Sugarfire Smokehouse

As a proud Kansas Citian, it almost pains me to review a BBQ St. Louis restaurant, but I must give credit where credit is due. Sugarfire Smokehouse, with multiple locations throughout the St. Louis metro area, is doing ‘cue right.

The family’s first time visiting a Sugarfire was last year. Hungry for food before driving the last four hours to home, we took my sister-in-law’s recommendation and stopped at what I thought was just a single location BBQ joint and was immediately impressed. The selection of meats (including brisket, turkey, chicken, sausage, ribs, and pulled pork) was as large as I would expect to find in a Kansas City place, it smelled like smoky meat, etc., but what really excited me boiled down to two things.

First, they have Ski soda on the fountain. I love Ski soda. But really, that was just the icing on the cake.
What sold me were the sauces. I’ve often said that the meat in BBQ is just a way to get sauce into my mouth and at Sugarfire, they offer seven different sauces. And I tried them all. From the delightful sting in the Texas Hot to the tangy vinegar flavor of Carolina Mustard, there was not a bad choice in the house. Even better, I could mix them all together and make a sweet-heat-mustard-honey badger (yes, the have a sauce called Honey Badger) mix that everything else got dunked into.

Still, that was over a year ago and I don’t make it to St. Louis that much. Until a few weeks ago. On the way to Indianapolis (where we ate at St. Elmo’s Steakhouse), we got hungry. Part of me wanted to just drive through somewhere and keep driving, but then I remembered the seven sauces. And the Ski in the fountain…

As a side note: I don’t know what it is, but in the last month or so I have developed an unhealthy fascination with French fries dipped in BBQ sauces (note the plural on that, more in a minute.) It started when we went to Meat Mitch at the new Kansas City International airport, only got worse when we actually went to Meat Mitch, and got a surprise boost when we stopped at Sugarfire.

If I could, I would have just ordered fries so I could dip them, but I figured as an adult I should order real food, too. I got a really nice chef’s salad and some of the best freaking collard greens I’ve ever had. (Yes, I realize collard greens don’t really fit the theme, but I like collards and fell in love with theirs.) A lot of greens are just bacon delivery methods, but the collards at Sugarfire have a very nice onion flavor and seem to incorporate a little of their Sugarfire 57 sauce to give them a sweetness I found very refreshing.

Anyway, I digress. The salad was amazing, but the fries were where it was at. I mixed the sauces into my favorite sweet-heat-vinegar combo. It was just the perfect blend of spice, brown sugar, black pepper, onion, garlic, and all the flavors that make BBQ sauce worth tasting and I used it for everything. Need sauce for a fry? I used that blend. Lettuce needed a little pick me up? BBQ sauce! Brisket on the salad? Dunk it in sauce mix. You get the picture.

Anyway, it was pretty tremendous and as I type this post, I realize that my chance to go back to Sugarfire may not come again soon. But one thing I know: St. Louis isn’t that far away and someday soon, I will enjoy its delicious BBQ sauce…er restaurant again.

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