Kentucky food authority Louis Hatchett originally brought us to Thomason’s Barbecue for the beans, which are magnificent – rich and smoky, laced with shreds of meat and spiced like Kentucky Christmas. The barbecue is mighty fine, too.
Thomason’s barbecues everything: pork, mutton, beef, spare ribs, baby back ribs, chicken, ham, and turkey. You can get your choice of meat on a plate, which includes pickle, onion, bread and beans, on a tray, which includes only pickle, onion and bread, or in a sandwich. The pork is velvet-soft, moist and seductively smoky; mutton is sopped with gravy (known hereabouts as dip) and gentle-flavored.
I hadn’t noticed Thomason’s pies on earlier visits, but this time I did. Wow! Fragile-crusted coconut cream pie is a dreamy thing, crowned with cloud of weightless meringue. Chocolate has the same ethereal meringue atop a smooth, milky layer of lightweight chocolate. “Where do you get these pies?” I asked. The ladies behind the counter said they are made by a local lady, but they wouldn’t say who. As significant as the BBQ and beans are in this place, it’s the pie of which I am currently dreaming.
A simple, free-standing eatery with an order counter and a scattering of tables, Thomason’s does a big carry-out business, selling its specialties by the pound and gallon. On a shelf below the order counter are for-sale bottles of dip, which is a sauce with natural, au jus character.