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Real Southern Barbeque
Shucks.net ^ | 13 May 2003 | Brad Edmonds

Posted on 05/13/2003 4:44:31 PM PDT by stainlessbanner

The origins of term "barbeque" and the cooking methods associated with it are lost to history. The term itself may derive from a French term meaning something to the effect of "head to tail." Indeed, much barbeque involves cooking the entire animal. Some stories say the tradition in the US dates to the 1700s in Virginia and North Carolina, among colonists who perhaps learned the technique from American Indians or Caribbean aborigines. Given that the basic requisites are meat and fire, barbequing probably dates back about as far back as human use of fire.

As to the term "barbeque" today, different people take it different ways. There is "grilling" the meat is within several inches of the flames, such as with an hibachi, and you get grill marks; and "smoking" the meat is nowhere near the flames, and the hot smoke itself cooks the meat. According to 19th-century cowboy traditions, the meat should be cooked at around 200 degrees F., so any place near a flame would be too hot. The smoke flavor itself is part of the objective; keeping the meat tender and juicy is the rest (though I don t believe I ve ever eaten a juicy barbequed brisket).

For "barbeque," some people think smoking and some think grilling. It would be helpful if we could come up with some additional terms one for smoking and then slathering with barbeque sauce, one for smoking while basting with barbeque sauce, another for grilling while basting. Perhaps another for grilling and then basting. For now, when somebody sells or otherwise offers you something they claim has been barbequed, look around or ask how it was cooked. You re not being rude; cooking meat is an art, and the more you can learn about the flavors and textures that result from different techniques, the better. Most cooks and chefs are pleased to hear "how did you prepare this?"

At cookoffs, Texans often will smoke a piece of meat for six hours or more, up to six feet away from the flame. A more common technique is to have the meat directly over the flame, but a low flame, with the whole contraption enclosed to keep in the smoke. This is a more practical alternative to fabricating a grill that measures 3' by 5' by 7'.

There s pretty much one real regional difference in the South with regard to the meat. The vast majority of Dixie, upon hearing "barbeque," assumes pork; Texans don t. Rather, they often assume beef brisket. As to the wood used for smoking, there is disagreement, but the differences are found in every town and don t follow regional lines (except that some hardwoods were more available in some places than others in the past; today, you can get anything at a big grocery store). Hickory and mesquite are the most popular; applewood and "hardwood" are still seen here and there. The real disagreement is over whether the variety of wood matters much. There is much less disagreement that wood gives more smoke flavor than charcoal. There can be no disagreement that gas grills don t impart any smoke flavor.

There are more differences with regard to sauces. In Texas, barbequed meat is usually served with sauce on the side if there is any sauce at all. My favorite restaurant in College Station (I can t remember its name) served half a raw onion, a 4-oz. slice of cheddar cheese, a pickle, and 8 ounces of whatever meat you wanted, all on a piece of butcher paper. They gave you a knife (no fork) and a jar of their own barbeque sauce. The meat choices were pork tenderloin; beef that could pass for tenderloin; polish sausage; and I forget what else. Maybe chicken. The sauce I remember: Thick and fresh (hot from the pot, actually), but with very little flavor beyond tomato no pepper heat, no vinegar tang, no sweetness, no real spicy piquancy.

That s probably not typical of Texas barbeque sauces. A list of ingredients from one of the self-proclaimed "best" Texas barbeque sauces begins with "tomato concentrate, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, spices ." That would be typical of barbeque sauces around the country: They ll have a tomato base, vinegar, sweetener, always a little garlic and onion, and some heat. They sometimes have a puckering tang from prepared (powdered) mustard or turmeric; and some have a little citrus flavoring of some sort. Mustard-based sauces show up in some places; they tend to be less sweet than the brownish sauces.

