Thomason's barbecues everything: pork, mutton, beef, spare ribs, baby back ribs, chicken, ham and turkey. The pork is velvet-soft, moist and seductively smoky; mutton is sopped with gravy (known hereabouts as dip) and gentle-flavored. Bar-b-q beans are magnificent – rich and smoky, laced with shreds of meat.
The oldest smoke house around, and certainly the most unpretentious. Jack Easley cooks pork shoulders over hickory for seventeen hours. He uses no seasonings and no sauce as the meat cooks. The long roast at low temperatures results in pork that is unspeakably tender, so soft that it cannot be sliced because it would fall apart.
Sitting outside under shade trees at a picnic table by the Ohio River is a near-perfect setting to enjoy massive amounts of fried seafood and beer. Highlights are such Indiana fish camp specialties as catfish, white fish, and frog legs. Portions are immense. Tartar sauce and cocktail sauce are both outstanding.
While Mr. D's is a drive-in with a repertoire of hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwiches, chicken rules. It is made from a recipe popularized decades ago by legendary chicken man Colonel Jim. Like the stupendously good chicken at nearby Bon Ton Mini Mart, it has a wickedly crunchy crust that is spicy enough to make your eyes water.
A working pharmacy with shelves of patent medicines and nick-nacks for sale and a short soda fountain counter up front. Here is where milk shakes are whirled, sundaes and floats constructed, and cherry Cokes brewed to order. The lemon ice is something different: fresh lemon juice poured over crushed ice and seasoned with a dash of salt.
Being historical-minded types, the Kentucky hot brown was invented by the hotel some time in the 1920s. A hot brown is a fork-and-knife job for certain: toast topped with white turkey meat under a sizzling spill of cheesy cream sauce, slices of tomato, and strips of bacon.