Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Central BBQ

I read some kind words about Central BBQ on one of my favorite blogs today. (Fans of virtual travel should check out Jaunted.) However, I was a bit confused by some things. With all the delicious looking food at Central, why would you post that terribly unappetizing picture? Why would you order a turkey sandwich in the first place? And, why would you be frightened to order some BBQ in the land of southern hospitality.

All in all, I'm glad to know that someone visited our fair city and didn't write about eating at Corky's or the Rendezvous. For that alone, I'm willing to overlook the use of "Q."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Jack's Bar-B-Q Rib Shack

For me, the best blogs are frequently updated with short posts including lots of pictures. In this case, a long-winded, picture-free post cannot be avoided. Where do I begin? Unfortunately, not with the barbecue.

Thursday at lunch, DW and I discussed going to see the horror flick Black Christmas over the weekend. Planning to see a Christmas-themed B-movie a month after Christmas might sound strange, but we have a history of slasher film appreciation that includes seeing every installment of Friday the 13th together (the last 5 on opening weekend). I must point out that the current crop of torture and mutilation movies like Saw are not included in this appreciation. As my memaw would have said, "Those shows are just ugly!" No, we're more about the 70's/80's style pictures like Halloween. With Black Christmas you get a holiday slasher, a brother-father sister-daughter combo, cannibalism, sorority girls, plus death by candy cane, ornament, icicle and more. What's not to love?

With neither of us having anything to do, we met at the movie theater for a 5:30 show Friday night. It was still playing at only one place – Ajay Theatres' Palace Cinema. Of all the things the Palace might be, a palace is not on the list. Longtime Memphians know it better as the Fare Four. So many things here are called by their original names no matter how many times they might change ownership, be closed, reopened, burned down, rebuilt or even moved. Regardless, the venue was not a problem. Our choice of movie had little to do with quality. Why should the theater? In fact, from 5-6 PM they have a $3 daily special that includes popcorn and a Pepsi. Perfect.

We had touched on the possibility of grabbing dinner after the movie, and when I pulled up, I was reminded that Jack's Bar-B-Q Rib Shack is right there in the same parking lot. Damn! I knew we'd end up eating there, and I forgot my camera. DW was playing Ms. Pac-Man when I walked in, and sure enough, the first thing he said was that he wouldn't mind hitting that BBQ place "for the sake of the website."

We soon learned that three dollars might have been a bit too much to pay. I didn't remember the decor, but I've haven't been to the Palace in a couple of years. Perhaps it had changed. It's pretty run down, dimly lit and dotted with odd, colorful statues of various jungle animals. What the hell. It's only three bucks. We picked up our complimentary movie treats and headed into our theater. I wasn't prepared. The floor is pitched at about 70 degrees, and the temperature was about 10 degrees. There aren't any theater seats. Instead, there are these ridiculous booth contraptions handmade from particle board. They seat two small people or one large person on terribly uncomfortable cushions. There have no leg room and the back of the booth comes back over your head. Imagine the cab of a horse-drawn carriage with the roof pulled back. This is impossible to describe. Damn! I wish I'd had my camera. The sound system barely worked, and the screen was dim and off-center. The theater was hilarious, the movie was hilarious, and the one family that joined us was also hilarious. (Although, Black Christmas wasn't appropriate fare for the three children). We had fun.

After the movie, we decided to leave our cars where they were and walk across the parking lot to Jack's. I knew of Jack's, but had never eaten there. It's off the beaten path for me. In fact it's so tucked away, I don't know how it could be on anyone's beaten path. The decor is authentic rustic BBQ joint, and the staff is really friendly. DW ordered a beer and a BBQ plate, and I got the sandwich and some beans. We both ordered tamales which were pretty good. The beans had good flavor but were way to runny and way too pricey as a side. Likewise, the slaw looked too wet, but DW said it was alright. The sauce fell flat on it's own as it was too sweet and ketchupy. The pork itself, however, had fine flavor, and taken as a whole, my sandwich was good. They had some good hot sauce on the table too which we assumed was the house blend. DW put it on everything. I wouldn't make a special trip, but I would certainly eat there again. I finished the meal with some rightfully recommended homemade coconut cake.

We walked back to our cars joking about how for only $3 we might as well do the same thing again tomorrow. When I hopped in the truck, I noticed that the box of Kleenex sitting on the passenger's seat was crushed. Odd, I didn't remember that happening. I then noticed that my radio had been liberated from the dash. Crap! The thieves were very professional. They didn't break the window or disturb anything else. They just very neatly removed the radio and even left my spare change. That's good because our $3 movie adventure is going to wind up costing about $300 instead.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Night Videos

"Searching for videos is temporarily unavailable" according to the jokers who run YouTube. Therefore, we head back to Smokestack Lightning for some BBQ & personal grooming footage. Be sure to check out the 'stache sported by Ron Quick and the wig hat on Grace Harris. Stick with it to the end for the crazy talk about flies.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Wide, Wide World of Web

I know I've fallen down on the blog lately, but the holidays, illness, excessive weight gain, a bathroom remodeling project and other factors have all contributed to a lack of focus on the world of barbecue.

As a cop out, here are a few BBQ-related links to the Interweb:

Bert's Bar B-Q. It's sad to see 37 years of tradition go up in flames. It's also surprising that BBQ joints don't burn down more often.

Cheap Eats. Leave it to a New Yorker to wonder what to do with 10 lbs. of pork shoulder. It's never to cold to barbecue.

Smoker. I really think I'm gonna make one of these. Really.

Duck Mouse. I am not going to make one of these.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Night Videos

In keeping with today's theme.


What does it mean when a BBQ restaurant sells their food on QVC? For yours truly, that sort of behavior is most certainly beyond the pale. What's next? eBay? (OK, that's upsetting.)

