Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Courtney's BBQ Truck, Bi Lo Parking Lot

April: One of the first restaurants that we reviewed after starting this blog was Courtney's BBQ out of Clover, SC (see June 2, 2009 post). It is a great family owned establishment about 20 minutes from home and serves up some very good BBQ. As Lane and I headed to the grocery store after seeing the new "Sherlock Holmes" movie this week, we saw a large red food truck in the Bi-Lo Shopping Center parking lot. Courtney's BBQ had come to us! We went over to check out the offering. Along with the bright red truck, a few new menu items caught my attention. I immediately ordered the Beef Brisket Philly. Seeing as how the recent discovery of BBQ tacos was a palatable success, I thought I might try the Philly sandwich. It was savory and delicious. I am normally not a beef brisket fan as I prefer to stick with straight pork when it comes to BBQ, but this stuff was so good I might be more willing to try it in the future. The beef was stacked high on the bun and topped by lots of sauteed peppers in a variety of colors. The beef had been sauced but whatever it was was good - very savory, salty, and rich which complimented the sweet peppers very well. The bun was soggy as it was just a sandwich roll but I have learned not to expect Philly quality bread this far south!
We met Matt behind the window of this bright red truck. Turns out he has actually read our blog! Someone who is not a family member or close friend. We were shocked and so very pleased. Seems that Courtney's in Clover now has three smokers going full blast so I should be able to smell the smoke all the way down the road to my house almost! He also admitted that the BBQ Philly sandwich was his creation and new addition to the menu. He was also nice enough to let us sample a rib. This thing was awesome. They now smoke the ribs before throwing them on the grill. This made the meat have one very pronounced smoke ring and truly smokey taste. Still not a huge fan of the sauce they use but the smokey flavor now adds a whole new dimension. So huge, I can overlook the sauce.
Next time you are going past the Bi-Lo on Cherry Road, stop in and look for the red Courtney's truck. Bring your cash and order up some great food!

Lane: I found the Brunswick Stew to be salty and smoky with plenty of fresh vegetables but not spicy enough for my tastes. I really enjoyed the BBQ sandwich topped with the red slaw. The BBQ was savory and had just the slightest bit of tanginess and spice so that it didn't need any sauce. The Smoked Brisket Philly Cheesesteak wasn't too bad, it's just that I am not a huge fan of Cheese steak and BBQ sauce. This was a wonderful surprise to find in the Bi Lo parking lot. And it should be noted that Courtney's gives a percentage of the sales to the Bi Lo charities (but they did not specify how much).

Courtney's Barbeque Truck, Bi-Lo on Cherry Road
2186 Cherry Road Rock Hill, SC 29732

Distance from home: 2.92 miles

Friday, December 18, 2009


Lane: My initial reaction to BATS BBQ: "It's pretty cool". BATS is a brand new and stylish restaurant with pictures of smoke houses from across the globe. Decorated in black and red, the colors are known to make people hungry. That worked on me very well. The best entrees are the Stuffed Tacos. If there is anything these guys make that could be considered a "signature dish" it would be the "Cajunized" Chicken and Sausage Stuffed Tacos, which were excellent. The balance of BATS' Rub Sauce with the pico-de gallo's tanginess complements the smoky chicken and sausage. Now the half rack Baby Backs I DID NOT enjoy. They were a little overdone, BUT after my second rib, the next bite was much juicier and meaty. The ribs were complimented much like the tacos were by the Rub Sauce. The pulled chicken is very juicy and was complimented by BATS' Cajun Sweet sauce. I'm not a big fan of sweet potatoes but their Sweet Potato Fries are unique (still sweet but also fried which made the difference for me). My least favorite was the pulled pork. It just seemed OK... I was more impressed with the tacos which compared to the pulled pork left the pork uninspired. The Sweet tea was very good by the way. (I've been told the fried pickles are very good and next time I look forward to enjoying them.
April: If someone had told me that a BBQ taco was something I should try, I would have laughed and gagged a little at the same time. Something about the thought of those two tastes did nothing to encourage me. Oh how wrong I was. Bats BBQ serves up a pulled pork taco and a chicken and sausage taco. Both are excellent. Forget the "Mexican taste" that you might associate with tacos. They are simply the vehicle to get the delicious meat and pico de gallo to your mouth. Absolutely delicious. The pico is housemade and should be bottled and sold separately. It is THAT good! I enjoyed the ribs. They had a good savory dry rub and were well smoked. The ribs were a good basic taste that went well with the sauces, particularly the Rub Sauce. The pulled pork was another good basic taste. The meat was not overly smokey tasting and did not include a lot of bark, but had a good flavor. The Cajun Sweet sauce tasted the best with the pork. I particularly liked the smoked chicken that was served. Cut into large hunks, it was all white breast meat that had a great flavor all by itself. Try it with the Rib Sauce. It has just the right amount of spice to really highten the taste. I found the sweet sauce too sweet with the chicken.
The sweet potato fries are handcut and really, really good. Just the right amount of sweet and salty. If the fried pickles are even half as good as I hear they are and compared to the fries, I can't wait to try them! The best part about the eating in experience at Bats are the lovely photos on the wall of smokehouses from all over the world AND the fact that any tips left on the tables are donated to St. Vincent and St. Paul Society serving the needy in York County. Go try the food and be sure to leave a few bills on the table.

BATS BBQ 1912 Mount Gallant Road #108 Rock Hill, SC 29732
(803) 980-BATS
Total Distance from home: 3.92 miles

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Famous Dave's Legendary Pit BBQue

April:On our recent vacation to bourbon country in Kentucky, we stopped en route in Knoxville, TN to enjoy some barbeque at Famous Dave's. It is a franchise restaurant chain with many locations. My meal consisted of the Brunswick stew Appetizer and Pulled Pork BBQ Style pulled / chopped. The Brunswick Stew had a salty taste with a delicious smell of fresh ingredients. It was very good for chicken stew but not Brunswick. It had a very light broth, large chunks of veggies (carrots, peas, beans corn and tomatoes), and potatoes. A very hardy and warm stew that was very salty and smokey but that was all for the flavor. The pulled pork was excellent. It had a very savory flavor, but not overly smokey. The taste overall was excellent. Appearance wise the plate came w/ sauce - sweet & zesty style - which in my book is NOT GOOD served on white bread toast which was very good- the barbecue was dry but not dried out. Be sure to ask for it naked - no sauce. It is best to taste it with all the other sauces Famous Dave has to offer. My favorites with the pulled pork were the “Devil’s Spit” and Texas Pit sauces – or by itself. My side item was Dave's Cheesy Mac and Cheese. This was an especially creamy and saucy macaroni and cheese concoction and it had halepenjos in it. The flavor was especially salty and spicy with the added peppers. A very interesting addition. I liked it in the small side dish. A larger serving would have been difficult to finish.

