As the legend goes, a traveler staying at the small hotel in Hot Springs owned by Alex and Gladys McClard could not pay his bill for a two-month stay and offered alternative compensation: a recipe for the "the world's greatest barbecue sauce." The rest is history. They transformed the hotel into a barbecue restaurant in 1928 - goat was the centerpiece of the menu - and moved to their current location in 1942. Second-, third- and fourth-generation McClard family members continue to cook and serve magnificent barbecue at McClard's Bar-B-Q Restaurant. Ribs (wet or dry), pork and beef (both available pulled or chopped), sandwiches, and tamales comprise the menu. The thin, peppery vinegar sauce that's slightly sweet and finishes with a spicy kick lives up to the hype. The rib and fry plate, with no insignificant amount of fries, is among the most popular items, as is the behemoth tamale spread. This monstrous creation consists of two open-faced tamales covered with Fritos, beans, chopped beef bbq, and a ton of cheese and onions. Somewhat akin to a Frito pie, but from a barbecue angle, it carries an intense combinations of flavors. Strange as it may sound, it's an absolute must try at McClard's.
"Many regular customers get their ribs on a "rib and fry" plate, which
is a rack of meaty bones with crusty edges and succulent insides
completely covered over with a serving of superb French fried potatoes.
Eating such a meal is an inevitably messy task, requiring nimble fingers
and plenty of napkins, for utensils are useless; but the process of
picking up a few fries every time you tear off a rib soon becomes an art
unto itself; and the savor of the moist, sweet meat close to the bone
is simply beyond description."
- Michael Stern, Roadfood.com
, April 7, 2010