Walking across the small parking behind Adam's Smokehouse, you're immediately enveloped in the rich aroma of cooking meat. Even before you cross the restaurant's threshold, it's obvious you're in for a delicious experience. Adam's is one of the latest in the current boom of barbecue places cropping up around town and—as we recently discovered—one of the best.
Adam's is small, with just a few tables inside—replete with rolls of paper towels for the inevitable mess—and a couple more tables outside. It has the feel of a true BBQ joint, where the food takes precedence over interior design concerns. And Adam's has plenty of food. The menu boasts an array of sandwiches, as well as combos designed to feed a crew of meat aficionados at one time. The restaurant has an impressive pedigree that belies its impressive menu. Owners Frank Vinciguerra and Mike Ireland worked together at area 'que mecca Pappy's Smokehouse before striking out on their own; and the restaurant's website says Adam's is a ‘collaboration’ with both Pappy's and another great St. Louis BBQ destination, Bogart's. The restaurant is named in honor of their friend and fellow Pappy's alum, Adam Gaffney, who passed away in 2012.
We gravitated toward the more manageable Plates section of the menu, which offers all of the meats available served with bread and a choice of two sides. We decided on the Pulled Pork ($11) and the Beef Brisket ($14). Of course, ribs were a must-have: We got a half-slab ($15), which also came with a choice of two sides.
Both the pulled pork and the brisket were exceptional, melt-in-your-mouth tender and redolent of smoke. The ribs, though, were superlative. Our half-slab had a gorgeous crust that tasted even better than it looked. One of the folks behind the counter told us the secret to these ribs is—among other things—an apple-butter glaze and plenty of time to cook. We put those paper towels on the table to good use!
Since everything we ordered came with two sides, we sampled most of the sides at Adam's: pit beans, coleslaw, potato salad and pasta salad. Local favorite Billy Goat Chips and applesauce also are available. The slaw, potato and pasta salads were good, solid examples of these picnic favorites; but the pit beans were the star of the side show, with a dark, sweet sauce and plenty of meaty chunks in the mix.
Adam's offers a trio of sauces available for every palate: Sweet Jane, Cranberry Cayenne and Cane Vinegar. Of the three, we took a special shine to the Cranberry Cayenne, which has a nice, fruity tang upfront and some subtle heat on the back end. It complemented both the pork and the brisket perfectly.
Takeout is available, as well, at Adam's; and whether you eat in or carry out, it's imperative to get there early since once they're out, they're out. Expect a line, but rest assured, it's worth the wait.
-- 2819 Watson Road, 875-9890, adamssmokehouse.com.