Friday, July 30, 2010

Fire at Tarheel Q in Davidson County, NC - Hope to ReOpen Soon

I just ate at Tarheel Q in Davidson County NC off I64 a couple of weeks ago and did a review. Today, I hate to report that the barbecue restaurant caught fire yesterday 8-29-2010. Actaully a reader was kind enough to post a note on my review article to let me know.

Fortunately, a police officer who was driving home after getting off work saw the fire and called, and the fire department responded quickly. This kept the fire contained the attic area. Photos in the local paper show some damage to the back upper part of the building.

Tarheel Q is one of the few wood burning BBQ joints still open in North Carolina. Due to health department regulations, having fire pits in restaurants is not allowed now. Barbecue restaurants open prior to the new rules are grandfathered in. In some cases, restaurants smoke off site and truck it in, but I certainly prefer the old style barbecue joints where you can smell the barbecue in the air.

According to published reports today, the owners hope to repair the damage and reopen as soon as possible.

Tarheel Q serves Lexington-style barbecue and is often listed as a Lexington BBQ restaurant, but it's really out on the county line and in a rural area. This means that you have a local and very authentic customer base with good support for dealing with something like a fire that puts 15 folks out of work and limits the options for good food and fellowship in the area.

I did rate the barbecue a bit on the dry side, sauce a tad sweet and buns skimpy, but I'd eat at a wood burning barbecue restaurant any day over a chain. I also think that Tarheel Q has a rocking breakfast.

My heart goes out to the owners of Tarheel Q, the employees and to the community. I do hope that the attic area can be repaired and that wood smoked barbecue lives on on the edge of the county.

It's a heck of a lot of work to do barbecue the old fashioned way, but it does make a difference. And, it's part of our North Carolina heritage.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Giveaway - Country Bob's BBQ All Purpose Sauce Contest - Ends 8-1-2010

Spice Up the End of Summer with Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce

WIN a Bottle of Country Bob's and See for Yourself

I just got a chance to try out a sample of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce, and Al said that he'd be glad to sponsor a contest for two Barbecue Master readers to win a bottle each and see why I'm excited about this yummy sauce.

The first thing I did with Country Bob's sauce was grill up some pork chops, and they were sure good. Then, since Country Bob's is an all purpose sauce, I tried it on some French fries, fish sticks (long story), eggs, and even potato chips. Yum!

Really, you can use Country Bob's sauce as a condiment like ketchup, but it sure is yummier than ketchup. I'd love to just pass you the bottle, so you could see for yourself. But, since we have not reached that point in the virtual world, then two readers can have that chance to give this a try with an easy giveaway contest.

How to Enter to Win Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce

I like to keep my contests real simple and also try to make sure anyone who wants to enter can do so. I do not collect any information on folks who enter other than to get in touch to get a snail mail, so the company can send the prizes.

To enter, just leave a comment here on the blog and tell me what you like to dip. Now, keep it clean of course. This is a rated G space (-:

And, give me some way to get in contact. Otherwise, it's sure hard to send sauce.

If you have a blog link, that's great, or you can leave an email or a twitter account name. You can also comment and send me an email with contact info to write on your entry slip if you're not comfortable sharing info in public. My email is cyndiallison (at) so that's an option if you're shy about your info.

Want to Up Your Odds with Extra Entries?

I know some readers enjoy having extra ways to enter contests, so once you post a comment, then I will add extra entry slips for any (or all) of the following:

1. You can follow me on Twitter where I go by cyndiallison if you like to chat about barbecue and family stuff. And, yes, if you already follow me, please just add the note in your comment. I will be glad to count that as well.

2. Copy and tweet: Win @CountryBobs sauce w @cyndiallison giveaway

3. Sign up to the right for the Barbecue Master post email. That is a Google application, so I do not see the signs up, so that one is on the honor system, and I know grill folks are honorable.

4. Share the contest with a friend. When they post about a favorite food to dip, have them mention your name. If your buddy forgets to do so, then just add a post saying you sent them over. Sometimes friends forget. And, yes, you can do more than one "share with a friend" entry.

Note - On the extra entries, be sure to post in the comments so that I make sure to get your extra slips in the hat.

Drum Roll . . . And the Winner Will Be . . .

