I was reading over the Memphis Barbecue Ghost Pits blog when I noticed in the entry on Showboat Barbecue that the Hickory Hill restaurant offers barbecue stew from October 15 through April 1 every year. Since yesterday was a rainy February day it seemed like perfect weather to try a bowl of steaming hot stew from somewhere that I already knew had good barbecue. Besides, my blog entry on my previous visit to Showboat ended up digressing into a discussion of the wonderful emporium of debauchery and firearms down the street from them known as Big Daddy's Pawn Shop.
According to the Ghost Pit blog, Showboat was once a Coleman's Bar-B-Q, back when Coleman's was a chain with locations all over the city. The blog said that the stew is a recipe that dates back to 1900, although apparently it has unfortunately been "modernized" with the removal of the healthy, delicious pork lard that once added flavor to it. It is still an excellent tasting stew, and a very satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs meal for less than $7.
The mix of pulled pork, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, pinto beans and ocra in a hearty broth is a brilliantly simple combination of southern cooking staples. The seasoning was dead on. I didn't add any salt, pepper or hot sauce and I ate ever bit of food in the bowl, using half a corn muffin to soak up the last of the liquid. This was also the first restaurant meal I'd eaten since purchasing my new blood glucose meter. Despite all the starch-heavy corn and potatoes, and eating half a corn muffin, my blood sugar was only 125 an hour after eating. One of the reasons I'm using the meter is to check my theory that carbohydrates from real, whole foods aren't as harmful as ones from processed junk like sugar, flour, high fructose corn syrup, or potatoes that have turned into chips or fries in a factory.