Tag Archives: BBQ

Pimento Cheeseburger at The Lamar Lounge – Oxford, MS

4 Jul

This burger, without question, is one of my favorite dishes in North Mississippi. We have lived in Oxford going on 3 years now, but it took us a while to find this gem of a bar/restaurant. The Lamar Lounge is a part of John Currence’s Oxford Culinary Empire. At last count, Currence operated 5 eateries in this little town of about 25,000.


As the logo suggests, the Lounge is a bit pig-centric. Yet the burgers are what keep me coming back for more. Especially so if you slather house made pimento cheese all over the perfectly cooked beef. Pimento cheese has long been a Southern delicacy and a treasured condiment for Dixie Diners in the know. In our opinion, nothing beats fresh, scratch made pimento cheese. Many varieties exist — and finding some in your local grocery store has become increasingly easier.

Lamar Lounge Pimento Burger Good

Basic ingredients are a good sharp cheddar, some quality mayo (we like Duke’s), and chopped up nuggets of pimento (mild red pepper). Some even add jalapeno for an extra kick. Palmetto brand pimento cheese out of the SC Lowcountry makes a delicious jalapeno blend. Look for it in Kroger or WalMart stores across the South.

Lamar Exterior Good

When driving down North Lamar, look for the red neon BAR sign. It is your beacon for good food and drink. Service is casual and very laid back in a hipster sort of way. Live music is performed on many nights. They even show a movie from time to time. Go to their web site or give ’em a ring for more details on that.

Lamar Interior

The interior is a bit dark — those seeking more Vitamin D can ask to be seated outback in their open air patio. That space is illuminated with Napa style patio lights. It also provides a scenic view (and a sniff) of their whole hog pig smoking operation. Yes, they cook whole hog here — a real rarity here in the Magnolia State. Deer antlers and other wild game adorn the interior walls. The bar, a tourist attraction on its own, once belonged to Eddie Fisher, star of stage and screen. Fisher, most famously the husband of starlet Liz Taylor, had his initials carved into the rich mahogany.

This is more of a locals dive when compared to other Oxford dining institutions. But this local suggests you drop by and enjoy a burger, some terrific seasoned fries, a cold Yalobusha brew, and some Hollywood history — right here in the heart of Mississippi Hill Country.

***Bonus Tip — the collard greens are tasty too!

New BBQ Book does it “Low and Slow”

2 Aug


Product Description

Step away from the propane tank. Surrender all of your notions about barbecue. Forget everything you’ve ever learned about cooking with charcoal and fire. It is all wrong. Get it right with the “Five Easy Lessons” program, which includes over 130 recipes and step-by-step instructions for setting up and cooking low and slow on a Weber Smokey Mountain, an offset smoker, or a kettle grill.

This program is guided by a singular philosophy: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Do exactly as Gary says, don’t even think about opening the lid before it’s time, and you will learn:

• What gear you do and, more importantly, don’t need
• Exactly how to start and maintain a proper fire (without lighter fluid)
• All about marinades, brines, and rubs
• To use your senses and trust your instincts (instead of thermometers)
• How to make delicious, delicious barbecue

About the Author
Gary Wiviott is a barbecue life coach. From the popular online tutorial that started it all to his lively cooking demonstrations and teaching diehards how to set up a smoker in Chicago’s notoriously brutal winter weather, he is committed to spreading the gospel of low and slow barbecue. He is no stranger to the most popular national barbecue forums and food communities, including TheSmokeRing.com, Slow Food USA, and the Society for the Preservation of Traditional Southern Barbecue. Gary is also the founder of LTHForum.com, the Chicago-based culinary chat site.

Colleen Rush is the author of The Mere Mortal’s Guide to Fine Dining: From Salad Forks to Sommeliers, How to Eat and Drink in Style Without Fear of Faux Pas (Broadway, 2006). She knew very little (okay, nothing) about barbecue before meeting Gary—thought nothing of using lighter fluid—but has since reformed her ways and makes a damn fine pulled pork sandwich.

Order today at http://www.amazon.com/Low-Slow-Master-Barbecue-Lessons/dp/0762436093/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1249219672&sr=8-1

Roadside Rib Shack Offers Some Redemption

24 Feb

We continued our Florida BBQ quest today with a trip to the Roadside Rib Shack, which is located just off Highway 41 on Bahia Vista Road in Sarasota. They bill it as “Southern Style Barbecue,” and that is exactly what I have been seeking — with not too much luck I must add.