Anyway, I got a tip that Corky's has their own half hour on the network once in a while and set the TiVo accordingly. Somehow they found a way to make the celebration of mediocrity that is Corky's Ribs & BBQ even more lame. Of course if you get a chance to watch, do. It's quite surreal – a tall, white talking head with a toupee takes phone calls and hawks frozen BBQ while a small, black man in a white jacket and red chef's hat picks the meat off a plate of ribs.

Thanks DW for the heads up on this, but it still disturbs me that you're on the Corky's mailing list.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Moonlite® Bar-B-Q Inn, Inc.

I can't say that I've ever been interested in Kentucky BBQ. Bourbon? Yes. Hell, yes! But not BBQ. This review at Hot Sauce Blog has changed things a bit. Ron really seemed to like it, but the pics he took don't look too appetizing. You should know by now that if your BBQ restaurant is incorporated and your name is a registered trademark, the odds are pretty slim that I'll eat there twice.

In spite of all that, I still might have to take a 5-hour road trip. Why? Barbecue mutton, that's why. All of a sudden, I need to eat a sheep. Help me out here. Is BBQ mutton really a Kentucky thing or just a Moonlite thing? When I consult The Great Google, all I get are links to Moonlite (another sign they are too popular to be good). Either way, I needs ta git me sum a dat.

I just wish I could have met Pappy Bosley.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Friday Night Videos

Based on the number of "people eating McRibs" videos being posted to YouTube, I'm thinking that Google overpaid.

C’est Tout Ce Que J’aime

It has already disappeared from Midtown, and I'm sure that other areas of the city are experiencing shortages. However, a few days ago for lunch I managed to finagle a couple of McRibs from the same East Memphis McDonalds I obtained my first of the season. Thanks HA for the Arch Card Bar-B-Log Christmas subsidy. My McFlurry of caloric intake (1,950 by my count) has sated me for now. I believe I'll be able to make it until the next magical McRib window opens. I leave you with this site I found while searching The Great Google for nutritional info on our favorite sandwich. I'm lovin' it!

Thursday, January 11, 2007


In keeping with the theme of BBQ-related technological advancements, here's a wireless talking meat thermometer from Oregon Scientific. God help me, I think I might actually have to buy this.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Recent Developments in Communication

By now, most of you interwebbers have been alerted to Apple's new iPhone. It's a telephone, it's a radio, it interwebs, it bakes cookies, it does the laundry, it slices, it dices, it juliennes. Big whup. Do you want true innovation? A paradigm shift in telecommunications? My friends, I give you the pigPhone.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Greatest. Quote. Ever.

“I’ve realized my dream that noodles can go into space.” – Momofuku Ando. Please observe a moment of silence for a true food pioneer. Mr. Ando, you will be missed.

The Japan Times
The New York Times
The Official Ramen Homepage
Ramen Museum
Nissin Foods

Saturday, January 06, 2007

淘气烧烤 (táo qì shāo kǎo)

The Saucier enjoys street food. The Saucier has a strong stomach. The Saucier likes to refer to himself in the third person. The Saucier wants to go to Shanghai. The Saucier wants to eat at the Naughty Barbecue.

Sample items from the translated menu: sheep's ribs, cow's feet, chicken stomach, cow's penis and stinky tofu. Fire kills everything. Who's coming with?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Friday Night Videos

Here's another Memphis barbecue video from Serious Eats. This time the focus is on Beale back in the day.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


What prompted my diatribe on the word barbecue? The Chicagoist posted a glowing review of a restaurant with an absolutely ridiculous name. Nevertheless, the picture of that chicken has me intrigued. I've traveled to Chicago often over the years and eaten many great meals there. I never once considered ordering BBQ. Looking at the map, it's doubtful that I'll make it to Smoque the next time I visit the windy city, but you never know.

Unlike the Chicagoist, I really appreciate the "intensity" of the 2000-word Smoque BBQ Manifesto and could find very little to disagree with while reading through it. More businesses should put that much thought into what they're trying to accomplish. Of course its title, Our View on Q – An Essay on BBQ, made me throw up in my mouth a little. Still, while reading the section on BBQ sauce it occurred to me that I should clarify something. I describe Bar-B-Log as a quest for the perfect BBQ sauce, which is true insofar as it pertains to pork. That's what I'm looking to create first and foremost. I too believe that the perfect sauce for one smoked meat is not the perfect sauce for another. In fact at this stage in the development of The Sauce, I might be closer to the perfect sauce for chicken. I need to get to work.

A Word About Barbecue

The word is barbecue. That's barbecue with a "c." Barbeque is just a misspelled word. BBQ is the only acceptable abbreviation of barbecue. Why? Because the purpose of an abbreviation is to shorten a word. Bar-B-Q is not significantly shorter and Bar-B-Que is actually one character longer. Stick to BBQ.

If you catch me using anything other than barbecue or BBQ, it's because I'm referring to a restaurant that has chosen to misspell it's name. Otherwise, I made a typo.

Most important, no self-respecting individual refers to BBQ as 'cue. I've lived in Memphis all of my life. No one here says that. I've asked around. No one says it. Only ill-informed journalists and TV folk use such non-existent slang. It hurts my ears when they say it. Don't say it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Holiday Wrap-Up

The season of season's greetings has ended and so too has my vacation. What needs to be said of my week away from the Interweb?

Goose tastes good. It tastes real good. We Americans have really missed the boat on this one.

Bar-B-Log received holiday subsidies that will be put to good use in the new year. Is Ronald still selling McRibs?

After only two attempts, I have perfected my pineapple upside-down cake. The preceding picture is of my pineapple right-side-up cake.