Tag Archives: North Carolina

Saw’s BBQ In Homewood, Alabama Makes The Cut

11 Mar

Saw’s BBQ is found in the Edgewood District of Homewood, AL

Saw’s BBQ is a cool looking joint — if a good bit smaller than expected. We were curious about the restaurant’s unusual name, so I did a quick Google search. It turns out Chef and Owner Mike Wilson, who opened Saw’s in 2009, is a native North Carolinian. And his eatery’s moniker is based on the Johnson & Wales trained chef’s high school nickname, “Sorry Ass” Wilson. S-A-W. Funny — and true!

BBQ and Pabst Blue Ribbon — a match made in heaven

Saw’s decor is about what you would expect from a BBQ joint

Antique signs are nice – even if they don’t have much local flavor

I opted for the Pulled Pork plate with two sides (beans & slaw)

They are obviously Crimson Tide fans at Saw’s – no big surprise!

The beverages of choice here are Coca Cola or ice cold Budweiser

The Pulled Pork was excellent — well above average. The meat was moist, lean and tender. The smoked BBQ ribs were mighty fine too. My son Austin did a good job of methodically gnawing his half slab down to the bone(s). I just happened to snag a single rib before he rolled up his sleeves and really went to town. Best of all was the sweet vinegar-based sauce that adorned my platter of piggy meat. You should buy your own bottle to carry home for $5. Let me point out at this juncture that you will regret it if you don’t obey my suggestion. The sauce at Saw’s is world class and not readily available outside the Birmingham area.  

Saw’s Sauce – you had better get you some!

The beans were OK — nothing truly unique about them. I wasn’t really crazy about the slaw, which is a mega-tangy, finely chopped, vinegar-based affair. We found the slaw overly tart & acidic … making it hard to stomach more than forkful or two. Some may love it, but it’s not exactly our cup of tea. Personally, I prefer a rough chopped, mayonnaise-based slaw with big crunch and a little sweetness. Temperature is important too. I like it chilled.

I want to conclude this review on a high note — as I should. Maybe the slaw and beans were nothing to write home about. But the slow smoked pork and Saw’s delicious NC-style BBQ sauce are some of the best you will find anywhere in the great state of Alabama. Alabama is indeed the “Heart of Dixie” and serious BBQ country to boot, so that kind of praise is not easily come by.

Service at Saw’s is prompt and the surroundings suitably homey. We really like this little joint a lot and plan on returning one day soon. One trip certainly doesn’t tell the entire story — that’s for sure. In particular, we want to sample Saw’s Smoked Chicken with White BBQ sauce. When that happens, I hope to see you there. I’m pretty sure you will find this smoke-filled neighborhood dive anything but “sorry ass.”    

The fluffy Banana Pudding looked good too – maybe next time!

Saw’s BBQ – 1008 Oxmoor Road, Birmingham, AL 35209

(205) 879-1937; www.sawsbbq.com

Southern Power Pop Lives on Bar/None Records

16 Apr

holsapple

I first heard of the dB’s (led by Stamey & Holsapple) back when I was in college at WUVT Radio — and that has been a while back! The band came out of North Carolina and were masters of the genre that became known as “Power Pop.” Jangly guitars, crunchy chords, high octane arrangements, catchy melodies – I think you know the drill. Flash forward 30 years or so and the boys are still at it. The have mellowed a bit, but these guys have retained their knack for composing and performing some highly enjoyable music. We especially enjoyed the single “Early in the Morning” and the track called “Santa Monica.” If you fondly remember The dB’s “(I Thought) You Wanted to Know” or Stamey’s timeless “The Summer Sun,” pick up on this CD — and fast! You will surely dig it.

“hERE aND nOw” is the first new collaboration in almost two decades by Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, the acclaimed songwriters of the dB’s. Scheduled for release June 9 on Bar/None Records, it features Branford Marsalis on two tracks: the single “Early in the Morning” and Peter’s ode to New Orleans, “Begin Again.” Drum aces Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Son Volt, Bob Mould, the Mountain Goats), Logan Matheny (Roman Candle, The Rosebuds), and percussionist Gary Greene (Hootie and the Blowfish, Big Head Todd and the Monsters) bring power to tracks such as “Some of the Parts” and “Widescreen World”, and the dB’s’ rhythm section Gene Holder and Will Rigby join in on the atmospheric “Santa Monica.” The acoustic side of the duo, reminiscent of their 1992 RNA album “Mavericks,” comes to the fore on tracks such as “Long Time Coming,” one of several that feature Greg Readling (Chatham County Line, Tift Merritt) on pedal steel. The lead track, “My Friend the Sun,” is a cover of a classic from the legendary British prog-pop band Family.

