Tag Archives: AL

Bama Brisket??? Thanks to Meat Boss, These Words Can Now Actually Co-Exist

16 Apr mb menu board

MB sign

Meat Boss has only been open for a few short months. But they have already created quite a stir in a town that prides itself in knowing a thing or two about good BBQ. The Brick Pit has a very large following. The Shed can make a similar claim. And Moe’s Original BBQ has recently opened a location in downtown Mobile. Then there’s Dick Russell’s — and Big Al’s — and Tilmo’s — and Ossie’s — and … well, I think you get my drift. So is there room for another pitmaster to stake his claim? If you’ve already had the good fortune of dining with the Meat Boss (aka Benny Chinnis), you know the answer to this pressing question is a resounding SIR,YES, SIR!!!

mb smoker

This is where the small batch BBQ magic happens at Meat Boss

mb wood

Yes, they use real wood! That alone sets them apart from many

mb ext

The quarters can be cramped, but the wait is certainly worth it

mb open sign

This sign at Meat Boss is only lighted three smokey days a week

mb verse

These are good, God-fearing folks. Witness the chalkboard above

mb testimonials

Testimonials are pouring in from Leroy, Alabama – and beyond!

mb menu board

Order lunch for one or carry out a feast and make some friends

mb bag

Now this is my kind of brown bagging!!!

mb q plate

OK, let’s talk a little bit about the chow. The one thing that really separates Meat Boss from the local competition is their brisket. Beef brisket — especially the chopped or pulled variety (see above) — can be hard to find outside of the Lone Star State of Texas. Meat Boss does it right. I have lived in Texas and have eaten my share of brisket (good and bad). This is the good stuff. Smokey, lean and satisfying. And a lot more affordable than a plane ticket to Austin or Dallas. Several sauce options are available. I selected the sweet and spicy version for this first visit. It was an inspired choice — and certainly made more sense than the vinegar-based options. All the sauces are made right here and the TLC was clearly evident in every drop.

mb jelly

Another sure sign of a quality BBQ joint are sides made with pride and joy. That is the case at Meat Boss. Case in point being their baked beans, their “sweet” bread, and the hand-crafted Jalapeno jelly. The beans are not just dumped out of a can. They are made with care and contain meaty strands of charred pork. The jelly is divine — a just right blend of sweet and heat. And don’t be afraid of my sweet bread description. I am not referring to the dreaded organ meat. I am talking bread here. Kind of a cross of Texas toast and King’s Hawaiian bread. Really good — more so if smeared with the aforementioned jelly.

All in all, Meat Boss is a welcome addition to the Mobile BBQ scene. Everyone has their niche and it appears that there is plenty of room for a new kid in town. But this is no kid. This dude is large and in charge. He is the Meat Boss and he is currently your best bet for Texas quality beef brisket this side of the Big Muddy.

Meat Boss – 5401 Cottage Hill Road, Suite D, Mobile, AL 36609

(251) 591-4842; www.meatboss.com

“Who’s Your Coastal Daddy?”

3 Apr

Big Daddy’s Grill isn’t the type of place you just stumble upon. In fact, you might say that it is out in the boondocks. If you haven’t visited before, you’ll need a map (or some very good directions) to get here. Once you arrive, what you see seems totally out of place. A shady, watery wonderland in the heart of Baldwin County’s wide open, sun-blistered farm country. And a whole bunch of nice folks in a remote location where you’d expect absolutely no one to be hanging out.

Big Daddy’s (named for owner Jason Newsom) has a roadhouse sort of look from the outside. A whole bunch of motorcycles were lined up out front. Lots of cars, SUVs and pickup trucks too. Seems like everyone but me had gotten the memo on this place. How, I ask you, did this happen? I needed to get inside and learn more. Pronto!  

This whimsical, rustic fish sign is seen at the entry to Big Daddy’s.

A cluster of young people dressed in tie-dye Big Daddy’s T-shirts greeted me at the outdoor hostess table. There is some indoor seating, but who would even consider that on such a glorious Spring afternoon? I had just had a pretty vigorous workout at the YMCA and I was ready for a good meal. But first things first. A big old glass of sweet tea.

