Saturday, November 04, 2006

Good Ole Rocky Top

Well, since Amy brought it up.....

Amy grew up in Henderson, Tennessee - yup, home of Freed-Hardeman University. It's a VERY small town and we went with her to visit one time. I remember it being beautiful (was it the fall or spring?) and her parent's house was fun, too. There was still a poster that Amy had made in the 3rd (?) grade on the stairwell going upstairs. (It was something about household safety - be sure to read the comments to see what Amy tells us it said.) There was a great upstairs and Amy's room had eaves - I loved it! Maybe it even rained - very romantic.

Being a small town, Amy's dad knew everybody, including the guy who owned one of the BBQ restaurants. Restaurants is a nice word, in this instance, for joint. Us twentysomething girls walk into a place that the Health Department forgot and are welcomed into the kitchen. Mr. Clifford wants us to see how they cook the pork BBQ. Apparently, in East Tennessee, it has to be pulled pork. More to come... Now, in the south PORK is the only kind of BBQ there is! Jim was the first person I had ever seen eat beef BBQ! YUCK! Dry and, well, just dry. Back home we chose inside or outside meat - sliced or chopped and it ALL had BBQ sauce. Even now I don't understand how people eat it without BBQ sauce.

Ya know, the secret's in the sauce...

But anyway, off we went into the kitchen and then through the kitchen! We went outside to the little shed where they actually cooked the pork! I had never seen this before. Where the meat gets cooked! Wellllll...... There were two long wire racks about two feet off the floor that ran the length of the shed - maybe 6 feet. They were on either side of the shed at a 90* angle. Laid out on the racks - more like grates - were two halves of one pig. Like the big guy had been sliced lengthwise and laid out! Alright then.....

But wait, there's more. More than a big pig cooking, you ask! Yep, there's a big guy, that didn't graduate from high school and had eaten more that his share of pork, pulling meat off the pig in strings! I think it was off his shoulder - the pig's, I mean. This young man was working and sweating in that little shed so all the residents of Henderson could have BBQ that day. Oh yeah, he was sweating. It was dropping off the end of his nose onto the pig! Big drops adding salt to the mix. I can still see it. It was disgusting to say the least.

Mr. Clifford was nice enough to buy a quart for us to have at home. Just in case we needed a snack.

We abstained.


Sarah said...

And you wonder why we eat beef -- you won't ever see some gentleman pulling beef off the shoulder of a cow over the grill. I'm not a huge fan of BBQ and this story certainly does NOTHING to add to my desire to want any.

Anonymous said...

Now thats just gross! I'm also not a huge lover of the BBQ, but I do like it occasionally. However....from now on when we have BBQ...I will forever picture that big boy dripping sweat all over that sliced up pig. Thats good stuff right there.

soul and culture said...

Hearing your rendition of this story is even ten times funnier than it is in my own head!

It was spring - and we were on our way to Chance & Lavinia's standing-room-only wedding.

In all fairness to my mother (God rest her soul), let me point out that the poster was not something she chose to decorate with - Brian & William had scrounged it up from Lord knows where and put it up, basically to embarrass me. Company was coming, remember?

The poster was a poor, poor likeness of Dolly from The Family Circus. She's sitting at the bottom of the stairs, crying. The caption read, "Keep all toys off the stairs, or you'll be sorry!"

Sometimes I am still amazed that I escaped Chester County without food poisioning or Mad Cow (or pig) disease.

I should also point out that Henderson hosts the "Chester Country BBQ Festival" every year. When I was growing up, it was in July, but they changed it to September. On account of the heat and the big sweaty pork-pulling guys, I guess.

Denise W. said...

Oh MY GOSH! The wedding!!

Our "friends" were getting married and for some unknown reason they didn't want us to attend. No one ever came right out and said "Hey, it's outta state. It's a long way. Why don't yall just stay here and throw us parties?" So we went. Just like Amy said, we stood in the back. It was in some little church ANNEX! I guess the main auditorium was TOO big!

The rest of the trip was fun. Thanks to Amy who hold some of my best memories for me. I plan to get them ALL back in heaven!

karene said...

Isn't there some saying about not wanting to see some foods being prepared. I'm guessing BBQ is one of them. Too funny!