Lane: The Kielbasa Smokey Link and the 1/3 of Baby Back Ribs The Kielbasa smokey links had an amazing woody taste with a delicious flavor. They were plump and complimented not only by the standard mustard they serve it with but more importantly by the “Georgia Mustard,” a Famous Dave’s specialty. The baby back ribs had a great outer bark and were very savory with just the right blend of saltiness. These ribs were sweet and very smokey. The bitterness of the smoke balanced the other tastes quite well. The wood smoke really made the difference. The appearance was very dark and beautiful while the meat was well marbled. They were a good blend of fatty and lean protien. I'm not usually a big fan of baby backs but this 1/3 rack was fall off the bone smokey deliciousness. I had the coleslaw, mashed sweet potatoes, and corn on the cob as my sides. Each entrĂ©e comes with a cornbread muffin as a side also. The cornbread muffin was fantastic and sweet. The sweetness of the cornbread made the sweet potatoes pale in comparison. The coleslaw was nothing to write home about (or blog about as the case may be.)
As we were paying the bill after our fine meal, the restaurant manager came over to the table. Doug Coulter introduced himself, took a seat next to us, and started chatting. He talked with us for over half an hour and even treated us to dessert. The bread pudding was out of this world! It had a flan like consistency but was not eggy. Instead of a hard sauce made with bourbon, they served it with a praline sauce. This sauce made this dessert! Make sure you leave room for this dessert after your next meal at Dave's.

Famous Dave's Legendary Pit BBQue 208 Advantage Drive
Knoxville, TN 37922 (865) 694-9990
Distance from home: 264 miles

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Slo' Smokin' Barbeque

April: Like many communities in the United States, the outskirts of Rock Hill in York County, SC are growing. Commercial development, new neighborhoods, road projects, etc. dominate the area between Rock Hill and Charlotte, NC. The small community of Newport, SC is no exception. A new Wal-Mart was naturally added to this area not too long ago. With it comes the requisite Dollar General, large clear cut parking lots, and newly created intersections. Slo' Smokin' Barbecue is mainly a catering outfit run by the Partlow family. It is housed in an 1880's farmhouse on the land that is now the new Wal-Mart. Due to the road construction with the Wal-Mart, the Partlow's were forced to shut down the three day a week restaurant that they ran out of the house. We happened upon this spot and this information a few weeks ago. Mr. Partlow was nice enough to give us a tour of the house and grounds, tell us stories of his years in the BBQ and catering business, and supply us with his call ahead/tailgating menu and encouraged us to order the following week. Needless to say, we did. We picked up a whole rack of ribs, 2lbs of pulled BBQ, sauces, and banana pudding. Mr. Partlow also threw in some of his personal recipe BBQ beans. He also told us that the business would be moving after the first of the year. The leasing company that owns the property and (not surprisingly) the Wal-Mart notified him that the rent for the house would be $3500 as of January 1, 2010. It is an increase of almost three times what he pays now. I do hope that he will relocate the catering and to-go business because he has some of the best BBQ, beans, sauce, and banana pudding around. The barbeque was well smoked and lightly mixed with a vinegar based sauce. While there was not a lot of bark (my favorite part) the smokey flavor was great. His BBQ beans are fantastic. A mix of kidney, limas, and pork and beans along with his favorite spices make these beans darn near perfect. I am not a fan of the super sweet baked beans that most restaurants serve up. These were gourmet quality but a very nice mix with the barbeque. The banana pudding is absolutely some of the best I have ever had. He mentioned that his grandson had a hand in making it. I hope they never stop. My favorite sauce is what he calls the "Growlin' Sauce" in honor of the Carolina Panthers. When the NFL team first came on the scene up here, the Partlow's helped cater their training camp. The players requested a hot BBQ sauce so they developed one and named it after the Panther Growl. What a great story! The one disappointment from this grand meal was the ribs. I am not a huge rib fan anyhow, but these were just not to my liking. They were fresh from the smoker and well sauced with a tomato base, but the meat was very fatty and tough. I liked the sauce and spiciness of the ribs, but the toughness and rubbery quality made them difficult to eat.
Overall, Slo' Smokin' is a great gastronomic experience that I hope will re-open far, far away from any future Wal-Marts.
Lane: I agree with the above to a point, as good as the beans were, they just didn't seem to be that great. The BBQ was amazing and the ribs had a ton of flavor. I do have one issue about the ribs however and its that there seemed to be a line of subcutaneous fat over the meat instead of a marbled layer. To me, this just meant that the meat had an unbalanced texture with most of the flavor in one area of the rib. Sauce wise, they were very good. I enjoyed the mustard sauce more then the "Growlin' Sauce" and I also really, really liked the banana pudding. My advice to anyone thinking of having an event catered. Check out Slo' Smokin'.

Slo' Smokin' Barbeque 4821 Old York, Road Rock Hill, SC 29732
(803) 322-7202
Distance from home: 4.7 miles

Sunday, November 1, 2009


April: More than one person in Rock Hill suggested that we give Bucko's a try and review their BBQ. I ate a very good hot dog at their old restaurant location on North Cherry Road a few years ago. I have to admit that the very large pig outside that place might have warned me off the BBQ at the time. Their "new" restaurant is on South Cherry in an old Hardees and is sans the large outdoor pig. We ventured down for a lunch time treat. The Jr BBQ sandwich, fries (or Vidalia onion rings for an extra $1), and coleslaw was $5.69. In this economy, that is a great deal. I opted for the onion rings. The food arrived and I was most impressed with the shear quantity of food. There were easily 10 or more onion rings in the basket. Most places will barely give you more than 4. They were sweet and salty. The BBQ was piled on a buttery bun. I removed the bread and went straight for the meat. It was VERY smokey and savory. This meat held a lot of the oak flavor from the wood used in the smoker. The meat is not sauced, which I prefer, but I did try the sauce which they make themselves. The color is that of light molasses, but it is surprisingly NOT sweet. It was very tangy. I did not use a lot because it gave my tongue serious fatigue after just a few bites. I have to say that this food was very good and we will make Bucko's one of our more regular BBQ haunts in Rock Hill.
Lane: I am quite glad to finally get a chance to enjoy Bucko's after all the build up. The Vidalia Onion rings were very good. They were crisp, warm, and oh so sweet complimenting the tangyness of the cue. The cue was once an excellent cut of pork with plenty of flavor, chopped and pulled to a nice texture and consistency. All together, the next time I have the sandwich I'm putting the onion rings, slaw, and cue together for one big old mama-jama sam-mich! The kind you get messy, drippy, juices flowing down your sleeves. The food was SO good that April and I had already eaten before we even remembered to take any pics. :(

