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mayor al

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HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Sun, 06/21/09 11:09 AM (permalink)
Henderson-Waverly Kentucky Weekend
 Jan and I decided to take a short weekend ride down to Henderson KY to enjoy some of the Annual Blues and BBQ Festival music and food. We left Friday afternoon and stopped in Owensboro at the Moonlite BBQ for their Friday Buffet. In addition to the usual good BBQ and desserts on Fridays they add several seafood items to the buffet. So we had a delicious mix of Ribs and Mutton and freshly Fried Oysters (an Ohio River Speciality???) and Catfish fillets. They had whole Catfish and Shrimp as well, but we skipped over them this time. Add to that some good lima beans and their mustardy Potato Salad  and I was was pretty happy.  To make sure that I could relate to my friend Buffet Buster , Jan and I both checked out a couple of the pie choices for dessert. They had a great 'Tart Rhubarb' pie to that we added a scoop of the blackberries from the Blackberry Cobbler . That made a real mess to look at, but the combination of 'sweet and tart' was outstanding. Jan slipped some some-serve ice cream over the top of hers to really do it right !!!  I added a slice of the CocoNut Cream Pie on the side to insure my sugar high !! 
We have reported on our Moonlite dinners several times so I did not haul the camera in with me this time. You'll just have to trust my word that this was another of the series of very good dinners we have enjoyed at this long-time Kentucky Favorite.
After dinner  (we were stuffed!) we drove the final 25 miles over to Henderson and checked into our motel for the night. We stayed at the Comfort Inn which was very reasonable and quiet and clean. Since the dogs had remained at home our workload on the trip was lighter!
Saturday morning found us considering our options for the day. The Blues groups didn't begin to play in the Riverside park until noon, so we had the morning to wander around a bit. We had not been out to Peak Brothers BBQ since their fire and reopening so that became our goal for the morning ride. Peak Brothers opens at 8 am so we thought to pick up some BBQ to take with us for a picnic lunch in the Blues Park when we got back to Henderson.
Peaks is located in WAVERLY KENTUCKY about 20 miles west of Henderson on US 60. As we approached the place we noticed a large column of smoke coming from the field across the highway from the restaurant. You could easily smell the hickory smoke, and the smell of BBQ from a mile away, as the smoke was blowing our direction. We wondered if the restaurant was overworking their smokers or WHAT???
Well, apparently it was an annual community BBQ dinner being prepared in the lot next to a large church across the road from Peak Brothers BBQ. They had constructed what was (to me) the largest open pit I had ever seen and had loaded it up with literally "TONS" of critters being slowly cooked over open wood coals.
 They did both Mutton and Hogs and there were a huge number at various stages of preparation on the pit.  I would estimate that pit was about 200 feet long and there was a crew of about 20 guys working it when we arrived (10am). They moved so much I never could get an accurate count! They had started Friday noon and hoped to have everything ready in time to start serving at 5pm on Saturday evening.
We would have loved to see the side dishes and table prep, but since the dinner was more than half-a-day away we watched the cooking for awhile then went over to the restaurant to purchase some BBQ Pork sandwiches and some Ribs to go and headed back to Henderson to enjoy the concert that was our goal for the trip.
I did record some of the efforts of those fellows working that huge pit, and offer my congratulations at what looked like a great community event. We were told they would have long lines of folks waiting for dinners and take-home plates later in the day.  This reminded me of many local church dinners here that we have enjoyed. Just a couple of weeks ago we attended a local church Pig Roast. However we have never seen as huge a pit or pile of meat as we saw yesterday in the small town of Waverly, Kentucky, Where they really know how to throw a BBQ Dinner !!
Here is the Highway sign inviting you to join the fun!
Sorry about the delay, but Thunderstorms have interrupted my Verizon Wireless Internet link on and off this morning.
We parked on th grass near the BBQ pit and wandered around watching the crew working the various hogs and sheep. You can see Peak Brothers BBQ Restaurant thru the smoke from the community BBQ Pit.

At the end of the pit was a large open kettle sitting on a wood fire. In it was the "Mopping Sauce" simmering while waiting to be used on the meat. Workers would use paint buckets to dip the sauce out of the kettle and walk the line applying it where needed on the BBQ.

A large crew of volunteers worked the pit from Friday afternoon until serving time. Here they work at rotating and turning the Hams.

At the other end a couple of men use a large 'Hay Fork' to turn the meat in it's final stages of cooking

To keep the heat under control "experts" used water hoses to spray the coals. Considering the humidity already in the air, this was a task for someone who liked "Jungle-heat!!

Sometimes large hams had to be moved to a new location....a hot and heavy task for this young man!

The job of "Sauce Mopper" fell to this fellow who walked the pit with his bucket and mop, applying the sauce as needed.

A piece of meat I had not seen before were these Neck and Rib sets. We were told they were a popular "Take-Home order" for carry-out customers. They were sold in the chunk-sized pieces seen here.

