Rural Missouri - May 2021 - 40
photo courtesy Alfrea Crenshaw
Above: Alfea and April named their restaurant Hercules Southern BBQ after Alfea's late stepfather. Hercules passed on his barbecue prowess -
including his smoker that Alfea drove up from Texas - to his stepson. Opposite page, clockwise from top: Baby back ribs are available as a
quarter, half or full rack. Alfea smokes his pork steaks over a combination of oak and charcoal for orders in both the restaurant and catering jobs.
wrapped in foil to ensure maximum tenderness.
Hercules operated a small barbecue stand in Houston,
" The ﬂavor to me is a light smoke and kind of a comTexas, and Alfea convinced him to bring his smoker to
bination between a smoked and grilled taste, " Alfea says.
Piedmont and they'd collaborate on a restaurant. In the
" With that seasoning it's a little salty and garlicky; it just
course of that process, Hercules' health began failing and
melts in your mouth. "
he ultimately passed away. " These are all his recipes. He
Other smoked items not to miss are the baby back ribs
showed me how to do everything, " Alfea says. " I thought
- the Crenshaws' favorite - and brisket, which is only
it would be very special to name it after him. I can only
available on Fridays.
aspire to be as good as him. "
Saturday has become a popular night at the restaurant
Alfea uses a trio of smokers - including Hercules'
as well, but not necessarily for the barbecue. They serve
smoker he drove up from Texas - to prepare all the
up hand-cut, USDA choice rib-eye, sirloin and New York
smoked meats going out the door. He uses a combination
strip steaks cooked just to your liking along with a pair
of oak and charcoal for his ribs, chicken and pork steaks
of sides - a fresh garden salad and baked potato are the
and cherry, hickory and applewood for pork butts and
most popular. Steaks are available after 2 p.m. and they
brisket. " As the briskets and butts cook, we spray them
prepare around 80 steak dinners weekly.
with apple juice to seal in all the moisture so they're
A few years ago, the Crenshaws were looking to extender, " Alfea says.
pand the restaurant to accommodate more diners. After
There's a chance your meal at Hercules will start and
some searching, they relocated the restaurant into their
stop at the appetizer menu. If you're hungry,
current location on the north side of Piedmont right as
go for the Loaded Pulled Pork Nachos. A bed
the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. Their
of tortilla chips is topped with Alfea's tender
prior experience just offering carryout paid off and
pulled pork, nacho cheese, barbecue sauce,
they were able to survive the difﬁcult and unknown
jalapenos, sour cream, bacon bits and onions.
conditions. " It was a chance we took, " Alfea says.
" When we go to festivals we take these, the kids
" We had to change the way we did our food, but
love them, " April says.
our team made it work. When the mandate was
So plentiful are the portions of their most
removed, we were able to open our dining room
popular appetizer, they serve them in to-go
and still keep tables separated. "
containers to prevent the heaping nachos from
Having diners back in the restaurant was a
sliding off the plate.
welcome change for April. " My favorite part is seeing the
Substitute the tortilla chips for a baked potato and lose
repeat customers who we've come to know, " she says. " Esthe jalapenos and onions and you have another popular
pecially after the past year, it's good to see them out. "
item, the loaded baked potato. " It's almost like you get
For Alfea, it's about becoming part of the community
three or four courses with just one item, " Alfea says.
and honoring his stepfather.
It wouldn't be a Missouri barbecue joint if they didn't
" The big thing is being able to carry on the traditions of
serve pork steaks. The Crenshaws, members of Black
Hercules for me, " Alfea says. " 'Herc' did lots of barbecuing,
River Electric Cooperative, source their 3/4-inch thick
and just to see peoples' faces when they taste his barbepork steaks from a local grocer. Alfea uses a combination
cue, man that gives me a rush. I want people to have that
of seasonings on the raw meat before slowly smoking over
same reaction to mine as they did his. "
charcoal and oak. Once they're ﬁnished, the steaks are
RURAL MISSOURI | MAY 2021
4/7/21 10:52 AM
Rural Missouri - May 2021
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