It is a nice-enough looking establishment from the outside.  The ribs are tender and tasty … the pulled pork was flavorful but a little too fatty for my taste. I know, fat = flavor, but I’m still trying to be somewhat healthy, even when eating smoked pork BBQ. The cole slaw was OK — not great — but far better than the slop I was served at The Oaks just about 24 hours previously. The meat was served on a Kaiser-style yeast roll.   


Small but comfortable on the inside, the Roadside Rib Shack gets an A for effort when it comes to their BBQ sauce variety. They offer you the choice of sweet, spicy, or mustard-based. All are good, but I preferred the spicy variety. Owner Derek Luther makes it himself and the extra care shows. The sweet sauce had a Memphis vibe to it, while the mustard sauce took me back to the 5 years I spent in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry. This, I believe, is the first time we’ve seen this unique sauce served at a FL eatery.  Nice going, Derek!


Mr. Luther was quite personable — I always appreciate that courtesy. They also have a sense of humor at the Roadside Rib Shack. I could tell by looking at the T-shirts (see below) they sell in the front of the restaurant.


This wasn’t the best BBQ we’ve had in Florida, but after our recent trials and tribulations this was definitely a step in the right direction.

The Best BBQ in London?

27 Nov


Found this blog on WordPress.com.

It’s good to hear a take on American BBQ, Brit Style …

If there’s one thing we know how to do in the U.S., its barbeque. We have as many styles of barbeque as we have states, and we’re all positive that our version is the best. But in London, we all have the same problem: no matter how nice our flats are, they lack space for barbeque pits. Fortunately, we also have Bodean’s BBQ, the best barbeque joint in London.

Why It’s The Best: Because at Bodean’s, you’re spoiled for choice. There’s the expected barbeque fare, cooked to perfection over a wood-burning smoke pit and smothered in Bodean’s good-as-home-made barbeque sauce: baby back ribs, pork spare ribs, and pulled pork sandwiches. But Bodean’s also offers other kinds of authentic American comfort foods. Their all-beef chili hot dog is delicious, and their corn bread muffins have to be tasted to be believed. They also offer slices of surprisingly good key lime pie for dessert, a treat almost unknown outside of the U.S South. On top of the excellent food, Bodean’s also features live feeds of NCAA football games, including the annual meetings of the biggest rivals: Michigan and Ohio State (November 22), Georgia Tech and Georgia, (November 29), and Auburn and Alabama (also November 29). A hint: go on Tuesdays, when all combination dinners are a mere £10; you won’t need to eat for day afterwards.


The Details: Bodean’s has five branches in London: Soho (Oxford Circus tube), Clapham (Clapham Common), Fulham (Fulham Broadway),Westbourne (Bayswater) and Tower Hill (Tower Hill). All serve the same menu, and take-away is available at each location.

Bodean’s BBQ

Bama BBQ Taking Over the World?

28 Aug

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Alabama’s best export might be slathered with sauce. ‘Bama-based barbecue restaurants _ known for their variety of styles _ are spreading throughout the South and beyond, slowly gaining an out-of-state foothold in a highly regionalized business where diners can be pretty picky about what’s on their plate.

Any fan of Southeastern Conference football knows about Tuscaloosa’s Dreamland BBQ Ribs, which started in a smoky, dark building in 1958 a few miles from the University of Alabama. It now has six restaurants, including two in upscale parts of metro Atlanta, and each has the same motto: “Ain’t nothing like’ em nowhere.”

Golden Rule Bar-B-Q, which opened in 1891 near Birmingham, has 20 locations in Alabama and has expanded to one each in Georgia and Tennessee with plans to move into more states by the end of the year. And Jim N’ Nicks Bar-B-Q has grown beyond its Alabama roots into Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.

With projected sales of $79 million this year, Jim N’ Nicks has plans to grow to two dozen locally owned restaurants by early next year, with one as far away as Denver.

The trick, according to Jim N’ Nicks marketing director Sam Burn, is translating the tradition, food and fun of a backyard cookout into a restaurant experience that sells across state lines.

“Barbecue is something people are really passionate about,” said Burn. “Barbecue is very personal and communal and local.”

Other Southern barbecue restaurants have spread _ the Florida-based Sonny’s Bar-B-Q calls itself the nation’s largest barbecue chain with more than 150 restaurants in nine Southeastern states. But the spread of so many restaurants from a single state is unusual in the barbecue world, according to Scott Jones, executive food editor at Southern Living magazine.

Areas like the Carolinas, Memphis, Tenn., Texas or Kansas City are known for certain styles of meat, he said. People who are used to a certain type of barbecue _ chopped pork covered with a watery, vinegar-based sauce, for example _ may turn up their noses at a spare rib coated in thick, tomato-based sauce.