1019 McConnells Highway Rock Hill, SC 29732
(803) 980-2328
Distance from home: 2.0 miles

Monday, October 19, 2009

Daddy Joe's Beach House BBQ & Grill

April: A shopping trip to the Outlet Stores in Gaffney, SC took us to Daddy Joe's Beach House off Exit 92 from I-85. There is a large billboard on the Interstate advertising this restaurant. It lived up to some of the hype. It is a very quirky restaurant with a beach house feel in the middle of the upstate. We started with sweet tea that was very good and a rib appetizer. There were 4 LARGE spare ribs served with a light sauce and heavy dry seasoning. They were perfectly smoked and very good. Our combo plate of smoked chicken and chopped pork was delivered with side of wedge fries and BBQ slaw. The chopped pork was surprisingly more the consistency of pulled pork, which I prefer. It had a good flavor and though it was served sauced, it was light and added to the pork flavor, not covering it up. It did not contain enough bark for my taste and was not otherwise outstanding. The chicken was covered in a thick and sweet sauce that did nothing for my taste buds. It tasted like grocery store bottled sauce and just overpowered the chicken. I was impressed by the fries. Normally not one to sacrifice calories on french fries, I let Lane pick this part of the combo. The wedge fries are crinkle cut and were very tasty. Our side of BBQ slaw was also very good. After my last few attempts at BBQ slaw, I am a little hesitant about ordering it. Too much vinegar can ruin the whole meal (see review for 521 BBQ). This slaw was great. The hushpuppies were nice and gritty with plenty of cornmeal taste and the extra side of smoked/grilled kielbasa was fantastic. I think the same dry rub spices used on the ribs went onto the sausage and made it really pop. We polished off this meal with a bowl of homemade apple cobbler and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I was too full to eat much, but what I did taste was very good. Definitely homemade and definitely enough to share.

One last thing to mention, all of this food and drinks barely came to $30. I was impressed because Lane just kept ordering food and since I had not memorized the prices on the menu, I had no idea what it was going to come to. Good thing about BBQ is that it is affordable!

Lane: Spending much of my childhood on the beaches of Edisto Island and some of my early college years in Spartanburg, I really don’t know what to make of a “beach house” in Gaffney. Maybe something with faux driftwood painted in bright pinks and blues, alluding to some tropical Jimmy Buffet get-a-way coupled with dear heads and license plates paying homage to Gaffney’s land locked state as the city is nestled fundamentally between I-85 and I-26 was what I was expecting. Actually it was exactly what I got. I thought the Kielbasa “smoked sausage” was great. It was seasoned like the ribs were and was served with yellow mustard. It had a crunchy texture aided by the sea salt and crushed black pepper and the crusty bark of roasted casing. The links were very tasty and quite warm in comparison to the cue. I thought the ribs were better than the cue. The recipe described them a “St. Louis style” but truthfully these ribs were good, had a good outer bark a woody savory flavor, and a deep, spicy, smoky aroma that made me oh so hungry. These ribs were very rich and tasty, not too bitter, not too salty, and very, very savory. To me the pulled chicken and chopped BBQ was just ok. The color and texture of the meat was fine but the sauces on both were both overly spicy and sweet, which took away from the meat’s great smoky flavor. Unfortunately the overhead fan was on and a slight breeze cooled the cue and chicken so quickly that I only had a few bites that weren’t cold. I really liked the BBQ slaw and the wedge fries. I agree with April that this was a great place to eat.

Daddy Joe's Beach House BBQ & Grill
1400 West Floyd Baker Blvd Gaffney, SC 29341
(864) 487-RIBS
Distance from home: 45.86 miles

Monday, October 5, 2009

Maurice's Piggy Park

Lane: April and I like to consider ourselves pretty astute politically and often find ourselves left-to-center on most issues. So, I decided to pass up the topic of ‘Bessinger Politics’ focusing on the food and not the controversy*. I normally think that Maurice’s is just "OK". They opened the one here in Rock Hill within the last year or so and April and I visited it. Not really that outstanding (which was the same thing we said about Burk’s, another Rock Hill establishment). Now that we are doing the blog we decided to give it a second chance. The worst thing about this visit was somehow we spent nearly $20 for lunch for two. So it is pretty pricy. I got the Big Joe and it’s a half pound of cue and this was a substantial sandwich. It comes sauced with their “heirloom gourmet sauce” which is a classic Carolina gold. If you like it, you like it. I thought it was pretty darn good. The hash is very good also. It's hard to find good hash in this area.

*I don’t like bias and I love objectivity. I’m a journalistic purist at heart which is weird for a blogger I hear. If you want to discuss the politics of Maurice Bessinger, there are other venues for that. Go use our Google search because it pays us when you use it.

April: I choose not to ignore the politics of Maurice Bessinger's BBQ restaurants. I did avoid the new restaurant in Rock Hill for as long as I could, but Lane made me go. I had had Maurice's BBQ once as a kid at the place in Irmo, SC. I remember the chicken tenders being very good but I was kid and what kid doesn't like chicken tenders? When we finally tried the food here in Rock Hill, I was not impressed with the BBQ. It was too heavily sauced in that terrible heavy mustard sauce that he peddles around the globe. I did like the hash and rice. In fact, it was some of the best hash I have had. On our second trip, I pointed out that we really shouldn't include the Rock Hill Maurice's in our review because this location does not have a smoker. The meat is delivered from the Columbia restaurant and lord only knows how old it is. It may even be frozen at some point. We just chalked it up to adding it to the blog in the same way that we review restaurants outside of the 100 mile radius. I am glad to say that the chicken tenders are still just as good as I remember them being and the hash is worthy. I will warn that this place is on the expensive side. We have not given reviews of prices on restaurants because they are all for the most part very affordable. This is one of the exceptions. You also have to put up with a table full of pro-white supremacy - the South will rise again literature that is over to the side of the restaurant. It is easily avoidable, but it still makes me angry. I hate noting more than white hate.
My overall review is that the food is not good enough to drag me back and have to overlook the bad politics.

