Tuesday, June 26, 2012



By Doc Lawrence

STONE MOUNTAIN, GA--Each year for about a decade I’ve shared barbecue experiences with readers and listeners, often daring to whisper an occasional opinion or recommendation about the All-American food, dear and delicious smoky barbecue. Down here near Atlanta, pork reigns. It’s the meat of choice with no close second, although plenty of places do chicken and beef right.

The history of barbecue and its preparation will not be in my food, wine and spirits columns. Rather, finding the best places-restaurants, café’s, shacks, roadside tents-where you can drop in knowing that everything is prepared with a whole lotta' love is the goal. I’ll stick my neck out and say that no state really has a corner on barbecue. The style, spicing, wood, pit, sauces and preparation aren’t confined to state boundaries. However, there are pockets of cooking methods that do hearken to tradition and have been preserved by good cooks over many decades.

And, therein lies the mystery. Who are the ones that keep local traditions alive? What keeps everything original? What causes good people to come back month aftr month, year after year?

Most of all, where can we find these people and their food?

What they have in common is a commitment to quality barbecue. It’s an art form, one of the few flawless collaborations that really make people happy.

I’m on the road in the heat of summer in Dixie looking for the barbecue that stands out from the rest. The sauce that is made with love. Real Brunswick Stew. And the wines, cocktails and beers that magnify the barbecue experience.

Look for dispatches from Valdosta, Dothan, North Wilkesboro, Monteagle, Lexington, Panacea, Corinth, Spartanburg and Winchester. Plus many more places.

Looking for a worthwhile vacation featuring new places and smiling faces? The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a winner:

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