Finding Pittsburgh BBQ and Motor History Along Baum Boulevard

Pork, brisket, collards and local root beer at YinzBurgh BBQ on Baum Boulevard on Pittsburgh's historic Auto Row, part of the original Lincoln Highway. (Photo by Michael Grass)

Pork, brisket, collards and local root beer at YinzBurgh BBQ on Baum Boulevard on Pittsburgh’s historic Auto Row, part of the original Lincoln Highway. (Photo by Michael Grass)

PITTSBURGH — For my Lincoln Highway journey, having Internet access via my smartphone and computer has been and will continue to be a great tool. Although I’m going across country without turn-by-turn GPS navigation — why pay for it when I have it in my brain’s spatial orientation and navigation skills for free? — I have the Internet to help me research what I want to see and where I want to go. This includes eating along the way.

When I wanted to find a good local spot for lunch on Thursday while checking out Pittsburgh’s historic Auto Row along Baum Boulevard¬†—¬†which is part of the Lincoln Highway’s original route — I turned to Yelp. Crowdsourcing local knowledge has been critical to the success of Yelp and similar user-generated tools.

In this case, I ended up at YinzBurgh BBQ, a 16-month-old Southern-style barbecue joint in a city not known for its barbecue.

It was a great find and something I likely would not have checked out if I was simply driving by. (I probably would have gone around the corner to Chipotle.) I spent some time chatting with YinzBurg BBQ’s owner, Richard Coursey, about my trip and his place, which offers up some great food, I might add. (YinzBurgh’s smoked meats come sauceless. Coursey’s philosophy is that sauce should be on the side and not overpower the meat itself. He has a variety of housemade sauces inspired by different barbecue traditions and he’ll be more than happy to give you a thorough introduction to YinzBurgh’s offerings.)

As I was eating some delicious barbecue and collards, I was thinking about how anyone traveling on the Lincoln Highway when it opened — or for that matter until the recent proliferation of smartphones and crowdsourcing tools like Yelp — were at a disadvantage when they drove into an unfamiliar place. Their options were limited to what was easily accessible along the road.

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