Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Roadside South Memphis Barbecue - Dr. Bar-B-Que

I was driving down Elvis Presley Boulevard in South Memphis recently when I spotted a traveling barbecue rig advertising itself as Dr. BBQ.  The converted school bus and giant smoker on buggy springs were impossible to miss, sitting on the side of the road just north of Brooks Road, so I did a quick U-turn after driving past to check it out. I'm glad I did.

Once I pulled up I quickly located the menu board next to the door on the side of the bus facing the street. There was a nice selection of very reasonably-priced food and I opted for the pulled pork plate with potato salad and slaw.

The barbecue on the plate was served as a sandwich, instead of the standard bread-on-the-side style. I just used a fork to eat the meat out of the sandwich and avoid the bread. The meat itself was delightfully smokey and full of flavorful bark. Everything was well-seasoned, with the peppery mustard slaw being another highlight of the meal.

I ended up being thoroughly satisfied and impressed with the $7 meal I'd grabbed on the the side of the road. If you see the good "doctor" parked anywhere around town don't hesitate to stop and get your pork prescription filled.

Monday, May 20, 2013

More Pork in Chicago - Hot Doug's

"You're going to Chicago? You HAVE to try Hot Doug's."

I heard that from numerous friends when I mentioned my wife and I were traveling to to the Cochon 555 event in Chicago last month. Then we got there and heard the same thing from friends who live there. And I'm not someone who needs a lot of arm twisting to visit a place billing itself as "the sausage superstore."

We got the right after the place opened at 10:30 a.m., still nursing our severe Cochon-induced hangovers, since we had been warned about how quickly the line grows. It was sound advice. Our wait wasn't very long but by the time we finished eating the line was well out the door, although the staff still kept the line moving at a steady pace.

I went expecting big, traditional Chicago-style hot dogs. Hot Doug's definitely has those. But the wide variety of specialty sausages is what surprised me.

This is the Saucisse De Morteau and the wild rice and Asiago Bison sausages.

...And this is the veal, pork and chive "bockwurst." Everything was as good as it looks and sounds.

We also enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere with tunes by classic punk bands like the Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys playing in the background and the comical signage that included elements like a picture of hot dog on the men's room door and an empty bun for the lady's room.

I love punk music in general and the Clash in particular so I was briefly excited to see a dog named after Joe Strummer. Then I read the description. As bad as it sounds I realize it is meant as a genuine tribute to the legendary clash frontman, a longtime vegetarian who died of heart disease at the age of 50. Many other celebrities have endorsed the health benefits of a vegetarian/vegan diet like Adam "MCA" Yauch of the Beastie Boys (dead at 47), Linda McCartney (dead at 56) and Steve Jobs (dead at 56). If you eat at Hot Doug's and are concerned with your health I recommend sticking to the natural sausages loaded with healthy pork fat.

Hot Doug's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chicago - Cochon 555

Two weekends ago my wife and I made a trip to Chicago for the Cochon 555 event there. As I mentioned in my post on last year's Cochon 555 event in Memphis, the traveling event takes five celebrated area chefs and pairs each with a different breed of heritage pig from a different small, sustainable farm.

We had a friend arrange VIP passes for us to attend the Chicago event, held in the Grand Ballroom of the Chicago Four Seasons. Since it was a vacation I didn't keep careful notes the way I did in Memphis, and I didn't go out of my way to sample every tasting station once the lines got long. But I still wanted to share a brief photo essay of some of the highlights we experienced.

My favorite presentation was the lunch tray featuring a small, Chicago-style hotdog, empanada, tamale, open-faced head cheese sandwich and tiny Dutch oven of stew.

The pork paella was one of the most intensely satisfying dishes I encountered that evening.

One of the big distractions was the amazing variety of whiskey available for sampling at the event.

The Eagle Rare Manhattans were a highlight of the whiskey selections. I consumed an outrageous quantity of Luxardo cherries.

Like at the Memphis event, there was also an incredible cheese spread for when you had your fill of pork.

Bacon-topped chocolate-covered cheesecake.

This wasn't a vegetarian-friendly event.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Broad Avenue Art Walk - Stuffed Food Truck

The Broad Avenue Art Walk continues to grow each time I visit. At last the Friday-before-last's event the festivities had expanded to include the loading dock area of the former Sears building across the street from the main strip of bars, art galleries and restaurants. The loading docks were packed with vendors and performing  musicians while the parking lot in front of them had several food trucks serving the crowds.

While walking past the Stuffed Food Truck I noticed barbecue and cole slaw empanadas listed on the specials board and immediately ordered one.

It was basically the classier cousin of the fried barbecue pie I tried recently at the A&R Bar-B-Q on Elvis Presley Boulevard. Having cole slaw inside the crust added a nice extra element of texture and I liked that the sauce was served on the side so that I was able to decide how much to use instead of having a large quantity of it included in the filling the way it was at A&R. It was cheap, convenient and portable comfort food; perfect for a quick snack while strolling through an outdoor festival.