The Woodyard started as a woodyard that sold hickory, cherry, pecan and applewood logs to local barbecue parlors. Today, you can still buy wood that is ideal for smoking meats, but you also can come for some of the best barbecue in this barbecue-crazed area.
The air all around the friendly country wood-frame house is redolent of smoke; in fact the smoker is out on an open-air patio (there’s indoor seating, too). It is that smoke that gives a glow to the gentle-textured baby back rib meat that pulls from the bone in big, juicy ribbons with only the slightest pressure. The most smoke flavor can be savored in the Woodyard’s burnt ends, available in a sandwich or, the day I visited, as the topping for chili. What a great idea! The chili is a multi-bean brew, fairly mild; and the big pile of meat atop it is a kaleidoscope of pieces that range from velvet-soft to crisp or chewy, some pieces fairly vibrating with smoke, others in which the smoke was only a distant echo. In conjunction with the chili, no extra barbecue sauce is required. But I found that in my burnt-end sandwich, a judicial application of the hotter of Woodyard’s two sauces was an ideal exclamation point for the meat.
For those less extreme in their barbecue lust, the pulled pork here is nothing short of breathtaking, just-right smoky and so full of juice and flavor that sauce seems superfluous.
After a multicourse smokehouse meal, the pitmaster invited me to sample one of the “hot legs” he was cooking (like wings, but infinitely meatier). Next time, I’m going for a full order. Another next-time-must-try: the Friday special of pecan smoked salmon.