St. Louis loves the slinger. Eggs, hash browns, hamburger patties, chili, cheese, onions, jalapeno -- it's a magical combination. Respected historians disagree on this point, but some believe Pierre Laclede and Auguste Choteau served beaver slingers as the first meal at the settlement of St. Louis in 1764.
Outsiders are in the know when it comes to some St. Louis foods -- Imo's pizza and t-ravs have national reputations. The slinger is not as widely known, or enjoyed, but that only makes it that much more beloved by St. Louisans. It's less gimmick and more true hometown favorite.
St. Louis dining establishments often add distinctive touches to the slinger by varying the type of chili or adding additional toppings. Vernon's BBQ (6707 Vernon Ave.; 314-726-1227), however, may have created a whole new branch of the slinger family.
The BBQ Slinger started as a special at the University City restaurant, but, by popular demand, has become a regular menu item. Instead of hash browns, the base of the slinger is a foundation of sweet, cake-like cornbread. Instead of a burger (or two), meat options include pulled pork, smoked turkey and beef brisket. In true barbecue style, the "chili" component is actually Vernon's Burnt-End Baked Beans, which mix with the creamy slaw. Cheese tops it all off and Vernon's five homemade sauces are at the ready if you want to add another layer of flavor.
The end result is something that's not quite a slinger, not quite barbecue -- but quite tasty.
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