The view from my wooden picnic table seating was mighty fine indeed. I was partially in the sun, partially in the shade. Small boats and other pleasure crafts were docked at the water’s edge. Jet skis occasionally zipped by. Pontoon boats took their own sweet time. Attractive waterfront homes beckoned on the Fish River’s opposite shoreline. Not a bad place to plant yourself for a while.

I spotted this lush, historic home in Big Daddy’s neighborhood.

Ice cold beer at Big Daddy’s Grill is cheap and plentiful!

The Fried Oyster and Shrimp Po-Boy (above) is done right at Big Daddy’s. Good bread, fresh cut tomatoes and shredded lettuce, a tangy dill pickle slice or two. The shrimp were plump, the oysters large and peppery. Strips of freshly sliced sweet onion added a another dimension of flavor.  I reached for a little salt, some house cocktail sauce, and a bottle of Tabasco sauce. A quick squirt of lemon and I was finally ready to dive in.

I thought outside the box and called for — Sweet Tater Fries!

The sweet potato fries turned out to be a pretty good call. Crunchy and slightly salty on the outside, sweet and moist on the inside. I ate slowly — taking in all of nature’s beauty around me. The folks at the adjacent table ordered up a plate of fried soft shell crabs. These crabs are brought in from Crisfield, Maryland – a place that knows a thing or two about good quality seafood. The diners raved about the dish, so I made a mental note to bring my wife along next time. She hails from the Baltimore area and rarely misses a chance to sink her teeth into crispy fried soft shells.

What a nice surprise Big Daddy’s turned out to be! Didn’t know what to expect when I got in the Jeep this sunny early April afternoon. My expectations took a dip during my longer than anticipated drive into the outer reaches of Alabama’s gigantic Baldwin County. “Does this place even exist?” But then my spirits (and appetite) soared when I first laid eyes on Big Daddy’s oasis of sunshine, seafood and suds.

My server was mega-cheerful and made me feel right like a regular. I actually lost count after the “Hon”ometer hit six or seven. It’s that kind of place. Tasty, filling sandwiches and bountiful fried seafood baskets. Shiny metal buckets holding silverware, napkins and condiments. “Red, yellow and pink wines are available,” so check your big city attitude at the door. Big Daddy’s is not the least expensive place around (po-boy plates run in the $10-$12 range). But you won’t feel cheated at all once you experience their generous portions and the quality of the seafood served. For a unique treat, ask your server for a basket of fried pickles or fried okra.   

So when you’re in need of a little pick me up, don’t forget about Big Daddy’s Grill located somewhere off County Road 32 in a remote corner of Fairhope, Alabama. It’ll fill your belly, warm your soul, and lift your spirits. So c’mon … who’s your Daddy???

Big Daddy’s Grill

16542 Ferry Road
Fairhope, AL 36532-6617
(251) 990-8555

www.bigdaddysgrill.net

Our First Visit to Bon Secour, Alabama

18 Apr

Scenic and sleepy Bon Secour, AL is just a short hour ride from our home in Fairhope. It’s an even shorter drive from Gulf Shores, which is a big tourist destination during the late Spring and Summer months. The signs you see above are typical of ones you will view as you cruise AL State Highway 10 to little Bon Secour (French for “Good Help”).

We spotted this beautiful little church along Hwy 10. I had to stop to take a picture, which was made more difficult by a gentleman on a riding mower who was circling the church at Talladega-like speeds.

Bon Secour has a rich history. It was originally a French fishing village settlement dating back to the late 19th century. Currently it is a waterfront community that serves as a safe harbor to a current commercial fishing fleet. Named by Jacques Cook, a French Canadian from Montreal, a member of Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville‘s colonizing expedition of 1699. He was a participant in the founding of Mobile in 1702.

Billy’s Seafood, along with Bon Secour Fisheries, pretty much make up the bulk of the Bon Secour economy. Some folks assume Billy’s is a restaurant, but it is not. It is strictly a fresh seafood market. However, that doesn’t stop some people from grabbing a pound or two of boiled crawfish and chowing down while sitting on the hood of their car or back of their boat.

Oysters are king in Bon Secour. Look at all the discarded shells!

This old shrimp boat has obviously seen its better days.

Entrance to Billy’s Seafood in Bon Secour.

