Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Searching For Barbecue

Jim Oliver’s Smokehouse

                     Sauces with a Bit of Whiskey

By Doc Lawrence

The Smokehouse Rib Dinner
MONTEAGLE, TN- For most Atlanta travelers, the most direct road to Nashville goes through the mountaintop town of historic Monteagle, home of the University of the South and Jim Oliver’s Smokehouse, one of the great centers of Southern cooking and cultural heritage. The Smokehouse also produces some very delicious barbecue sauces.

Positioned along the old Dixie Highway that begins in Chicago and extends to Miami, it has served as a clarion, spreading the gospel of taste and flavors of this part of Tennessee.

The ingredients are listed on the label and they are the usual ones except for the revelation of a least a dollop of whiskey. Which style-Tennessee whiskey or Kentucky Bourbon- you’ll never know, but I take them at their word that it’s inside the bottle.

The Smokehouse is also home to The Louvin Brothers Museum. For the uninitiated, Charlie and Ira Louvin popularized close harmony singing in country music and according to Bob Dylan, Garrison Keillor, are the singing ancestors of The Everly Brothers and Simon and Garfunkel.

The Louvin Brothers
The Smokehouse has been a regular stop for me over the past 20 years. The restaurant serves good barbecue and has live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Predictably, the sauces are produced in quantity and you can purchase them online. The flavor seems to have survived the trend to industrialized production, the bane of most of the barbecue sauces that line the retail store shelves.

It’s a testament to the authenticity of the family-owned Smokehouse that they have remained much like they were on that December day I first stopped there in the middle of a snowstorm.

The hot coffee and barbecue pork plate rejuvenated a weary traveler. To supply my cupboard at home, I purchased several bottles of barbecue sauces, a ritual I repeat regularly. They are served when family and friends come over to celebrate important holidays.

There are many handcrafted barbecue sauces and rubs that deserve recognition. I’m looking for them.

Share your discoveries with me: editors@docsnews.com

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