Super Smokers BBQ: Known Across the United States and Beyond for Outstanding Barbecue
Many awards and trophies have put a lot of shine on this hometown restaurant. People from 50 states and all around the world have stopped in at this barbecue center, which can claim the "World Barbecue Championship."
Like barbecue? There’s no need to drive to Kansas City or Memphis, because right here in Eureka, one of the best St. Louis barbecue joints in the United States exists.
Owner Terry Black and his late business partner, Ron Skinner, started Super Smokers BBQ 17 years ago, doing catering at first. Fifteen years ago, the property for a Eureka restaurant named Cactus Jack’s became available, and they liked the location. They since became a landmark fixture on this particular hill in Eureka.
“At that time, nobody was sharing Memphis style barbecue with the St. Louis market. We knew it would be well received,” Black said, noting that Memphis style barbecue has an emphasis on seasonings and smoke, with sauce added just at the end of the process.
“We got involved with barbecue contests back in the '80s,” said Black. He said his passion then turned into a business.
“It’s great—I get paid to barbecue every day. All my family works here, too,” he said.
Black and his barbecue team have won a lot of barbecue trophies from around the country.
All these trophies and awards are good for business, putting a lot of shine on this hometown restaurant. Black has a bit of celebrity status in the area due to the barbecue competitions that Super Smokers has won. "Today Terry is on a KFNS talk radio show about barbecue," said Cheryl Curran, a Eureka resident who is assistant manager at the restaurant. "He took in some samples for the deejays to taste and talk about."
An O'Fallon resident, Black is a former health care marketer with a charming Southern drawl and a good head for business. “A lot of people don’t know that catering is a big part of our business, at least 35 percent of it. We do every kind of catering you can think of, from birthday parties to corporate events and everything in between,” he added.
Black’s secret weapons are his great staff, and his state-of-the-art "Cook Shack" brand barbecue smoker. “This beauty holds 750 pounds of meat, he said. “We marinate our port butts for almost 24 hours, and then smoke them for another 15 hours. We’re very proud of the smoker, which uses a fuel made of 100 percent wood pellets—a combination of apple and oak," he said.
Specialties of the eatery are their pork loin back ribs, which are served with two sides at $18.99. “Pulled pork is our No. 1 selling meat,” said Black, noting that virtually every order that goes out the door or on their dining room tables also has a serving of their special barbecued beans. “The main reason these beans are so popular is that the main ingredient could be considered a first cousin to our championship sauce,” he said.
Their barbecue pork, turkey, brisket and chicken sandwiches are always popular at $8.29 and $9.29. They have a full carry-out menu, and their family packs are great for parties. They offer a “senior-sized” menu with smaller portions, and the $3.79 kids menu includes hot dogs, macaroni and cheese or sandwiches.
For people who regularly travel Interstate 44, Super Smokers is often a planned lunch or dinner stop. “We’ve had people in here from every one of the 50 states and from all around the world,” said Black.
Because barbecue is an American innovation, foreigners are especially intrigued with it. “It’s pretty different for them. They all go away wishing they had barbecue in their home country!” Black said.
Nestle salesmen Javier Ordonez and Tom Junker come to Eureka regularly to serve the Nestle accounts at Wal-Mart. "We've been coming here for years; it's definitely a treat. It's as good a barbecue as you can get anywhere," said Ordonez. Junker chimed in, "Why drive to KC or Memphis for barbecue when we've got Super Smokers right here in St. Louis?"
Black sums up his restaurant’s success by noting: “There’s a lot of hype about barbecue in the St. Louis market, but the fact is that we’re really the only barbecue team from St. Louis to ever win the World Barbecue Championship.”