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Friday, February 17, 2006

Late night snack: Putting two BBQ giants together

I am somewhat of a barbecue connoisseur. Over the years I've visited many different restaurants, tried every style there is, and sampled just about every kind of barbecue sauce on the planet. Think the most unique place I've ever been was The Dinosaur in Rochester, New York (it is exactly what it advertises to be: a real honkey-tonk joint). And I never ate at his restaurant but Maurice Bessinger's Carolina Gold sauce - a mustard-based concoction - was pretty darned good, when I was actually able to buy a bottle of it while living in Asheville (it became pretty difficult to find after Bessinger's political views aroused some controversy, but that's another story). I never get into the argument of which style is the best: each one has its own unique characteristics that make it stand out from the rest. But there are still some barbecue places that I not only like more than most, I make it a point to recommend them to others.

So a little while ago I was feeling pretty hungry, and thought about eating some of the chopped barbecue that we got from Short Sugar's Drive-In in Reidsville, North Carolina today. Yeah, they don't cook their meat all the way through in their wood-fired pit anymore (a lot of it is done in an electrical oven) and some people don't like that, but theirs is still a taste that has been called legendary: it was once voted best barbecue in America, even.

(By the way, Short Sugar's is where we shot the final scene of Forcery. With its old-fashioned drive-through it was the perfect place to re-create Mel's Drive-In from American Graffiti.)

Well anyway I nuked up a plate of Short Sugar's chopped barbecue in the microwave. And I almost used Short Sugar's Barbecue Sauce on it, which is probably one of the strangest barbecue sauces around. I'm pretty sure some of the main ingredients are vinegar and brown sugar (some think soy sauce is in there too), but no tomatoes or any other ingredient you think goes into barbecue sauce. Definitely worth getting two or three bottles of the stuff if you ever visit them. I could have gone with that, but then I decided to try something a little different...

Along with Short Sugar's, Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q in Marietta, Georgia is one of my all-time favorite barbecue restaurants. Every time we visit Lisa's family there, we always stop at Williamson Bros. to eat and then buy a gallon or two of their world-famous sauce. Williamson Bros. sauce is more of the traditional sort, but its exquisite taste is unparalleled by anything else in its class that's on the market. Well, we've got a little bit left in the gallon jug we bought the last time we were there, and just as an experiment I decided to use the Williamson Bros. sauce on the Short Sugar's chopped barbecue...

...And, it was incredibly delicious! It was like the very best of both places coming together in perfect harmony in my mouth. VERY good combo, although it left me horribly thirsty (I had some tea on hand to wash it down with). Well worth trying out for yourself if (A) you ever come to Reidsville and can get barbecue from Short Sugar's, and (B) you have some Williamson Bros. sauce on hand. You can order the Williamson Bros. sauce from their website at the link above and have it shipped to you, if you live in some remote place like Idaho and can't get down to Georgia on a regular basis. Maybe someday Short Sugar's will start selling their sauce online too: if and when they do I'll make a post about it at once.

Anyhoo, it was really delicious. So delicious in fact that I felt led to make a post about it, for sake of anyone interested in good barbecue. Sometime in the near future I'll also try to do full reviews on both Short Sugar's and Williamson Bros., along with most of the other good barbecue places that I know of.


Anonymous said...

Hi Chris -

Don't know if you will remember me or not, I'm an oldbie from a Christian EFNet IRC room (the artist formerly known as Dulcinea) ... anyhow!

Having read the post on barbeque - mmm! - I'm sorry to say I haven't gotten much of a crack at Carolina barbeque, but since you mention being a fan of the barbeque thing ... some other places you should check out some blue moon :)! Dreamland in Tuscaloosa, AL - their original store, which is kinda a hole in the wall and at least used to do exclusively ribs (quarter, half, or full slab? they size you up and tell you what size they think you can polish off!) - they also sell their sauce, which is fairly hot but super good ... VooDoo BBQ back in my home state of Louisiana - take your pick, New Orleans or Baton Rouge - don't know if they sell their sauces, but they do prepare meats and sauces in several different barbeque styles, including an AWESOME jerk chicken with a sauce that's kinda spiked with mangoes ... and The Public Eye in Memphis, TN - good Memphis pulled pork.

Bon Appetit :)!

Chris Knight said...

Heck yeah I remember you!! I was actually wondering about where you went off to a few weeks ago :-) Soooo many good memories of those days.

Thanks for finding my humble little blog :-) And thanks for the barbecue recommendations! Next time we wind up in that neck of the woods (Lisa and me ended up going on a "religious pilgrimage" to Graceland for our honeymoon, totally unplanned but that's a long story :-P) I'm gonna check those places out.

Hey, gimme a "ring" at my e-mail addy: theknightshift@gmail.com

Later, and thanks!

Jon said...

Hi Chris

I wanted to let you and your readers know that Short Sugar's sells it's sauce via email request right now. You can send them a request over at their site using the contact form at http://shortsugarsbar-b-q.com/contact-short-sugars/ and they'll get right on it.

I'm pretty sure that online orders will be included in the next update of their website. Thanks for the great review!