Classic Eats is a series about old-school and beloved Southern dining establishments. Do you have suggestions? Leave them in the comments.
Those who don’t think that Arkansas is known for its barbecue have clearly never visited McClard’s in Hot Springs. The McClards first opened as a diner in 1928 but soon became known for their barbecue. Legend has it that a traveler who couldn’t pay his bill traded his dinner for a recipe for the world’s best hot sauce, which they later incorporated into their dishes. They moved to this location in 1942 and the restaurant has been run by the couple’s descendants since then, serving up over 7,000 pounds of barbecue every week. It’s not located on the main drag that most tourists see in Hot Springs but is well worth the drive. It’s a favorite of celebrities and actors as well as former president Bill Clinton.
Barbecued pork, beef, and chicken are the main attractions, topped in wet or dry coatings, so be sure to try it, but other items are just as delicious. Their hand-rolled tamales taste straight from the Delta and french fries are hand cut. If you’re feeling especially hungry, try the Frito Pie, a massive concoction of meat, cheese, onions, and, of course, a topping of Fritos. Dieters may want to look elsewhere, as McClard’s is serious about their meat.
If You Go
I visited McClard’s BBQ on a trip coordinated by Visit Hot Springs and Geiger Public Relations.