I write down all the entries and any extras and then have my Mom draw the names. She is low tech and does not play online, so she does not know the entrants. Plus, she is honest as the day is long.

We'll do the draw on August 1, 2010. So, two lucky readers can wind up the summer on a great note with a free bottle of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce.

*Due to shipping costs, I can only take U.S. entries. Or, you could enter and gift your bottle to a U.S. buddy. I sure wish postal was global like the Internet. Maybe some day . . .


I have the winners for the Country Bobs sauce.

The first winner is Gary of Cooking Outdoors. He just happens to be an outdoor cooking blogger, and he has a terrific blog. Be sure to check him out.

The second winner is Uncovering Food. She's a city girl with a passion for food and a lot of other stuff. She's a teacher (like me), and she covers a wide range of food topics. Check her out. She's got some neat stuff up as well.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Country Bob's Barbecue Sauce Review - Yum Yehaw!

Country Bob's All Purpose and Barbecue Sauce

Country Bob (AKA Bob Edson) sent me some of his barbecue sauce which is actually an all purpose sauce but sure yummy used on grilled foods. I'd been hearing about his sauce for quite a while. I can't even remember who first mentioned it, but I was following Country Bob on Twitter and at Facebook and hoping to win one the contests he puts on pretty often. They are friendly and actually do interact with folks online - unlike many companies.

The Country Bob sauce came in, and the boys were off and gone. I was still eating some leftovers (with a couple of grilling for weeks under my belt), but last night I couldn't resist any longer. That sauce was sitting there on the kitchen window seal just calling my name.

I do like to first test new sauces on grilled chicken breasts or pork chops, because the meats are mild, and I can really get a good taste of the barbecue sauce. I will taste sauces cold, but I always grill with them before I post, because you really don't know for sure on a barbecue sauce unless you grill something and see how the sauce works on grilled foods.

Grilled Pork Chops with Country Bob's BBQ Sauce

I had a hard time deciding between grilled boneless chicken breasts and grilled pork chops, so I went on down to the IGA grocery store and figured I'd decide there. The chops were on sale and looked good, so that sealed the deal.

It was close 100 degrees here yesterday. Boy, we have had one heck of a hot summer in North Carolina. Grilling means I do not have to heat up the kitchen which is great, but it can sure get hot out there doing the grilling. So, I went with the Char-Broil Patio Bistro. That's a cute little electric grill that will hit high temperatures and does a nice job on my chicken and my pork chops.

I put the pork chops on and opened the Country Bob's sauce, and the smell was terrific. Really, this is one of those sauces that just makes your mouth water when you take the top off the bottle. I was hoping it would deliver on the flavor as it did with taking a good whiff.

This is a medium textured sauce. It is not as thick as Kraft BBQ sauce, but it's thicker than a NC mop sauce. Country Bob's sauce is considered "all purpose," so it pours fine for dipping at the table and it's marketed for all meats plus French fries. As a Southerner, I'd say it runs just perfect to go with eggs too, although I know other parts of the country do not eat sauces with eggs. We do in these parts.

I hit the pork chops about 5 minutes before they were ready to come off. That's a good ballpark for thick sauces like KC or Kraft. In using this sauce now, I could go closer to 10 minutes on the pork chops, since it's not super thick and sugary which can burn fast.

The proof is in the eating as far as I'm concerned. A sauce can look and smell good, but it has to taste great if I'm going to continue to use it. Country Bob's definately made the grade. It tasted just like it smelled and had a nice little heat twang but not enough to freak out folks who can't handle hot foods. I really love sauces that hit that heat note but still work for my younger son or visitors who may not share my passion for hot foods.

I have to put Country Bob's on my top pick list. It's great on grilled foods but can also be used as a condiment kind of like ketchup but much tastier. I'm not much of a ketchup fan, but this flavor with tomato, probably a nip of vinegar, and a touch of heat just works really well. I can see why they call it an all purpose sauce. It's just really yummy even on potato chips. Oh no! Did I just confess to that. Yep. If you are out of dip for the Ruffles, then this is really good on the chips too.

