Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Pork Belly Pastrami

Belleville’s Beast Craft BBQ has daily specials, as you might expect from a restaurant, and I’ve reviewed many of them in the years they’ve been open. But every now and again, they have something extra special, something so unique that it’s only around for a day or two, and you have to jump at the chance to get it before they sell out. Over the weekend, they offered such an item, a pork belly pastrami sandwich topped with dill cucumber salad, on sourdough, plus fries:

So, here’s the thing. When the owner of Beast messages you to let you know about the special, and tells you to get there early to try it, you really have to listen to him. So even though Ryan was out all day on Saturday (with our only vehicle), he found some time to swing by and pick one up for me.

That was a good call.

It’s obvious that I’ve liked everything I’ve tried at Beast, and have many favorites. This sandwich was extra special, though. The meat just melted in my mouth. It was so tender and so flavorful, and then when you add in the crunch of the cucumber salad…it’s definitely now one of my Beast favorites! I don’t know if they’ll ever bring it back, but if they do, I’m certainly going to have to get it again, and this time I know that I need to be there when they open, because I’m pretty sure Ryan got some of the last of it they had on Saturday, and that was at lunchtime!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: HAM!

I have a confession to make. I’m not really into ham. I mean, it’s fine for sandwiches…I don’t hate it or anything. But I’ve never really considered it to be special enough for a holiday like Christmas or Easter (even though Ryan suggests it almost every year), which is why it’s almost unheard of for a ham to make an appearance at our holiday table.

But this year, I was wanting to try something different, and I also wanted something that wouldn’t be too much work for me, because I knew that by the time our fancy Christmas dinner rolled around, my injured ankle and I would be pretty worn out (spoilers: I was right…I didn’t even decorate the table or use the china). So I decided to order a Compart Family Farms Cherry Smoked Duroc Bone-In Ham from our favorite local restaurant, Beast Craft BBQ.

So, yeah, I’ve changed my mind about ham for the holidays. This was truly the most delicious ham any of us ever tasted. The flavor from the smoke was just right…not overpowering, but definitely noticeable. The meat was so tender, and even though we didn’t really know what we were doing carving it, it cut so easily. And there was so much meat…we had ham dinners two nights, plus ham sandwiches for lunches, and I used the bone to make a great pot of bean soup, which fed us for another two dinners…and I’ve still got a bag of ham left in the freezer for a pasta dish I’m going to make next week! (Did I mention that there were nine of us, including four adults and three teenagers with big appetites, at Christmas dinner?) So even though it was a little expensive up front, we definitely got our money’s worth!

Here ends another happy tale of a delicious meal from Beast Craft BBQ. I’m always looking forward to seeing what they’re going to come up with next (I can’t wait to check out Beast Butcher & Block when it opens in the city this year!), and wondering what new menu item I might try in the future (right now, I can’t stop thinking about the #beercheesesteak, which includes bread browned in Wagyu tallow…pretty sure I’m going to have to eat that at some point!). We’ve been eating at Beast for four years now(!!!)…pretty much since they first opened, and I can still honestly say that everything we’ve tried (which has been a lot of stuff!) has been excellent!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: The Hawaiian

You would think that by now, Beast Craft BBQ would have run out of new combinations with which to tempt me.

You’d be wrong.

On Saturday, Beast introduced a new sandwich: The Hawaiian. It included pulled pork, smoked pineapple, and a jalapeño, cilantro, onion, and lime slaw. It sounded so good. But I was strong, and let it pass me by.

Until the next day, when it was on the menu again, and my resolve crumbled.

This sandwich is amazing. It’s even better than I thought it would be, and my expectations, because I know Beast so well, were high. The pulled pork, which I’ve had before, was as delicious as always. The slaw was just the right amount of spicy. And the smoked pineapple added the perfect extra something to the sandwich. I can only hope it appears on the menu again, because it was delicious!

Tasty Tuesday–The Best of Beast!

I’m still super excited that Beast Craft BBQ made the top 20 of Ian Froeb’s “STL 100” restaurant list, and was named the “best barbecue restaurant in the St. Louis area” on that list! I thought today, it would be fun to take a look back at all of the amazing meals I’ve had at Beast over the last three-plus years:

Some of the items pictured are from when Beast was just starting out, and don’t really appear on the menu anymore. Some are rather new addition’s to Beast’s menu, and are available regularly. And a few have been there from the beginning, and are such favorites that they’re menu staples. They all have one thing in common, though, and that’s how delicious they are!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Wagyu Beef Eater

Last Saturday morning, I woke up to discover that the St. Louis-Post Dispatch had published Ian Froeb’s “STL 100” restaurant list online, a day ahead of the print version coming out in the paper. I always look forward to this list, because I like to see what food in St. Louis is good. In general, the top spots are taken up by fancy restaurants that I just can’t afford to eat at. This year, however, I can actually say that I’ve eaten at a “Top 20” restaurant…frequently!!!…because Beast Craft BBQ right here in Belleville made the cut, and was also named the “best barbecue restaurant in the St. Louis area!” This of course came as no surprise to me, because I’ve know about Beast’s awesomeness for over three years now, but it’s still exciting every time they receive another accolade!

Anyway, in honor of that, Ryan decided that I should try something new from Beast for lunch that day. I’ve heard so much good buzz about the Wagyu beef that I knew I had to try the Wagyu Beef Eater, which almost seems like it was custom-made for me, because it has all my favorites: beer braised beef, grilled onions, horsey sauce, and Swiss cheese, all served on Beast’s amazing Texas toast:

I am not exaggerating when I say the beef just melted in my mouth…Wagyu definitely lives up to the hype! The sauce was perfect, and gave the sandwich just the right kick. And of course, grilled onions and Swiss always make a beef-based sandwich even more delicious!

