Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Split Tree Barbeque (Alvaton, KY)

Bike:  Honda CBR1000RR Repsol - Limited Edition
Route:  Google Maps (Split Tree is at Checkpoint B, even though Google Maps thinks it is somewhere else.) 

It's true that Split Tree is less than one mile from my house. But with a pre-lunch trip to the gas station and a few miles of post-lunch back roads, this trip filled up my lunch break nicely. And it was perfectly timed as I just beat the storm home.

Obviously I'm a sucker for pictures that feature a good fence row.
Split Tree Barbeque.
This is what a BBQ joint should look (and smell) like. There is only one cash register, so the line easily backs up to the door if you get there at the wrong time. Those are business cards on the walls, left by patrons over the years.
I prefer to eat in the glassed-in patio area. There is an obvious hunting motif at work here.
Sliced Pork Sandwich & BBQ Beans.
The legendary House Special. Under all those BBQ Beans is two Corncakes topped with BBQ Pork.

VERDICT:  When I think BBQ, I think Split Tree. Jerome's pulled pork (which they served "Chopped" or "Sliced") is the standard by which I judge all others. It has a perfect smoke flavor and while it's not exactly moist, it is certainly not too dry. Whether you order it chopped or sliced, the texture is perfect. The product at some other places is so finely shredded and so moist that I'm left wondering what kind of machine created it. But here you can watch them slice or chop your order, so there is no mystery.

The house BBQ sauce is a rather thick and slightly sweet tomato & vinegar affair with just a bit of spice. I like it with the ribs or chicken, and I often order extra sauce to take home for other uses. But the pork is so good that I prefer it without sauce. If you order a sandwich, ask for the sauce on the side so you can decide for yourself.

They keep everything simple here by concentrating on just three things: Pork (chopped or sliced), Ribs, & Chicken. Everything is smoked over hickory (only hickory) and the smoker is running seven days/nights per week. The quality is remarkably consistent from one visit to the next.

Of course they offer the typical side items: Potato Salad, Coleslaw, and BBQ Beans. But there is nothing typical about the beans! They contain plenty of pepper, pork, and something else. Magic, maybe? Sweet, sweet, wood-fired magic? I quit trying to figure it out. I just mix a little of the house sauce with these beans and it's a meal by itself.

Located less than ten minutes off I-65, this place is most definitely worth the short detour if you're ever passing through.

Pretty ladies in minivans like BBQ, too.
Speaking of pretty ladies... More about this one in the next ride report when we take this sweet thing to her homeland to sample a different style of BBQ.
I'm also a sucker for the White Church + Cemetery pics.
Y. Why, why, why?!?

Nice fence!
A wide berth.
A storm.
Very similar to my MotoUSA Picture of the Week, probably because it is the exact same section of road.
I know... I know...

I set my childhood bicycle speed record on that hill. Said record has not been surpassed in adulthood, 'cause I don't ride bicycles.
Racin' the storm. Headin' home...


UPDATE:  When I ran out of time to fire up my own grill for dinner, I went back to Split Tree to grab some more BBQ. Is that wrong?  I was hoping to get some chicken, but I got there after closing time and they were all out. Having overdosed on pork in the past and not wanting to do that again, I didn't actually eat more for dinner. But I did take the opportunity to snap a couple more pictures. Update II will show the BBQ Chicken. Soon.

Jerome. He's the man with the BBQ plan. Make sure you say hi.
1/2 pound orders of Spare Ribs, Chopped Pork, & Sliced Pork sans sauce. Nice smoke ring, huh?

UPDATE II (7/13/11):  I had to grab some take-out for lunch from somewhere today, so here's the BBQ Chicken. I ordered two Chicken Halves, and they were just ready to come off the smoker. I'm a white-meat guy, and I was surprised how moist the breast was. And you don't need a fork & knife, as the meat is already falling off the bone.

Whole BBQ Chicken, Arnold Palmer, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, & Corncakes.

So, there it is... the whole Split Tree menu in two days! That was fun.

UPDATE III (12/10/11):  Christmastime Test Ride for BBQ.
Bike:  Honda CRF70F
Route:  Google Maps

It's not quite Christmastime yet, but in a couple weeks somebody in our house is getting his first motorcycle as a surprise gift. It's not brand new because if things go well we'll probably outgrow it next year and be ready for something bigger in 2013, anyway. It just had some engine work done at a local shop and it should be ready to go for Spring, and of course I wanted to give it a quick test ride before I hide it in the neighbor's garage. So, since it was around lunch time and my napping wife was unable to stop me, I present...

The shortest Countryside Food Ride ever!

Trying not to get arrested, I did have to break Rule #3. No worries -- that's a soft rule, and this was fun! And if it's fun for someone running about 80 pounds over the weight limit, it should be a lot more fun for the one about 40 pounds under...

That sign does not concern me today.
Turn signal.
Serious Lean Angle I. 
So the bars are a little bent and the brake lever is partially snapped off, but that's just fine for now. I should be able to fix that stuff before Christmas.
Almost there...
Serious Lean Angle II.
Split Tree BBQ.
Christmas Present.

Now THAT is a sandwich! Chopped BBQ + Slaw.

High Five! I mean, Thumbs Up!
Serious Lean Angle III.
Serious Lean Angle IV.
Headin' home, looking forward to Christmas morning...


UPDATE IV (12/23/11):  Now time for my Christmas present -- a Split Tree Smoked Turkey! I can't tell you how good this place smells while 30 turkeys that just came off the smoker are waiting to be picked up...

Split Tree's Holiday Smoked Turkey (limited number available for Thanksgiving & Christmas).

UPDATE V (4/1/14):  No April Fools joke...

Sunset at Split Tree.



  1. Nice blog page, I enjoyed this Split Tree BBq ride. I found your blog looking for reviews on The Split Tree BBq, I to am a BBq'er and a motorcyclist. I will be riding back from a crawfish boil friends are having in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in May I will stop at The Split Tree BBq on my way back to Cincinnati, I will be riding my old CBR F-2 maybe see you there on May 11th around 1:30pm.
    Thanks for the nice post!

    1. Thanks! Did you happen to stop by on your way back to Cincinnati? I wasn't around 'till later that night.