1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ

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mayor al
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 21:48:29 (permalink)
We Stopped in OK just 2 weeks ago. The place in Miami OK that we visited would have rate 2.5 out of the 5 we were at this past weekend. I would love to do a circle tour in that area too.
Bushie
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/23 23:02:38 (permalink)
Excellent writeup on Stop #1, Pogo! You hit the nail on the head. This was definitely the best, by far.

I also want to add that his cole slaw (the mayo version) was almost perfect. For those of you who like vinegar slaw, we had a couple who judged it good.

His BBQ Beans were heavenly, and I was pleased to hear Poverty Pete give his blessing. (PP has an almost unbelievable palate, and I trust his judgement with no reservations.)

Also loved his sweet tea.

As to the aforementioned sauces, he makes a regular and a hot version. Complemented the meats perfectly, I thought.

It may sound like we're over-doing the "Hays thing", but honestly, we're not.

Pogo will aptly carry on from here...
Bushie
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 09:12:35 (permalink)
I want to add a couple of cents about Monell's. Personally, I really liked it a lot.

I think some of the criticism is due to the fact that we weren't just in there shoveling chow in the pieholes. As one would expect from a group of people who care about the quality of food, we took the time to taste everything and critique each dish. Some things were excellent, some were not. However, I didn't have anything that was "bad".

I ate some of everything (even the beets!) except for the Spinach Lasagne. (I couldn't figure out how that dish made it into what was otherwise "country-cookin'". Pogo advised me to think of it as "greens lasagne", which helped explain its presence. )

What a person is accustomed to also influences the enjoyment. For instance, I thought the chicken was great (ate a leg and a wing). Here in Texas, good fried chicken is mighty scarce. So, when the consensus of the group was that "the chicken isn't that good", I was thinking, "Huh?" Compared to other chicken available in Nashville, however, it probably didn't rate too high.

Bottom line is that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Monell's to anyone, and I'll gladly eat there again.

Carry on...
Art Deco
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 09:29:20 (permalink)
Bear in mind too that the chicken I had at lunch earlier in the week was excellent. The chicken at dinner did not seem to be as fresh as what I had at lunch. It struck me that it may have been prepped early. When I ate there for lunch, I was at the end of the lunch cycle and probably got freshly cooked chicken. It was essentially brought to the table within at most a couple of minutes from exiting the pan. That is the same impression I had of the catfish at dinner, but not of the chicken. We were there very early in what is a very busy dinner cycle, so I suspect the chicken had been out of the grease for a good bit longer by the time we got it. Even at that, it was not bad chicken, just mediocre for Nashville.
Art Deco
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 09:30:40 (permalink)
Meant to add, I second Bushie's assessment of Hays' mayo coleslaw and the beans. I did not try the vinegar slaw (and do not normally care for it).
mayor al
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 09:46:21 (permalink)
The vinegar slaw at Both Monell's and at the Hays BBQ rated very good also. I passed on the beans and the green lasagna also. I liked the beets, still somewhat crispy while having a good bite of the vinegar.
As to the chicken, I agree with Pogo, It had been there for awhile. Near the end of the meal, the nice folks from Alabama asked for more chicken. They had to wait a bit for delivery, and then had to wait a bit more for it to cool enough to handle. I had a wing out of that load and it was above the very good line.
Art Deco
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 12:56:33 (permalink)
Trip Report volume 2:

Stop #2
We eventually dragged ourselves away from Hays Smokehouse (somewhat unwillingly, but with the addition of "Hays Meat Company" ball caps as seen on Mr. Hays in the picture -- he also owns the local slaughterhouse and supplies some of the other barbecue joints in the area with their meat). After a brief side trip to see the slaughterhouse (fairly small operation), we traveled to the other side of Lexington (this did not take very long) and pulled into the parking lot of B.E. Scott's Bar-B-Que. Scott's is a much smaller operation than Hay's. Hay's is like one of those catfish places where the whole family goes on Saturday night to sit, eat and socialize. Scott's is more of a minimalist affair, a stop-by-to-pick-up-lunch-on-your-way-to-the-ball-park kind of place. There is a pick-up window with a couple of folks behind the counter taking and preparing orders. Off to the side is a small dark dining area with a few tables and not much else. This is not a place to come eat for the atmosphere. Did not give the impression of being nearly as clean or as friendly as Hay's. The friendliness aspect may have been in part due to timing, as we were there right at the beginning of their lunch rush. There was a steady stream of people coming to pick up barbecue, but few ate it there. I got a regular sandwich (same as at Hay's) and a chocolate fried pie, which I cut into several pieces and set out for all to try. Frankly, the fried pie was not very good. My sandwich, unlike at Hay's was chopped pork, with a nice proportion of fat in the mix. It was good without sauce, and even better after the addition of the sauce, which was vinegar-based and contained a heavy dose of black pepper and I don't think it contained any tomato at all. My wife would have hated this sauce, but I liked it very well, as I thought it suited the sandwich perfectly. We also purchased a pound of pulled pork without specifying where it should come from. I've a feeling the fellow serving us looked at us, thought "tourists" or at least not regulars, and dumped some of his least desirable pork on us. I forget who said it, but our semi-smartass response of "A bunch of forks" when he asked us what we wanted with it may have contributed somewhat, though that is no excuse for what we got. This stuff was the pork equivalent of water-packed white chunk albacore tuna. It was dry and tasteless. We were admittedly less hungry at this point, but that is really no excuse. Now, we may have done a lot better if we had specified shoulder or something, but this stuff was not very good at all. Over half of it was packed into my ice chest and after tasting it when I got home that night, I threw it out uneaten. Scott's is probably a fine place to pick up a sandwich if you are in a hurry and are going to eat somewhere else (or in the car). I could not recommend planning on eating at the restaurant and I would not recommend going there to buy bulk unless you specify what you want. And watch that sauce, it is spicy. One advantage Scott's has over Hay's, is that it is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9AM until 8PM or they run out. I think the general consensus is that this was the #3 ranked place of the 4 we visited, though that is somewhat giving them the benefit of the doubt and acknowledges that the sandwich was probably more typical with the unspecified pound being an anomoly.

…to be continued…
mayor al
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 13:50:47 (permalink)
The Mayor recognizes that the Gentleman from Tennessee Speaks for him also. Outstanding coverage of the second stop.
Art Deco
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 21:26:43 (permalink)
Trip Report volume 3:

Stop #3
After poking around behind Scott's for a few minutes (finding a slaw cutter, the wood pile, the next batch of coals and a large German Shepherd) and losing Jim in the women's restroom, we loaded up the trucks and moved to Bever…err, I mean we headed toward Henderson. At this point we needed a bit of time so we dawdled West along 412, meeting up with Hwy 70, and turning South onto Hwy 45 in Jackson. As we passed through the Southeastern part of Jackson, we noticed a pile of rubble that had obviously been a school of some sort. As we were puzzling over what the city was doing demolishing buildings, a grim cityscape filled with mangled trees and partially repaired buildings suddenly appeared around us and we realized that we were crossing the path that the tornado had chosen a year or so ago. Piles of rubble and twisted tree carcasses made for an eerie feeling as we passed through. In the movies, this is known as foreshadowing…
Since we had just eaten for a second time, we prolonged the space between barbecue stops by paying a quick visit to the Pinson Indian Mounds. After a quick sprint to the observation platform on top of Saul's Mound and a few moments looking around and soaking up the silence and the view, it was off to wake the Mayor (who had declined the climb in favor of a refrigerated toilet and a catnap). Next destination: My Three Son's Bar-B-Q.
After a short drive, we found the place. Unlike at the previous two places, there was no odor of wood smoke detectable from the parking lot. Inside the building, there was very little evidence of a thriving business, absolutely no evidence of any recent cleaning, and the only smoke aroma was that of stale cigarettes. Undaunted (except for the Sundancer, who was obviously horrified by what we had stumbled into), we plunged ahead and met Jimmy, the proprietor. Having learned our lesson at Scott's, we specified that we wanted "middlin'" meat on our sandwiches and the Mayor indicated that he preferred having some of the dark crunchy skin of the pig chopped into his. I'm still not clear on how many sandwiches and drinks we actually ordered and I know for sure that Jimmy has no idea. Eventually we ended up with three sandwiches, three sides of red slaw and a plate of what Jimmy referred to as "bark" -- essentially skin and fat from the outside of the barbecued hog. We began to eat while Jimmy regaled us with the biggest load of bushwa you ever heard in your life. The man likes to talk a lot more than he likes to clean or run his business and apparently we were just the audience he was looking for. We put up a game struggle to maintain face -- and to be fair the food was not bad. The barbecue in my sandwich was extremely tender and well-flavored, though not as smoky as some from earlier in the day, and the red slaw was actually quite good. But the environment really dragged the food down badly, to the point that I felt slightly queasy after I finished and not from being full. I think it was more from wondering just how bad the behind-the-scenes sanitation was given the dirtiness of the part of the operation that the customer saw.
It is amazing to me that this place is one of the one's John T. Edge wrote up in that Bon Appetit sidebar, because frankly Jimmy may be able to barbecue a hog, but he needs to be doing it for somebody else. He allowed as how business has not been great and I predict he'll be out of business within a year. There was a bunch of weird family stuff going on too -- he called all his boys to come down and meet us like either we were celebrities or they were (I never was sure which) and then they kind of stood around and scuffed their feet and looked at each other. I caught a few glances back and forth between them that I would interpret in one of two ways -- it was either 1) I can't believe Dad is telling that story to these guys; or it was 2) I can't believe that these guys are stupid enough to fall for what he's telling them. Either way, it wasn't what I would call a wholesome environment. My Three Son's Bar-B-Q was by far the low point of the trip -- I could not in good conscience recommend that anyone go there. I do, however, recommend that you request the meat from the middlin' sometime if you ever get the chance. I believe it just might be the pick of the pig…

