Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Barbecue Capitol of the World: Part II

As promised on Chowhound, the barbecue was indeed chopped fresh all day, and the rhythmic tattoo of the cleavers, the heat, and the meat, were enough to lull me back to a time when people recommended good restaurants in person.

I’ve never had barbecue like this before. There was no sauce. It just tasted like meat. Good meat. The Skylight Inn has been an advocate of “nose to tail eating" ever since their ancestors started serving the same food from a covered wagon back in 1830. Unadorned, the flavor comes solely from the smoke and the meat, which consists of the many different parts of the animal cooked together, then chopped together. This includes the cracklings, which were a delightful contrast to the otherwise moist and tender flesh.

The only decision you have to make is what container you want your meat to come in. Your options are a bun, a little cardboard boat (pictured above), or a bucket. Each comes with tart, fresh, finely grated cole slaw and a slab of cornbread so dense and hearty that it doesn’t seem leavened, though no one would call it dry.

If you like, you can sauce it yourself with the peppery vinegar that sits on each table. You may notice a wallet in the background of this photo. It was almost unnecessary, as a bun costs a mere $2.50.

The staff was extremely friendly and not at all confused as to why I had come from so far away, having received honors from such publications as People and National Geographic plus visits from a couple presidents. When I seemed interested in their food, they handed me a copy of one of their many reviews, to keep. The date on the paper said 1989.

I figure that’s around the same time that Calvin was still getting recommendations for the Casa House. It seems that, these days, people are only honest about restaurant recommendations when cloaked in the anonymity of the internet, but as long as it keeps me out of Ruby Tuesdays, I’m happy. And I think Calvin would certainly approve of this meal, regardless of how I heard about it. Not only was it authentic barbecue, but they didn’t have plates.

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Dave said...


Karen B said...

this sounds amazing. I'm so glad they use the whole animal!

jgert said...

every day this stupid blog makes me madder and madder at the cruel twist of fate that cursed me with kosher

jgert said...

every day this stupid blog makes me madder and madder at the cruel twist of fate that cursed me with kosher

Debs said...

That looks really good... and I don't even eat pork!

I do think Calvin Trillin would approve. Trillin's odes to Arthur Bryant's led me to Bryant's on a work trip to Kansas City years ago, when I was a vegetarian. Some people from our national office picked me up for lunch. "We heard you're a vegetarian," they said, "and we're flexible. Where would you like to go?" "Arthur Bryant's," I told them, "Just, uh, don't tell my office..." They were thrilled for the chance to show off Bryant's.

In general, I've also had that experience of locals offering suggestions of chains. So sad. Thank goodness for Chowhound.

Food Is Love

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