Despite being a formidable Southern college town, barbecue options in Starkville are actually somewhat limited. Only a handful of places show up on a google search, one of which includes Applebee’s. As much as I enjoy pizza shooters and jalapeno blasters, real barbecue was the only option we were looking for on a Friday afternoon.

Fortunately, the Little Dooey has been dishing out barbecue and southern food in Starkville since 1985, and it’s the place to stop for a bite if you’re in town for the Bulldogs. We pulled up to the rickety building, encouraged by the giant iron pit proudly displayed out front. A couple ESPN banners hung from the rafters, and an ancient Coca Cola chest sat on the trodden plywood floor. The menu is broad, featuring a slew of barbecue offerings along with assorted other Southern options like catfish and fried sides.

I opted for a three meat plate, featuring ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket, accompanied by a pile of deep fried okra. The food arrived a few minutes later, flopping over the sides of the flimsy paper plate. A quick visual inspection and a couple bites confirmed that the cue’ here was mediocre. All of the meats lacked smokiness, the pulled pork was especially dry and stringy. Ribs were soggy and flopping off the bone, presumably from too much time under a heat lamp. The brisket was barely discernible as beef, and confirmed my position that one should stick with pork exclusively for BBQ in the South.

In all, I expected more from the Little Dooey. It was the day after a game, so there wasn’t a massive influx of people to feed. The worn little building has a certain Southern charm to it, and with a rusty iron smoker decorating the front my expectations ran high. Unfortunately the food just didn’t deliver. Maybe they ought to fire up that old iron pit and breath some new life into the barbecue here, or maybe next time I ought to try the fried catfish instead…

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