Southern Food Road Trip: Tennessee Holodeck Replies

Memphis, TN – Yesterday and today I’m learning all about smoke and barbecue. I spent half the day yesterday with Helen Miller, the country’s only African American  barbecue pitmaster and, according to her customers, the best bar none. (I had to start a second laundry bag for the BBQ clothes!) Pics and video of that tomorrow. My Memphis BBQ education continues today with Central BBQ owner and pitmaster Craig Blondis, who is going to experiment with me smoking grass-fed beef and lamb, which is the only variety I’ll have access to in Tasmania. They don’t feed grain to their ruminants there, and so they’re leaner and we want to see how they handle long slow smoking.

Meanwhile, along the way I continue to ask folks, wherever I go, what five foods would they ask the Holodeck to summon up to help a friend from another galaxy to understand what Southern American food is. I dropped by to use the Golden Arches wifi (it’s not that I didn’t want to find a cute local coffee shop; that just wasn’t one of my options) and invited myself to sit down with a table of good old boys, one of whom declared that “anything with a lot of dough,” is Southern. Another reclaimed white Northern beans for the South by putting a hamhock in them. Here are their full replies:

Fried chicken


Turnip greens


Sweet Tea

Eddie Ferrell, Brownsville, TN

BBQ pork ribs

Frog legs

Chicken and dumplings

Fried Catfish

Blackberry cobbler “with the strips of crust on top”

Ricky Barnhart, Brownsville, TN

Black eyed peas

Turnip greens

BBQ Coon

White Northern beans with hamhocks


– Jim Warren, Brownsville, TN

Butter beans

Black eyed peas

Fried sliced potatoes cooked in bacon fat

BBQ (when stated alone, this apparently means pulled pork in this part of Tennessee)

Peach cobbler with ice cream

– Billy Roberts, Brownsville, TN

One Comment Add yours

  1. Eric Stone says:

    I’m glad to see someone reclaiming frogs legs for the South. Although my experience with BBQ coon was not anything I much care to repeat.

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