H.B.'s Bar B.Q: They're the people in your neighborhood | Rock Candy

Monday, September 24, 2012

H.B.'s Bar B.Q: They're the people in your neighborhood

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 10:37 AM


Imagine, for one moment, you’re driving down the street in a completely average looking residential neighborhood. On the left, that’s the Singleys, he’s a dentist. On the right, that’s the Johnsons, their son is the quarterback for the high school football team, then there’s the Morrisons place, and that’s the Jones boy up yonder mowing lawns. And that house up there…oh, that’s actually a killer barbecue joint.

So it was as I ventured to H.B.’s Bar B.Q. for the first time. I had even known ahead of time that this place was in a residential area, but as I was slowly guided there by my GPS navigator, I still thought I was lost. Nevertheless, I pulled into H.B’s Bar B.Q. in this southwest Little Rock neighborhood, steering my car around their driveway, parking in the makeshift parking lot in the backyard. Needless to say, I was already intrigued.

Now H.B’s is not completely off the beaten path, but it is a rather interesting detour. Family-owned and operated since 1961, this small converted home now houses some of the finest smoked meats this city has to offer. Even before entering, you’ll surely notice the smoke pits billowing from the back of the restaurant. As I stepped out of my car, I was immediately assaulted by the intoxicating aroma of smoked meats, perfuming the neighborhood’s air for blocks. How the near-by residents aren’t eating at this place on a daily basis with this sort of olfactory temptation wafting around constantly is beyond my understanding.

The interior of H.B’s is modest, but not cramped. A single small dining room containing less than a dozen various-sized tables is about all patrons will see. There are a few pamphlet-like tri-fold menus scattered about the place, but most guests simply order off the menu board tacked up to small piece of paneling overhanging the kitchen. But here, ordering up barbecue is about as simple as it gets—beef or pork, chopped or sliced, ribs make a rare appearance on Tuesdays only. Okay, so they do offer a few other items, such as burgers, hot dogs, and ham sandwiches, but I don’t go to a barbecue establishment for a chili dog, that goes against my principles.

I ordered up 2 sandwiches, chopped pork and sliced beef, with two sides, cole slaw and onion rings. Excitement was practically oozing from my pores.


The chopped pork sandwich was superb…heavy on smoke flavor, each bite loudly boasting the ash-ridden remains of some helpless tree that sacrificed its life to help create such a heavenly product. Through the smoke, the salty, rich flavor of pork rang clearly. The pork, chopped into tender bite-sized bits, was juicy and succulent. With a crown of fresh, crunchy shredded cabbage and a generous dousing of the sweet and spicy barbecue sauce, this is one sandwich that will not soon be forgotten.

The sliced beef, unfortunately, did not attain the same level of glory held by the pork. The brisket was altogether too tough and chewy for my liking. The flavors were enjoyable, the smoke was there, but the sandwich didn’t leave me overly impressed. Perhaps ordering the chopped beef would help alleviate some of the textural issues this beef suffered from, but I’d recommend just sticking with the pork in this case.

The owners and staff hopping around the dining room floor proudly wear shirts displaying the slogan, “You Can’t Beat Our Meat!” In the case of H.B’s chopped pork sandwich, that’s a claim I’m not willing to bet against. So next time you are out for a leisurely stroll around the block, make a stop by H.B’s Bar-B.Q, I seriously doubt you’ll leave disappointed once you wrap your lips around their smoked pig.

H.B’s Bar-BQ
6010 Lancaster
Little Rock

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