I also tried the loaded fries (I know…I’m just as shocked as you are that I didn’t get the fried Brussel sprouts, because they’re my favorite, but I wanted to try something new!). Beast makes great fries, and these were topped with sauced pork, white cheddar jalapeño cheese, and green onions. This, too, was delicious, and the cheese was just the right amount of spicy.

On a side note, you currently have the opportunity to reserve your Easter ham from Beast…a beautiful, Compart Family Farms Duroc cherry-smoked ham at that. They’re 8-9 pounds (bone-in) and they look amazing. If you’re looking for something new for your Easter table, you can’t go wrong with Beast!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Beer-Braised Pork Tacos

I think it’s obvious that I’m a fan of Beast Craft BBQ’s beer-braised pork…the carnitas are one of the best things I’ve eaten! They also put that delicious pork on tacos, and I had the chance to try them for the first time on Sunday (I have tried the pulled rib tacos in the past).

Not that I’m surprised, but these are SO GOOD. The flavor is reminiscent of the carnitas, and yet it’s its own thing. Three of the fabulous Beast tortillas (I seriously love these tortillas, whether they’re served plain or fried!), are filled with pork, cotija cheese, and a red cabbage slaw, and topped with both BBQ and fry sauce. They also added a few slices of lime on the side, and a little squeeze of juice adds a lot of flavor! The tacos are just the right amount of spicy, with the right amount of crunch, and the pork is just as good in tacos as it is as carnitas. I wonder if they can find anything else to do with it? If they do, you can be certain I’ll try it!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: The Brisket Mac Attack!

About two weeks ago, Beast Craft BBQ debuted a new “sammich” on their menu, and it had been a long time since I tried one of their sammiches! So on the way home from the grocery store, we stopped and I got the “Brisket Mac Attack”–Texas chainsaw brisket, smoky bacon mac ‘n’ cheese, shredded cheese, and grilled onions on Texas toast. I also got a side order of the mac ‘n’ cheese, because I don’t think I’ve tried it since they landed on their current recipe.

This sammich is not for the faint of heart…the sauce packs some major heat. But it was the perfect combination, because the mac ‘n’ cheese and shredded cheese helped cool it down some, the onions added a nice flavor, and the bread was toasted perfectly…well, the top piece, anyway. The bottom piece had completely disappeared under the meat and sauce, but I assume it was just as good!

Beast has had some other new menu items recently, as well, including pork taquitos which are AMAZING, and grilled peaches topped with blackberry butter and mint, the perfect summer side dish!

I will warn you, if you want to carry out food, especially on a Sunday in our experience, you need to be prepared to wait. Ryan was in the restaurant for almost half an hour waiting for my sammich and his turkey to be prepared, even though it wasn’t overwhelmingly busy, and he was a little frustrated by the time he made it back to the car. Calling ahead definitely alleviates some of that, but I think that on the weekends, you just need to expect that you’re going to have to wait it out.

Tasty Tuesday…on a Wednesday!–Beast Craft BBQ: Beer-Braised Carnitas

My love for carnitas is well-documented…I just shared a link to my crock-pot carnitas recipe (which I originally published here five years ago!), yesterday! So when I saw that Beast Craft BBQ, my very favorite BBQ place, was serving beer-braised carnitas last week, I was very excited. I was also worried when I first saw it, because I thought it might be a one-time thing that I was going to miss out on, but now it appears that their carnitas will be making a regular appearance on the menu!

So, um, I’m pretty sure I should never make carnitas again. Because how could I ever compete with the amazing smokiness in the Beast carnitas? And they were served perfectly, with Beast’s delicious lime sour cream, diced tomatoes, and white cheddar. All on top of one their tortillas, which I already loved (seriously, best tortillas ever!), but with the added benefit of having been fried! Did I mention that I had it with the Texas Chainsaw BBQ sauce? I’m pretty sure I’ve never tried it before, and it has a great kick! This is seriously my new favorite dish from Beast!

Honestly, after all this time, I figured that their food would always be great (because it always is!), but that there wouldn’t be much new to look forward to. I am pleasantly surprised to discover that I was wrong, and I have even heard that there might be something else new in the future!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Taco Tuesday!

Can you believe it’s been almost one year exactly since I last reviewed something from Beast Craft BBQ? It hasn’t been quite that long since I’ve eaten there, but I haven’t seen anything new that’s caught my eye since last January. I recently saw tacos on their menu, though, and I told Ryan that I was pretty sure I needed to try them the next time they were offered, and today was that day!

This was actually one of the “lighter” meals I’ve had from Beast. The pulled pork rib is delicious, but not as fatty as, say, burnt ends, so you don’t feel like you’re eating as much. It is a little drier, due to the aforementioned lack of fat, so you may want to add the sauce that comes on the side. The red cabbage, onions, and homemade salsa gave it a nice fresh taste, and I already knew I liked the Beast tortillas, so that was a welcome part of the meal. And, of course, I had the brussels sprouts on the side, which were as delicious as always!

It was fun trying something new from Beast again, and I’ll keep watching the menu for whatever new items they may come up with!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Beer-Braised Short Rib Sammich

At the beginning of December, Beast debuted a new sandwich (I think, unless I missed it along the way), that I really wanted to try, but unfortunately, I couldn’t make it there that day. I waited (kind of) patiently for over a month, and last week, they finally had it again! It’s a beer-braised short rib sammich with onions, beer mustard, and some wonderful gooey gouda cheese, topped with pickle slices, on one of their amazing buns:

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This is my new favorite at Beast, which saying a lot, because I’ve tried so many amazing things there. It had a perfect combination of flavors and textures, and I wouldn’t change anything about it. As always, I’m so happy Beast came to Belleville, and I’m even happier that they’re doing so well, and continuing to come up with amazing new specials!