*I'll be working up a Country Bob's giveaway when I'm not about ready to fall on my face. They said they'd love for one of my readers to get to try out the sauce too. It's late here (-: But, check back or follow me on Blogger or sign up for the email notifications to the right. That is through Google I think, and I don't collect your information, unless I need to get an address so a company can send a prize.

Country Bob's Contest is Up and Running - Drawing on August 1, 2010

Grate Chef Steam Cleaning Grill Grate Brush Review

Grate Chef Steam Cleaning Grill Cleaning Brush

I've looked for a great grill cleaning brush for years and have owned a number of them. They all seem to miss the mark other than Grill Floss which is the one I use on my charcoal grills typically. And, now here is the Grate Chef grilling brush which I've found to work great.

The Grate Chef company sent me their steam cleaning brush to see what I think of it. I get samples from time to time as noted under my reviews section. The companies just take a chance (when I have time to do testing), because I'm the Southern honest type and will sure say if I think something is not worth buying or the price.

First, I liked the looks of the Grill Grate steam cleaning brush and that it felt good and sturdy. I think it is made of some kind of high tech plastic, but it is sure not flimsy.

The above photo with my Portable Kitchen outdoor cooker (PK grill) will give you a better idea of the size. I wish I could let folks hold it too. It is solid but not heavy. Plus, the balance on the grill brush is really good.

The way the Grill Grate cleaner works is that you just lift up the little rubber tab above which is at the top of the brush and fill it with tap water.

Then you press the rubber button neat the middle of the grill brush which lets out a little water, and the heat from the grill makes steam. I had trouble getting a photo while pressing the button and cleaning the grill all at once, but it does make a sizzle sound and puts out quite a bit of steam.

I've used the Grate Chef grill brush for about six months now but mostly my grills are kept pretty clean. It's kind of bad to be known as Grill Girl and someone come over and the grills be all dirty looking.

I did a quick barbecue meal last week and forgot to clean up the grates. The rain came in. I was full of great food. I was home alone. I clicked on the TV, and there went the evening. I'm sure others know how that goes.

In any case, I had a rather icky barbecue covered grill grate yesterday when I decided to grill some barbecue pork chops.

I just filled up the Grate Chef grill cleaning brush and steamed across the grates a couple of times, and the grate looked like new. It's a small grill, and it took less than a minute to have it ready for the pork chops.

My Mom was asking about a grill cleaning brush, and I told her that I'd pick one up. Grate Chef is the one I picked. She has the Char-Broil Big Red which has a self cleaning option. But, there can be a little char left on the grates. I gave her the easiest gas grill I know of and now also a super easy grill brush that works great. She never grilled, because my Dad always did that before he died (and taught me). I want Mom to have fun grilling, so I am careful on getting her good grill gear that is simple to use. You know you are not giving your Momma something that you don't believe in.

And More Great News

I would also note that the steam cleaning Grate Chef grill brush only runs around $10. I've sure paid much more for grill brushes that did not perform near as well.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bob Evans Wildfire Barbecue Sauce Review from the Barbecue Master

Bob Evans Wildfire Taste of the Farm Barbecue Sauce

The Bob Evans company got in touch to see if I'd like to try out their new Taste of the Farm Wildfire barbecue sauce. I check out bbq sauces often - from the grocery store, from vacation trips, and also order them online when I have a little extra spending money. When a company gets in contact, I just let them know that I tell my readers what I think no matter how I get ahold of sauce. Tastes vary, so it's a roll of the dice if someone sends sauce.

I am familiar with the Bob Evans company. My youngest son adores mashed potatoes. I make great homemade mashed potatoes, but that takes quite a bit of time. I've tried out most of the quick mashed potatoes in the refrigerator section of the grocery store, and my top pick on the quick mashed potatoes would be Bob Evans. I haven't seen the new barbecue sauce at our grocery store which is in a small town, so I was looking forward to see what Bob Evans would do with sauce.

Bob Evans Wildfire BBQ Sauce on Chicken

Most times when I test a new barbecue sauce I try it on skinless chicken or on pork chops. Those meats are pretty neutral, and I get a good test of the flavor of the barbecue sauce. I never review without grilling with a bbq sauce, because cold sauce simply does not always taste the same as sauce grilled on food.

IGA had a sale on bone in chicken breasts, so that was my test grill food for the Bob Evans barbecue sauce.