But, Jones said, Alabama barbecue restaurants are hard to pigeonhole, serving everything from saucy chopped pork to spare ribs rubbed with dry spices to chicken coated in white sauce. Some even serve Texas-style beef, for heaven’s sake. That just doesn’t happen in most parts of the Deep South.

That gastronomic diversity might make it easier than normal for Alabama-based companies to cross geographic boundaries and catch on elsewhere, Jones said.

“They only requirement for them is to turn the rest of the country on to barbecue,” said Jones. “They’re not locked down to any particular style.”

Another food expert, John T. Edge, said the migration of barbecue restaurants has quickened in recent years. He called it a “curious phenomenon,” one that goes against generations of tradition of old Southern men, black and white, cooking meat by a pit for neighbors.

“Barbecue was once the most hyper-localized food in the South,” said Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, part of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. “You built a tradition, you built a style that was honed by an old-line pit master. They didn’t move. They stayed in one place.”

At Jim N’ Nicks, Burn said managers have tried to craft a menu that both attracts everyday diners and recalls the roots of old-fashioned barbecue.

“Authentic Southern barbecue is the foundation of our business,” he said. “Ribs and white bread are the inspiration, but it’s evolved through the years.”

The family-owned Jim N’ Nicks has grown by finding local owners to open new restaurants. At Golden Rule, vice president Todd Becker said all the growth has been by franchising.

“We’re going to try to grow 30 percent a year for the next five years,” he said. “Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, the Carolinas: We’ve got plans to expand to all those areas, plus Mississippi and Florida.” They aren’t alone.

Full Moon Bar-B-Que started in metro Birmingham and has expanded to locations including Baltimore, where Baltimore Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis operates a restaurant. And in the Tennessee Valley of north Alabama, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q is planning to branch out.

Gibson’s, which has won numerous barbecue competitions and claims to have the world’s best sauce, already sells its sauces in eight states and more than 2,000 stores. It, too, is planning to fire up the smoker outside of Alabama.

“We’re working on a location up in North Carolina with a franchise there,” said Paul Collins, manager of one of the company’s two restaurants in Decatur.

Edge said he expects the growth to continue as people all over America look for down-home dining experiences.

“At the same time the country is discovering local foods, companies are learning how to export,” he said. “I think it can work. Hell, the South sold the world Coca-Cola.”

Michelbob’s BBQ Ribs in Naples, FL

25 Aug

“Best Ribs in America???” — What is with these people?

I don’t understand all the hyperbole that exists in the Naples dining scene. Why not just say “Our Ribs are Awesome?” Or maybe “The Best Ribs in Town?” Or perhaps “Florida’s Finest Ribs?” Best in America is an incredibly bold claim — and one that is virtually impossible to live up to.

Michelbob’s — Where catfish take a backseat to their baby back ribs

This tangle of homemade onion rings didn’t last long

We started off with a Onion Ring basket. The hand dipped rings were good if a little greasy. But hey, I guess they are supposed to be! The baby back ribs (said to be imported from Denmark) and the thinly sliced pork were no doubt enjoyable. The ribs were mega-tender and you could see the smoke rings on the edges of the sliced pork. The ribs were not as good as those we have gnawed in Memphis or the Texas Hill Country. I like a little char on the outside and maybe even a little crispiness. These babies were soft to the bite with just a hint of deep dark smokiness. But let’s not dwell on the negative. The meal was really good and the BBQ experience pretty decent when you compare it to the overall bleak BBQ scene that exists here in the Sunshine State. I’ll add that the best ribs I have had since arriving in Florida are served up by our old pal Perry’s BBQ right here on Siesta Key. Boy, we are lucky little devils, huh? Perry’s aren’t baby back ribs, but they are surely dee-lish, baby.   

The portions at Michelbob’s are generous – you won’t leave hungry

The sides at Michelbob’s — especially the cole slaw and baked beans — were indeed world class. In fact, the beans were tremendous … sweet and quite smoky. I loved them and could have easily devoured another helping or two. We are pretty picky about our cole slaw, but we found the slaw here to be cool and creamy. Good job, people. The Texas toast was a nice touch too, although it could have been taken to another level with a little smear of garlic butter. My meal even came with a baked potato and sour cream. That was the proverbial belly buster. No dessert was necessary — we left with full guts and smiles all around.

www.michelbobs.com — It’s pronounced “Mickle-Bob’s” in case you’re wondering