Gathering Around The BBQ

By Tony Moorby March 04, 2024

Many readers may recall my predilection for cooking. Since the confines of a post-war kitchen kept me at my mom’s elbow as she pulled rabbits out of rationed hats, I’ve had a fascination for the subject. It parallels my affection for painting or writing (duh!) as a form of creativity. But cooking for other people is a very sensitive gesture of being able to share; for the nutrition of family or the cementing of relationships with friends or soon-to-be-friends. I found it most useful in courtship pursuits! Cooking confirms a commitment to a relationship, with one or many. Recent readers will be acquainted with our move to South Carolina and the friendliness of our newfound neighbors. The universal language of hospitality has been extended through invitations to share nibbles to gut-busting feasts, all in boisterous, bountiful company.

Terry and I have become a pretty good gustatory team when it come to party planning; over the years we’ve produced some fairly memorable get-togethers for various occasions from weddings to holiday celebrations. Here, down South, barbecuing  is a vaunted skill. I have to admit, since the first day I was introduced to it in 1982 at the Nashville Auto Auction by Linda Dixon, the queen of the cafeteria, I’ve been hooked. It’s an addiction that’s easily fixed in Nashville – there are so many joints, some going back to the 60’s and today, there’s a new push to spread its popularity as restaurateurs extol the virtues of the various styles of BBQ. Judging by the proliferation, competition is a healthy thing. It’s now personal! I’ve been trying to perfect my skills, albeit with far less than a side of beef or a whole hog. But I have invested in a fair amount of sundry machinery for its production at home. Smokers of different shapes and sizes replace the normal garden statuary and I can turn out everything from smoked salmon, cheeses, ribs from pigs to cows and I make my own bacon from fresh pork bellies.

My signature smoke is a Boston Butt or pork shoulder for shredding as BBQ on a Big Green Egg and while it takes a bit of effort, the ends justify the means. This weekend I took on the beast of the barbecue – a Texas-style full packer brisket. It wasn’t huge, as briskets go – about 13 lbs. and I’m a bit restricted as to what would fit on the Egg. With a little ‘MacGyvering’ I got away with it. I won’t bore you with all the prep details; suffice it to say that the process took 14 hours at 225 degrees. So my neighbors and I devoured the most delicious beef ever; tender, juicy, with a nice bark and smoke ring and a few ‘burnt ends’. Everyone contributed some fabulous side dishes to compliment the Roast Beast and we ate like kings. The amount of friends we’ve made in such a short space of time is amazing. Food has certainly greased the skids for any excuse to get together.

I was delighted to find that The Culinary Institute of the South is right here in our town and I’ve already participated in some classes for different cuisines; Gullah food, Indian and Mediterranean to mention a few and of course, a whole bunch of new people to discover and share stories, always in a good-natured way. 

“Laughter is always the brightest where good food is served.” Old Irish proverb.

Last modified on Monday, 04 March 2024 15:51