Genuine barbecue is supposed to be found in a backwoods setting, with a pungent fragrance and a hand-lettered sign on a wooden door alerting you to its presence. Wolf's Bar-B-Q Pork in Evansville, Ind., has the hickory-smoked aroma, but its atmosphere is deluxe, with carpeting and a canopied entrance.
But in the back, pork, beef, chicken and mutton are cooked slowly over open flames that are tended by a "pit man" holding a garden hose to control the heat. The pits are fired up at 5:30 a.m., and basted meats are cooked from three to eight hours. A second sauce, tomato-based and sharp, is used to douse the meats after cooking.
The Wolf family has been serving its delicious smoked meats for more than half a century. Two years ago, a barbecue rivalry of three decades duration in Evansville ended when Wolf's bought out Mac's Famous Barbecue, an adherant of cooking over coals, and converted it to a second open-pit restaurant. Now 700 happy eaters can eat Wolf's barbecue simultaneously in Evansville.
A word to the traveler: as if that isn't enough, Evansville grocery stores carry pans and tubs of the barbecue to go, so it pays to carry a cooler.