1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ

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lleechef
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/20 23:51:20 (permalink)
I'm SOOOOOOOOO jealous of you guys! Heck, I was supposed to be there! Danged airline! You all have a good time and keep us informed and take a ton of pics! Grrrrr........unhappy BBQ chick!!!!
Art Deco
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/21 22:21:43 (permalink)
Well we're back!! What a day. We ended up hitting 4 barbecue places instead of the 7 I had originally mapped out (dagnab capacity issues) over about a 4 and 1/2 hour period and we ended up saving the Beacon Light for another time. Quite an eye-opening (and stomach expanding) experience. I will write more later (will start a trip report thread instead of adding on to this one) but I must put one thing here just in case:

If you are traveling on I-40 between Nashville and Memphis and realize that you have a hankering for whole-hog barbecue, you cannot do better than to spend the 15 minutes it will take you to exit the Interstate at exit 108 (Parkers Crossroads) and follow Hwy 22 to Lexington, TN. Turn left on Hwy 412 in downtown Lexington and go a mile or two (at most) until you see the sign for Hays Smokehouse on your right. Absolute Nirvana exists inside (and behind) this building. You will not find better people or barbecue anywhere. Highly highly recommended!!! More to come...

Edited to add: Hays Smokehouse is not open every day -- just Thursday through Sunday...


Photos and commentary added by The Mayor:

First Photo- The guys were quite surprised when Bushie appeared out of my truck !!


Early Saturday morning Bushie and I hit HOG HEAVEN in White Bluff TN at 7am while waiting for the older guys to get ready for the day. We enjoyed a ham Biscuit at the stop, and took some ribs with us. The Hams was good, The ribs lacked a lot!



After sampling the Que at the Hays establishment, We all joined Mr. Hays on a tour, and shared his knowledge of the Whole-Hog BBQ Business!! What a great experience! Here are Pogo,Bushie, Paul, Jim, Mr. Hays, and Poverty Pete Checking out the Cookers. Notice how intent the boys become when the cookers are opened for inspection. Mr. Hays kept up a running commentary that really helped us understand how the 'Whole-Hog' operation differs from the "chunks" cooking.



They do Ribs and Chicken in a different cooker, but still a big
one!



Talk about intense concentration...



WHAT THE Sample looked like, Ribs, Pulled Port and Chicken!!





Add- Pogo, Paul, Busy and Jim get ready to check out our second stop.



It was an enjoyable trip for sure. we got home late last night, and Bushie flew back to Texas this morning. A grand experience for sure !!

Howard Baratz
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 09:31:43 (permalink)
Who are you guys trying to fool? That's obviously a Bushie impostor in these photos. We all know that can't be the real Bushie because the guy in these pictures isn't wearing a Hawaiian Shirt.

Seriously, we are all jealous. I'm sure you guys had a waist-expanding blast.
pfarmer241
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 12:44:39 (permalink)
From the pictures, looks as though you all had a grand time.

Peggy

Sundancer7
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 12:59:27 (permalink)
The Tennessee BBQ thing was one of the most interesting experiments in group psychology and interaction I have ever witnessed. When you take several people and group them together, it is amazing what you witness and encounter. Dinner is one thing as it usually revolves around easy discussion and food contiment, however putting new individuals in a vehicle and driving a hundred miles before the next stop leads to interesting discussions.

We learned several things: Rule number 1:

1: It is not a good idea to discuss politics particularly when you have a very spirited debaters in the car. Fortunately we were able to get the discussion back on BBQ after some spirited discussions.

Rule number 2:
2: Religion is not a particularly good thing to discuss.

Rule number 3:
3: There was no rule number three cause everything from that point went really smooth.

I really want to thank Pogo and Poverty. The planning they did lead to some surprises, a scenic trip and great interaction. Meeting the charming JimInKy who seemed to charm every female we encountered was a delight. Pogo was a real scientist and took notes on every place we visited and Poverty knew every road we were on. Of course my old friends Bushie who surprised me and "The Mayor" was wonderful as always.

The big suprise was at Hay's BBQ in Lexington, TN. It was a huge operation that far surpasses any local BBQ operators. This guy has the largest smoker I have ever seen and it is a engineering feat that was far and above any device I have ever seen. The smoking unit was in a separate building as most of the other places we visited. It differentiated as it was a unique designed with three compartments, had thermostats that regulated the temp, the units that held the coals could be removed and rolled to emply the coals, the three separate individual units each had rotators that held whatever they were smoking and thus guaranteeing equal quality smoking. Hay's had a huge inventory of hickory and a unique burning area for the coals. It is obvious that he is on top of his game.