Looks like a scene right out of the film “Forrest Gump.” Bon Secour is a very Southern gothic, picturesque place, with huge live oak trees dripping in Spanish moss, great blue herons, brown pelicans, ever present bottle-nosed dolphin pods and the potent smell of salty gulf waters everywhere.

Other than the relatively small, family owned, seafood processing plants, Bon Secour is primarily made up of many rural neighborhoods, most of which enjoy beautiful vistas of the Bon Secour River and Bon Secour Bay. Brown Pelicans are everywhere and locals often see aligators from time to time, plying the waters of the estuarial system from the head waters of the Bon Secour River to the bay. One can see baby bottle-nosed dolphins playing near the mouth of the river at any time.

This crate of blue crabs was being circled by a very wise cat.

No lie … they do have a great selection of water critters!

These Royal Red shrimp were massive — and cheap!

Religious messages are seen throughout the property.

Jesus does love you — and so do the fine folks at Billy’s.

The historic Swift/Coles home (1882) draws visitors to Bon Secour.

The light blue porch ceilings help to keep the wasps away.

http://www.swstir.com/color-smarts/article/the-whys-behind-the-blue-porch-ceiling/

Right out of a Tennessee Williams script, don’t ya think?

A Few Variations of Jezebel Sauce

19 Sep

jezebel

Manci’s Antique Club in Daphne, AL serves up a spicy Jezebel sauce on one of it’s burger specials. It adds a blend of sweetness and bite – thanks to a mix of mustard, fruit preserves, and horseradish. Folks who love the more readily available Red Pepper Jelly should dig it .

Here’s some history on the sauce and a few recipe variations …

Jezebel sauce is a spicy sauce (like Jezebel herself) that contains pineapple preserves, apple jelly, horseradish, and mustard. The Jezebel sauce (or glaze) is often served over ham. A Southern origin of this dish seems certain, with Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida all putting in claims.

Jezebel Sauce

You find it in cookbooks from Louisiana back to the 1950s at least, and it probably goes back farther than that. Jezebel sauce can be served as a side to pork, beef, or chicken, or it can be poured over cream cheese and eaten like a dip with crackers.

1 (10 oz ) jar pineapple or apricot preserves
1 (10 oz ) jar apple jelly
1/3 cup prepared horseradish
1/4 cup dry mustard,
2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper

Place ingredients in food processor and pulse until smooth. Spoon into clean glass jars. Cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Here’s another one …

26 October 1958, Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard, “‘Mrs. Kansas’ Is a Cooking Whiz: Treats from the Sunflower State,” This Week magazine, pg. 34:
Jezebel Sauce
1 cup apple jelly
1/2 cup pineapple preserves
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Salt and freshly ground pepper

And another …

21 November 1967, Pontiac (IL) Daily Leader, pg. 19, col. 1:
Jezebel Sauce

1 jar pineapple preserves
1 jar apple jelly
1 jar Bahama or Coleman mustard
1 bottle fresh horseradish (or less to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix well in electric mixer.
Blend first 4 ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with baked ham or meat loaf. Yield: about 2 cups sauce.

8 March 1989, Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram, pg. F2, cols. 4-5:
Jezebel Sauce is the wonderful name for an hors d’oeuvre recipe combining pineapple, horseradish and other ingredients served over cream cheese, requested by a Miami Beach reader. Quite a few readers wrote to praise the recipe—and while I was dubious about the combination of flavors, I have to agree that this is an addicting cracker spread.

“I first tried it many years ago,” wrote Joan Lang. “The recipe is from ‘Sunny Side Up,’ the excellent cookbook published by the Junior League of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The recipe is always a hit, and people wonder what’s in it. It’s so fast and easy and keep in the refrigerator for a long time. I like to keep some on hand to serve with ham.”

JEZEBEL SAUCE
1 10-ounce jar pineapple preserves
1 10-ounce jar apple jelly
1 1.12-ounce tin dry mustard
1 5-ounce jar horseradish, drained
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
Combine the preserves, jelly, mustard and horseradish, mixing thoroughly. Pour over the block of cream cheese and serve with crackers. Makes about 2 cups.

