8 Ways to Satisfy Your Barbecue Cravings by Mail
Flying pigs and brisket on ice.
Craving a big rack of ribs or smoky prime brisket in these days of self-isolation? Unfortunately, many Southern barbecue joints have shifted to a take-out only format while others have had to temporarily close their doors altogether.
But you don’t even have to leave the house to enjoy top-notch barbecue, for some of the best pitmasters in the South are shipping their slow-smoked meats by overnight mail. It’s a great way to satisfy your barbecue cravings and support a favorite restaurant, too.
Here, in no particular order, are eight tempting options for a much-needed barbecue delivery.
Since 1925, Big Bob Gibson has been barbecuing ribs, pork, and chicken and serving them with a true Alabama original: white mayonnaise-based barbecue sauce. Unfortunately, they don’t ship their splendid coconut cream pies, but you can have that famous chicken and white sauce fly right to your door.
Hot Pick: World Championship BBQ 2-pack. A whole smoked chicken, a pound of pulled pork, and a bottle of Original White Sauce.
Even in normal times Snow’s barbecue is hard to get, for the restaurant is only open on Saturdays, and they start serving at 8:00 am and sell out by early afternoon. Legendary pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz turns 85 years old this week, and she’s still tending the pits, but now she’s cooking for mail-order customers only. All orders are shipped on Tuesdays, so place your order by 5:00 pm Sunday if you want it the same week.
Hot Pick: The Tootsie Sampler. It’s a little of everything that has made Tomanetz a Texas barbecue legend: one four- to five-pound slow-smoked brisket, two rings of original or jalapeno sausage, and—best of all—a two-pound pork steak, one of the most delicious morsels in all of Southern barbecue.
A big platter of dry-rub dusted ribs are the go-to order at Peg Leg Porker in downtown Nashville, and owner/pitmaster Carey Bringle will ship them right to your house, too.
Hot Pick: Famous Dry-Rub Ribs. Available in packs of two or four slabs, plus sauce, extra dry rub, and some bonus pork rinds for good measure.
Charleston, South Carolina
Some of the best brisket in the South is found not in Texas but on the Atlantic coast in Charleston, where John Lewis’s gigantic offset pits are still fired up and smoking. They ship on Wednesdays, so be sure to have your order in that morning by 11:00 am.
Hot pick: A whole prime beef brisket, which will feed 10 to 12 people (assuming you’re inclined to share)
Overnighting barbecue to hungry customers is nothing new for the folks at the Rendezvous. Back in the 1970s, a fledging delivery company called Federal Express made Memphis their headquarters, and a few years later Charlie Vergos and his son Nick started shipping ribs nationwide via overnight air. Four decades later they’re still at it.
Hot Pick: Ribs, ribs, and more ribs. You can order boxes of two, four, six, or eight slabs of the Rendezvous’s famous dry-rubbed, charcoal-broiled ribs.
Kreuz is an iconic Central Texas meat market, and while you can’t dine in these days, pitmaster Roy Perez and crew are still smoking over post oak on their big brick pits.
Hot pick: Lockhart Round Up Dinner. It may sound heretical to recommend the all-pork option from a Texas barbecue joint, but Kreuz’s bone-in chops are out of this world. The Lockhart Round Up delivers three pounds of those smoked chops plus a full rack of spare ribs and 18 sausage rings (half original, half jalapeño). You can always throw in a few pounds of brisket or shoulder clod on the side if you feel guilty about skipping the beef.
Barbecue competition legend Mike Mills and his daughter Amy have been doing a brisk mail order business for years from their Murphysboro headquarters, featuring their trophy-winning baby-back ribs. Free shipping on orders over $50.
Hot pick: 17th St Barbecue Feast: two slabs of Apple City baby back ribs and two pounds of pulled pork along with enough pit beans, Magic Dust rub, and bottled sauce to feed eight hungry barbecue fans.
There’s no way to ship the experience of stepping through the old screen door into the smoke-clouded dining room at Louis Mueller, but at least you can get some slow-smoked beef by mail.
Hot Pick: Louie Mueller’s grandson Wayne wows fans with his colossal "Dino" beef ribs, but if they are sold out (and the last time I checked they were) a whole salt-and-pepper brisket will do just fine, too. Both are Texas classics.
Don’t see your favorite joint in this roundup? Kevin Kelly of Kevin’s Barbecue Joints has compiled a list of restaurants across the country who are delivering barbecue via mail order. It’s a great way to support your favorite restaurants in these troubled times.