In addition he has his own slaughter house and supplies most everyone else in the area the pork they use.

The restaurant area was very clean and neat and very large. The parking is more than adequate and the rest rooms are highly decorated and extremely clean which is extremely important to me. The staff engaged in great conversation and their appearance was very good. They had been with the business for a long time and in fact, the husband of one of the ladies helped with the building of the huge smoker. It is obvious they do a huge amount of business. Mr. Hays came and sat with us the entire time this group was here and gave us a elonguated tour of the facility which was quite large.

Like Pogo indicated, if you are in the area and feel the need for BBQ, I highly recommend that that you enjoy this place. It is everything that a BBQ place should be. At this time you will not be dissapointed.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
lleechef
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 15:14:20 (permalink)
Glad you gentlemen had a grand time. Thought about ya all day yesterday, all the while cursing at AK Airlines. Where's Bushie's Hawaiian shirt? Oh, it's forbidden in TN in the winter? Right. It's not Austin.
Well, you all look absolutely SMASHING! Post more pics puhleese!
redtressed
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 18:36:38 (permalink)
Some great images there , boys. (and damn my luck, all the centerfolds are attached)

I've been to Hays BBQ a couple of times(ex-sister in law's sister lives there in Lexington) and it is a dandy set up.

Now what I REALLY wanna know, How many libations before the spirited great car debates.Eh?



Sundancer7
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 18:47:46 (permalink)
redtressed: Day two was completely clear of any libation. It was a day of honest male communication. One of those days where any subject was open. I really enjoyed the open debate. Even though it was spirited, it was wonderful and one of the things that make traveling together fun. In my opinion, one of the things that make new friends special is difference of opinion. No doubt that this group did.

What was particularly neat was the analysis of each BBQ joint we visited. We all had our opinion. We spent about a hour at each place discussing the techniques of the particular operation. Some were great and some were awful. The input of each was special. Some were vocul, some could analyze and some said nothing. Pogo had tendacies to be the most scientific where the Mayor and the Sundancer had tendacies to form immediate opinions.

God Bless America!!!!

redtressed, I am glad you had visited Hay's before.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
Sundancer7
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 19:43:10 (permalink)
"Mayor" Do you not feel that this type of enviornment of close kinsmanship really improves your relationship? I know it did mine. The conversation with the group although spirited was the best I had ever had.

The food and BBQ was great.

With great respect,
Paul E. smith
knoxville, TN
Poverty Pete
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 19:53:14 (permalink)
Well, we don't want to blow the political discussion out of proportion. My dad taught me that people can disagree without being disagreeable. Our mutual interests far outweigh our areas of disagreement. Jim can ride in my car ANY TIME!
Sundancer7
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 20:03:21 (permalink)
Poverty: The discussion was wonderful and it made the afternoon wonderful. Thank you for being the safe driver and a excellent communicator. In addition you were a extremely knowledgeful person who knew the regional roads.

I enjoyed the spirited conversations with you and JimInKy

Thank you for a safe and neat drive.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
mayor al
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 20:32:34 (permalink)
Thanks, Pete and Paul, for reminding me. perhaps I was placing more importance on the mundane than was needed. The evaluation of the places we stopped was great. I too would feel good about recommending Mr Hays operation to any visitor...And Bobbi's also.
Lisa, You certasinly would have been a welcome addition to the group.
redtressed
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 20:34:21 (permalink)
lol.uh fellas...it was a joke! I'm glad y'all had a great time. I've been kind of saying this since I first came to the forum. The Internet doesn't have to be totally anonymous with CB handles as nicks replying to one another. I've met LOTS and LOTS of people from the net through some of the forums I'm on(and I don't mean singles forums)and we've often disagreed on points but still had the best old time. It's kind of a brave new world, but it's also a fun one and more enriching if you are wise about what you arrange and realize one another's differences.
What I said about the debates/libations was not meant as an insult, just as a sillyism on what you had mentioned. I'm sorry if it offended, but ya don't have to explain to me that you can make some pretty darn good online friendships. Been there, done that and have written some supportive articles on it for Security forums and publications. I'm elated to see all this meeting activity and companionship...it's good on ya!
Ort. Carlton.
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 21:13:11 (permalink)
Dearfolk,
The wheels of getting two cars running are beginning to turn here. As the weather begins to warm, my sap starts rising along with that of the trees (that's a totally G-rated statement!). A single small purple flower poked its head out this last week. Spring is right around the corner in 30601-land.
It's obvious that I missed a good time on this trip. I, too, am able to agree to disagree (my political views are somewhat centrist, which helps). The next time someone attempts a sojourn like this and I am able to partake, I will be there in fine fettle, livermush and sausage on ice for the waiting masses.
My nonexistent hat is off to y'all for turning me on to the places you have. A side trip (VERY side!) to Lexington,Tennessee seems in order when I head toward Nashville/Bowling Green when the car's fixed and I get some more books sold here, so the house won't complain while I'm gone.
Post some more regards all the stops you made: I'll be waiting, getting hungrier and hungrier by the minute.
Piglessly, Ort. Carlton in Athens, Georgia - NOT Tennessee.
Poverty Pete
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 21:24:17 (permalink)
Ort., one of the last things we discussed was having another similar roadtrip, and something about picking up somebody in Athens, Georgia. I believe there was near universal agreement on the subject.
Ort. Carlton.
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/22 22:02:10 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Poverty Pete

