The family and I are in Hot Springs for spring break. Driving back to our hotel, we spotted this tiny white stucco BBQ joint by the side of the road. It exuded authenticity, so I whipped in for dinner.
The lore of McClard’s Bar-B-Q is that the McClard family used to run a small hotel. In 1928, a guest didn’t have the money for his $10 bill and instead offered to pay with the recipe for the best BBQ sauce in the world. This story would be very difficult to fact check. But I can confirm that the sauce is worth stopping for. Maybe even worth ordering from their website. (Jump for the good part.)
I had the “half spread” (pictured): a nontraditional tamale (wetter, looser, not made with corn husk) topped with chopped beef, aforementioned sauce, onions, white Navy beans, Fritos, and cheese. Saltines served on the side. It was far more than I could eat, unless
a dare was in play. It was delicious.
The service was the friendly type that led to pleasant post-prandial chitchat with the waitress. Oh, and the slaw was maybe the beat I’ve ever had (with green peppers and not too much mayo). It was a perfect cool complement to the spicy BBQ sauce.
If you’re in Hot Springs, check it out. And, also, if you hit a trifecta at Oaklawn, the horse track down the street from McClard’s, don’t get too excited until the inquiry is concluded, because one of your horses could be disqualified. Dammit.
McClard’s Bar-B-Q – McClard’s barbeque restaurant has been a Hot Springs, Arkansas dining tradition since the 1920’s. Buy McClard’s barbeque sauce and bbq products online.