…one installment to go…
CheeseWit
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 21:41:19 (permalink)
Man, these installments are better and better!! I'm enjoying reading about your discoveries and your critiques.
lleechef
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 21:45:01 (permalink)
What was Jim doing in the women's restroom???? " />" />
Thanks pogo for the report, looking forward to the next installment!
Bushie
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 21:51:55 (permalink)
Pogo is nailing this thing! I'm laughing reading his reviews, essentially re-living the moments.

Thanks, pogophiles, for your great storytelling.
Art Deco
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 22:10:16 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by lleechef

What was Jim doing in the women's restroom???? " />" />


Well, that was kind of weird in its own right. Jim and I went out to the bathrooms (and when I say out to the bathrooms, I mean that literally -- you exit through a door in the back of the "dining area" to an open air walkway behind the restaurant: the restrooms are to the left and the barbecue pit area is to the right). Jim turned to the left (to the bathrooms) and, assuming that I was trailing close behind and paying attention, went into the womens bathroom (which was farther away) leaving the closer men's bathroom open for me to use. Unbeknownst to Jim, I was neither directly behind him nor was I paying attention as my focus was on the large mechanical gizmo directly in front of me when I came through the door (it turned out to be the slaw chopper -- essentially a large metal hopper on the left for inserting cabbages, a big serrated blade in the middle to shred said cabbage, and a large motor on the right to drive the blade). I wandered around back there for several minutes (waiting on Jim, I thought) poking around to try to figure out the pit arrangement, nosing around the wood pile and the coals, and eventually annoying the german shepherd who commenced to raising the alarm (which conveniently occurred about the same time Jim came out). I went on in to the Mens and concluded my stay at Scott's.

After Jim and I reconvened with everyone else out in the parking lot, we discovered that they had gotten a bit impatient with our dawdling and at some point the Mayor apparently made the comment: "Maybe we should go check the women's bathroom for Jim", referring to Jim's penchant for flirting/charming women we had observed previously. They were highly amused to discover that Jim had in fact been in the Womens bathroom at the time the Mayor uttered this pronouncement!!!
lleechef
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 22:14:41 (permalink)
Oh my heavens! That is TOOOOOOO funny. Wish I would've been there!!!!
Art Deco
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/24 23:08:14 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Sundancer7

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.
Paul e. Smith
Knoxville, TN


