It appears that you're using a severely outdated version of Safari on Windows. Many features won't work correctly, and functionality can't be guaranteed. Please try viewing this website in Edge, Mozilla, Chrome, or another modern browser. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused!Read More about this safari issue.
Have you ever been to Booneville, Arkansas, the small town located just about equidistance between Fort Smith and Russellville? It’s south of both towns, and frankly, kind of in the middle of nowhere. But as I found out recently, Booneville is home to one of the very best barbecue experiences in the state. That would be at Reid’s Hometown Barbecue. Owner and pitmaster, Steve Reid, along with family members who help run the front-of-the-house, have been serving up barbecue in the heart of downtown for the past six years.
I have been following their journey online for at least half of that time, and when it comes to barbecue, pictures don’t lie. There’s a big difference between good ‘cue and destination ‘cue and Reid’s photos were telling me that this was food worthy of the two-hour drive (each way) from Little Rock.
Turns out, I was correct. Reid’s Hometown Barbecue is without question destination barbecue.
You will be tempted to start the meal with a Reid’s Sampler. The $16 offering comes with a little of each of the menu’s meal-starters. That includes three different fries and pulled pork nachos (or three sliders). As tempting as that sounded, my tablemate and I ended up listening to our server’s wise recommendation of the Karly Fries. Five minutes later, a metal tray of seasoned fries topped with Reid’s “mild slather” sauce, a house-made comeback sauce, and smoked chicken, hit the table. Try as we could to show restraint, we devoured the fries, throwing caution to the wind in favor of an appetizer highlighted by an insanely addictive, house-made seasoning that gave the fries a perfect combination of sweet and salty flavor.
The fries proved to be a harbinger of even better food to come.
An order of burnt ends, a Saturday special ready at 12:30 p.m., was smoky, barky, bites of beefy joy. As for the pork spareribs? They were simple, as they should be, with a nice seasoning of salt and pepper to compliment that smoke ring and tender, slightly resistant meat bite. The fall-off-the-bone rib is a no-no in my book, so props to Reid’s for getting it correct.
Speaking of correct, the sliced brisket on our 3 Meat Dinner brought me back to my Texas barbecue-eating days where brisket is king. In fact, very few Arkansas joints treat brisket as well as Reid’s. Slices of smoked turkey and a pile of pulled pork were also met with favorable results, as was our side of fried okra tossed with that aforementioned seasoning.
About the only thing that underwhelmed was the mac & cheese. While gooey and not lacking cheese, something was a little off with this mac. Maybe a different cheese blend is needed. Whatever the case, it was a minor speedbump in an otherwise tremendous meal.
Make sure to save a little room for dessert, which includes a selection of fried pies and cheesecakes. The raspberry fried pie, as selected by our server, has a thin crust, and was loaded with a plentiful, jam-like filling.
If you love truly elite barbecue, Reid’s Hometown Barbecue needs to be on your to-do list. No matter what corner of Arkansas you’re coming from, I assure you that this food is worth the drive. In a state filled with barbecue, Reid’s is one of our best.
Reid’s Hometown Barbecue
42 W Main St. (Booneville)
Hours: Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Closed Sunday-Wednesday
Sign up for our weekly e-news.
Get stories sent straight to your inbox!