The first note I would make on Bob Evans bbq sauce is that it is a thinner sauce - more like our mop sauces in North Carolina. When the sauce is cold, it is thinner than mainstream barbecue sauces like Kraft. When it's hot on the grill, it really is more in the mop range. With most store brand bbq sauces, I only sauce the last 5 minutes or so due to the sugar and thickness. This sauce could go on earlier and more often. I was offset on the charcoal (lower and slower in terms of heat due to the thickness of the chicken breasts), but Bob Evans did work like mop.

To get Bob Evans on thicker, then I'd go with skin on (something to stick to) chicken breasts or with pork chops (which are flat). Or, I'd look at Bob Evans as a mop sauce on a pork butt of shoulder where I'd generally use a North Carolina vinegar based barbecue sauce.

As far as the flavor on Bob Evans, the taste is nice. It gave a bit of extra umph to the chicken, but I'd say that Wildfire is not a good description of the barbecue sauce. In my mind, that would suggest a spicy or zippy barbecue sauce. This barbecue sauce is, in fact, quite mild. I noted this on the chicken test and also tried some barbecue sauce on a spoon just to double check. I did not find the fire in Bob Evans barbecue sauce.

For grilling, I would consider Bob Evans a mop barbecue sauce and a mild sauce that it would work for general crowds. I can't imagine anyone would find it hot at all. The flavor is pleasant though, so it would not be a problem with a mixed group of flavor lovers. I'd also mop it on often while grilling the next time and would also have some on the table, since it is a thinner sauce than typical for store brand barbecue sauces.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grilled Turkey Balls with HoneySuckle Ground Turkey and Turkey Bacon

Barbecue Master Goes High Tech with HoneySuckle White Turkey

Food Buzz (a web site for food bloggers) let members know that HoneySuckle White Turkey company would provide a Flip video camera and turkey products so bloggers who wanted to make the video leap could give it a try. That sounded like a lot of fun, so I sent in my application, and I was selected for the turkey grilling team.

This is my first grilling video, and I definately could have used a production team on a 100 degree day in North Carolina and with a phone call from my Mom on vacation right when the turkey balls needed to go on the grill. In any case, you will get the idea (and hopefully overlook my one handed grilling near the end and that turkey ball that plopped on me).

HoneySuckle White Turkey Balls Do Rock

One thing I can say for sure is that Turkey Balls are a fabulous appetizer grilled low and slow on charcoal, gas or electric grills. Bacon Wrapped Turkey Balls can also be done in a barbecue smoker. So, this is a recipe that anyone can grill or smoke at home, and it's easy to do too. Just put them on and check back a couple of times.

Turkey Bacon Wrapped Turkey Balls Recipe


1 pound HoneySuckle White ground turkey (85/15)
6 slices HoneySuckle White Smoked turkey bacon (cut in half slices)
¾ cup marinade like oil based Italian dressing
1 cup barbecue sauce (cranberry flavored bbq sauces are especially good)


1. Set up a grill to offset cook. With charcoal, you want coals on one side only. For gas, heat only one side of the grill. With electric, a low temperature works fine.
2. Soak toothpicks for 20 minutes before putting together turkey balls.
3. Roll ground turkey into 12 golf ball sized balls.
4. Wrap a half slice of turkey bacon around each turkey meatball and secure through the center with a toothpick.
5. Pour marinade over turkey balls.
6. Spray a grill wok with non-stick cooking spray.
7. Place bacon wrapped turkey balls in the wok and place on the cooler side of the offset grill.
8. Adjust heat to low or around 350 degrees F.
9. Grill with the lid closed for around 45 minutes or until turkey balls are 165 degrees F in the center.
10. Dip each turkey ball in barbecue sauce and place back in wok. Close grill lid and heat until barbecue sauce sets.
11. Place on platter or in bowl and serve.

Here is what the HoneySuckle White Turkey Balls look like when they are done. And, yes, they do taste as great as they look!

Thanks to Food Buzz and HoneySuckle White for the chance to work on this project.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grilling for One? Yes - Absolutely - No Need to Suffer Right?

My family deserted me )-: Naw. Not really. But, Mom and Harry are off on a trip to Wyoming, my older son is working two hours away in a college town, and the youngest was home a day and a half and then went off to Boy Scout camp as a counselor.

