The credit card machine kept disconnecting. I didn’t have cash, or my checkbook. “No problem,” said Perry Foster, “mail me a check.” Perry Foster’s Bar-B-Que embodied all that is good about humankind: Trust and harmony and world peace.
Oh, and taste. My lunch was a combo sandwich, generously endowed with smoked ham, brisket, chicken and burnt ends slathered with sauce, accompanied by a steering wheel-sized platter of homemade seasoned French fries. Perry and his cook laughed when I approached the sandwich with a knife and fork. “Your hands! Use your hands!” the cook coached me. “Eating barbecue ain’t pretty. It’s just good.”
A great barbecue joint goes beyond great food. Back when Perry Foster’s BBQ was in business on the south side of Warrensburg, several hundred photos adorned its walls. Among visages of Kansas City Chiefs and cheerleaders and Hank Williams’ wayward boy, Perry pointed to his favorite picture. “That’s the commander of Whiteman,” he said, “flanked by the two top generals in the Russian air force.” All three were smiling. When the Russian generals reported the highlights of their American experience, their favorite stop was Perry’s.
I sat back down, and finished exactly half my sandwich. Perry wrapped the rest, including the French fries, which I devoured the next day when I got home. But first, I sent him a check.
Barbecue is a way of life. It’s the foundation of our culture. And although few souls eat barbecue after church in their Sunday finest, it can be a religious experience.
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