Maurice’s Piggy Park
2391 Dave Lyle Blvd. Rock Hill, SC 29730
(803) 366-4227
Distance from home: 5.74 miles

Mac's Speed Shop

Lane: About a month or two ago, April and I got Dish Network because our local cable company, Comporium, dropped our favorite channels during the big conversion. So, we go from having basic cable to hundreds of channels and programming we have never seen. One of the best programs we were missing was Sons of Anarchy on FX. Now we are hooked and it is what’s “top of our mind” when it comes to biker culture. Yeah I know, completely unrealistic, but Mac’s does have a small sign on the outside by the parking lot: “No patches, no colors.” So, maybe we are not far off. Mac’s Speed Shop is pretty bad assed but I get the sense that most of the clientele are not 1% ers (the outlaw bikers) but instead are just everyday Janes and Joes looking for some great grub. I had an awesome time and enjoyed everything except the banana pudding. (I’ve been told by our readers that I talk a lot about ‘nanner puddin’) It was just mediocre. The ribs were great. The pulled pork was pretty fresh and flavorful; the type that is good with or without sauce, and the chicken was juicy and savory. But I was not a big fan of the marinated steak. Just was not feeling it for some reason. The Mac at Mac’s was great. Cheesy and gooey! The collard greens were excellent. I enjoyed it and will come back to eat when I am next in this area.

April: Mac's Speed Shop was recommended to us by more than one person from the Charlotte area. On the way to see a show at the Blumenthal, we decided to check it out. Excellent recommendation! The place was super busy on a Saturday at lunch time, especially with college football fans. We got a seat at the bar with no problem and immediately ordered some good beer and large bowl of Brunswick Stew. This is one of the few places in all of our travels thus far that has Brunswick Stew closest to how I make it. Rich with meat and tomatoes and spices, it was great. Lane and I decided to split one of thier combo plates that includes "A Little Bit of Everything." That is exactly what it is called on the menu. Ribs, pulled pork, 1/2 a chicken, AND beef brisket, plus two sides, and bread. The ribs were sweet, smokey, and messy. The pulled pork was heavy with flavor and did not need any sauce. The beef brisket was more like marinated steak and less like pressed brisket. I really enjoyed the beef and traded Lane that for the roast chicken. I was amazed at the shear amount of food that we got for such a good price. The collard greens and macaroni and cheese were delicious. While I could not fathom putting anything else down my gullet, Lane ordered the banana pudding. The picture of him looking very excited about digging into it was taken BEFORE he tried the first bite. Big disappointment. It was vanilla flavored pudding with two slices of banana and whipped cream. Not even pretend homemade. My suggestion is to enjoy a second beer from their fantastic selection (both draft and bottle) and pass on the dessert.

Mac’s Speed Shop South End 2511 South Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28203
(704) 522-6227
Distance from home: 22.90 miles

Lee’s Barbecue

A little while ago I had the great opportunity to visit Lake Greenwood with my fraternity brothers (Tau Kappa Epsilon), Brian, D.J., Greg, Eric, and Malcolm for a leadership retreat weekend. Man, did we have a good time hanging around, telling stories, shooting air-soft pellets at each other, and getting some actual work done. While I unfortunately had to leave early, I insisted that we all go out to Lee’s first while we were all together and that was a great decision (despite some other alcohol fueled ones made by the fellas later)! My wife is from Greenwood and when she describes the kind of Carolina cue she was raised on, it’s Lee’s. Lee’s has the distinction of being one of the few buffet BBQ restaurants in the Upstate with an amazing array of delectable sides and desserts. The cue varies from time to time. The quality of meat is always strong but the degree to which it is cooked (sometimes underdone, sometimes overdone) is sometimes touch-and-go. BUT, their chicken tenders are always amazing! Their banana pudding is great but this particular visit was covered by sliced fresh strawberries, so it was camouflaged. Don’t worry, after a second or two I found it! The sauces are not spectacular and cover the broad spectrum of tastes (hot, spicy, mild, Lexington, Carolina Gold, sweet, etc.). The food is always good and has just the right balance of salty and savory with sweet and bitter (mostly in the peppery sauces you would add to the delicious veggies they offer) all of which translates to a great dinning experience. The guys thought so too. Oh, by the way, the place is called Lee's and sure enough there is a framed picture of Robert E. Lee on the wall.

Lee’s Barbecue Greenwood, SC
16994 Highway 72 W
Waterloo, SC 29384
(864) 998-3411
Distance from home: 86.64 miles

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Prissy Polly's Pig Pickin' Barbeque

April: Upon recommendation from Summer Hanna, we visited Prissy Polly's while visiting Kernersville, NC last weekend. The restaurant is like a country kitchen and it is seat yourself. They offer both types of North Carolina BBQ, Eastern and Lexington style. I chose the plate of Lexington style due to my preference of the vinegar and spices along with a healthy batch of collard greens and brunswick stew. The meal deal also included banana pudding that was well worth the money and the caloric intake! The BBQ was pulled pork and well seasoned. My only complaint is that there was almost too much of the vinegar sauce added. The pork was mushy and very wet. Towards the very last bite, it was so vinegary, I couldn't finish it. Shameful, I know, but very unpalatable. The brunswick stew, collards, and hushpuppies were all very good as was the aforementioned banana pudding. Overall the food was good, but I think next time I will ask for the Eastern style q.

Lane: I purchased the BBQ and One Rib Combo with a sweet tea. The rib was very good. The outer bark was a dark mahogany color with a savory smokey flavor. This was a very good rib. The down side to the BBQ was the texture and consistency. It was a little too fatty for what I like. The cue was sweet and had a great dark chocolate color and a good smokey taste. The Lexington Style sauce has a beautiful burgundy color, a peppery smell, and a spicy bite. It complimented the meat very well. I thoroughly enjoyed the ring style hushpuppies. They have awesome 'nanner puddin' too. Be sure to check that out! The decor of Prissy Polly's is a homespun and quirky representation of southern culture. Lots of signs for John Deere Tractors, the Andy Griffith Show, Hank Williams Sr., and memorials for our soldiers abroad scatter the walls. They offer live Bluegrass and other types of music and a little handmade sign over the clearing for equipment setup reads, "No ASCAP or BMI Musicians Allowed." Here's to the independent artists of Kernersville, NC.
Prissy Polly's Pig Pickin' Barbeque
729 Highway 66 South Kernersville, NC 27284
(336) 993-5045
Distance from home: 110.75 miles

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Duke's BBQ


This little out of the way place is perfect in the way you would imagine a tiny little BBQ joint to be. My dad and I went there this past Saturday and enjoyed dinner with ALL the fixings (including corn nuggets which are always a special little treat) and it’s a buffet style service, so the compulsion to eat every single item could be a problem for some. A two plate sitting is usually my max at a buffet these days so I piled up a little bit of everything. Hash, rice, slaw, cue, chicken, hushpuppies, and banana pudding are my staples but anytime full-cut green beans, black eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, corn, lima beans, collards, and the aforementioned corn nuggets are present, then they make an appearance on my plate.