24 August 2005, Biloxi (MS) Sun Herald, “On the Trail of Jezebel Sauce” by Andrea Yeager, pg. C11:
Is Jezebel Sauce a Mississippi creation? Rodney Simmons of Bell Buckle Country Store in Tennessee wants to know. His company recently began producing Jezebel Sauce, and he would like to know the origin of the sauce. He has traced the recipe’s history to the Gulf Coast. “I thought it was Creole or Cajun, but after a recent conversation with Paul Prudhomme, we think that it originated on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, around Gulfport,” Simmons said.

Why the name Jezebel? Well, this spicy video may hold the answer …

(Trademark)
Word Mark – JEZEBEL’S SAUCE
Goods and Services IC 030. US 046. G & S: SAUCES, EXCLUDING CRANBERRY SAUCE AND APPLESAUCE. FIRST USE: 19820706. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19820706
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73542408
Filing Date June 11, 1985
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition November 5, 1985
Change In Registration CHANGE IN REGISTRATION HAS OCCURRED
Registration Number 1380667
Registration Date January 28, 1986
Owner (REGISTRANT) PEPPER PATCH, INC. CORPORATION TENNESSEE 1250 OLD HILLSBORO ROAD FRANKLIN TENNESSEE 37064
Attorney of Record JORDAN S. KELLER
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “SAUCE” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20060609.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20060609
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Keep Those Tasty Products Coming, Folks!

7 Sep

country

“Country Bob” Edson

One of the best things about being the CEO (Chief Eating Officer) at DixieDining.com is receiving delicious new products to review from all over the South — and sometimes beyond. This column will spotlight a few items we have sampled over the last couple weeks.

Country Bob’s Steak Sauce is actually made in Centralia, Illinois … not exactly the Heart of Dixie. But Bob is a good man and a master marketer as well. He emailed me and convinced us to give his famous steak sauce a try. I am glad he did – it is mighty dine! Imagine a slightly sweet combination of A-1 and Pickapeppa Sauce. Nicely done, Bob! Your sauce has earned a place in our home pantry.  

In 1968 Country Bob perfected the sauce of his dreams. After years of giving the sauce to friends and family he began to sell it in 1977. The reaction was overwhelming just as it is today. Almost everyone who tries Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce becomes a lifelong user. And why not, it is the perfect complement to practically any meal set on your table.

It was actually October of 1982 when Country Bob, Inc. became the company, which remains today. Bob Edson,Terry Edson, Al Malekovic and Reed Malekovic formed a corporation with equal ownership. Since that time Country Bob’s distribution has magnified regionally in all directions from our corporate office located in Centralia, Illinois. Even with the tremendous growth we have not forgotten where we came from, continuing in our relentless pursuit of product excellence.

Along with our All Purpose Sauce we have expanded our product line to include BBQ Sauce, Seasoning Salt and Spicy All Purpose Sauce.With our fully automated bottling line we also have the capability of producing Private Label products for stores or restaurants.

It would be nice if we could claim responsibility for the success of the company, however, credit must be given where credit is due. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” We have placed true ownership of Country Bob, Inc. in the hands of God. “Christ is our CEO” and  He is an Awesome Boss!

country bob

http://www.countrybobs.com/

gumbo

Olde South Gumbo is an authentic recipe of the Gulf Coast of Alabama. While living on the banks of Mobile Bay, Margaret Rainey caught her own seafood to create her gumbo, bursting with fresh, rich flavor. She knew that the fresher the seafood, the better the gumbo. Her gumbo featured a brown roux that took hours to concoct. With Olde South Gumbo Base, customers can now have that same fresh taste in only 30 minutes!

gumbo3

Margaret’s gumbo is easy to prepare and much better than those boxed gumbo mixes you find on the shelves of your local mega mart. Just add seafood, chicken and/or sausage to the pre-made base (seen above) and you’re ready to go. It’s the next best thing to homemade.

m/index.htmlhttp://www.oldesouthgumbo.co

callies

Callie’s Country Ham Biscuits

Carrie Bailey-Morey had an early introduction to the food world courtesy of her mother, caterer extraordinaire, Callie White. So when Carrie partnered with her mother to launch Callie’s Charleston Biscuits in 2005 it was natural fit.

callie

Carrie (left) & Callie doing their thing

She was able to strike a balance between her new role as a first time mom and a fulfilling career in the family business. Carrie resides in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband John and their three daughters Caroline and Cate and Sarah.

