Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Springtime Roadside Find - Wellington's

Yesterday I ran across an unexpected stop on my barbecue quest. I usually know where I am stopping for lunch when I head out in the morning. But while driving from Olive Branch to Southaven on Goodman Road in Mississippi on Monday I noticed a little roadside trailer identifying itself as Wellington's Fine Bar-B-Que on the south side of the road across the street from the Frontier Western Store.

 I did an immediate U-turn to go back and check the place out. there was a lady standing in the gravel lot taking orders so I asked for a chopped pork plate with my usual beans, slaw and water. The menu only listed sandwich plates, but she said a dinner-style plate was no problem. There was a solitary, beat-up picnic table next to the trailer. Since it was a sunny 80-degree day that had inspired me to wear shorts to work for the first time this year and no one else was using it, I decided to enjoy the weather by eating at the picnic table. Switching to shorts in the spring is a bit of a ritual for me. I spend a lot of time outside with my job and I try not to make the transition until I am reasonably certain I won't need to wear long pants again until sometime in September or October.

The chopped pork came with a nice dry rub sprinkled on it and a container of sauce on the side. I usually don't like mild sauces, since "mild" tends to be a synonym for "sweet." But this was a great, well-balanced sauce with a nice, complex herb flavor to it. The meat itself was flavorful, but it was too uniform and lean for my taste. Pork shoulder needs to have a mix of charred crust and rendered fat mixed in if it is going to be truly exceptional.

The slaw had a great mix of mustard and vinegar flavors but the baked beans tasted like they were straight out of a Bush's can. Still, enjoying barbecue is a subjective experience and I had a great time basking in the sun while eating at the old picnic table. The lady who took my order and brought my food said the Wellington's crew is looking for a permanent home, possibly in Memphis, and I'd love to see what they could do out of a full-size kitchen. For now you'll need to give them a call at 901-319-6843 to determine their exact location for the day. Or if happen upon the trailer when you're in the mood for some barbecue, just pull up and enjoy the moment.

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