Peter and Chris grew up together in Winston-Salem, NC, and started playing music together in middle school—and have really never stopped. Through countless bands along the way—including Rittenhouse Square, Little Diesel, Sneakers, the H-Bombs, the dB’s, Continental Drifters, the Golden Palominos—and recording sessions and sideman stints with the likes of R.E.M., Bob Mould and Hootie and the Blowfish, the two have maintained a deep musical connection. They both are proficient at most string and keyboard instruments, and neither is much good at winds! Having relocated to Durham, NC, from New Orleans in 2006, Peter is constantly evident in international musical situations while Chris produces many records each year at Modern Recording, his home base in Chapel Hill, NC, where this record was made. www.holsapplestamey.com

Muddy Pond Sorghum is SWEET!

10 Jan

muddy-pond2

My grandfather Phillip Justice was a North Carolinian and a huge fan of sorghum syrup. Grandpa felt naked at the dinner table without a piece of bread in his left hand. And that hand was usually soaking up some leftover gravy, potlikker from greens, or, most likely, some dark sorghum syrup. My Dad remembers trips to his Grandmother’s house in the hills of Western NC where he actually witnessed sorghum being made. It was a time consuming project, but a project that often evolved into a community gathering.

Deep in the hills of Tennessee, midway between Nashville and Knoxville, lies a little community called Muddy Pond. During September and October, you can smell the aroma of fresh made sorghum syrup being made by the Guenther family. Stop by the Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill and watch step by step as sorghum syrup is being made. You can taste the syrup while it is still warm and purchase some to take home with you. You can watch the horses walk around the cane mill as the juice is being squeezed out of the sorghum cane. You may hear the train whistle blow as the wood fired, steam locomotive boiler makes the steam that boils the juice down to syrup.After making sorghum syrup since the mid-1960′s with others in the community, John and Emma Guenther started the family operation in the early 1980′s. Three of their sons; Mark and wife Sherry, Pete and wife Doreen, and Eddie and wife Ruth also run the mill. John and Emma’s daughter, Judy, helps at the mill. Several of the grandchildren can be seen filling containers and labeling jars.

What Is Sorghum Syrup?

Sorghum syrup is made from the juice of sorghum cane. Muddy Pond Sorghum is pure sorghum syrup with no additives. Don’t mistake sorghum syrup for molasses. Molasses is the by-product of the sugar making industry. Sugar cane juice is boiled down to make sugar and the syrup that is left is called molasses. It is usually strong and dark. Sorghum syrup is mild and can be eaten alone or on biscuits, rolls, and toast. It is also good in baked beans, barbecue sauce, gingerbread, popcorn balls, cookies, pies, and cakes.

Learn more about Muddy Pond Sorghum by viewing their web site at:

www.muddypondsorghum.com

SFA Tackles “Wine in the South”

21 Oct

Don’t laugh, folks — Dixie is producing some serious vino these days.

The Southern Foodways Alliance has always done a terrific job with its Oral History projects. We really enjoyed their take on Florida’s Forgotten Coast. In fact, that piece inspired us to plan out a long weekend in Apalachicola. Can’t wait — we’re blasting off soon!

Their “Wine in the South” study covers NC, GA and my home state of Virginia. The stories and photos brought back some wonderful memories of Fall day trips to beautiful places like Barboursville, Oakencroft, and Monticello. They even include Duplin Winery in Eastern NC and, of course, wines made at the amazing Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC — another former DD home base. Yup, we get around! 

Take a big sip at http://www.southernfoodways.com/oral_history/wine_in_the_south/index.shtml

North Carolina Peanut Pie

23 Sep

We found this recipe at www.bonappetit.com

Ingredients

CRUST

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons (or more) ice water

FILLING

  • 1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle’s)
  • 1/2 cup sorghum syrup or 1/2 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle’s) mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped salted North Carolina peanuts or coarsely chopped salted cocktail peanuts
  • Vanilla ice cream

Preparation

CRUST

  • Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons ice water and blend, using on/off turns, just until moist clumps form. Add more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold edges under and crimp decoratively. Freeze crust 15 minutes.
  • Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust is set, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Continue to bake until edges begin to color, piercing with fork if crust bubbles, about 13 minutes. Cool crust on rack while making filling. Maintain oven temperature.

FILLING

  • Whisk brown sugar, flour, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, cinnamon, and cayenne in medium bowl. Whisk eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Add golden syrup, sorghum, melted butter, and vanilla to eggs and whisk to blend. Add brown sugar mixture and whisk until smooth. Mix in peanuts. Pour filling into cooled crust.
  • Bake pie 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; continue to bake until crust is golden and filling is set (center of filling may move slightly when pie dish is gently shaken), covering crust edges with foil if browning too quickly, about 40 minutes. Cool pie on rack. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover loosely; store at room temperature.Cut pie into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.
  • MORE INFO

    Salted North Carolina peanuts, sold as Golden Gourmet Peanuts, and sorghum syrup are available at southernthings.com. Look for Lyle’s Golden Syrup in the supermarket aisle where maple syrup and other syrups are sold.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 647 other followers