The town of Marion, in Crittenden County, is known to locals for excellent barbecue. The oldest smoke house around, and certainly the most unpretentious, is the tiny hut on the outskirts of town known as the Marion Pit.
The premises consists of a small walk-up building with an order window, a screened-in dining room with a few tables, a couple of outdoor picnic tables, and a large building where Jack Easley cooks pork shoulders over hickory for seventeen hours. Jack, who has been barbecuing here for thirty years, told us that he uses no seasonings and no sauce as the meat cooks. The long roast at low temperatures results in pork that is unspeakably tender, so soft that it cannot be sliced because it would fall apart. You can buy it by the pound to go, by the sandwich, or by the plate (billed here as a "big pile of bar-b-q"). It is some of the best Q anywhere, served with a delicious sauce, the recipe for which is known only to Mr. Easley, his wife and his son.
"All the skin is removed from the shoulder before it is pulled into pieces, resulting in a pile of pork that soft as a sigh … and beautifully complemented by the Easley family's special sauce."
"Our kind of fine dining establishment. This is where you place your order and pay at the Marion Pit. To the left are a small enclosed dining area and a picnic table where Jane is seated, waiting for her sandwich."
"The enclosed dining room has screens to protect customers from summer's marauding insects."