Grandpa’s Southern Bar-B-Q, Idaho Falls, Idaho

Regular readers are probably impatient for more information about good barbecue places in Idaho. My only post from Idaho was on the remarkable BBQ4Life in Boise, although I have to say that I’m proud of that one. It may be the only barbecue place on earth that has separate menus and separate kitchens for both vegan and traditional barbecue fans –and Nancy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Fast forward, I was able to recommend it to our Senior Mississippi and Northern Virginia Correspondent, Doug Herbert, also known by variations of “Snopes.” Doug confirmed my favorable review, and was particularly pleased by the trip-tip.

Doug’s further adventures took him to Idaho Falls, where he ate at Grandpa’s Southern Barbecue, run by Lloyd and Loretta Westbrook.

Doug offered this report:

In 2020, Food and Wine Magazine picked Grandpa’s Southern Bar-B-Q in Idaho Falls (southeastern Idaho) as the best barbecue place in Idaho. Food and Wine highly praise the ribs. It was a good sign that the menu offered both sweet and unsweet tea, a rarity outside the South. We ordered a pulled pork sandwich, ribs, and brisket, with coleslaw and collards as sides. Another good sign was that the collards came with Southern-style pepper sauce.

This was an outstanding meal. The collards were a perfect Southern rendition, with none of the usual Yankee sweetness, the cornbread wasn’t too sweet. The slaw was unusual, with celery seed, onions, bell pepper, and a sweet vinegar, and it was very good. The brisket (lean) and the ribs were real good (maybe real good-minus), maybe a touch lightly smoked (there is an offset smoker out front), served un-sauced. As it should be in all barbecue places, there was only one sauce and it was a good vinegary one, with just faint touches of tomato and very little sweetness. But the real star was the pork sandwich, which was lightly sauced. It was tremendous, reminiscent of the pork sandwich at Abe’s in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Then there was a real surprise. Our very inexpensive meal included peach cobbler, which was unbelievably good. Loretta, the owner, told us that the secret ingredient in the cobbler was Jack Daniels. Though she was raised in Washington state, Loretta comes from a Southern tradition. Her grandparents are from Biloxi and (amazingly) Mendenhall, where I graduated from high school. I think we saw more African-Americans at lunch today than we’ve seen in all the rest of Idaho. We ordered two slices of pecan pie to go, so a report on those later.

(Mendenhall, home of the Tigers, is in Simpson County, Mississippi, on the road between Jackson and Hattiesburg, just south of D’Lo. You will remember Mendenhall as the home of the late, great Revolving Tables, an outstanding meat and three celebrated in John T. Edge’s Southern Belly. I ate there several times in my Justice Department voting rights days. Loretta’s husband, Lloyd Westbrook, came up in Hickman, Kentucky, which is pretty much on a line between Starnes and the Dixie Pig, old school barbecue country.)

Not to give the rest of the story away, Doug heaped praised lavishly on the pecan pie. If anyone who grew up eating at Revolving Tables tells you that a pecan pie is great, trust them. Next time you’re in or near Idaho, think beyond potatoes, and go get some good barbecue –and don’t forget that peach cobbler and a slice or three of pecan pie.

***

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