Moonlite Bar-B-Q

July 13, 2007

Anyplace outside of Memphis calling itself “The Barbecue Capital of the World” is going to get raised eyebrows from me. Owensboro, Kentucky makes that claim, so I headed there to check it out. My destination was the Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, the most celebrated barbecue pit in town.


Moonlite smokes the usual: pork–ribs, shoulder and ham–chicken, and beef. The unusual item coming off the pit is mutton. Why mutton? According to a booklet published by the Bosley family. who owns the Moonlite, one possibility is that Welsh farmers who settled the area were partial to mutton, while another theory holds that Catholic immigrants from Europe would serve mutton at their picnics. However it got here, mutton is a big presence on the Moonlite menu: the place smokes some 10,000 pounds of mutton a week.

I still prefer pork, but the mutton was interesting to try. Moonlite serves everything but ribs in their buffet. which costs $9 at lunch, $12.15 for dinner Monday through Thursday, and $14.75 on weekends.  They also offer “fiddlers,” a term you hear in West Tennessee, which means an entire catfish minus the head.

Here’s a photo of Pat Bosley, a third generation member of the family that owns Moonlite. You can see quartered mutton on the top rack and pork shoulders down below.


Moonlite justifies a trip to Owensboro, which also hold a big barbecue festival every year. But Barbecue Capital of the World? No way!

This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.

Picking on the Bluegrass Hall of Fame

July 13, 2007

Last month I attended a wedding in Western Kentucky in a hamlet that some optimistic soul had named Central City. It is neither. On the day between the rehearsal dinner and the nuptial ceremony, my parents and I set out to explore the region. We headed to Owensboro and the International Bluegrass Music Museum. I know, I know, this isn’t Tennessee, but a bluegrass hall of fame by definition will contain many people from the volunteer state, so it’s worth a look.

The Museum occupies two floors of the RiverPark Complex, a new building extending an optimistic face toward the Ohio River with a dead downtown behind it. We entered the Museum on Saturday morning and, except for one employee, we were the only people there. The Museum has very good images–a large photo of Bill Monroe when Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs played in his band. Perhaps the funniest photo is one of Monroe, always a clothes horse, wearing jodhpurs.


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