Those are the basic two, with the tomato-based sauce being the most popular. However, eastern North Carolina and Virginia have a tradition of their own: A watery, vinegar-based sauce with no tomato, sugar, or mustard flavor. I ordered a bottle and tasted it, and can report that it is similar to any "Louisiana" hot sauce (the ingredients of which should always be only vinegar, peppers, and salt). The North Carolina sauce added some other spices that gave it an extremely dry, almost bitter flavor, similar to a Thai pepper sauce. The particular one I sampled has won awards in North Carolina, but to me it seemed to be lacking something. The spices made the sauce seem to want for some sweetness, which impression does not accompany the taste of a Louisiana hot sauce.

If you haven t had the chance to sample any local Southern barbeque sauces, despair not: The flavor that best captures the typical sauce can be had for 99 cents just buy a bottle of Kraft barbeque sauce. That isn t shameful Kraft hires food experts to develop sauces for a living, and they measure proportions in parts per million. Kraft, by the way, sells about 50 varieties, and they re all inexpensive and good. Don t spend $4 on a bottle of sauce heck, Kraft makes the more expensive "gourmet" Bullseye sauces. They re not any better than the 99-cent stuff.

Most local Southern sauces taste similar to one Kraft variety or another. At one of the more famous barbeque joints in the Southeast, Dreamland (based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama), the sauce tastes exactly like the regular Kraft with a little sugar and heat added. That the good local sauces and Kraft sauces are similar means only that Southerners and food giants are arriving at a good flavor. And some of Kraft s 50 relatively new varieties probably are themselves imitations of, or inspired by, various local twists on the basic theme.

Indeed, just as government interventions lag behind the market s identification of needs and their solutions (e.g., in the early 20th century, the government decided to write child-labor laws after the economy began to generate enough wealth that children weren t any longer being sent to factories by their parents, and after special-interest groups decided they were outraged by a practice that was already going away), big corporations get "new" food-product ideas from foods people already have. The Oreo probably wasn t even an exception. They won t tell, though; I tried to get information out of Kraft, to no avail.

So, "barbeque," whatever the term means, isn t a Southern invention; surely it s as old as the hills. All we did was perfect it. The reasons why would be pure speculation, but they probably begin with our better climate, our love of hunting and fishing, our greater sociability, our slower-paced life, and our tasty pigs; and end with the only possible result of millions of people enjoying a craft that requires them to do all the work every time: Innovations happen randomly, frequently, sometimes serendipitously, but inexorably.

A note about perfection: Theoretically, there s no such thing. Practically, however, every time you barbeque something well and everybody loves it, it s perfect; and as tastes change over time, recipes and techniques will evolve to accommodate them, and it ll still be perfect.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: North Carolina; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: bbq; dixie; dixielist; mustardsaucesucks; northcarolina; oldnorthstate; south
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To: kellynla
"I use Jack Daniels in my sauce. Being that it's the best whiskey made!"

Jack is my booze of choice in BBQ sauce.

I live in New Hampshire. I use maple syrup instead of molassas or brown sugar. We also have a lot of apple trees to make chips. I like to smoke with about 50% hickory and 50% apple.

Emeril's rustic rub with about half the salt he uses and twice as much garlic powder is a great rub. For my money, dry rubbed, St. Louis ribs, smoked 6 hours, thrown on a grill until they sizzle and served dry with a brown sauce (maple syrup, vinegar, dry mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, Tabasco, cayenne, salt, pepper, Lea & Perrins, Jack Daniels and whatever else I have in the spice racks) on the side is the best.

I can't make pulled pork as well as the guys with the big, commercial smokers, but my ribs are the best in New Hampshire.

I like to serve them with cole slaw made with a buttermilk, vinegar, sugar, mustard, pepper, Tabasco and horseradish dressing. Most people don't use the horseradish, but I think it makes a big difference.

151 posted on 05/13/2003 8:42:54 PM PDT by Poser
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To: 1L
There's a company called New Branfuls smokers (I guess they are made in the same Texas city??) that are well built and will smoke anything you want. They aren't very expensive -- a new one can be had for around $135 or so. Check the internet. If you have an Academy store anywhere near you, they might have them there too. The Academy stores I go to sell them.

