Heading from Nashville toward Paducah, we stopped at the Kentucky visitors center on I-24 and asked if there were any barbecue places in that part of the state serving mutton (this is a “thing” in the Owensboro area of Kentucky). The lady said that she thought that Knoth’s Bar-B-Que, over in Grand River, might and it wasn’t too far off our path. We headed west, got off the expressway where she told us, crossed the bridge for the Lake Barkley Dam and there it was. An odd L-shaped building with facing plate glass windows – with the name (and a pig) on the windows, and a sign above it. This was not one of those places that you drive around looking for. I later found out that this building was originally a seafood restaurant that Knoth’s took over after their original location burned in 1992.
We took a seat in the front room, behind the pig in the first photo. Knoth’s is a classic style barbecue joint, open for more than 50 years and run by the son of the original owner since 1975, that gained a degree of notoriety when Jay Leno discovered them on a hunting trip and mentioned them several times on the Tonight Show. We had eaten lunch already and would be having dinner before long, so we looked at the menu to decide on mid-afternoon snack.
See that mutton on the menu? Neither did we, so I ordered a chopped pork plate with slaw and fries for us to share. After looking at reviews and comments, everyone raves about the pork and Hugh Knoth says that the pork sandwiches outsell the beef sandwiches ten to one. I think we made the right choice. The BBEEST (Burgers Barbecue and Everything Else Slaw Taster) said that the slaw was very good, fairly “dry” but full of flavor.
As we walked toward the truck, I saw the wood pile that fuels their pit and snapped the picture below. The pit was built apart from the building with the relocation to prevent the same disaster from recurring.
There’s a great interview with Hugh Knoth here, from which I gleaned some of this information.