During a trip to St. Louis earlier this summer, I spent the night in west suburban Chesterfield. With a plethora of dining options in the immediate area, I didn't really know what I wanted to get that evening. Using Urbanspoon, I took a look at all the available cuisines in the immediate area. Barbecue sounded good that evening and I decided to head over to a place called PM Barbecue to see what it was like.
Like many barbecue places, PM BBQ got its start when two friends, Paul Lamers and Mark Ruck, began to enter local barbecue competitions a few years ago. They consistently won a number of competitions and began to sell their barbecue at the Wildwood Farmers Market in nearby Wildwood, MO. As their following grew, they decided to open their own restaurant. They did so in March of 2010 in the Chesterfield Towne Center in the Chesterfield valley. (see map)
In fact, PM BBQ is located right next to El Maguey (see my entry on El Maguey here). I remember the barbecue place from before as it was past 8 p.m. when I got to El Maguey on my last visit there and PM Barbecue was closed for the evening. And because the popular upscale Wild Horse Grill is next door on the other side of PM BBQ, the parking area in front of the three restaurants was pretty packed when I pulled in around 6:30 p.m.
PM BBQ isn't all that big, but is sort of quaint and homey with antique signs and knick-knacks on the wall. They have metal bucket light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. Older style wooden chairs and tables were throughout the dining area.
The menu for the restaurant is pretty basic. They have a handful of sandwiches that include brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken and smoked turkey. They feature smoked baby back ribs and smoked chicken as an entree. Curiously, they don't offer either pulled pork or brisket as part of a dinner (although both can be bought in 1 pound packs when available). And because of that, there is no sampler that would allow one to try two or three of the smoked meats PM BBQ offers.
PM Barbecue cooks their meats in the Memphis style of barbecue - a homemade dry spice and herb rub is put on the meat and it's smoked low and slow for tenderness and taste. They offer four different styles of barbecue sauce on the table - more on that in a little bit.
The menu board for the restaurant is located on the wall behind the front counter. You place your order and pay for your food there, give them your name and they'll call it out if they're busy. If they're not, like the night I was in there, they'll bring the food out to you. Since they didn't offer any type of a sampler plate, I had to make up my mind between the brisket or pulled pork sandwich, or the baby back ribs. I decided upon the brisket and I had my choice of two sides. They offered baked beans, green beans, cole slaw, potato salad, fries, and homemade applesauce. I got the baked beans and fries. I almost got the green beans, but decided to get the fries to dip in the different sauces they have to offer.
It was about 10 minutes after I ordered when the young man who took my order brought out my sandwich platter. The brisket was piled on a wonderful soft bun and had a nice little pink smoke ring on the outside. The French fries were pretty basic - thin and average. But the baked beans were actually very good. They were thick and had nice chunks of brisket ends added in. I usually have to add some sauce to most baked beans I have at some barbecue restaurants, but the beans at PM BBQ were very good on their own. I did experiment by adding sauces to it and they were even better.
Ah, yes! The sauces! As I said, PM BBQ offers four different types of sauces - a sweet sauce that was rich and flavorful; a spicy sauce that had a great kick to the taste; a mustard sauce that was, well, 'eh!' (but I'm not big on mustard sauces); and a vinegar, red pepper and black pepper Carolina style sauce that was just fabulous. It had a great peppery taste with a little spicy kick. The combination of the vinegar and the peppers was a great taste sensation.
I ate the brisket slices, adding the different barbecue sauces with each bite. The brisket was tender, juicy and very flavorful even without the sauce. The faint taste of the rub was prevalent in each bite. The brisket was very, very good. I used the bun to sop up additional barbecue sauce, primarily the Carolina vinegar/pepper sauce.
Now, here's a little side story that helps illustrate why I hate to eat alone at times. On the front door of PM Barbecue, they have a large cowbell that clangs when people go in and out. It's just another rustic item that helps with the overall ambience of the place. I was seated near the front door and a portly middle-aged lady came in the door, cowbell clanging. She was sort of startled by it and she walked right up to me sitting there eating my dinner. She loudly said to me, "Wow! They have a cowbell on the door!" (Like I really cared.) Then she said, "Well, I hope they didn't take that off the cow they killed for the beef they serve here!" Ugh! Just leave me alone! But I soon found out that she was one of those type of people who bothered everyone around her. Thank God, she got her order to go and I was finished before she had a chance to bother me again on the way out.
PM BBQ was a pleasant surprise for me. The brisket was very, very good, but the sweet, spicy and Carolina sauces were the highlight of the meal. The only thing I was disappointed with was the lack of a sampler platter. I would have loved to have tried a quarter rack of ribs and some pulled pork in addition to the brisket. Although the fries were average, the baked beans were some of the best I've had at a barbecue joint. Overall, PM BBQ was a pretty good value with very good barbecue.