Food

Georgia BBQ Sauce - What Makes it So Special?

Southeast
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January 2016
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By
Victoria
Allman

July is peach season in Georgia, and I was on high alert, scanning the side of the road for wooden fruit stands. I saw the hand-painted yellow sign with ketchup-red colored RIBS scrawled across it, but I quickly dismissed it as not my target. My eyes darted the to other side of the road to look for peach stands. But as I was riding in my Jeep with the windows rolled down, suddenly the smoky smell of pork invaded my senses.

With a quick glance in my rearview mirror, I slammed on the brakes and turned the car around.

"Where've you been?" asked the man wearing a faded green apron and holding long-handled tongs as I approached the long black smoker. "I've been waiting for you all morning."

The hands on my watch read 11:10. I had been on the road since morning light, meandering up the back roads from South Florida to join Patrick and the boat in Savannah. I had already driven out of expanses of scrubby palmetto palms in the swampy outreaches of the Everglades, through the fragrant orange groves in the center of the state and past fields of cattle huddled under lone trees seeking out a small refrain from the roasting heat of the southern summer. It had only been a few miles since I had crossed the Florida-Georgia line, but it felt like I had left the Sunshine State far behind and truly entered the South. Wisps of Spanish moss hung from the oaks along the road, and kudzu vines crawled up telephone poles and crept along the lines concealing dilapidated wooden shacks and abandoned one-room churches.

"I got here as fast as I could," I answered him. "I didn't want to miss you." I'd never seen this man before and had no idea where I was, but his large toothy smile and the twinkle in his eye set the tone and gave the go-ahead for banter.

"People be lined up here soon enough for my ribs, but you got here just in time." He lifted the lid of the smoker. Tendrils of blue-gray smoke escaped, clouding the air between us. "Smoke's just right 'bout now."

My stomach rumbled. He used the tongs to shuffle half a dozen ribs that sat on the side of the black mesh grill far away from the smoldering pecan wood. "This one here good?"

He laid the four-bone rack in the groove of a wooden cutting board, worn concave from years of use, and switched out his tongs for a saber-like carving knife. His large fingers curled around the handle of the knife and expertly guided it between the bones. Steam escaped from the exposed pink flesh, setting my mouth to water.

From a cooler stashed at the base of the smoker, he pulled a plastic squirt bottle. A trail of yellow sauce speckled with flecks of pepper trailed down the side. The bottle collapsed under his tight grip and a thin sauce exploded over the ribs he'd moved to a paper plate. He slapped a soft slice of white bread on top of the ribs and handed me my lunch.

"This here'll keep you going till you get where you're going."

I balanced my plate in one hand and a Styrofoam cup full of sweet tea in the other and made my way to the picnic table under the pecan tree in the yard of the gas station. The limbs of the old-growth tree sprawled across the parking lot, casting shade over the table but doing little to cut the heat.

An old black Chevy truck from the mid-'60s rumbled into view. They too had their windows down and pulled into the gravel lot. A cloud of dry dust rose as two men pounded onto the driveway and ambled up to the smoker as I took my first bite.

Spice and apple cider vinegar cut through the moist, warm, fatty meat and melted in my mouth as the meat pulled easily from the bone. I must have groaned with delight as I worked my teeth around the bones. One of the men from the truck turned on the heel of his dust-covered brown leather cowboy boots.

"You enjoying that, darlin'?" The gravel in his voice matched the stones from the road.

I blushed under the heat of the noon-day sun and the attention of the Georgia men. Before I could swallow and reply, the pit-master laughed. "Course she is." He lifted the lid of the smoker and reached in to grab a slab for the men. "There's magic in this smoke."

Georgia BBQ Sauce

  • 1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Whisk all together and paint onto BBQ ribs, chicken, or brisket.
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Remnants of a “Vote Against Prohibition” sign still linger in faded letters on a brick wall in Baltimore — a true representation of the city’s historical love for a brew. 

From the clipper ships that brought beer from Germany during the Revolutionary War to the birthplace of the beloved Natty Boh, Baltimore is not only rich in maritime and war traditions — it’s also known as a beer city. 

Baltimore boasts a nice selection of well-known bars and swanky restaurants, but you may not realize how many experimental breweries and eclectic taprooms are located just down the street. 

From serving ice-cold pints on a hot summer day to offering taproom tastings and outdoor events, these local breweries present unique, homemade craft beers in an entertaining atmosphere. The following locations explore antique structures, historic warehouses and a barn-turned-brewhouse in Baltimore City and County.

BALTIMORE CITY

Diamondback Brewing Company

1215 E. Fort Avenue

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A garage-style window opens above high-top seating in this south Baltimore brewery — a perfect summertime hangout.  The experimental production brewery serves unfiltered lagers, hop forward ales and pizza in a lively urban atmosphere. Try the Maple Thief oatmeal stout, the Green Machine IPA or the American Locust Point Lager alongside a signature seasonal scratch-made house pizza such as the Howard, made with pulled duck confit, smoked provolone, onion, parsley and “Pee-Paw’s Secret BBQ Sauce.”

