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!