The company is New Braunfels Smoker Co.
152 posted on 05/13/2003 8:50:54 PM PDT by Fawnn (I think therefore I'm halfway there....)
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To: Poser
Poser, check out the instructions I gave Vegas for a smoker...if you can get your hands on a 55 gal drum you can make a real nice smoker...If you ever get the chance to go to Memphis for the Championship be sure and go...my relatives have won 3 times...it's always in May the weather is still nice and not too hot yet...comes up this weekend...all the best pork barbequers in the world compete...
153 posted on 05/13/2003 9:00:57 PM PDT by kellynla ("C" 1/5 1st Mar Div Viet Nam '69 & '70 Semper Fi)
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To: kellynla
I like a vertical smoker with a water pan between the heat and the meat. I put beer, onions and garlic in the pan. Hmm... I'll bet a 55 gallon drum might be a good start for a *big* vertical smoker.

Around here, the 275 gallon oil tank is a good starting point for a horizontal smoker. It's damned cold in the winter and big oil tanks are more plentiful than 55 gallon drums.

So much BBQ, so little time!
154 posted on 05/13/2003 9:10:04 PM PDT by Poser
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To: Poser; All
Well try the 55...much smaller than the 275 so it won't take so much "fuel" to fire up or space...Well I gotta sign off for the night...Good night all and Happy Barbecuing!
155 posted on 05/13/2003 9:15:55 PM PDT by kellynla ("C" 1/5 1st Mar Div Viet Nam '69 & '70 Semper Fi)
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To: LasVegasMac
Wow. Made great sammiches and went well with cold MGD's

And you were doing so well. It sounded wonderful, but next time, try it with beer. ;)

156 posted on 05/13/2003 9:31:35 PM PDT by Melas
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To: putupon
Eastern North Carolina (minced) with vinegar based sauce is the best by far, mustard base and other blends are tolerable to varying degrees

You have to be kidding. Vinegar? Forgive me, but that's quite disgusting (yes, I've been unfortunate enough to sample it). However, I'm sure it tastes fine depending on how much hooch has been consumed. To each his own, but the vinegar thing is quite disturbing to me and I know I am not alone on that thought.

157 posted on 05/13/2003 9:49:20 PM PDT by babaloo999
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To: babaloo999
Carolina Gold is the best sauce in the south,good on the pork and good on the yardbird.
158 posted on 05/13/2003 10:01:16 PM PDT by noutopia
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To: stainlessbanner

159 posted on 05/13/2003 10:34:45 PM PDT by concentric circles
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To: snopercod
My plain old barbecue sauce recipe:

One cup catsup

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup blackstrap molasses

place in a saucepan over low heat and add:

One clove garlic crushed

1/4 c white onion minced small (I wear gloves and grate it, that way it doesn't burn the eyes)

one teaspoon black pepper

Juice of one lemon

1/2 to one bottle of Tabasco, to taste

tablespoon prepared horseradish (not the sauce, just the plain horseradish)

Stir and heat slowly just to the point of boiling.

Remove from heat, baste meat with this sauce. Makes a little over two cups.

It looks like it would be flaming hot, from the recipe, but it isn't. I make Southern Fried crispy chicken wings, then after they're done, dip them fully cooked into this sauce and broil them till the sauce has a very light char.

Very good with pork, excellent on barbecued hamburger, keeps well refrigerated.

Serve with a side of pickled green beans:

Get fresh green beans or pick your own, about two pounds. Clean and wash them. Make your favorite pickling mix, I like kosher dill, get it to boiling, fill a clean half gallon jar with the clean green beans--jam it full--and pour boiling pickling mix over them. Refrigerate for three days, then eat up to two weeks. They are crispy and absolutely delicious. You can also pickle fresh zucchini this way, they taste best with bread and butter pickle mix, in my opinion; and whole small okra with the dill recipe are really good.

