Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 13

by Jim McCarty |
photos by Paul Newton |


rian Hash likes to compare the dual eating
and drinking establishments he owns to a
comfortable pair of blue jeans. "The brewery and kitchen are different pockets in the
same pair of pants," he says of Boondocks Kitchen
and Boat Town Brewing.
Diners at this establishment just south of Lebanon can choose whether to focus on food in the
kitchen or beer next door in the microbrewery. But
regulars like to meet in the middle to enjoy both
in the relaxing outdoor seating in between the two
"Our patio and backyard are one of the neatest
features about this," Brian says. "When the weather is nice and it's a great evening, we've got lights
hanging in the trees outside so you can enjoy your
dinner and a beer around the fire pit."
The brewery offers eight beers that are brewed on
site, plus a couple of guest taps from other breweries. The house beers range from a wheat beer and
a Dunkel to the flagship brew, Perficle, an imperial
stout that is aged in whiskey barrels.
There are also seasonal offerings, especially
around Oktoberfest when a special Munich lager is
brewed. There's always something that will appeal
to any beer lover's tastes.
This dining destination, open Thursday through
Sunday, started three years ago when the previous
owners took their beer-brewing hobby to the next
level and started a microbrewery. Its name came
from Lebanon's distinction as the aluminum boat
capital of the world. At first, food trucks set up at
the brewery. But they envisioned bigger things for
the Boat Town food scene.
The house next door to the brewery underwent
major remodeling and Boondocks Kitchen opened
inside on the 2018 Memorial Day weekend. Carl
Jackson joined the team to run the kitchen, sharing
his skills with smoked meats garnered from years of
competition cooking. "Everything he touches turns
to delicious," Brian says.
The result is a unique eatery at Exit 123 off Interstate 44 that focuses on barbecue and pizza.
The most popular item, a barbecue sampler, isn't
even on the menu. Carl tells the story of how Brian
walked into the kitchen and asked for something -
anything - to eat. "I made him a plate of all our different barbecue items and he walks to the brewery.

The next person in the door said, 'I want what he
got.' Before the night was over, we sold 12 of them."
Carl's take on the sampler platter includes his
slow-cooked, hickory-smoked pulled pork, burnt
ends and a smoked sausage. All that is covered by
a jumbo smoked wing, and depending on the day of
the week, is topped off with smoked chicken or ribs.
"So, they are getting a little bit of everything we do,"
Carl says. "It ends up being a little over a pound of
meat, and it comes with a side."
Most likely Carl will push customers to try the
baked beans, which is surprising considering he
doesn't eat beans himself. "I've won a couple competitions with my beans," he says. "I make them
strictly by sight and smell and then I will have
someone come in and taste them for me."
The secret to Carl's amazing baked beans is
molasses. "You've got to start with a good bean and
then just the right amount of peppers and onions,"
Carl says. "I like to use blackstrap molasses in mine
instead of regular sorghum. I put that in it and just
the right amount of brown sugar to bring up the
sweetness. Then depending on my mood I put burnt
ends in or pulled pork."
The other barbecue joint side staple - coleslaw
- features more of Carl's twists. "The only thing I do
different is I like a horseradish-based slaw. Just the
right amount of carrots in there, the right amount
of cabbage and onion and getting that horseradish
in there. It's sweet and has a kick too. I might occasionally throw a Granny Smith apple in to get some
He readily admits he follows no recipes, preferring to cook with a pinch of this and a handful of
that. "I just kind of build it off the cuff," he says.
"That's the best way to do stuff. Because everyone's
tastes change."
Experimenting leads to many options that don't
find their way onto the menu but are available to
those in the know. One of these is an Asian fusion
pizza that uses a blend of apple butter and teriyaki
as the sauce and smoked chicken as the topping. "I
put a wing on each piece of the pizza so you get your
appetizer and your meal together," he says.
Carl has another unusual pizza called "The One I
Like." Regulars will walk up to the counter and leave
their order in Carl's hands. They never know what it
will be because it constantly changes, depending on
the what the chef feels like that day.
"They trust me," he says. "I think I have fed them
good enough over the past 18 months where they

trust me to give them something good to eat and
they don't care what it is."
Pizzas were added to the menu a year ago. Carl
created a signature hand-tossed crust that cooks
crispy on the outside yet stays soft inside. His pizza
sauce is simple: crushed tomatoes, pink Himalayan
salt and fresh basil. He grates and blends his own
St. Louis-style cheeses, preferring whole milk mozzarella. The combination must work: He says the
eatery serves 200 to 300 pizzas every weekend.
Carl's favorite is The Pelican, his take on a
Hawaiian pizza. It's served with Canadian bacon,
pineapple and jalapenos with extra basil on top.
New to the menu is The Greek. Picture a gyro
served on top of a pizza, with cucumber-dill ranch
base and thinly sliced lamb. There are six specialty
pizzas, ranging from The Padre with a verde sauce
to the Dr. Feel Good, which has Alfredo sauce,
bacon and smoked chicken.
Another item that brings folks into the Boondocks
is Carl's jumbo wings. He sources huge wings. He
soaks them overnight in a weak brine, lightly coats
with his rub and then slow smokes for 4 to 5 hours.
His naked wings are the most popular. But he has
three increasingly hotter dry rub options, along
with four wet versions including a creamy buffalo
sauce Carl makes himself and a Spicy Gochujang.
If there's room after eating the Boondock's generous portions, consider ending your meal with a dessert flight. One of the few things not made on site,
these desserts are sourced from Springfield's Aviary
bakery. A flight is four small servings of desserts
that can include lemon blueberry, peanut butter,
fudge, chocolate, turtle or cherry cheesecake.
The chef ensures everything he makes has his
own touch on it, from his dry rub to his secret barbecue sauce. He refuses to use preservatives, preferring to make ingredients such as his dry rub
daily rather than add questionable additives.
"At the end of the day I want to be able to go
home and know that I put the best quality food
out that I can make myself," he says. "I like to see
smiles on faces, and I want to be that person who
put the smiles there."
Below, from left: Chef Carl Jackson puts a lot of creativity
into everything he serves, from his Margherita pizza to the slowcooked pulled pork, burnt ends, smoked sausage and chicken
included on the sampler platter. Whatever you order, you'll
find a craft brew next door that is the perfect companion for
your food. Shown here is the signature imperial stout, Perficle.

Boondocks Kitchen
Specialties: Jumbo chicken wings, hickory-smoked pulled pork, burnt ends, ribs and chicken, separately or in
a sampler platter. Pizza including The Pelican, Dr. Feel Good, The Greek and The Padre.
Price: Sandwiches $8-$10; wings $8 per half dozen, $15 per dozen; pizza $8-12.
Details: Open Thursday through Saturday, 5-9:30 p.m., Sunday noon-3:30 p.m. Closed Monday through Wednesday. Cash, check and credit cards accepted. Designated smoking area outside only. Free Wi-Fi.


Directions: Located at 18146 Campground Road, Phillipsburg, south of Lebanon at exit 123 off Interstate 44.
Contact: 417-664-5386; and on Facebook.

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Rural Missouri - November 2019

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

Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Intro
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Contents
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 4
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 5
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 6
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 7
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 8
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 9
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 10
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 11
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 12
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 13
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Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 15
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 16
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 17
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 18
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 19
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - 20
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Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - November 2019 - Cover4