Let me tell you about the cue.
The cue is a little dry, which is easy to expect when you have a buffet because it’s been sitting out under a heat lamp. Despite the dryness, the meat had a good smoky flavor and was a good canvas to display first the hue of red pepper flakes and then glisten of the Carolina gold sauces that Duke’s has as condiments. We were in a desperate race to get to Duke’s before all the ribs were gone and they were very good. I had two spare ribs with some of Duke’s smoky sauce topping them and they were tasty but also a little bit fatty. The cue and the ribs are a savory outstanding experience.
Duke’s has some of the best fried chicken. Remember that as well. I really enjoy any of the Duke’s BBQ joints around the low country, whether they be Ridgeville, Summerville, Hollywood, Ladson, or Walterboro (although I don’t think every Duke’s is related to each other).

Dukes Barbecue 949 Robertson Blvd.
Walterboro, SC 29488 (843)549-1446
Distance from home: 163.65 miles

Sunday, September 20, 2009

521 BBQ & Grill

April: We invited Joel Hamilton and Marina Bender along with us to this restaurant in the growing area of Indian Land, SC near Lancaster. Joel had been the one to suggest the restaurant as he had eated their before. We suggested that he serve as a guest reviewer for this place on the blog. His review is below. His narrative of the trip there is great and I couldn't agree more with his thoughts on the BBQ and hushpuppies. My only addition is to stay far away from either of the coleslaws. Both mayo and BBQ slaws are available and neither were very good. Otherwise, the experience was great and we will be repeat visitors despite the lengthy drive.
Lane: I always enjoy barbecue and finding new places. I am usually a stickler for continuity and, luckily, 521 was just like a thousand other barbecue resturants around. The newer places in this area such as Fort Mill Barbecue, Burk's, and now 521 BBQ & Grill are just that, new. They have a true distinction in style from more established restaurants like Courtney's in Clover or even the big chain Sonny's. And because they are new, they seem to try harder to become established and thrive in an economy where half of all new businesses fail. Good on them. Now on to the food: the ribs were succulent with a delicious balance of spicy and savory. The hushpuppies were crunchy and fresh, still warm from their golden bath of hot oil, and the cue was very tasty. Lately I have been including barbecue beans and barbecue slaw (or red slaw as it is sometimes called) to my entrees. On this night these sides did not disapoint at all. SPECIAL NOTE: THE RED SLAW IS VERY, VERY VINEGARY! HOT! BE FOREWARNED!

The whole week leading up to this trip to 521 was merely a countdown to the main event Friday evening when we were to meet with April and Lane for some BBQ! I had been to 521 once before for lunch over the summer and had been very impressed.
521 BBQ is on, well, 521 in Indian Land. If you weren’t looking for it, you’d fly right by and never even know what you were missing. Heck, even when you’re looking for it, 521 is easy to miss. It’s situated at the end of a little strip plaza on the south side of the more developed area of 521 right before you hit the no man’s land between Indian Land and Lancaster. Cruising up 521, we passed a horse and rider trotting along the side of the road. If these folks don’t do good BBQ, then no one should, right?
Well, we (ok, “I” actually…) almost flew right past it, but luckily Marina’s car has excellent brakes and we turned right in. It was refreshing to me to grab a good meal with a crew that gets as excited about food as I do! We were all ear to ear by the time we hit the door.
Anyway, 521 has a scattering of picnic tables, booths and tables and chairs in two dining rooms. Someone once told me that the best BBQ comes from establishments where the chairs don’t match. 521 provides some evidence to bolster that theory. Exhibit A: The menu has the type of disclaimer you’re actually glad to see, warning that they may be out of meat as it is smoked nightly! The tea on this night was strong and sweet and I downed a full glass before the food came. Lane and I ordered the combo plate: ribs; pulled pork; fries; red slaw and hushpuppies. Yes. It looked as good as it sounds, and yes. We were very excited.
I dispatched of the ribs first. Each one pulled apart rather easily but what stuck out was the sheer amount of meat on each bone. This was a well fed animal! The sauce was a sweet rib sauce and though there was plenty, they obviously know to let the meat speak for itself a little. The smokiness of the meat was not overwhelmed at all by the sauce. Two points for 521!
The pork comes sans sauce and really doesn’t even need it; each bite is tender, juicy and bursting with flavor. Not a single dry or chewy piece of pork in the pile. I ate about 1/3 of it plain before finally giving in and reaching for the bottle of sauce on the table. 521 has a spicy, Worcestershirish, vinegar sauce tingling with chili pepper that may not be for everyone but damn if it wasn’t for me! It really was a perfect compliment for their meat which disappeared rather quickly once it was doused in sauce.
The fixin’s were on par with anyone. The only complaint I have about the hushpuppies is that there weren’t more of them.
Bottom line? Tough to go wrong with a late evening, late summer cruise up 521 to 521 through the country with great company. The BBQ is top notch and the relaxed atmosphere invokes plenty of conversation. We stayed until they started sweeping, took the scenic route home and washed down our dinner with a fine, ice-cold bourbon at the Lovegrove's. After being away for most of the past three years, it sure felt good to be back.

521 BBQ & Grill 7580 Charlotte Highway, Suite 100, Indian Land, SC (803) 548-PORK
Distance from home: 18.12 miles

Monday, August 17, 2009

Big T Bar-B-Q Columbia SC

April: We selected this BBQ restaurant from an online listing that gave it high marks for being some of Columbia's better mustard based BBQ. If you have read any of my posts, you know that I am not a mustard base fan, but I have to say that this BBQ was very good. The restaurant is tucked into a strip mall on Garner's Ferry Road. The staff are warm and friendly and there is a wide variety of menu items. The special on the day of our visit was Ox Tails! Ordering is cafeteria style but you get plenty for the cost. The restaurant also has a very large banquet room that could easily accomodate 100 people. While the mustard sauce is already mixed in with the BBQ pork, you can ask for additional hot or mild sauce. I highly recommend the hot sauce. The collards were exceptional while the mac and cheese was just OK. Overall it was good mustard base BBQ and we had a great time with our families celebrating our August birthdays!

