Friday, October 1

Meaty Grace

I have confessed it before; I'll confess it again: I have a particular weakness for barbecue. I love all kinds of barbeque. I appreciate all the regional differences in sauces and rubs--from the mustard and vinegar sauces of the Southeast to the ketchup and molasses sauces of the Midwest. I've eaten at Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City, at Sonny's in Atlanta, at Red Bryan's in Dallas, at Stroud's in Nashville, at Rendezvous in Memphis, at Dreamland in Tuscaloosa, and at Bar-B-Q Baron's in Midland. I've had shredded pork in Knoxville, pit-roast in Richmond, honey-backs in Charlotte, pollo loco in Miami, spiedie's in New York, and charred cabritto in Santa Fe. Just two weeks ago I had the great joy of finally getting down to Decatur, Alabama to taste Big Bob Gibson’s famed white sauce on grilled chicken. Wow! I've even had the opportunity to sample Chen's Mongolian barbecue in London, Ferrot's Canadian ribs in Ottawa, and al-Herrat’s smoked lamb in Amman. I am an equal opportunity barbeque eater!

But my favorite--by far--is Texas-style brisket. I love the smoky, succulent beef. I love the spare fixings. And I love the make-you-jump-up-and-shout sauces.

Living in Tennessee for more than a decade has meant that I have had to import brisket from Salt Lick in Austin or Rudy’s in San Antonio--or wait until I travel there. I do a good bit of grilling and smoking in my own back yard--but there is only so much I have been able to do to without a good steady supply of mesquite wood or the right cuts of beef.

Oh sure, there have always been a couple of places here that will condescend to smoke a bit of beef from time to time. There are even a few national chains that have loudly announced to the world that Texas-style barbecue had finally arrived in Nashville. But, I have been persistently, constantly disappointed. Why eat badly done, imitation Texas brisket when I can eat really good, authentic Southern pulled pork or Tennessee dry ribs?

But that awful conundrum has finally been resolved! There is a new barbecue place in town! And it is worth the wait. Judge Bean’s is the real deal! Right here in Middle Tennessee! I couldn’t be more delighted. The little hole-in-the-wall place near the state fairgrounds on Wedgewood even serves such rare delicacies as Texas Sushi (sausage stuffed into a jalapeƱo and wrapped in brisket) and brisket tacos (with corn tortillas--just like God intended)! When my friend, Jim Smith, and I ventured into the cedar plank-lined environs, we even heard the pleasant strains of Bob Wills and Lyle Lovett over the sound system! Now there is one less reason for ever contemplating having to move!

And there are those who actually try to argue against the ideas of sovereign grace! Ha!

No comments: