Parker’s Smokehouse

It’s been tough to find really good barbecue around here for a while now. First Tony Roma’s, then Famous Dave’s slid from outstanding to mediocre to not-wort-it. Dickie’s looked promising, but I suspect their obscure location and high prices were what led to their early demise. I haven’t been to McKenna’s in recent years, so we’ll have to try them again some time. But until then…. we’ve been to Parker’s a few times now, and the food has been uniformly outstanding. If you like BBQ, this is the place to go! There are three locations that we know of — Nebraska City, Lincoln and the one we’ve been to, between Ashland and Greenwood on Highway 6. It’s not too much of a drive from Omaha, a nice unhurried run down 6 from Gretna.

The wait staff is knowledgeable about their menu and the various sauces. The ribs, chicken, brisket and pulled pork have all been excellent. What really surprised me was the catfish. Many places serve their catfish cooked beyond death, a heavily cornbreaded bit of fishy leather. No so Parker’s! The catfish was tender, juicy and some of the best I’ve had anywhere that I can recall (the absolute best had to be from Smoky Bones). They have half a dozen sauces that your waiter or waitress will walk you through, with some potato wedges for sampling them. The sauces range from pretty good to truly excellent. None are blazing hot, but a couple do bring a reasonable level of spiciness.

The atmosphere is very informal, but not the throwing-biscuits-at-you kind. They play decent music, though the place is loud enough most of the time it’s just background noise. It’s not objectionably noisy; you can still carry on a conversation with others at your table. Just don’t expect to eavesdrop on the next table over. Prices are moderate and reasonable, portions are average to generous, appetizers are pretty good. They do carry-out as well, though it’s a bit of a drive (or ride)… so you’ll probably want to grab a table and enjoy it hot.