Two followup points: 1) In his interview on the SFA site, Mr. Hays says that the cooker cost him $20,000; and 2) An illustration of the cleanliness of this place is this: Mr. Hay said that he has the cooker steam-cleaned every two weeks. He went on to say that a lot of people don't do that often enough and that can sometimes lead to a bit of an "off-flavor" in the cue...
tiki
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/25 05:09:21 (permalink)
Pogo----great job--great story! Thanks again to all of you,
mrscake704
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/25 19:36:32 (permalink)
I have a question about some barbeque places in Memphis. My husband and I are planning on taking a vacation there sometime in late June. I have heard of a couple barbeque places named Corky's and Alfred's. I have read a few reviews on a few websites and everyone seems to think that Alfred's is the best. We would like a couple opinions on these places as well as learning about some new places to try. Does anyone have any opinions on any barbeque places in Memphis? Thanks!!!
Ort. Carlton.
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/25 20:52:46 (permalink)
Dearfolk,
Sounds like I missed a good time (except for My Three Sons). Y'all have me wanting to retrace your steps!
Can't wait to see the final installment, whenever it appears.
Cueing Up, Ort. Carlton in 30601-Headqtrs.
mayor al
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/25 21:47:06 (permalink)
Mrscakes, if you use the SEARCH button at the top of this page ..put in Memphis... there is a whole thread on the BBQ places there. There are several that are rated above Corkies I recall.
Poverty Pete
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/27 01:30:13 (permalink)
I don't think I've seen any postings from JiminKy since the road trip. Did he get home ok? Is he still in Nashville chasing waitresses?
lleechef
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/27 03:42:45 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Poverty Pete

I don't think I've seen any postings from JiminKy since the road trip. Did he get home ok? Is he still in Nashville chasing waitresses?

JimInKy was last seen exiting the Ladies' Room in a BBQ joint in Nashville with a woman on each arm, both with Big Hair and Big Jewelery! Rumour has it he's doing fine....
TJ Jackson
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/27 13:34:03 (permalink)
Besides, Corkys (with it's dry rather than web bbq) appears to be more of an acquired taste than the others. Might be wrong, but I think most of us are accustomed to wet/sauced bbq. I know I am.
Sundancer7
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/27 14:53:44 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Poverty Pete

I don't think I've seen any postings from JiminKy since the road trip. Did he get home ok? Is he still in Nashville chasing waitresses?


I talked with him a few days after the trip. He was fine. I think he wanted to go back for some reason

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
TJ Jackson
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/28 20:43:59 (permalink)
(am I the only one seeing a link to a nonexistent page 9 for this thread at the forum level?)
mayor al
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/02/28 21:13:54 (permalink)
I see it...but your post is listed as the latest one on the thread. Another Area 51 Mystery.
frognot
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/03/01 00:11:32 (permalink)
Eagerly awaiting the next chapter. I've got some Hays BBQ coming to me in April when the TN kinfolks come to Texas for Easter.
Sundancer7
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/03/14 06:01:53 (permalink)
As I was returning back from NOLA, I took the long route and made a stop at Hays Smokehouse in Lexington, TN. It was my second trip there as I was there earlier with Bushie, The Mayor, JiminKy, Pogo and Poverty Pete.

The first stop was excellent and I wanted to see if they could repeat and in addition, I was looking forward to some great BBQ. I am pleased to report that it was exactly identical. They control their quality. I got the combination plate which included pulled pork, ribs and chicken, creamy sweet slaw, potato salad and a roll. The plate was above excellent.

A couple of different notations. Mrs Hays was the tour director and she was just as colorful as Mr. Hays. Both like to talk. Mr. Hays showed up in his diesel truck as I was leaving. In the smokehouse, she showed me the other smokers they use to use before the operation evolved using the mechanised smoker they now use. It has a huge rotisserie inside which keeps Mr. Hays from having to turn the pork as it smokes. The older units are used only on holidays when demand increases dramatically. As before the staff was super and the place was spotlessly clean.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
mayor al
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/03/14 09:14:33 (permalink)
Thanks, Paul, for the update. It's great to know that the place maintains it's reputation.
Poverty Pete
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/03/14 09:46:58 (permalink)
I think the West Tennessee Glee Club should have a reunion this summer in Cadiz, Ky., for the Trigg County Country ham festival. What say ye, fellow adventurists?
Sundancer7
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RE: 1st Glee Club Meet-2004-Tennessee BBQ 2004/03/14 10:02:32 (permalink)
Poverty: What is the Trigg County Ham Festival?

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
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