Driving between Jefferson City and Springfield, MO on a recent trip through the Ozarks, I had a hankering for some barbecue. I knew there were a couple places in Osage Beach and I found one on my GPS by the name of HalfSauced Barbeque. I pulled into the restaurant nestled in between Osage Beach Parkway North and Osage Beach Parkway South. (see map)
Tell me if you've heard this story before - a couple friends go on the barbecue competition circuit and win a few contests. They then decide to open their own barbecue place. That's the story of the vast majority of barbecue places I've come across in the Midwest and HalfSauced Barbeque is no exception. Kirk Streed and Randy Heimgartner were doing barbecue competitions before they decided to open their own place about 10 years ago in Osage Beach. They cut down on their time on the competition circuit to get their business up and going, but within the past four or five years they've returned to their roots, so to speak, and have won numerous awards again. Three years ago, they moved into what the former Captain D's seafood restaurant in Osage Beach, their current location. Kirk Streed's wife, Cindy, and their daughter, Haley, help out around HalfSauced Barbeque, as does Randy Heimgartner's wife, Andrea, and their son Andrew.
There were only a couple three people in the place when I walked into HalfSauced Barbeque as it was well past the lunch rush. The restaurant is divided into two sides and a nice young lady led me to a table in the dining room to the right as you come in. She dropped off a menu and soon thereafter my server Elizabeth came over to greet me. I got a beer while I poured through the menu.
The barbecue offerings are typical as to what you'll find at most other joints - brisket, ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, double-smoked ham, turkey and burnt ends, many meats available as a sandwich. I always like to get a combo plate when I try a new barbecue place and they had the HalfSauced Sampler Platter that consisted of three baby back ribs, brisket, burnt ends and pulled pork with a couple sides. That was a lot of food for lunch, but I ended up finding a two meat combo platter consisting of 10 ounces of your choice of meat and two sides.
When Elizabeth came back to take my order, I told her that I wanted the two meat combo - pulled pork and brisket. I got the pit baked beans for one side, but hemmed and hawed over what to get for the other side. They had potato salad, a dinner salad, onion rings, French fries, green beans, and two different types of cole slaw - a creamy style with a little bite to the taste, and an oil and vinegar based cole slaw with sliced toasted almonds and sesame seed. The creamy cole slaw with the bite sounded good to me and I ordered it up. "I'm sorry," Elizabeth said to me. "But we're out of cole slaw today. Both kinds." I sort of groaned - more so for the creamy cole slaw than the oil and vinegar slaw with the almonds. I'm not big on almonds. I ended up getting fries with the baked beans.
Elizabeth brought the barbecue out to me not long after I ordered it. I'm glad I didn't get the bigger combo platter because there was enough food on the plate for me and possibly one other person. I got three large slabs of brisket, a good sized portion of the pulled pork, fries that probably came from TWO potatoes and a small bowl of the pit baked beans.
The brisket had a nice smoke ring and a nice seasoned bark on the outer shell. It pulled apart very easily and had a nice smoky taste to it. It was very, very good.
The pulled pork didn't seem to have much of a smoky flavor to it, but it was moist and had a good pork flavor on its own. I added some of the medium sauce they had on the table to the pulled pork. It had sort of an essence of Worcestershire Sauce and soy sauce to it along with a sweet flavor. They also had a spicy sauce that sort of reminded me of salsa. It wasn't the best spicy barbecue sauce I've ever had and I found that I sort of liked the medium sauce a little better.
The pit baked beans were fine - nothing special on their own. I added some of the medium barbecue sauce to them to give them a little more of a zippy taste and it helped. The fries - to me - were basically a throwaway. After the anguish of not having the creamy cole slaw, the fries were sort of an afterthought. But they were crisp on the outside and had that moist potato taste on the inside. I dipped some in the medium barbecue sauce and it turned out that I liked them very much.
Overall, the barbecue I had a HalfSauced Barbeque was well above average. I liked the brisket a little better than the pulled pork. The beans were all right and even though I was disappointed they didn't have the creamy cole slaw, the fries filled in admirably. The sauces - to me - were pretty average. The spicy sauce had a little zing, but - once again - it tasted sort of like salsa. The medium sauce was fine, but not a big winner to me. Elizabeth's service was fine and she was on top of things for me. It was a nice experience at HalfSauced Barbeque. Not the best BBQ I've had, but certainly far from the worst. It was worth it to stop and try the place.