McClard’s Bar-B-Q

Review by: Michael Stern

McClard’s Bar-B-Q is in a 1942 stucco building that once offered toot-your-horn car-hop service. It’s a small place, crowded with hordes of happy eaters who work their way through plates of beef or pork sided by cole slaw, French fries, and hot tamales. Pork ribs, crusted with an eye-opening red sauce, are good enough to put McClard’s in the uppermost echelon of America’s barbecue parlors.

What to eat at McClard’s Bar-B-Q

Many regular customers get their ribs on a “rib and fry” plate, which is a rack of meaty bones with crusty edges and succulent insides completely covered over with a serving of superb French fried potatoes. Eating such a meal is an inevitably messy task, requiring nimble fingers and plenty of napkins, for utensils are useless; but the process of picking up a few fries every time you tear off a rib soon becomes an art unto itself; and the savor of the moist, sweet meat close to the bone is simply beyond description.

A section of McClard’s Bar-B-Q menu is devoted to tamale plates, ranging from plain tamales with beans to a full spread. A spread is McClard’s term for a pair of tamales topped with sauce-sopped chopped smoked meat, beans, crisp Fritos chips, raw onions, and shredded orange cheese. Spreads remind us of the locally-favored Frito pie, but with the added zest of genuine pit barbecue.

What To Eat

rib and fry

tamale spread

Cole Slaw

Ice Tea

Chopped Pork Plate

Hot Tamales

Pork BBQ Sandwich

Milk Shake


McClard’s Bar-B-Q Recipes


What do you think of McClard’s Bar-B-Q?

2 Responses to “McClard’s Bar-B-Q”

Karen Lanehart

March 9th, 2007

I grew up in Hot Springs and grew up eating at McClard’s. My family loves it and every time we had out of town guests, they HAD to go to McClard’s. I now live in Little Rock and will gladly drive 60 miles to eat there. I love the atmosphere which is distinct to McClard’s. The wait may seem long but is never more than 10 minutes.

My favorite things are the ribs, pork sandwich, homemade fries, cole slaw and of course the tamale spread. The ribs are tender and the meat literally falls off the bone. The pork is juicy and tender. The fries are homemade, which is so hard to find these days. Try them dipped in the bar-b-q sauce! The cole slaw is finely chopped and lightly sweet. And you have to try the tamale spread, which is tamales topped with beans, chopped meat, Fritos, cheese and onions. No one has anything like it. Drinking an ice cold beer with your meal is a great complement to the sting of the sauce.

Read the delightful story of how the restaurant got started on the back of the menu while you’re waiting for your food. “Best in State since 1928” is an understatement since McClard’s has the best bar-b-q in the country!


Lars Larsen

March 11th, 2006

My family and I have vacationed in the Hot Springs area for more than 20 years, but we never visited McClard’s… until recently. I cannot possibly overstate how outstanding this place is.

My mouth literally stood up at attention when I bit into the chopped (wet) pork sandwich, and the fries are real, honest-to-goodness fries (not crinkle cut or frozen). Real fries like this are getting harder and harder to find (at least where I live).

As with pizza, everyone has a different idea of what real BBQ is supposed to be like, but I can honestly say that this redefined BBQ for me.


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