Lane: I went with the hash and fried chicken because I already had a great deal of BBQ from Lee's in Greenwood. Big T's hash was very salty with a great tomato based sauce that permeated the rice it was served over. I could really differentiate between the spices and the pork flavor. The only down side was that it was very greasy, so you would need the rice to absorb a good deal of it to balance the textures. The chicken was pretty basic and didn't stand out in any real way. Sometimes that can be a good thing, sometimes it can be bad. I feel, in this case, that it really helped add to the balance of tastes and textures of the hash, rice, and chicken. As for the sides, they served great corn bread, very sweet and almost deseret like. The mac-n-cheese was just like I like it, cheesy and casserole like, the green beans were crisp and fresh. These are my two favorite sides so they made me pretty darn happy.

Big T Bar-B-Q 7535 Garners Ferry Road,
Columbia, SC 29209 (803) 776-7132
Distance from home: 73.36 miles
And for those who would like a different take:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

South Carolina Barbeque Association

We are officially members of this fantastic state organization of barbeque enthusiasts. I was lucky enough to attend the annual meeting in Columbia, SC and meet some great people, learn more than I thought possible about judging barbeque, events, sauces, and even eat some great Columbia BBQ. The SCBA is the only barbeque association in the country that has an annual meeting for members. Lake High, Jr is the current President and Charter Member of the organization (I recognized him from the No Reservations piece that took Anthony Bourdain to Sweatman's BBQ in Holly Hill, SC) and he kept the meeting lively with stories, jokes, and news from the state of barbeque. The SCBA is generally called upon by SC communities that are interested in adding a BBQ Cook-Off to the annual festival or, in some cases, adding a BBQ event all alone. Lake negotiates with the event planners on dates and details. SCBA Members that have been trained as official judges are gathered to judge the event and other members serve as runners, Marshalls, and calculators. These jobs are all equally important to ensure a smooth event and a great outcome for all the BBQ competitors.
Some of the members of the SCBA are restauranteurs, business owners, competition cookers, and all lovers of barbeque. Most have been through the Jugding Seminar offered twice a year (we will attend in January) and work to become Master Judges.
I particularly enjoyed the sauce tasting that we did. I only wish we had done the mustard sauces first. As Lake said, "sauces will give you mouth fatigue the quickest." Lunch was provided by Belly's BBQ from Lexington, SC. It was fantastic. I didn't even put sauce on most of what I ate. The squash casserole was some of the best I have ever eaten. They also had BBQ chicken on the buffet that everyone commented was very good. I just figured it would take up room from the pork! While I met lots of great people, my highlight was getting Jack Waiboer's autograph.
If you saw the spot on SCETV's The Big Picture, then you know Jack Waiboer. They went into this man's backyard where he showed off his collection of smokers. Jack also is an instructor in the Carolina Pitmasters class. He is genuine and warm and was a little embarrased that I asked for his autograph!
All in all it was a great way to spend a Saturday. I look forward to attending more SCBA events and getting involved with this organization.

South Carolina Barbeque Association

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Greenwood Festival of Discovery

April: The Food Network was actually set up on Main Street in downtown Greenwood, SC for this festival. I couldn't believe it. This festival made The Food Network??!! It sure did and for good reason...fantastic BBQ as much as the world's widest main street would hold. Of 77 competitors in the Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned event, 28 participated in the Taster's Choice Cook-off. For $1, you could sample each groups BBQ, hash, ribs, and/or sauce. This was the best deal ever. With my mom and dad as co-accomplices we worked our way through 24. By this point, the temperature has climbed to a balmy 95 degrees and the crowd had swelled to over 1,000. All that mixed with a belly full of BBQ meant a quick departure to home and central air conditioning. Below is a listing of some of our favorites, some worth a mention, and the few that were barely worth the $1 sample price. Check out the festival link for the official winners and see how our reviews stack up to the "pro" judging.

1) Papa Eddie & The Hoggy Bottom Boys, Plum Branch, SC: These guys had some of the best smoked pork that I tasted all day. Almost every bite had a nice taste of the "bark" carmelization that was smoky, sweet, and salty. The meat had just the right amount of moisture and was not chopped too fine. Great extra: they added a mini-brownie to their sample tasting tray. 2) Backyard Barbeque Boys: Not only did these folks have some excellent chopped pork, they pitched a sauce infused with chocolate. Now, before you turn up your nose, let me say that it was excellent. It was so good together that I gave them one of my votes for the Taster's Choice! 3) Catchafire for Q, Fort Mill, SC: We were pleased to see a competition team from so close to our Rock Hill home. These folks allowed us to sample a rib. It was salty yet moist and sported a tasty dry rub. I could have eaten a whole 1/2 rack of these ribs. Ken Ramaley can be reached at catchafire4q@yahoo.com for any of your catering needs.
I found that it was possible to taste bad BBQ at this festival. Palmetto Moonlight Smokers somehow managed to serve cold pork that was absolutely tasteless. Carolina Grub also produced a pork sample that was extremely greasy and oily. Thankfully the good stuff outweighed the bad.

Lane: I had a fantastic time, even when I got an eye full of smoke that blinded me for a good 7 minutes. I was still able to enjoy the carnival like atmosphere and the splendor of small town South Carolina. The Greenwood, SC Festival of Discovery is everything good about South Carolina. Sure we have Mark Sanford and his shenanigans but for these particular few hours, South Carolina was the best spot on Earth for the best example of what it means to enjoy southern culture on a hot summer day. I enjoyed my cue immensely by washing it down with a Cheerwine. So, without further adieu, my picks for the top three:

(1)Pigture Perfect BBQ from Tallahassee, Florida was one of my favorites. It had a great sauce and a really spicy rub on the ribs. It gave their ribs a delicious flavor and texture. It was one of the few samples that was salty or at least tasted saltier then the rest. After tasting this sample April and I looked at each other and said "WOW!" (2)Beer, Beans, and Bar-B-Crew Newberry, SC. Their cue had an amazing smoky flavor and taste. This is my pick for who should open a restaurant and if they did I would keep coming. And my last pick for the day was (3)Rubbing Butts BBQ They served their samples as mini pulled-pork sandwiches. Their pork was tasty and delicious and it didn't need sauce but there was some nearby (a standard peppery red sauce). Visiting the Festival of Discovery was a unique opportunity for this barbecue enthusiast. It was truly exciting to be around the smoke, the noise, the heat, and the sense of good cheer and fellowship of the crowd. The competition between the professionals however was a completely different situation altogether. Competition barbecue is a 20 hr work day commitment. Waking up at 2, 4, and 6 am to add wood to the smoker is not uncommon. You have the stress of tending, basting, turning, checking, chopping, and serving then waiting for the judges all the while making sure your crew and equipment are working correctly. I do not envy the competitors but I do envy their wares.