By keeping the company small and family-operated, these two women craft the biscuits in their own company kitchen with the finest ingredients. This approach allows both Carrie and Callie to focus on what matters most to them – creating a top-quality biscuit time and time again.

After only one year in business, Callie’s Charleston Biscuits receive rave reviews from markets across the Southeast as well as continued support from Charleston locals who for years have coveted Callie’s secret recipe.

callie cheese & chive

Cheddar and Chive – My Personal Fave

Callie’s Charleston Biscuits have been featured on OPRAH and NBC’s Today Show. We sampled several varieties including Cinnamon, Shortbread, Country Ham, Buttermilk, and Cheddar & Chive. I think I like the latter the best. They are super cheesy and would make an excellent crowd pleaser at your next dinner party or social event.

http://www.calliesbiscuits.com/

If you would like us to feature your products in this forum, please contact me at gary@dixiedining.com. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

New Orleans SnoBalls in Alabama

19 Aug

snoball

This little New Orleans-style snoball stand is just a short ride from our Fairhope, AL home. Sure, it doesn’t look like much from the outside — and it’s situated in a gas station parking lot on Highway 98.

snoball2

But inside this little metal box, many wonderful flavor combinations lurk. The possibilities are endless, so create your own masterpiece if you can’t find anything to your liking on their rather lengthy menu of frosty concoctions.

snoball3

I went with the Almond Joy this time … the last visit I chose the Peaches and Cream snoball with peach syrup topped with sweetened condensed milk. The Almond Joy featured almond and coconut flavored syrups with chocolate sauce poured liberally over the top. Eileen had a spearmint snoball, while the kids opted for the brightly colored choices that turn your tongue (and teeth!) other-worldly colors. A good time was had by all. But watch out for that dreaded brain freeze!!!

Mook Mills Cheese Straws from AL

17 Jan

mooky_1_ixfd1

Martha Grace “Mooky” Blackburn (1925-1999)

Martha Grace Blackburn Mills was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, a quite southern community nestled between the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and banks of the Tennessee River on January 6, 1925. When Martha was an infant, for some unknown reason an older sibling gave her the nickname “Mooky,” which was shortened to “Mook” as she grew.

In 1946, after a brief career as a secretary during World War II, “Mook” married her high school sweetheart, Harold Fay Mills, upon his return from serving the U.S. Navy in the Pacific. Like many women of her day, Mook’s life work was devoted to the care of her five children and the support of her husband Fay in operating their family hardware store and later other successful businesses. Mook and Fay enjoyed sharing their life with family and friends and together celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1996.

Mook’s passion for living was exemplified through her engaging and vibrant personality. Mook loved visiting with people and sharing her home with friends and family. It was in these Tuscumbia receptions and gatherings that Mook first shared her love for cooking and her now celebrated cheese straws.  To the delight of her friends and family, Mook took a common recipe and caringly adjusted the amounts of cheeses, flours, spices and unique ingredients until she finally achieved a taste and texture that everyone agreed were beyond comparison. While recognized in her community for her kindness and caring, Mook was best known for her amazing cheese straws.

Mook continued her pursuit of living and sharing until a brief illness and her passing in May 1, 1999. Mook’s life itself was a recipe for living and it is through her shared experiences and investment in others that her spirit endures. 

mooks-bag     

Beginning in 2001, Mook’s family began to explore the possibility of making her cheese straws available to the public. In concert with the Shoals Commercial Culinary Center, the Mills Family embarked on a two year journey using only ingredients Mook had mandated and aspiring to a singular test “would Mook approve?”

In 2003, Mook Mills Cheese Straws were presented to the public, and can now be found in supermarkets and finer grocers and specialty markets across the southeast.    

These cheese straws are incredibly delicious — some of the best we’ve ever had. Now that is saying something because I consider myself a bit of a cheese straw snob. Some are too buttery, many don’t offer that signature cayenne afterburn (which I can’t do without). These babies are made with margarine and have a nice crunchy snap to them. And don’t let me forget to tell you that they are made with extra sharp cheddar – a must for that super strong cheese flavor we love.   www.mookscheesestraws.com 

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