Ort., one of the last things we discussed was having another similar roadtrip, and something about picking up somebody in Athens, Georgia. I believe there was near universal agreement on the subject.


Pete,
Pick me up? I'm heavy enough that three people may be needed.
We all will be heavier when I take y'all to eat where I want to. It might require the better part of a weekend, though.
Roadfoodically, Ort. in 30601.
P. S. I am honored.
Bushie
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 11:25:42 (permalink)
After the 4th stop (well, the 5th for Mr. Mayor and me ), the looming question was, "How in the H-LL did I ever think I could handle 7 BBQ joints in one day!!!???"

This whole trip was REALLY cool, and I'm SO glad I made it. Thanks to Mr. Mayor for suggesting the "surprise", and thanks especially for providing ground transportation, lodging, and tour guide service. Mayor made it possible for me to pull this off.

The reaction of my good friend and bon vivant Sundancer was almost worth the whole trip by itself.

It was great meeting Poverty and Jim "Hound Dog" InKy. Both men of accomplishment, and both are true gentlemen, just as I had imagined.

Extra special thanks to pogophiles (po-GA-fe-leez) for not only putting together the itinerary, but also for having the patience to allow for the flexibility. It couldn't have been better.

All in all, a great couple of days with some great guys. My kind of fun.

Let me also add my kudos for Hays Smoke House in Lexington. Some of the best food I've ever had.

And as for the Hawaiian shirts, I had brought a bunch with the intention of wearing a different one to each joint. Unfortunately, Mr. Mayor made me leave them in the truck.

Bushie
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 12:49:57 (permalink)
Got to thinking that with Mr. Mayor taking all the photos, there were none with him in there. So, here's one of El Teddy Bear enjoying his meal last Friday at Monell's in Nashville, taken by Sundance.



Also, Sundance caught a shot of Pogo hitting on our waitress, horning in on JimInKy's act:

lleechef
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 13:09:45 (permalink)
More great pics! Keep 'em coming!
mudbug
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 13:47:43 (permalink)
Thanks for the reports Qhounds.So Hay's Smokehouse is a definite.What about the other three?What about Monell's?Keep the info coming.I can't wait to hear about the other whole hog joints.Thanks.
CheeseWit
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 13:56:04 (permalink)
Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! A great read...great pics. Nice job guys.
mayor al
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 14:11:52 (permalink)
To respond to the query about the other stops, after the Hay experience.

1. Hays was indeed head and shoulders above the rest.
2. Bobbies- The final stop was a nice place to end it on a good note. The Que was good, the place was neat and clean, and the owner knew his business. He would have drawn more attention had it not been so late in the tour. That is one reason I think I agree with Bushie, doing multiple stops in a day.. I mean 4 or more plus the drive to and home, didn't give a fair shake to the evaluation of the later places.
3. The only sample I got at My 3 Sons, was of the outer-shell "Bark"...As it was the chewiest and greasiest most purist sandwich lover's would pass on it...but if you sponged off the dripping grease the 'Bark' was like a real smokie jerky. I could get real attached to that on a road trip. I will leave it to my peers who sampled the other parts of the pig at this stop to review them.
As far as Monells goes. it was a nice dinner, The corn pudding was the head of the hits for me. The catfish also was way up on the list.I would go back, should the opportunity present itself.
Poverty Pete
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 18:01:05 (permalink)
Monell's was worthwhile for the company and the service, but I know there is better food to be had around Nashville. As far as I'm concerned, it's a great concept, but with limited culinary success. It was inconsistent. One piece of catfish would be fine, and another quite mushy and mealy. I'd go back for the environment, if I was in good company, but not looking for a great meal.
Art Deco
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 19:38:10 (permalink)
Then again, I may as well go ahead and post it here. I agree with PP that there is better food to be had around Nashville than what we had at dinner at Monell's. On the other hand, the lunch that I had there previously would be hard to top. Hmmm...may have to go again just to see if it's a lunch/dinner difference or if it's just a consistency issue...

