Rural Missouri - June 2019 - 15

Delicious smoked creations along Route 66
by Paul Newton | pnewton@ruralmissouri.coop

W

estward travelers on historic Route 66 aren't relatively far into their
journey to Los Angeles when they first spot Dennis Meiser's restaurant on their way into Cuba. But the smell of smoked meats, red
cedar walls and whimsical decor lets them know they're entering a
unique area.
"We get motorcycle groups and car clubs from all over the world that stop
here as they ride Route 66," he says. "We're kind of on the tip of the Ozarks. We
thought the decor and feel of the restaurant should bring them in and welcome
them to the Ozarks."
Dennis and his team at Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q have dished out awardwinning smoked staples, sandwiches and meat mashups to locals and travelers
for 17 years. With a focus on delicious, comforting food served quickly, diners
are sure to enjoy their Ozarks introduction.
Before Missouri Hick, Dennis owned a bar just down the road in Cuba and
lured customers in the summer with a free barbecue once or twice a month.
He'd make his own sauce and give away more economical items like pork steaks
and chicken quarters.
Dennis got out of the bar business and set his eyes on a vacant piece of property on the east side of town. "I was looking around Cuba and we didn't need
another pizza place or hamburger place or taco place," he says. "There was a
void for barbecue here."
Dennis purchased a sawmill and spent his days building the furniture and
decor and nights with his oldest sister creating signature dry rubs for each type
of meat he would serve.
Missouri Hick's name stems from Dennis' intention to smoke with hickory;
the mascot is still named Ory. The owner grew to prefer the sweet flavor imparted into the meats - notably the poultry and pork - from wild cherry, which is
readily available in Missouri.
If your mind isn't made up on a specific item or you can't decide, Dennis and
his staff don't hesitate on what to recommend: the sampler platter. The default
dish includes both pork butt and beef brisket which has been dry rubbed and
smoked to perfection for 12 hours. The pork is then pulled, brisket is chopped
just right and 2 to 3 ounces of each is plated and topped with a few St. Louisstyle ribs. If you don't fancy one of those options, you're free to substitute for
any of Missouri Hick's smoked options. The dish - and all dinners - are
served with your choice of two sides and Texas toast.
"That's a good place to start," the Crawford Electric Cooperative member
says. "You get a little bit of everything."
Poultry options include half chicken, pulled chicken and sliced turkey prepared a special way. Dennis rubs mayonnaise over a boneless, skinless turkey

breast and adds the dry rub. "That mayo brings a nice moisture to it," he says.
There's no shortage of sandwiches featuring Missouri Hick's smoked favorites. Nearly half of the 17 are available as either a 4- or 7-ounce handheld treat.
Traditionalists will enjoy the classic pulled pork sandwich. Order it Memphis
style and add coleslaw on top of the meat - free for any sandwich - and you'll
have Dennis' favorite.
Other interesting options include a Reuben featuring smoked corned beef,
a stuffed portabella sandwich with sausage and pepper jack cheese inside a
mushroom on an onion roll and a cheesy burnt end sandwich.
Go for Ory's Spud if you're interested in leftovers and a post-meal nap. The
heaping helping starts with some of the biggest potatoes Dennis can find which
are baked for 90 minutes, sliced at the top and pushed in from the ends forming a receptacle for more food. Baked beans are first in - soaking into the potato - followed by sauced pulled pork. This is one of the only dishes not sauced
at the table. It's covered with cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, bacon bits,
fresh-cut chives and seasoning. "We throw a sweet cherry tomato on top, the
crowning jewel. It's quite a meal," Dennis adds.
Whenever one of the potatoes is particularly large, he's susceptible to sneaking out to the dining room to see the lucky recipient's reaction.
"Inevitably it will be some little old lady and the look on her face will be
astounding," he says with a laugh. "I'm sure they take it home and make three
or four meals out of it."
The kitchen at Missouri Hick doesn't have any fryers, which speeds food out
of the kitchen. Nevertheless, there is no scarcity of sides, some of which are
recipes passed to Dennis from his mother.
A classic barbecue staple is one of the most popular sides at the restaurant.
"We add a lot of stuff to our baked beans," Dennis says. "There's a little beer,
brown sugar, different spices and we get a smoky flavor from our sauce and
pulled pork."
Missouri Hick does coleslaw two ways. The American slaw has a mayonnaise
base while the poppy seed slaw is more sweet vinegar. Of the nearly 20 sides,
other standouts include macaroni and cheese, cucumber and onions, hashbrown casserole and two potato salad choices.
If you plan your trip just right, you can take advantage of the smoked prime
rib on Friday nights or be sure to bring your appetite to all you can eat ribs on
Sundays.
You can't go wrong driving in for a quick meal or spending a leisurely weekend afternoon on the second-story patio watching travelers pass by on The
Mother Road.
"We've been blessed that we're a destination restaurant," Dennis says. "We
get our food out really quickly so they're not sitting here for two hours. They
can get their meal and head to wherever they're cruising to."

Above: Ory's Spud is a massive meal that includes a baked potato topped with beans, pulled
pork, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, bacon bits, chives and seasoning. Right: The sampler
platter at Missouri Hick lets you try a trio of their smoked meats, two sides and Texas toast.

Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q
Specialties: Smoked meats including beef brisket, pulled pork, St. Louis-style ribs, sausage sampler, half chicken
and pork loin. Barbecue creations include the Hick Bowl and Ory's Spud. Sides include American and poppyseed
coleslaw, cucumber and onions and baked beans.

Cuba

Price: Salads and bowls from $7.99 to $8.99. Sandwiches from $6.99 to $12.99. Dinners from $9.99 to $17.99.
Details: Open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Cash and all
major credit cards accepted. Free Wi-Fi.
Directions: Located at 913 E. Washington St. (Route 66) in Cuba.
Contact: 573-885-6791 and www.missourihick.com.

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Rural Missouri - June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2019

Contents
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Intro
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Contents
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - 4
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - 5
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - 6
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - 7
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - 8
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Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Cover4
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