I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Portia, Arkansas.
Greetings from Portia, Arkansas
N 36° 05.246’ W 091° 04.178’ Elev. 270 ft.
The adage “If something is too good to be true, it probably is” is generally spot on. However, there are rare and, in this case, spectacular exceptions.
I was driving north out of Jonesboro, Arkansas on US 63 one evening and saw an intriguing sign. It read: BBQ, 5 BBQs ONLY $5.99. Naturally, I was curious as hell, not only as to what a “BBQ” is, but what do you get five of for 6 bucks? Unfortunately, by then I was on a narrow WPA-era two-lane bridge and couldn’t turn around.
(As you probably can’t imagine, turning a 40-ton land yacht around isn’t quite as easy as, say, a puny-assed car. In fact, until you’ve had to do it you’ll never fully appreciate what it actually involves. But take my word for it: It’s much, much easier said than done.)
Nevertheless, I made a mental note that the next time I went by the place I would stop. I had to know.
Well, I was on the same stretch of highway headed south and was able to stop at Ole Hickory Bar-B-Que Express and find out. And, boy, am I glad I did.
The “BBQ” turned out to be barbecued pork sandwiches. The pork is smoked Boston Butt, chopped and served on a grill-warmed hamburger bun, with a little barbecue sauce and, if you want, cole slaw on it. And to be succinct: These bastards are freakin’ awesome!
The lady chops the meat as the sandwiches are ordered, so it remains really moist. At first I thought it didn’t have enough barbecue sauce on it but, as I took another bite, it hit me: This is exactly how barbecue should taste, with the flavor of the hickory smoke wafting through without being covered up by sauce. Moreover, the sandwiches have about in inch of the scrumptious meat generously piled up. Freakin’ awesome, I says.
According to the menu board, these little gems normally sell for $1.99. At that price they are still a steal. But jeez Louise, a bag of ‘em for $6.51 after tax?! That’s not a steal — that’s akin to a dine-and-dash, if not an out-and-out robbery!
But Ole Hickory Bar-B-Que Express really needs to put a warning label on these things, reading: DO NOT EAT OUR BBQ WHILE OPERATING LARGE MOVING OBJECTS. Seriously. I dropped a teensy little piece of that awesome chopped pork on my lap and … thankfully, no one was injured or killed during the ultimately successful search for the morsel. It was delicious.
And so we roll.
Ole Hickory Bar-B-Que Express, 308 W. Front St. (US 63), Portia, Arkansas
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.