Excellent | Worth a Detour
Peak Bros. Bar-B-Que | Western Kentucky BBQ Mutton & Ham
Review by: Michael Stern
Western Kentucky: BBQ Muttonland
West of Louisville along the Ohio River and south towards the Land Between the Lakes you find a world of barbecue unlike anywhere else. While there is plenty of good pork, Kentucky BBQ mutton stars as the primary pit meat. It packs plenty of flavor. But a multi-hour smoke bath makes its wallop as soft as a prize-fighter’s glove. Since 1948, Peak Bros. has served it at its best.
Peak Bros.’ renown has built over the decades since it first opened as a BBQ beer hall with dancing on weekend nights. Despite its venerable history, the restaurant today looks like a newcomer. That’s because a fire in 2006 leveled it. The new place lacks the favorite-slipper comfort of the old. But the meals it serves are western Kentucky classics.
Duncan Hines biographer and Kentucky food authority Louis Hatchett originally guided us here. He referred to Waverly as “the western edge of barbecued muttonland.” So of course we started with chipped mutton sandwiches. Chipping, a local term for intensive chopping, turns the meat into a hash sopped with the potent natural gravy known as dip. Peak Bros. does not pull its meat. You get it either sliced or chipped.
Chipped or Sliced?
Debbie Britt’s father and uncle started the restaurant. Debbie assured us that chipped is good, but sliced is even better. At her urging, we got some slices. They are gentle-tempered and tender. But when it comes to Kentucky BBQ mutton, our preference is chipped. It’s so crazy-moist with deep baritone flavor.
On the other hand, Peak Bros.’ ham, edged with pepper, slices beautifully. It sings a dulcet harmony of pork and smoke. So ultra tender, it ranks in our book as the best meat in the house.
Plates come with good, meaty beans and slaw. But sandwiches are notable, too. They come the local way, on soft slices from a pullman loaf of bread with raw onion and pickle chips.
Other available meats include chicken, ribs, brisket and steak.
In the fall, Peak Bros. becomes a favorite source for Thanksgiving and Christmas hams. Lady Bird Johnson once declared Peak Bros. ham to be the best “this side of Texas.”
Note that Peak Bros. serves breakfast only Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|