Photo by Roberto Rodriguez

Smoki O'S

Whether it ends in a burst bubble or smokes on indefinitely, the St. Louis barbecue boom of recent years has been remarkable to behold. As someone who isn’t a St. Louis native, however, I’ve found that this barbecue renaissance has distracted me from learning more about the area’s longstanding barbecue traditions. I can’t think of a better place to start than Smoki O’s, just north of downtown, where Otis and Earline Walker have been cooking since 1997. The snoots here are a unique St. Louis treasure, thick slices grilled to a crunchy crisp. Each bite packs char-kissed porky flavor enriched by a sweet, tomato-based sauce.