Only in Kentucky, western Kentucky, to be precise: Old Hickory serves a meal you will find nowhere else.
Mutton is its featured attraction. Smoke-cooked for hours, the meat loses any harshness but retains profound flavor. Cut to order off the pit in thick, heavy slices, it is a concentration of flavor unlike any other BBQ. It is so intense that it can seem dry, which is why you want either dip (a sort of lamb au jus) or spicy-sweet sauce to lube it. Both sauces are presented in warmed squeeze bottles. Or have it chopped, which is something like hash.
Important as the mutton is, Old Hickory’s pits also deliver smoke-perfumed sliced or chopped pork, ribs, chicken, beef, even BBQ bologna.
Fine side dishes include meat-laced pit beans and macaroni & cheese that is like a cordon bleu version of boxed Kraft dinner.
In the same family for generations, Old Hickory has a well-worn feeling with vintage wood booths and tables that have advertisements for local businesses laminated to their top. It’s a locals’ favorite and can get very crowded, especially on weekend evenings. If you are traveling through and want a true taste of the area’s unique way with barbecue, this is the place to go.