Distance from home: 96.63 miles

Stamey's Old Fashioned BBQ

April: On a recent trip to the outer edges of Vance County to Lake Gaston, NC for an Anderson family reunion (Lane's paternal grandmother), we decided to stop in Greensboro and meet a friend for some Lexington style BBQ. Stamey's restaurant (located across from the Greensboro Coliseum) was our choice. It was easy to find being not too far off I-85 and not too crowded on a summer Saturday evening. The restaurant is warm and inviting and is surprisingly seat yourself. After ordering pulled pork plates all around, we sat back for some good conversation to wait for the food. Imagine our surprise when it arrived on the table before I had my straw unwrapped! The pork was fantastic. Great smokey flavors, nice bark on some pieces, and a vinegar based sauce that was out of this world. I am usually more partial to the hot sauces, but what this one lacked in heat it made up for in true taste and a great addition to the pork. The slaw and hushpuppies were OK. The tea was sweet and my cup was never empty. I might also mention that this was some of the best priced pork we have eaten in a while. Our meal with tip was only $20! I had money left over to buy some of there great whole bean coffee that they roast on-site to give to our dogsitter. This restuarant was a fantastic find in Greensboro and one at which will continue to stop.

Lane: Stamey's Barbecue is great and that's the most important thing to remember! I enjoyed everything about the experience except the desert. What seemed on first appearance to be a delicious blackberry cobbler with ice cream instead turned out to be a gritty and tasteless experience. I just couldn't finish it which is weird for me. Stamey's is an old fashioned barbecue joint nestled between an industrial park and the Greensboro Coliseum. The exterior reminds me of a Carry Hilliard's or a Steak and Ale with its brick exterior and black wrought-iron railings around the steps. The inside is all dark wood beams and a delightful blend of barbecue and coffee (Yes, apparently Stamey's roasts and grinds its own brand of coffee which is fantastic!)

Stamey's Old Fashioned BBQ 2206 High Point Road
Greensboro, NC 27403 (336) 299-9888
Distance from home: 114.75 miles

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Burk's BBQ

April: Burk's BBQ proudly displays "Voted #1 BBQ" on their front window. This is a lofty advertisement in Rock Hill, SC. I will say that after my last visit, I do not disagree.
When the restaurant first opened a few years ago we were immediately patrons for their affordable lunch special (chopped pork sandwich, hushpuppies, and drink for $5.50). I found the chopped pork very dry and in need of some serious taste. The hushpuppies are very good and the tea is almost as good as my mom's. Unfortunately, the pork was a little disappointing. When I lamented to a friend my dislike of the pork, he/she immediately said that what I needed to try was the ribs. I am not a huge fan of ribs and they are a lot more expensive than the $5.50 special! On our last visit, I decided to go for the rib plate. I was NOT disappointed in this pork! The ribs were meaty, smoky, great flavor, and downright fantastic. My only complaint is that you have to wait a little longer for the ribs after you order and all the while sit and smell them cooking! I think it just enhanced the final tasting experience. Burk's has two sauces; a tomato vingear base and a mustard base. While I am also not a fan of mustard base sauces, Burk's has a really good one. I think it has a touch of honey in it that gives it a special flavor. The ribs did not need any additional sauce, but the chopped pork is still very dry - makes a good vehicle for the tasty mustard sauce.
The restaurant itself is functional. I like the large rolls of paper towels on the tables for self dispensing. The walls are covered with stills from old TV shows. Lane and I really enjoyed quizzing each other on character names, actors, favorite episodes, etc while we waited for the food. While Burk's may not be my all time #1 favorite, it is a close second.
Lane: Since we started 100 Mile Smoke numerous people have insisted we try Burk's. I so want our loyal readers to know that we have been to Burk's many times before but there was always a newer place that warrented our perview first. I enjoyed Burk's ribs but in disagreement with April, I found their chopped pork to be very, very good. An excellent palette for their mustard sauce. The sides were your basic BBQ staple; hushpuppies and fries. Here is my theory on sides: sweet sides like your basic salads (pasta salad, potato salad, and coleslaw) work well to counter the vinegar bitter and the smoky salty tastes of the cue, but your starchy sides, (your hushpuppies and French Fries) can sometimes over load your salty taste buds. Besides, if you eat too much then it fills you up quicker sometimes before you can really enjoy your cue. This trip to Burk's, although enjoyable, left me feeling fundamentally unsatisfied. Certainly I was full of hush puppie goodness but truly too full to enjoy my main entree; the chopped pork. I recommend Burk's as your basic enjoyable BBQ restaurant loczted right smack in the middle of good old Rock Hill.

Burk's BBQ 2012 Cherry Road, Rock Hill, SC 29732 (803) 980-4444
Distance from Home: 2.7 miles

Monday, July 6, 2009

So where should we go next?

People keep suggesting great new places for us to visit so from time to time we are going to run a post where we would like you to comment on your favorites.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tarheel Q

April: We really just happened upon this place as we were driving into Lexington, NC from Statesville. It is a diner style restaurant that does a steady business of pick up orders. We enjoyed some true Lexington style barbeque. I ordered what was referred to as “course chopped” pork. It was served as almost large cubes. The pork had been mixed with the vinegar based sauce and spices, (a usual no no in my book) but this made it just that much more delicious. The pork lacked a heavy smoke flavor, but the sauce more than made up for it. The side of slaw was OK, nothing special. The presentation is not what this place is known for using cardboard boxes and wax paper, but the sheer quantity of food and the deliciousness of it is all that matters. I never expected to eat such good BBQ twice in one weekend as we had not planned to stop at this place, but I am so glad that we decided that it was worth trying out.

Lane: Both of my parents are from North Carolina and because of this I have always felt like the Tarheel state is a natural extension of what I consider home. I liked being here and I liked listening to the old farmers sitting around and talking about things old farmers talk about. I like that Tarheel Q is a pit stop for fathers and sons on their way to go fishing; a place for them to pick up moon pies and Mountain Dews. I like seeing the JV girls and boys who work the restaurant as a part time job, maybe to help out an aunt or a step parent who works there full time. That reminds me of my youth. I like the humidity and the swell of black flies that follow you around in the summer. That reminds me that sometimes life can be difficult but its truly the little things that make it bearable. I like the huge plume of smoke you can see coming over the ridge before you even know there is a restaurant. I love North Carolina and the short period of time we spent here reminded me of why that is. I broke away from my normal vitals to enjoy their barbecue chicken special. A leg and thy combination with slaw and fries and topped off with a delicious sweet tea. We shared the fried pickles which were considerably better than some we recently had at a place called Luke's in Rock Hill, SC.

