Monday, October 21, 2013


Barbecue, Wine and Fun In South Carolina

By Steve Cannon and Doc Lawrence

“And he shook it like a chorus girl
And he shook it like a Harlem queen
He shook it like a midnight rambler,
Like you never seen.”

                     Gillian Welch- “Elvis Presley Blues”

CLEMSON, SC—The song was thumping on the satellite radio early in the morning, the end of a nice drive from Atlanta to Clemson. Tailgating on this perhaps the biggest football weekend here had me greeting FSU and Clemson fans along the way, leading to a guess that many lived in the Atlanta area.

The return to this college town, my second visit in two months, was even more opportune. The South Carolina Barbecue Trail is a designated series of restaurant stops that traces a major part of the state’s important culinary heritage. It has a magnetic pull that intensified on this tailgating football Saturday.

The South Carolina peach season is long gone but the fall leaf season just started and glimpses of emerging blazing colors of orange, garnet and gold added to the enjoyment of traveling along the byways. The picturesque towns include Anderson, a pleasant place that merits a stop for all visitors. The Palmetto state’s Barbecue Trail seems to begin here. One of the great restaurants includes Creekside Bar-be-Que in Anderson. The most visual barbecue business anywhere has to be Henry’s Hog Hauler, convincing proof that good barbecue travels well.

Creekside does barbecue old fashioned way. Kurt Wickiser learned his technique from the traditions of his great grandfather who, according to Kurt, loved to invite the whole town over to his house to eat. Treasured recipes have been passed down through the generations. Everything is slow cooked with hickory and pecan wood.

Tailgating Down South is open-ended, proudly embracing the old and the new. Barbecue is always changing, but the best still has connections to tradition. New dishes based on venerable but revised recipes emerge in the stadium parking lots during this time of the year. Thousands gather to eat and drink before kickoff this can often become a food journey like no other. Few leave hungry.

Crane Creek, the acclaimed vineyard near Young Harris, Georgia is an easy drive to Clemson and this day was made for its delightful Traminette A cross between a French American hybrid Seyval and Gewürztraminer, it’s medium bodied with zippy acidity, bright spice flavors and mouth watering minerality. Perfect for Chef Lara Lyn Carter’s tasty tailgating treasure for this day.
Chef Lara Lyn Carter

Upcountry Sweet Corn and Bacon Bruschetta
I6 slices French bread - slightly grilled
Sage butter (recipe follows)
4 ears sweet corn - kernels removed
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes - finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
16 slices bacon - cooked and crumbled
In a large skillet, melt 1 and 1/2 tbsp. of sage butter over medium-high heat. Add the corn to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cream, salt and pepper to the corn and cook for an additional 4 minutes stirring often. Spread the sage butter onto the grilled bread slices. Top the bread with a tbsp. of the corn and sprinkle with the bacon.
Sage Butter
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sage roughly chopped
1 tsp. coarse salt
Melt butter over medium heat until bubbly. Reduce heat and add sage. Allow sage and butter to simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove the butter from heat and stir in the salt. Allow the butter to cool slightly, remove the sage and pour into a small bowl.

Finish off the tailgating feast with Lecia Duke’s whiskey-filled chocolates. The Chocolate Diva’s precess is unique and helps make any Saturday gameday gathering loaded with memories of delicious food and wonderful people.

NOTE: Join Doc and barbecue enthusiasts from all over the world at the 25th annual Jack Daniel’s International Barbecue Competition in lovely Lynchburg, Tennessee this Friday and Saturday, October 25 and 26. It’s not only the most prestigious barbecue event on the planet but one of the most popular festivals that is truly family friendly. Doc will be in the judge’s tent and would love to say hello.
Steve will be at Crane Creek Vineyards this Saturday and many fans of the acclaimed winery will be present. It's a wonderful time to meet and greet. When there's a chill in the air, a glass of wine warms the body and soul.

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