As long as I’ve been writing this blog (actually, as long as I’ve been enamored with barbecue – so thirty+ years), I’ve heard about the uniqueness of mutton barbecue in Western Kentucky. As we were making our journey back home from Wisconsin, I knew we’d have to a make a stop, and set the GPS for Moonlite Bar-B-Que Inn. I looked up the menu on-line as we headed south and passed it over to my wife for her to look at (I knew what I was having) and we called an order in.
Located on busy Highway 81, and as we were pulling a 20 foot trailer, I passed the entrance and then found an empty bank parking lot across the street and crossed the four lane to walk into Moonlite. Traffic was really busy on that side of the road and I couldn’t understand why. Then I saw the Big Dipper (a drive-up and walk-up diner next door – think 1970s era Dairy Queen) that was creating a backup on that side of the road. In retrospect, we likely should have grabbed something from there, too…
Walking in, dine-in seating was to the right and the takeout area was to the left. I say take out “area”, as opposed to “counter’ because that’s what it was – a huge space, fronting the kitchen where you could get everything on the menu to take with you. My order was ready and simple – a chopped mutton sandwich, some burgoo and a pulled mutton sandwich with fries.
We had a stop to make before we made it to the campground, for the night, so I had the chopped mutton sandwich, in the car. Served with a dark brown, thin sauce, vinegar-based sauce (that they call “Dip”), in general it was very similar to what was served in the South as barbecued beef, before Texas brisket started being exported here. It was moist and had good smoke with a bit of tang from the barbecue sauce.
As to the burgoo, I’ve had burgoo before, but it varies from place to place.
The burgoo at Moonlite was very much like Brunswick stew here in Georgia – tomato-based with multiple meats – but this had mutton (as opposed to pork, or beef) and a few more vegetables. Depending on the restaurant, Brunswick stew can be thin or thick, with whatever leftover vegetables are in the kitchen when it is being made. Same way with burgoo. Here the soup was thin, with (mostly) corn, tomatoes and onions.
The pulled mutton sandwich, which I ordered dry, was very good. It was a better opportunity to taste the meat itself. Smoky and just enough different from beef to know that it wasn’t, it was very good. Not pictured was my beloved’s catfish plate, which she ate while I was hooking up the camper to the site and of which I failed to get a picture.
One more thing to check off the bucket list.