Interesting note: This restaurant is only about 7-10 miles from Childress Vineyard right outside of Lexington, NC. We made the mistake of going to Childress on the Saturday of race weekend. For all non-NASCAR folks, that means the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte on Memorial Day Saturday. Needless to say, the Childress Vineyard (as in Richard Childress Racing) was packed with people. While we enjoyed the winery and tasting I was very glad to get away from the crowd of people. The Yadkin River Valley of NC is growing to be one of the premier locations for US vineyards. The climate and soil seem to produce very dry red wines and very sweet white ones. If you are ever in this area, take a moment to stop and taste the wines produced by any of the 78 (and growing) wineries along the way.

Tarheel Q 6835 West Highway US 64 Lexington, NC 27295
Distance from Home: 87.55 miles

Have a Happy Independence Day!

April and I wish everyone a happy and safe Independence Day! We should all take a moment to consider where we are right now in the history of our great country. Sure there have been challenges but there have also been monumental triumphs. So take the time to consider everyone who fought and struggled to ensure our freedoms that make the triumphs all the more worth it. We hope you get a chance to enjoy some food cooked over an open flame, some great fire works, and good times with loved ones.

Lane and April Lovegrove, 100 Mile Smoke

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Fifth Annual Texas Pete Twin City Rib Fest

Lane: Walking across the parking lot, the humidity hung low in the air suppressed by the sweet sting of smoke. Being the late afternoon, the sun was getting low in the sky and the golden glow of the sun's rays shown through the thick plumes of smoke adding to the haze of the day. The crowds were immense with hundreds of rib lovers milling around, excited by the smell of sweet, savory, smoked meat. The excitement of the carnival atmosphere was contagious and we could all feel a sense of community; a cohesive love of southern culture, that essence of barbecue which is neither a verb or a noun but in this setting an adjective. The first selection was a sample of Bibs Downtown from Winston-Salem, NC. The sampler plate included 3 ribs, red slaw, and baked beans. Ribs were pretty smoky but only had a basic flavor provided by a good dry rub that was only a little on the spicy side, but this was a good meaty spare rib. I really liked the red BBQ slaw even though it was heavy on the vinegar. The beans were more like chili and a little on the lukewarm side. I didn't really like them but April seemed to.
April: The Rib Fest was a lot of fun with a very carnival/fair type atmosphere. We decided to stick to the local entrees and try those ribs only. (A review of the only other semi local entrant can be seen below by our guest reviewer, Summer Hanna.) The ribs were good and smoky but a little on the basic side. They were a dry rib with little spice but offered no creativity or sauciness. The red BBQ slaw was so vinegary that I couldn't eat it. The BBQ beans were fantastic. They contained bacon, tomatoes, ground beef, and lots of other good stuff. While they were only a little warm they were so very tasty.

April: Dr. Brownstone's BBQ was our next tasting. These ribs can only be described one way...saucy! They were super meaty and covered in a very rich sauce. The rib meat fell right off the bone and had a really nice spicy taste. Dr. Brownstone's ribs were a good wet rib to compare to the drier version from Bib's.
Lane: These ribs proved to be very wet with a thick molasses sauce. They had a really good smoky flavor. There was textural crunch which signified a strong glaze on the outer layer of meat but the sauce really complimented this texture giving it a well blended taste sensation.

Summer: Prior to Rib Fest, I had looked through the list of vendors andwhere they were from to get an idea of what I should prepare myself toeat Friday night. This is when I had seen that there was a place fromSpartanburg, SC competing, and regardless my love of North Carolina Lexington-style BBQ, I was elated at the chance to have some SouthCarolina ribs. What I didn't prepare myself for was the time commitment required to eat at the Carolina Rib King, the defending champion of the Texas Pete Rib Fest. While everyone else stood in a 5-10 minute line for their plate of ribs, I and a small group dedicated ourselves to a forty minute wait for our dinner.
While standing in line, we had decided to go ahead and test out the sauces independent of the meat. Two five-gallon buckets with pump tops held your choice of either mild or hot sauce. The mild sauce was okay, a blend of ketchup and vinegar with a few spices, but without the heat provided by the pepper left you with the sweet aftertaste of ketchup. Iwas not a fan. The hot sauce however, was much more pleasing. It also was a blend of ketchup, vinegar, spices, with the addition of a smoky flavor and a little heat which we as a group decided was much morepleasing. Once we finally received our meals, I realized the wait was wellworth it. I had a "Baby King Rib Plate." The Baby King comes at a priceof $10 and includes 4 bones, slaw, baked beans, and corn bread. The Carolina Rib King cooked some of the best ribs I have ever eaten in my entire life. I apologize now to all those who may be reading, I have told cook delicious ribs. They all pale in comparison to what I ate Friday night. The meat was so tender that it easily slid off the bone, which I attribute to the slow par-baking over steam which I observed while waiting in line. They were then finished over a charcoal/wood chip flame where they obtained a slight crisp to the outside and a delicious smoky flavor. Even though I had gotten some of the hot sauce, I barely used it. The meat had such a good flavor that it didn't need the addition of anything else. The slaw and beans are nothing worth writing home about. They were your run of the mill food service sides. However, the cornbread was buttery, moist, and delicious: a perfect companion to the ribs. All of which were easily washed down with a Foothills Brewery Hurricane Hefeweizen, the Winston-Salem brewery which supplied all beer for Rib Fest. My only disappointment was that the line was too long to go back for a second plate.
April: As for the rest of the festival, the beer was good (from Foothills Brewery) but the entertainment was disappointing. Friday was supposed to be a performance by Vanilla Ice at 10 pm according to the program and website. We left at 11:45 pm and he still had not come to the stage. Thankfully the company of friends and food more than made up for it!
Lane: I was a fan of Digital Underground from back in the day and I felt privileged to be witnessing the slightest fraction of hip-hop history in the duo of Money B and DJ Nu- Stylez as they played homage to hip-hop’s golden era but when all was said and done and the clock ticked on, and on, it became clear…..they were the hype-men for Vanilla Ice, his warm up crew and after awhile the luster of this golden facet began to grow dim. Maybe it was the clearing of the delicious BBQ smoke haze or perhaps the sheer exhaustion of the day, but we were done and it was time to go.
Twin City Rib Fest Dixie Classic Fairgrounds Winston-Salem, NC 27105
Distance from Home: 107.12 miles