I like cold pickled veggies in the summer. Like corn relish, dilled bell peppers (cut big chunks, clean and layer them red, yellow, and green, very pretty). Supposedly they keep more of their vitamin content that way, but who cares, I'd eat them if they were bad for me. ;-D


160 posted on 05/13/2003 10:49:30 PM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: lodwick
I should have said, "Cooper's"

Yep; Coopers. I once drove 250 miles just to have breakfast there...

161 posted on 05/13/2003 11:30:03 PM PDT by Technogeeb
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To: babaloo999
You have to be kidding. Vinegar?

Don't question my taste on BBQ. I born amd raised in in the heart of original BBQ country (SE VA/NE NC). There are several vinegar based BBQ sauces recipes on this thread that look top notch.

Now when it comes to baby back rids, I like more mustard/vinegar base blend, But ribs ain't BBQ. BBQ is chopped, minced, or pulled pig meat, plain and simple.

And any of these ketchup based stuff they sell in the stores are an affront to southern sensibilities and and insult to the pig it's placed upon.

If you like that stuff, ypu are obviously from Michigan or some other snow encrusted tundra and grew up eating salisbury steak.

162 posted on 05/14/2003 3:14:24 AM PDT by putupon (he who writes on $#!+house walls, will roll...;-)
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To: evangmlw
Ditto BUMP for Ralph's. I always time my travels on I-95 so I get to Weldon around meal time.
163 posted on 05/14/2003 3:19:14 AM PDT by putupon (he who writes on $#!+house walls, will roll their...;-)
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To: Judith Anne
Wow! That sounds great. Thanks so much for posting it.
164 posted on 05/14/2003 3:40:15 AM PDT by snopercod
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To: USP45
Thank you Sensei! (deep bow...)
165 posted on 05/14/2003 3:46:19 AM PDT by snopercod
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To: aomagrat
BBQ is pork with mustard based sauce and is found at Shealy's BBQ in Leesville SC.

Good stuff!

REAL BBQ. Ten minutes from my house. Everyone seems to agree that Sheally's has some of the best BBQ you can buy, and a pretty good buffet to boot. I see Shealy's sauce in all the grocery stores now, Maurice's mouth might be the best thing that ever happened to Shealy's. Shealy's should go the Lizards Thicket route and open up a store close to the airport, so some out-of-towners can discover what BBQ is supposed to taste like.

I don't know why people think that just any old thing cooked on a grill is BBQ!

166 posted on 05/14/2003 4:01:49 AM PDT by Yeti
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To: USP45
We would cover the pits with cardboard to keep the smoke in and all the men folk would stay up all night cooking the pigs and a couple big pots of hash.

There wasn't any beer-drinking involved in this little culinary undertaking was there?

167 posted on 05/14/2003 4:07:41 AM PDT by Yeti
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To: 1L
But to say it is the only real BBQ defies the definition of BBQ.

If that's the case, then Noah Webster must've been a yankee.

168 posted on 05/14/2003 4:15:39 AM PDT by Yeti
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To: babaloo999
My Uncle is a native Texan and had the experience of ordering BBQ while passing through NC once.

His exact words: "That watery stuff they brought to the table is the most miserable excuse for BBQ sauce I've ever seen."
169 posted on 05/14/2003 4:27:02 AM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: July 4th
If you get anything that looks interesting I'd appreciate a ping. My wife has developed an allergy to tomato so I'm very interested in alternatives.

My brother has mentioned a "white BBQ" sauce he had in Memphis but he doesn't know what was in it. If you hear, I'd love to know.

Thx.

170 posted on 05/14/2003 4:30:09 AM PDT by tcostell
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To: Yeti
Shealy's now has a branch inside the new Carolina Center. Now you can enjoy Shealy's BBQ while watching the Gamecocks!
171 posted on 05/14/2003 4:30:26 AM PDT by aomagrat (IYAOYAS)
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To: All
Anyone here remember the Clewiston BBQ in Clewiston FL, or Shorty's in South Miami?
172 posted on 05/14/2003 4:30:41 AM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: kellynla; Poser; stainlessbanner
"Well try the 55...much smaller than the 275 so it won't take so much "fuel" to fire up or space."