No. I did not put away the grills. It's in my blood, but also I know that grilling is a healthy way to cook. Most of the fat cooks off, and I do not char my grilled food (except on rare occasions when I am very distracted).

It may seem like a lot of work to grill for one, but it really is no harder than cooking inside for one if you think about it and plan. And, it is worth it too, since you have a good meal and leftovers.

Above you see the smoked ribs I had tonight. I did them on the Traeger for around an hour. That was really easy. I just turned on the pellet grill and turned the ribs once plus sauced them with Stubbs barbecue sauce about 15 minutes before I pulled them off.

These are not traditional ribs. They are called country style ribs around here and cook faster than rib racks. They are an odd cut below the ribs and some have bones and some do not. They are lean and taste a lot like pork chops and are meaty and can be eaten with a fork and knife or with your fingers like ribs.

With a salad and roll, this was a great grilled meal for one, and I have a smoked rib left for lunch tomorrow which will be great with some garden tomatoes and cumcumbers.

The night before last I grilled chicken and potatoes. I had a new bottle of Bob Evans Wildfire barbecue sauce and wanted to give that a try. I put on a couple of large chicken breasts on sale at the IGA and made the Garlic Greek Grilled Potatoes that I mentioned earlier on the blog. Those are really yummy.

Earlier in the week, I had grilled meatballs and potatoes rubbed with olive oil and sprinkled with seasonings. I just put them on an offset charcaol grill (charcoals to one end) in the grill wok and had my main dishes ready in 45 minutes while I puttered around doing stuff in the house.

Either of my boys could polish off this many grilled meatballs and potatoes, but my metabolism is not at teen speed now. I ate around half of my grilled meal and had a nice lunch the next day with what I didn't eat the night prior.

If you wonder why I'd grill when home alone, then this warm up dinner tells the tale. I had a hankering for lasagna and bought a microwave meal. It wasn't as bad as it looks, but it sure wasn't a grilled meal.

Yes. The lasagna in the microwave was quicker, but it sure wasn't great. It did not fill me up, and there sure were not any leftovers.

After that heat-and-eat meal, I fired up the grills again. I may be home alone, but I do not have to eat yucky food. I've been going with old favorites on the grill (and working around a bag of potatoes that are going begging with the boys gone). The grill recipes I'm using are low impact (just put them on and check now and then), and I am grilling or smoking with an eye on enough to make two meals - dinner and then lunch or a dinner the next day.

For even quicker meals, I'm also firing up the Char-Broil Patio Bistro. That is an electric model where I can grill burgers, hot dogs, or grilled boneless chicken breasts faster than I could get to town and back with carry out.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Great Grill Gear Set to Gift or for a Splurge for the Barbecue Chef

Jake got in touch about RedEnvelope Grilling Gifts. I had visited the site and remembered that they had some really cool looking barbecue items.

Jake offered to send out something from the grilling collection. I asked if he'd read my blog (he had) and noted that I'll check out products and sites, but I call it the way I see it. That does not always go over well, but grilling is my hobby, and my blog is designed to help other home grillers get the best gear and products, find other good online sites and to share recipes for the grill. Jake was confident in his company and was willing to roll the dice.

The personalized grilling tool set came in on a day when I was on the couch watching junk TV, because I've had an awful sinus infection.

I opened up the box and was like "wow." I'd never had a grill tool set on my wish list, because I have various barbecue tools in a box on the enclosed porch. My grill tools are fine but certainly not fancy. Jeans are great so why worry about a party dress - right?

I wasn't up for grilling, but I sat and watched TV with the grill set. OK. You can laugh. It is really so pretty that it made me smile when I looked at the set. It looks nice on RedEnvelope, but photos do not do this grill set justice.

The grill tool set comes in the sturdy slimline toolbox you see at the top of the post and has my initials on the front - CYA. You can laugh again. I don't think those letters meant anything when I was born, but folks get a kick out of them now.

Inside are all the key tools that you need to grill. That includes a generous spatula (wide enough for even fish), tongs (that are easy to use), barbecue fork, brush, and four skewers. They are personalized in various ways with my name and initials plus "master of the grill."