Ministry of Brewing

1900 E. Lombard Street

Upper Fells Point/Highlandtown

The stunning structure of the former St. Michaels Church in East Baltimore has high ceilings lined by archways with golden trim, colorful murals and a gorgeous organ on the second floor balcony overlooking an open space where pews used to sit. Originally opened in 1857, this church that once provided refuge to German Catholics was abandoned in 2011 and is now one of the city’s hottest brewery hangouts. Long beer hall-style tables and high-tops now fill the spacious renovated church. Biblical scriptures are written above where the taproom’s bar serves a selection of rotating beers such as the Old Maude brown ale, The Point pilsner and 9.9 Problems imperial stout.

The Brewer’s Art

1106 N. Charles Street

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This hip and artsy brewery matches the vibe of the quirky neighborhood and local community. Built as a private residence in the early 1900s, the vintage townhouse remains in the same classical style as it looked centuries ago with a slight transformation into a cozy taproom. Each room provides a different feel from the upscale dining room to the gritty Downbar and the cozy upstairs lounge. While most breweries only offer beer, this location pours everything from house brews to red, white, rosé and sparkling wines, and craft cocktails.

Full Tilt Brewing

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BALTIMORE COUNTY 

RavenBeer

8901 Yellow Brick Road, Suite B

Rosedale

As Baltimore icon Edgar Allan Poe was known for frequenting local city bars, this brewery pays homage to the writer with its own spin on classic American and German-style beer. Founder Stephen Demczuk began brewing when he was in Europe. Inspired by Poe’s writings, Demczuk named his concoctions after the famous literature. Variations include Annabel Lee White, a Belgian-style white beer with citrus, The Raven Special Lager, The Tell Tale Heart IPA and The Cask, a Bavarian double style IPA.

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Farmacy Brewing

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Crab

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Crab

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Lobster Dish | Courtesy of BDMcIntosh

Lobster

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Crab

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nyc skyline - food - marinalife
Kate and her husband Tim

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No Need for Fancy Kitchen Gadgets

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Access Our Kitchen 24/7

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Know the Steps Ahead of Time to Plan a Meal

One quirk of our galley is we can only run the oven or the stove, as our propane system can't support running both at the same time. As a result, it requires knowing the recipe and its steps in advance to ensure we have the right equipment and ability to cook the meal. If the meal is good enough to be part of the rotation, the steps become easier to remember the next time we cook it.

Learn What Meals We Can Make Quickly

Just like land life, there are days when we may feel excited about prepping and cooking a more time-intensive meal, and others when we're hungry, it's 7:00 p.m. and we just need to get something in our stomach. In New York, that meant heading downstairs for a slice of pizza.

lunch aboard - food - marinalife
Courtesy of Kate Raulin Carney

That doesn't work while cruising. Learning what meals take time (especially in Sweet Day's kitchen) and what meals can be thrown together quickly (hello mac and cheese and tuna fish) is extremely helpful. When we're stocking up on food, we make sure we have enough of those go-to meal items for those inevitable times when we just need something fast.To help you stock your galley, here are some of our favorite items:

  • High-quality all-purpose knife: Our Zwilling Santoku knife cuts pretty much everything we've cooked in the last year.
  • Dutch oven: This is perfect for baking fresh bread, making soups, rice and other meals. We store it in the oven while not in use.
  • Stainless steel French press: We didn't want to have to rely on electricity to make coffee, so our go-to is a sturdy French press. Plus, it's fun to get beans from local coffee shops.
  • New York Times cooking subscription: This app allows us to easily search tons of recipes and discover new dishes with ingredients we have on board.
  • Pre-cut parchment paper: I learned this from my dad. It keeps food from sticking to the pan and makes cleaning easy a big plus on a tiny boat, where you may need to clean the pan quickly to put another item in the oven.

SIMPLE FLOUR TORTILLAS

Here's our go-to recipe for an easy batch of tortillas. Some of our favorite ingredients for stuffing inside are pantry staples black beans and rice or roasted sweet potatoes with a charred scallion crema (Greek yogurt, mayo and scallions charred on a hot skillet).

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup room temperature butter (Can also replace with shortening, lard or vegetable oil)
  • 7/8 to 1 cup of hot water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add the butter (if you're using vegetable oil, add it in step 3). Use your fingers to work the fat into the flour until it disappears.
  3. Pour in the lesser amount of hot water (plus the oil, if you're using it), and stir briskly with a fork or whisk to bring the dough together into a shaggy mass. Stir in additional water as needed to bring the dough together.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead briefly, just until the dough forms a ball. If the dough is very sticky, gradually add abit more flour.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Round the pieces into balls, flatten slightly and allow them to rest, covered, for about 30 minutes.If you wish, coat each ball lightly in oil before covering to ensure the dough doesn't dry out.
  6. While the dough rests, preheat an ungreased cast iron griddle or skillet over medium high heat, about 400°F.
  7. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into a round about 8 inches in diameter. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Fry the tortilla in the ungreased pan for about 30 seconds on each side. Wrap the tortilla in a clean cloth when it comes off the griddle to keep it pliable. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
  8. If you have leftovers, allow them to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic and store in the refrigerator. Reheat in an ungreased skillet or for a few seconds in the microwave.

Recipe is from King Arthur Baking Company, kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/simple-tortillas-recipe. To follow Kate and Tim Carney's cruising adventures aboard Sweet Day, go to lifeonsweetday.com or @lifeonsweetday on Instagram.

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