I'm a 55 gallon fan myself....you see a lot of guys working with a 275 mounted on a single axle trailer...those things are fine if you're doing a big BBQ, but you're right they take a lot of wood....I think the average guy is better off with a plain old 55....just about anything will work in a pinch however.....I once used a Army wall locker; chopped holes in the top and bottom with an axe for ventilation....when the craving for BBQ hits a man's gotta do what he's gotta do.....

Good luck to everyone!

Stonewalls

173 posted on 05/14/2003 4:36:53 AM PDT by STONEWALLS
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To: USP45
"North Carlina Bone Sucking Sauce. This stuff is amazing."

Ditto that, a sauce even an Texan would approve.

I went down hwy. 25 bypass to Hwy. 11 this past weekend. I'd forgotten how pretty the high country of SC can be.
174 posted on 05/14/2003 4:44:04 AM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: stainlessbanner
You cannot have a bbq thread without mentioning
http://www.bbslawnsidebbq.com/

Besides the best ribs in the world, BB's also has some of the best cajun cooking I have ever had. Nothing says pure heaven like eating a 1/2 slab of ribs, and spicy cajun crawfish tails, while washing it all down with a bucket of ice cold Pabst in longnecks. Of course, after dinner is when the real fun starts...John Paul Drum on thursdays is highly recommended.

If ever in Kansas City, forget Gates BBQ, forget KC Masterpiece....if you go to one place, go to BB's. It is not well known to tourists,and they never advertise...they don't have to. But get there early...small place, and fills up every night by 7:00. And be prepared to meet people..people are crammed in side by side on buffet tables...great atmosphere, truly one of a kind.

175 posted on 05/14/2003 4:45:25 AM PDT by bluzcat
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To: husky ed
What's with the 100' Craftsman tape?

Good choice in brands, I go through 3 of them a year and haven't paid for one since 1990.
176 posted on 05/14/2003 4:48:34 AM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: 1L
The best cheesesteak I ever had was at Ghassan's in Greensboro, NC
177 posted on 05/14/2003 4:52:03 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: putupon
Read my lips: Scotts BBQ sauce...sometimes called Martels. It's the real eastern NC sauce
178 posted on 05/14/2003 4:58:55 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: USP45
I'll be in Cary this week and I have given instructions that I am to be fed with good P-I-G hog meat or else. Actually, Stamey's in Greensboro is pretty good.
179 posted on 05/14/2003 5:02:38 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: sam_paine
"Some stories say the tradition in the US dates to the 1700s in Virginia and North Carolina, among colonists who perhaps learned the technique from American Indians or Caribbean aborigines."

Ha, "barbacoa" is the Texan wannabe story to support the myth that Texas originated barbecue. Good stuff, to be sure, but this writer got the correct origin, and even makes the distinction between tomato-based and vinegar-based.

He does create confusion, however, with the statement "If you haven t had the chance to sample any local Southern barbeque sauces, despair not: The flavor that best captures the typical sauce can be had for 99 cents just buy a bottle of Kraft barbeque sauce." This applies ONLY to the inferior "tomato based" sauce, not the vinegar-based.

He also missed the target on his review of the NC vinegar-based sauce he tried. "The particular one I sampled has won awards in North Carolina, but to me it seemed to be lacking something. The spices made the sauce seem to want for some sweetness, which impression does not accompany the taste of a Louisiana hot sauce."

If you are simply tasting the sauce, he might have a point. And, while Louisianna hot sauces can be excellent, they would overpower the delicate flavor of the pork. The NC hot pepper vinegar sauce is the perfect compliment to correctly cooked pork -- and is the only food that deserves application of "barbecue" as a noun.

And, while other areas or cities may claim to be the "Barbecue Capital of the World," people who enjoy food should understand that the reference would only apply to quantity. For the best barbecue in the world, go to Eastern North Carolina.


