Living the Legend: Southern BBQ
by Heidi Obermeyer
Okay, maybe just saying “Southern BBQ” is a bit of an over-generalization. There are about a kazillion different varieties of barbecue once you get past the Mississippi, from Kansas City (YUM) to Eastern Carolina (Ehhhh…) and everything in between, not to mention all the stuff they must be cooking up further South. No offense to Southern cooking, but barbecue meat and sandwiches are maybe the healthiest Southern food I can think of. Yeah… it’s pretty bad for you. And hence, delicious!
All the food here is from some restaurant we visited after going to the beach a few weeks ago. Oh, here’s the beach by the way! It was nice. I really like the ocean. And watching Planet Earth episodes about it.
Anyway, we got done at the beach around dinner time and decided to go find ourselves some dinner. And hence, the most average barbecue ever to have graced my stomach was found. And it was average. It’s actually probably for the best that I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, because I would probably not eat there again. But it will be a good poster child for Eastern Carolina barbecue, and (sadly) a few of the things that really bug me about the South. Let’s start with one of the more amusing traits: basically anything that is not the barbecue is considered a “vegetable.” Check it out:
Applesauce? That’s a vegetable. Peaches? Those too. Mac’n’cheese? Absolutely! So funny. I ordered peaches as one of my sides, which was a bad decision. My thoughts: “Oh! I will be healthy and not try the fried okra! It is fine! High five!” What actually happened: “Here are some peaches from a can drenched in that syrup that you used to love as a child and now find disguisting.” Darn it! I was really hoping some delicious spiced peaches or something. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. Luckily my lack of fried food in my entrée was redeemed by the big basket of hush puppies and cornsticks that appeared on our table. With honey butter! Plus 10 deliciousness points, minus 20 healthy points.
Cornsticks are kind of lame (they just taste like cornbread in a stick) but hush puppies are actually really tasty. They are slightly sweet and would be good at breakfast I think. I’m not sure what hush puppy protocol is, but I think including them at breakfast should be considered.
This kind of brings me to the things that bug me about the South. Basically, it is the most Boulder-esque thing ever to be angered by. It is… get ready… the use of disposable EVERYTHING for EVERYTHING. Grocery shopping? Double bag it all. Walking 5 steps away to eat the lunch you just bought? Bag it! And here’s a thousand napkins too! It is driving me nuts. I am all over reusable bags like white on rice. I even just bought some of these reusable produce bags like a total hippie. But I mean really… we were sitting down and eating at this restaurant and EVERYTHING we ate with was made of styrofoam and meant to be thrown away. Cups, plates, utensils, napkins, all of the condiments… it’s crazy. No wonder there’s a giant bag monster in the Pacific. Let’s try and cut back, shall we? I just want to enjoy all my ridiculously fried food without killing the sea turtles, please!
This mystery restaurant also had a bunch of typical mom-and-pop place decorations. I liked these signs.
And signed photos of a lot of random people. If I were to own a restaurant, I would just take pictures of the interesting looking people who ate there and put their pictures on the wall. It would be great. I think most of these people are related to football somehow.
Anyway, the food was mediocre, but a really good example of your typical mediocre barbecue. Also, I forgot to mention earlier- Eastern Carolina barbecue is vinegar-based instead of ketchup-based, so it is a much lighter and tangier sauce. I think it was one of those things where if I hadn’t made prior assumptions about what barbecue should taste like, it would have been fine, but I was expecting a creamier deliciousness, and this was really liquidy. Not bad, just different! That’s the motto around here lately, with adjusting to a new place and whatnot.
Again, the beach really was great. Look, across the way you can see Europe! And now the beach can be part of my curriculum, too. Perfect.
So what are you guys up to this weekend? I’m going to visit Morgan in Virginia and she said that we get to go to an apple orchard! Hooray! Fall is so cool out here! I’m really excited for the leaves to change, it’s going to be a colorful experience for sure. Well, whatever it is you’re doing, enjoy these last vestiges of summer! 🙂