CigarBQue Is Gathering St. Louis' Top Chefs — and Cigars — For Just One Night


Barbecue, booze and stogies are on the menu this Thursday at Atomic Cowboy. - JEN LOVER
  • Jen Lover
  • Barbecue, booze and stogies are on the menu this Thursday at Atomic Cowboy.
If your idea of a cigar is limited to a post-meal indulgence, CigarBQue hopes to change your mind — perhaps with a loaded potato bacon blunt. 

The nationwide celebration of cigars, 'que and booze makes its way through St. Louis this Thursday with a stop at Atomic Cowboy (4140 Manchester Avenue; 314-775-0775) — and they haven't just assembled any old crew. The event features the city's top pitmasters and bartenders: No less than Mike Emerson, Skip Steele, Tony Saputo and Chelsea Little will be serving up food and drinks meant to complement, and at times incorporate, cigars. Don't plan on smoking a stogie? Sugarfire's Mike Johnson has you covered. He will be on hand with his (certainly Snoop-approved) loaded potato bacon blunts so you don't feel left out. 

CigarBQue originated in Chicago in 2012 with chefs Rick Gresh and Cleetus Friedman carrying on at a backyard barbecue. "They were just sitting around with their other chef friends, grilling, smoking cigars and drinking and thought, 'Hey, we should turn this into a proper event,'" explains CigarBQue's event manager Jen Lover. The event was so successful in the Chicago area that they decided to turn it into a nationwide tour last year. 

This year marks the first time St. Louis will host the event, and Lover says it's a natural fit. "St. Louis knows its barbecue," she notes. "In some cities, they will mix up grilling and smoking and thinks it's all the same thing. But that doesn't happen here."

For Thursday night's event, ticketholders will have the change to sample dishes from Sugarfire's Mike Johnson, Mike Emerson of Pappy's, Skip Steele of Bogart's, Capitalist Pig's Ron Buechele, Salt + Smoke's Tom Schmidt and Jason Tilford of Mission Taco Joint. Several area bartenders will also be on site, serving drinks created specifically to be paired with cigars. 

"Probably half the people who come to the event have never smoked cigars and will smoke here for the first time," says Lover. "But even if cigars aren't your thing, you'll still have a great time."

Here is what's on the menu. 

Seth Wahlman, Eclipse
"DTO" or "Daiquiri Time Out"
Zaya Rum, Lime Juice, Angostura Bitters, Cinnamon Pineapple Demerara Gomme

Matt Sorrell, Cocktails Are Go!
"Mountain Blush" 
Ole Smoky White Lightning Moonshine, Pinckney Bend Tonic Syrup, Lemon Juice, Rhubarb Bitters, Burlesque Bitters, Club Soda

Chelsea Little, Olive+Oak
"Chapter 7"
Toasted Pumpkin Seed and Tea Infused Tito’s Handmade Vodka with Old Tom Ransom Gin, Cocchi Americano and a Local Honey and Vanilla Powder Rim

Dustin Hotz, Salt+Smoke
"Smoked Cherry Templeton Rye Old Fashioned"

Tony Saputo, Atomic Cowboy
"Totec Smokes Te-Amo"
Corralejo Reposado Tequila with Cocchi Americano Rosa, Amaro Sfumato, Luxardo Maraschino, Orange Juice, and Bittercube Bolivar Bitters


Mike Emerson, Pappy’s Smokehouse
Single-bone pork ribs with "Sweet Baby Jane" barbecue sauce

Tom Schmidt, Salt+Smoke
Brisket slider with burnt end mayo and tobacco onions

Ron Buechele, Capitalist Pig
Smoked beef barbacoa bolache with aji pepper jam

Skip Steele, Bogart’s Smokehouse
Whole hog

Jason Tilford, Mission Taco Joint
"Pollo en Fuego" with sweet and spicy pulled chicken, smashed avocado,ghost pepper slaw, crispy jalapenos, smoked blue cheese and pork belly carnitas

Mike Johnson, Sugarfire Smokehouse
Bacon-wrapped bacon and loaded potato bacon blunts

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