Old Hickory Bar-B-Que | In Western Kentucky BBQ Is Mutton

Review by: Michael Stern

Western Kentucky’s Unique BBQ

Heading west from the Cumberland Gap, Kentucky BBQ diversity thrills the adventurous Roadfood palate. The towns of Owensboro and Henderson along the Ohio River offer their own take on the subject. Here you find a meal like nowhere else.

Mutton Matters

Mutton makes it different. Slow pit cooking in the haze of hickory smoke deprives the meat of any harshness. It retains profound flavor, but flavor more like a meaningful caress than a punch in the nose. The process actually concentrates flavor. At Old Hickory, they cut mutton to order in thick, heavy slices. Unlike brisket, where essential fattiness lubricates every bite, mutton wants a moisturizer. Choose either dip, which resembles lamb-flavored au jus, or spicy sweet BBQ sauce to lube it. Old Hickory presents both sauces in warmed squeeze bottles. If you seek an alternative to sliced mutton, have it chopped. The texture resembles hash, but even chopped mutton derives great benefit from a sprinkle of dip or sauce.

BBQ For Every Taste

Mutton stands as the Old Hickory signature dish. But the pit also delivers smoke-perfumed sliced or chopped pork, ribs, chicken, beef, even BBQ bologna.

Side Dishes Better Than They Have To Be

Side dishes live up to the high standards set by Old Hickory’s meats. In fact meat threads throughout the sweet, spicy, hugely satisfying pit beans. Macaroni & cheese makes me think of a Cordon Bleu chef upgrade of boxed Kraft dinner. If you seek true regional flavors, you also must order a cup or bowl of burgoo, the old-time stew that hunters originally made from whatever critters they caught. Today it features hickory smoked meats, tomatoes, and corn in zesty broth.

A Roadfood Classic

In the same family for generations, Old Hickory has a comfortable, well-worn feeling. Laminated ads for nearby businesses decorate vintage tables in old wooden booths. Locals love this place. That means it can get very crowded, especially on weekend evenings. If you are traveling through and want an authentic taste of western Kentucky BBQ, this is where you want to go.

Directions & Hours

9am - 10pm
  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM

What To Eat

Mutton

DISH
Macaroni & Cheese

DISH
BBQ Beans

DISH
Banana Pudding

DISH

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