First installment of trip report coming up...
Art Deco
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 19:40:52 (permalink)
Trip Report volume 1:

The Gathering
On Saturday February 21, 2004, the West Tennessee Barbecue and Glee Club (Al the Mayor, Bushie, JiminKY, Poverty Pete, Sundancer and I) held its first official meeting at 8AM at the Waffle House at exit 172 off I40W near Dickson, TN. Al and Bushie called the meeting to order by claiming that they had already been out scouting the area for barbecue and had in fact found two places in the area though only one was open. Al and Bushie further held that since they had already found ham biscuits and ribs they were clearly the superior cue hounds while the rest of us were just old toothless porch dawgs suitable only for making disagreeable noises and odors (and conveniently overlooking the fact that the rest of us had at least a 45 minute drive to get there and that the ribs they found weren't worth eating). Dissenting opinions were aired and coffee ordered. As there was no other business, the meeting was adjourned as soon as the coffee was finished and we hit the road around 8:30AM, with Al the Mayor and Poverty Pete doing the driving.

1st Stop
Because we started out several miles west of Nashville, the drive down the interstate was a short one. Less than an hour after leaving the Waffle House, we were pulling off the interstate via exit 108 at Parker's Crossroads onto Hwy 22. Our first destination was Neely's Barbecue which was mentioned in a sidebar to a July 2003 Bon Appetit article written by John T. Edge. We drove a few miles and realizing we had come too far, pulled off to (yes ladies) ASK DIRECTIONS. The fact that we also needed to take a bathroom break did not in any way influence this decision. We discovered in doing so that Neely's had gone out of business. After convening briefly, checking the map and synchronizing watches, we adjusted our itinerary and went to Hays Smokehouse as it appeared to be the next closest place, though I had originally marked it to be the last place to stop. Apparently the barbecue gods were watching over us, as this may have been the single best move that we could possibly have made.

Hays Smokehouse
It was still not quite 10AM when we pulled into the large gravel parking lot at Hays Smokehouse. There were a couple of cars parked around the edges of the restaurant and the sweet odor of hickory smoke was perfuming the air from a building out back. As we pulled up, a gentleman exited the building, which we took as a good sign. On the other hand, the sign on the door was flipped around to say "Closed". I noticed that the sign by the door said that they opened at 9AM, so I went on inside and inquired whether they were open. They allowed as how they were and that the sign should have been flipped the other way and we should just come right on in. I went back out and waved for everybody else to join me.
Now we are a fairly impressive group to darken the door of any restaurant, but Hays took us in stride -- and is an impressive operation in every respect. The restaurant can fit a lot of people inside and is well laid out to handle volume, even to the extent of distinguishing between an order-in line and a pick-up line (for called-in orders). Though it was empty when we arrived, I could easily imagine what the Saturday night crowd would look like, with a full parking lot and people standing in line waiting to order (on the right side) or to pick up (on the left). The ladies inside could not have been nicer. I had printed out copies of the interview write-up from the SFA website to give to each place we had scheduled to visit and used this as an ice-breaker and to sort of explain how we all happened to be visiting their place (and also to explain why we were pacing ourselves a bit, as opposed to just stuffing our faces). I handed the printout to the nearest lady and started talking before Jim could even commence to flirt.
The ladies quickly took pity on us and, in just a few moments informed us that Mr. Hays was the fellow we had seen when we drove up, that he would surely want to talk with us, that we should probably get the sampler platter (which had pulled pork, chicken and ribs plus a couple of sides), that we could make ourselves comfortable at the long table over on the side where they would sometimes take their own breaks, and that weren't we just the sweetest things to come visit them and that they would surely take care of us. Which they proceeded to do in spades. They had the food prepared and delivered to us in just a few minutes time and Mr. Hays came over and shot the breeze with us while we ate. And eat we did. The food was first rate. Excellent smoky flavor (unsauced), perfect tenderness (on both the cue and the ribs), even the chicken was very tasty. The sauces served here were of a type common to this area -- reminds me of a NC vinegar sauce with some tomato added, but not a lot of sugar and not a lot of spice.
A very affable fellow, Mr. Hays explained how he got into the business, what it was like to run the place, details of how to cook the hogs (wood, temperature, time, size, yield, etc…) and a whole host of things. One very important thing that he pointed out (and which we would see proven out later in the day) is that you have a fairly sophisticated customer in these parts and it can affect how you should order. Unlike (many?/most?/all?) North Carolina whole hog barbecue operations, the folks in this area do not chop and mix all the different parts of the hog together. Here it tends to be pulled pork, and most customers specify which part of the hog they want their cue from (shoulder, ham, loin, etc…). He claimed that 90% of the people who walk in the door and ask for bulk barbecue will ask for it that way (as in "Gimme a pound of backstrap"). If I recall correctly, he said that his favorite is from the middlin', which is essentially the narrow band of meat along the side (what usually would end up as bacon).
Mr. Hays then took us out back and showed us his cooker. This was quite an impressive piece of machinery. There were three different compartments on the cooker, each of which had four racks that spun around inside the smoker, essentially forming a huge rotisserie. Each rack was big enough to hold half a hog, so he could cook six whole hogs at a time if need be. The cooker also had metal drawers in the bottom which pulled out. There was a mesh grid toward the top of the drawer for adding coals to, which would then fall through the grid into the bottom of the drawer as they turned to ash. Outside was a large freestanding contraption that essentially formed a large chimney starter for transforming hickory blanks from a drumstick factory into wood coals to cook with. A front-end loader stood nearby for loading the wood into the starter. Quite a slick operation and one which could be done with much less manual labor than the traditional pit. Enough said. This was the absolute best place we went on this trip and I thank my lucky stars that we decided to go here first. Highly, highly recommended. This was, I believe, our consensus #1 stop…