Here is a close up of one of the pieces engraved. The work is excellent and looks great.

"Pretty is as pretty does," as they say in the South. This grill set is wonderful eye candy, but do the pieces work and handle well?

I must confess that I was tempted to keep this pretty barbecue set put away for special times. This is genetic or maybe just a trait handed down. The women in the family will keep back pretty towels or nightgowns and so on. I've tried not to do that, because it is sad when a family member passes and there are pretty things tucked away that were never used and enjoyed.

I took a deep breath and put these grill tools to the test, and they passed with flying colors. They are well designed and balanced and all work well. The only thing I might change would be that I'd probably go with silicone on the basting brush versus bristles, but the bristles on the basting brush do seem "right" for a classic looking set like this one.

If you are looking for a special gift for someone who loves to grill, then you can't go wrong with this grill tool set. It really is stunning to look at but also is made well so that it can actually be used and turn heads including your own. So, sometimes a party dress is in order even if you did not think about it until you saw it in the showcase window.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Tarheel Q on Highway 64 near Lexington, NC

Tarheel Q is listed as a Lexington, NC barbecue joint, but it is out in the country and not in Lexington. Tarheel Q is on the Davidson County line right before moving into Davie county. It's close to a kayak entry area on the Yadkin River.

Here is the address information for anyone wanting to Google exact directions:

6835 West Old US Highway 64
Lexington, NC 27295
(336) 787-4550

Tarheel Q is popular with the locals, so you may have to ask for a menu. They do have some, but we got about 30 seconds to look at the menus before the server walked up to the table and stood there waiting. We wanted North Carolina chopped pork, so we just ordered the special clipped to the menu which was a chopped bbq sandwich with fries and a drink for $5.

The service actually is very good at the Tarheel Q. The young boys who cleared the table so we could sit down were about middle school age and very sweet. The girls with the water and tea were friendly, and the counter crew was good as well.

We, unfortunately, appeared to get the only poor server in the joint. She did not ask if we wanted hush puppies or dessert and never checked the table other than to take the order and to drop off the bill. I did flag her down to order a side of hush puppies, and she said, "OK." I wasn't sure if we'd get any or not, but we did.

Maybe our server just broke up with her boyfriend or something, but I sure wish we had been sitting in another section.

I'd read about the large portions at Tarheel Q, but I did not find that to be the case. As you can see in the photo, the sandwich was tiny. And, it was closer to the camera than my hand, so this is a generous shot of the barbcue sandwich.

In addition, I don't know where they found such thin hamburger rolls. Again, the photo is generous. These were super skimpy buns.

Granted, the prices are low. But, I'd rather pay more and get a decent sized barbecue sandwich and a bun that is not so thin that it is soggy when it gets to the table.

I'd suggest going with the barbecue tray with white or red slaw and just using a fork versus getting a sandwich.

As far as the barbecue meat which is THE THING, this is wood smoked barbecue on a pit in the back. It is slow smoked, and the air around Tarheel Q smells fabulous. I say "hats off" to anyone still doing pork barbecue with wood. It does make a difference, and the barbecue meat was nice and smokey.

North Carolina barbecue is more art than science, and the quality varies at all barbecue joints from day to day. Tarheel Q leans to the dry side from slight over smoking on some days. That can happen at any barbecue restaurant, but I've seen that noted by other reviewers and had already made notes of my own that this barbecue place can run dry.

The barbecue sauce is usually the second thing most people consider when talking NC que. Tarheel Q has a western or Lexington style sauce. It is sweeter than average and lower on the heat, so there is less of the vinegar flavor. That will appeal to some and not to others. I like mine with more heat, but the sauce was good.

The sides are just that - sides. Since so much time is spent on the barbecue meat, it is common for barbecue joints to have heat and eat sides. That's the case here. Everything appeared to be frozen and deep fat fried. The hush puppies had a good flavor but were a tad rubbery. The French fries were hot, and they were not greasy, so it's clear they clean out the fryer and keep the oil fresh.

The size on the sides appears to be pretty good, but that's mostly because the paper trays are really small. They heap the fries and hush puppies up high, and they literally fall out onto the wrap paper when you open up the sides. We had plenty, but I'd call the amount average to below for a barbecue restaurant.