Finally, considering that all of MY comments are indisputable, I would prefer only those who appreciate true barbecue and want to compliment the truth and wisdom of my observations respond to this post. Any other response would simply be nuts.


180 posted on 05/14/2003 5:24:21 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: stainlessbanner
I draw your attention to my post #180.
181 posted on 05/14/2003 5:25:40 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: LasVegasMac
For enlightenment, I draw your attention to my post #180.
182 posted on 05/14/2003 5:26:22 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: aomagrat
For enlightenment, I draw your attention to my post #180.
183 posted on 05/14/2003 5:26:49 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: bayou_billy
For enlightenment, I draw your attention to my post #180.
184 posted on 05/14/2003 5:27:29 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: Rebelbase
I draw your attention to my post #180.
185 posted on 05/14/2003 5:27:52 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: Conservababe
For enlightenment, I draw your attention to my post #180.
186 posted on 05/14/2003 5:28:29 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: stands2reason
For enlightenment, I draw your attention to my post #180.
187 posted on 05/14/2003 5:28:40 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: Non-Sequitur
For enlightenment, I draw your attention to my post #180.
188 posted on 05/14/2003 5:29:12 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: billbears; AppyPappy
I keep meaning to go and I've got the directions just can't get away from work.

billbears, I know the feeling.

Cherry's BBQ is here in Wilson County where I work.
I never take a whole hour for lunch because I am too busy.
So, it's just a bit too far from my office to go there for lunch & return in (what I consider) a reasonable amount of time.

Usually I go to Parker's. I do not really care for Bill's.

189 posted on 05/14/2003 5:30:30 AM PDT by Constitution Day (Nasty Little Clique™)
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To: stands2reason
For enlightenment, I draw your attention to my post #180. I can see where babacoa would be associated with goats.
190 posted on 05/14/2003 5:31:05 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: kellynla
I draw your attention to my post #180.
191 posted on 05/14/2003 5:31:40 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: Rebelbase
Sorry RB... I didn't get your ping till this morning.
It's never too late for them to jump in, though!
192 posted on 05/14/2003 5:32:00 AM PDT by Constitution Day (Nasty Little Clique™)
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To: 1L
For enlightenment, I draw your attention to my post #180.
193 posted on 05/14/2003 5:32:16 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: billbears
I draw your attention to my post #180.
194 posted on 05/14/2003 5:33:04 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: Lee'sGhost
I've had Carolina barbecue. I'll stand by my statement that Kansas City barbecue is superior in all respects. Add to that the fact that we have the best beer in the world to wash it down with, draft Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat, and you have a combination that cannot be beat.
195 posted on 05/14/2003 5:34:22 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: AppyPappy
"Little" Washington is my birth place. They prefer to be referred to as the "Original" Washington, as they were the first town to be so named.

Have a good trip.
196 posted on 05/14/2003 5:34:26 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: *Old_North_State; **North_Carolina; Constitution Day; mykdsmom; 100%FEDUP; ...
Barbecue threads on Free Republic tend to escalate into knockdown, dragout affairs... plus they make you hungry.
Enjoy!

LLLLET'S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLE!!!!

197 posted on 05/14/2003 5:36:10 AM PDT by Constitution Day (Nasty Little Clique™)
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To: LasVegasMac; All
For enlightenment, I draw your attention to my post #180.

Ahh, now that the hornets nest is properly stirred I think my work here is done. See you guys later.


Hehehehehehehehehehehehehe!!!!
198 posted on 05/14/2003 5:37:11 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: putupon
re: Eastern North Carolina (minced) with vinegar based sauce is the best by far, mustard base and other blends are tolerable to varying degrees with the exception of Texas so-called BBQ, which is made of cow meat and therefore impossible to be true BBQ. )))

Right about almost everything--except you're describing South Carolina BBQ.

(g)

199 posted on 05/14/2003 5:37:30 AM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: Constitution Day
Actually, the guy I am going to see grew up in Wilson. It appears to be the bbq capital of NC.
200 posted on 05/14/2003 5:37:39 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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