…to be continued…
Sundancer7
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 19:56:09 (permalink)
Pogo: You are right on. A couple of thoughts that come to mind about Hay's: He is one of the neatest gentleman's I have ever met. I really enjoyed his one on one communication with us. The place was as neat as a pin. I make it a point to visit the rest rooms. They were decorated just like the rest of the restaurant and clean as a pin. The staff that worked there were extremely nice and really promoted the place, The smoker was a engineering delight. If you were to build it, I would guess at least $100,000 to do that. It was a piece of art. I wish Al would post the pic of the smoke coming out of it that I sent him. I wish I could express the fun that I had there.


Your wish is my command...AL

I personally prefer pit BBQ better than smoke, but this was wonderful. It comes close to what I had with Bushie in Austin and could come close.

If any poster reads this post, I highly suggest you do this place. You are in for a treat. As The Mayor Indicated, they are open only a few days per week.

Paul e. Smith
Knoxville, TN
tiki
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 20:28:13 (permalink)
You guys are all great-- and this record is a treasure--Have to put your reviews of Hays Smaokehouse in my "MUST DO" file! Truly wish i could have made the trip---thia was a crew that i think i would truly enjoy "Breaking Bread" with! Lets hope these Mini conventions become a regular feature for all of us. I know that there are so many of us out there that it would be hard to vacation or travel anywhere in the States or Canada with driving near the home of another of us. All of you--if your ever near the intersections of I40 and 69 in eastern Oklahoma===by all means let me know in advance and we breakfast at JMS in Eufala or Italian lunch at Lovera's in Krebs or Que at Smokehouse Bobs in Muskogee---or maybe all three!! and we can toss in Hall of Fame,award winning blues to boot.
Thanks to all'y'all for letting the rest of us in on your trip! Looking forward to the rest of Pogaphiles report!
Sundancer7
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  • Status: offline
RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 20:35:42 (permalink)
Tikie: You will never know the pleasure we had with the company of the BBQ crew. It was an experience that is hard to duplicate. It was an experience that cannot be duplicated and will never be duplicated .

Why it cannot be duplicated is the conversations, experiences and overall the pleasures of personal conversation. One of the best in the lifetime of the Sundancer.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
Art Deco
Double Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 890
  • Joined: 2002/06/12 16:27:00
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Status: offline
RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 20:42:40 (permalink)
Wish this had been here in its present form a few years ago...I've driven to Tulsa several times over the years. Not sure when (if) I'll make it back out there though...
Poverty Pete
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 2293
  • Joined: 2003/08/16 07:10:00
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Status: offline
RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 21:09:06 (permalink)
Damn! I drove I-40 across Oklahoma not two months ago!
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