Selecting Riverfront Times' Selecting Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis 2011 was no picnic. Choosing the winner meant several worthy candidates would go unmentioned -- until now. In this Gut Check series, we are chewing our way through notable runners up in a number of categories. To see hundreds more winners and finalists and download the Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis mobile app, visit our Best of St. Louis homepage.
How do you know that 2011 has been a very, very good year for barbecue in St. Louis? Because neither of the two restaurants that have garnered the most national attention -- and deservedly so -- can claim the top spot.
Here are Riverfront Times' five finalists in the category "Best Barbecue."
5. The Piccadilly at Manhattan (7201 Piccadilly Avenue; 314-646-0016)
The Piccadilly is the only one of the finalists that isn't a barbecue joint. In fact, barbecue -- specifically, baby-back ribs -- isn't always available at this neighborhood gem near the city's border with Maplewood. So if you happen to visit on a day when owner Nick Collida has fired up the smoker, don't hestiate: Order a rack of the smoky, meaty, tender ribs. (If the ribs aren't available, don't fret. The rest of the menu is pretty tasty, too.)
4. PM BBQ (Long Road & Edison Avenue, Chesterfield; 636-536-1966)
After several years of winning trophies in local barbecue contests, Paul Lamers and Mark Ruck opened their first restaurant last year. They continue to rack up awards, including a nod from Riverfront Times as "Best Beef Brisket" in 2011. The brisket, smoked for twelve hours, is so tender that the restaurant isn't afraid to slice it a bit on the thick side. Just as delicious is the moist, peppery smoked half-chicken.
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