The server did not ask about dessert, but we would not have ordered. The next table over did. The pie looked like frozen thawed out or maybe the grocery store variety in the alunimum tins. The colors were bright like on the sweet potato pie which was very orange.

If you want to experience local culture and eat with and like the locals, then Tarheel Q is definately authentic. It is not a tourist trap like some of the barbecue places around the state. And, the regulars will tell you that it is the best barbecue in the state.

The barbecue meat and sauce are good, although they would not rank as favorites for me. The main issue would be the meat being a bit dry, although it is sauced in the kitchen with more sauce provided at the table. You really can't hide dry pork with sauce, although some folks wouldn't notice the difference. Than again, many people don't seem to notice a difference between wood smoked and electric.

I'd be more likely to recommend Tarheel Q for breakfast and the pork tenderloin biscuits or basic breakfast plates with eggs and meat.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Fire Up the Grill for the 4th of July with Ideas from the Barbecue Master

The 4th of July may (or may not be) the hottest day of the year when it comes to temperatures, but it is the hottest day when it comes to barbecue in the United States. More people grill on the 4th than any other day of the year.

So, YES, the 4th of July is one of my very favorite holidays - and for many reasons.

If you're cooking for a family or friend crowd, then I say - KEEP IT SIMPLE. There are 363 other days of the year to try out brand new grill recipes. For the 4th of July, it is nice to toss on a sure thing and relax and enjoy the day.

Some of our Family Favorites Grill Recipes for Independence Day are:

Hamburgers - It is hard to beat a juicy hand patted burger with cheese melting down the sides. Check out these tips so that your grilled burgers will be full of flavor and not like hockey pucks.

Brats - Sausages (and that includes hot dogs) are economical, and they really are basically heat and eat. If you want really great brats, then try out this recipe where you simmer the brats worth in beer and butter before rolling them on the grill.

Boneless Chicken Breasts - If you get boneless breasts, you have a super easy grill day, and they are quick.

Steak - It's a holiday. If you want to splurge, then fire up the grill and toss on the steaks. But, be sure you get it right. You don't want to wreck expensive steaks especially with friends and family over.

On the Side - 4th Of July Favorites Side Dish Recipes

One option is to keep it all outside and do the sides on the grill too. If you have a lot of food going, it is nice to have a second grill for sides, but it is possible to juggle the meat and the sides on the grill - especially for smaller groups.

Corn on the Cob - It's hard to beat corn on the cob on the grill, and it's easy to do. You need more space with whole corn ears, but they sure do taste great on the barbecue grill.

Greek Potatoes - This is a new recipe for us. I made Greek potatoes in the oven and decided to try doing them on the grill. Whew. They blew us away with the smoke flavor. These do take longer to make though, so get started early.

Hash Browns - This is not a healthy recipe, but it sure is good. The boys call these Butter Tators. A big pan will feed a lot of folks, and we always have an empty pan at the end.

Make Ahead Sides are a Good Idea Too

For holidays, it's nice to have some of the work done ahead. Here are some of our best make ahead dishes that are great at barbeques.

Favorite Potato Salad - This is my favorite potato salad. It is not as heavy on mayonnaise as most. One of the church ladies gave me this recipe, and it is really good.

Traditional Potato Salad - If you want potato salad like Grandma made, then this is the recipe my Grandma did make.

Baked Beans - These are classic. What is a cook out without baked beans. This recipe has hamburger for even better tasting beans for the 4th.

Black Eyed Pea Salad (or Texas Caviar) - This cold dish hits the spot and works well with most any grilled meat.

Desserts for the 4th of July

When it's time to celebrate, it's time to have a dessert too. These are some of our favorites for barbecue cook outs.

Grilled Pineapple - If you're keeping it all outside, then it is hard to beat pineapple on the grill to finish off the meal. This is an easy recipe too.

Banana Pudding - You have not tasted banana pudding until you have made it really from scratch. This is another of my Grandma's recipes, and it is the only banana pudding that I eat.

Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake - I kept getting requests for this super easy but fabulous dessert, so I put it up online. This is one of my most popular dishes.

Key Lime Pie - Another easy dessert recipe. This citrus flavored pie is really nice on a hot 4th of July day.