Stepping away from the pit we shot one photo to show the scale of the operation.  I wish we could have returned for the dinner itself, but that wasn't the agenda for the rest of our day.  I offer my congratulations to the community for maintaining the spirit of REAL OLD TIME BBQ in a Day of chain gas and Micro-waved mini-cookers!!

 We then took our Peak Brothers lunch back to Henderson and enjoyed an afternoon of some fine Blues Music in the Riverside Park, eating our picnic lunch and sitting in the shade of the large trees on a hot summer day. The bands were great and admission was free !!

We headed home last evening to arrive about 9pm...with fond memories of the experience and photo record of a great cookout.

<message edited by mayor al on Sun, 06/21/09 1:47 PM>
    mayor al

    • Total Posts: 15058
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    • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
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    Re:HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Sun, 06/21/09 1:49 PM (permalink)
    OK I finally got the photos uploaded. Thanks for your patience. Thunderstorms have played havoc with my wireless internet connection this morning.

      ann peeples

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      Re:HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Sun, 06/21/09 2:40 PM (permalink)
      Al, what kind of wood do you think they were using? And by the way, we had horrific thunderstorms Friday....

        Re:HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Sun, 06/21/09 2:44 PM (permalink)
        Al, it had to be hot and humid there as well as it was in Knoxville.  We had 11 inches of rain in May and we have had 6 inches of rain in June.  I felt for you yesterday although I am sure that you had a good time.  It has been 90F+ every day in Knoxville for the past week.  The incessant rain makes it very steamy.
        Paul E. Smith
        Knoxville, TN
          mayor al

          • Total Posts: 15058
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          Re:HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Sun, 06/21/09 2:52 PM (permalink)
             In the photo with the sauce kettle cooking you can see a pile of long slabs of Hickory. I did not see (but I didn't look either) a seperate fire for burning down the wood to coals,  but they might have used a section of the pit for that. it was definitely wood-fired!

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            • Location: Henderson, KY
            Re:HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Sun, 06/21/09 6:35 PM (permalink)
            Al, that's how we cook these things down here.  I try to get to as many of these community events as possible.  Glad you enjoyed it!

            On the day before, including the temperature and the humidity, the heat index was well past 100.  Those guys on the pit probably deserve some sort of a medal.

            So what did you and Jan think of Peak's barbecue?  I believe you once told me that you had been there before.

            <message edited by Louis on Sun, 06/21/09 6:36 PM>
              mayor al

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              Re:HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Sun, 06/21/09 8:31 PM (permalink)

              The Pork Sandwiches were fine. For $4.00 you get a large amount of sliced (or pulled) pork on your choice of sliced bread, plus a pickle and a thick slice of onion. A small cup of sauce is supplied in the take-out package. The ribs weren't my best choice. They were "waterlogged" in a thin watery sauce...I had asked for them to be sauceless (sauce on the side). I would not order them again unless I saw others in the restaurant eating them the way I like them. They were NOT bad...but very soggy!

              I wish we purchased one of those neck and chest chunks from the church, but they weren't ready for sale when we left.

              I have been to many community dinners like this one, but never have I seen a pit this large in operation.  We will keep track of it on our calendar and try to return next year to join the fun for the whole day !

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                Re:HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Mon, 06/22/09 9:54 AM (permalink)
                Al thanks for the photo-explanation of how those giant quantities of BBQ get made--this is very informative!

                  Re:HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Mon, 06/22/09 10:06 AM (permalink)
                  Beautiful pics Al!  That looks like it must have been something to see.  And dessert at Moonlite sounds mighty fine, too!
                  <message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 06/22/09 10:08 AM>

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                    Re:HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Mon, 06/22/09 5:26 PM (permalink)
                    Mr Mayor, that really is quite amazing - thanks for the write up and especially the pics, I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it on such a scale ! What dedication on behalf of those working with the food to keep going under what must have been very uncomfortable conditions at times. I especially liked the pic of the guy appying the sauce with a mop, that really made me chuckle :P
                      mayor al

                      • Total Posts: 15058
                      • Joined: 8/20/2002
                      • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
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                      Re:HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Mon, 06/22/09 10:47 PM (permalink)
                       One small correction- In a couple of the photos I identified the pieces of meat being lifted and moved as "Hams". While they looked like Hams to me, I have been advised that these are Whole Pork Shoulders. I am used to seeing Shoulders cut into two pieces, one the square-cut "Butt" portion and the other the conical-cut "Picnic". I have seen very few WHOLE Shoulders, and NONE on an open-pit like these!! I apologize for my mistake! 

                      Janet and I want very much to return to Waverly next Summer and take part in the fullday's activity with this community!

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                        Re:HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Wed, 07/1/09 10:46 PM (permalink)

                        Gotta get this on our agenda.

                        Thanks for the wonderful report.

                          Re:HENDERSON-WAVERLY, KENTUCKY BBQ Weekend Thu, 07/2/09 8:28 AM (permalink)
                          That is a WHALE of a BBQ and I think we are fortunate for Al discovering such an event.
                          Paul E. Smith
                          Knoxville, TN
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