Sunday, July 17, 2011
Word of mouth takes us to Jucy’s, Texas Bar-B-Q in Kentucky
According to a recent study from the University of Michigan, about $86 billion is spent each year on advertising in the United States. But often the best form of advertising is done by word of mouth.
During a recent visit to Mark’s Feed Store barbecue restaurant in Louisville (see my earlier review), we were enthusiastically steered by another customer to a place in nearby LaGrange, Ky., -- Big R’s Bar-B-Q.
Making our way there for dinner on July 4, we were disappointed to find Big R's closed while it moved to a new location.
Undaunted, we went to the nearest gas station to ask the locals for other recommendations. Go to another eight miles down the road to a place in PeWee Valley called Jucy’s, we were told.
We wouldn’t be disappointed, they said.
Our only regret is that we didn’t meet Tommy Hiltzman, also known as “The Jucy Man.” Jucy’s takeout menu and web site make a point of encouraging you to “step up and meet The Jucy Man himself.”
If we had, we would have thanked the Longview, Texas, native for making some of the best beef brisket that we’ve had since leaving the Lone Star State.
According to an employee and the company bio, Hiltzman, frustrated that he couldn’t find good brisket around Louisville, decided to open up his own place in 1994 with his wife Donna.
In August of 1996, they opened Jucy’s along a railroad line at 7626 LaGrange Road (also state road 146).
After you walk in the door, to your left will be something you don’t see as often in Indiana – a steam table with a short cafeteria line. Instead of sitting down and waiting for a waitress, customers wait in line and make their selections.
In addition to beef brisket, Jucy’s also serves pork ribs, pulled pork and chicken, smoked turkey breast and their honey ham. Jucy’s also sells smoked pork tenderloin by the pound. On Mondays, they serve all-you-can-eat ribs (but not on holidays like July 4).
My only complaint is that they weigh your meat on a scale right in front of you – which left me wanting more, particularly after the first bite.
The wood piles outside provide ample proof that your dinner is smoked on the premises. We were told that they smoke the meats slowly over hickory for hours – including beef brisket for 16 hours. The smoker is located, under lock and key, to the left of the main entrance and its pipe extends through the roof.
What we found was that Hiltzman achieved his objective. However, as we experienced in Texas, the beef was superior to the pork ribs, which we found to be somewhat dry and stringy.
However, we also are confident that we would find them even better on another night. Since returning to Bloomington, I’ve be told as much by a few people I trust who’ve also eaten at Jucy’s.
More good word-of-mouth advertising -- although next time we want to try Big R's.