Ron Buechele
Capitalist Pig
St. Louis, Mo.

While it may not technically be a Southern state, Missouri is a contender in America’s whose-barbecue-is-best tournament. And a chef/restaurateur who demands sustainably raised meat for his barbecue gets a W in our book.

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By touring local farmers markets, Buechele has personally sought out farmers in the St. Louis region who raise cows, pigs, and chickens humanely: pastured and antibiotic- and hormone-free. His suppliers submit to audits to ensure that they’re using good animal husbandry methods as well as agricultural practices that promote soil health. Buechele says building up this stable of suppliers hasn’t been easy: “Nobody [else] was doing sustainable barbecue. So it took a while to come up with the best sources, and the most consistent sources.”

The art-becue approach:

At present, Capitalist Pig is open three days a week for lunch at Mad Art, the gallery that Buechele started in a former police station. For Buechele, the setting makes perfect sense: He has a BFA in painting and was a cop for 20 years.

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