Folks don’t often associate Jews with BBQ; but I’m from the South–I defy a lot of stereotypes. My family has fried chicken on Rosh Hashannah (a very holy day), and my Dad did competition BBQ for years. He has at least three grills–that we know about.
Green Eggs…No Ham
I grew up standing next to the big green egg, holding pans for Dad, adding flavor-soaked wood chips, getting out of the smoke’s way. He makes BBQ brisket, BBQ salami, BBQ salmon. I need to stop: my mouth is watering.
The United States of BBQ
Given this familial heritage, one of the goals of exploring the U.S. has always been to taste as much BBQ as possible. And it’s been a massive disappointment.
- Too much tang at Abe’s in Clarksdale MS
- Too much vinegar at the Lexington BBQ Center in NC
- Am I Goldilocks? Yes I am. Because finally I found the place that was juuust right.
Thank You, Kansas City
Unassuming Arthur Bryant’s BBQ in Kansas City MO hit the spot.
You have the choice of three sauces found in squirt bottles at each table:
- original (painfully hot)
- sweet heat (my favorite, and also my stripper name if I ever become one)
- rich and spicy (less painful, but to say it wasn’t painful would be misleading; also, qualities I look for in a man)
My mouth was on fire. In a good way.
I don’t really drink beer. I had two.
As if the heat weren’t enough, there are no wimpy napkins, people. No, we’re using paper towels. The folded rectangular kind in scary gas station bathrooms. They’re roughing you up inside and out and you’ll love every minute of it.
It was a packed room with locals and tourists, business suits and work boots, men with hair down to their bums and women with diamonds–and everyone was sloppy with BBQ sauce. You walk up to the assembly-line/counter and order from one of two intimidating men who have seen it all. Slide down and pay a woman who could care less. Only the two men getting the drinks were receptive to “please” and “thank you.”
What Did I Have?
Sliced white meat turkey on thick pieces of white bread with fresh-cut fries. Two pale ales. And loads and loads of sweet heat sauce.
It took all the control I had not to go to the counter and tell them this was the BBQ experience I’ve been dreaming of.
Are you comfortable eating at hole-in-the-wall joints?