Smoked meat has been a Southern favorite since people a couple of hundred years ago or so figured out that slow-cooking the lesser cuts of meats over indirect heat would make them tender and tasty.
Add a little sauce -- whether tomato or vinegar based, hot or sweet -- if you care, and a whole new taste sensation is created.
People around here understand that throwing a hamburger patty or a dog on a grill is called grilling. It's not barbecue. Barbecue takes time. And smoke.
We are a little more open-minded when it comes to what can be barbecued, as opposed to say in Texas where only a brisket qualifies. Whether the meat is pork, beef, chicken, sausage or turkey is a matter of preference.
How it is served also can vary as some like the meat on a bun and some like it served with a slice of bread, some beans and slaw on the side. The bread is there, by the way, to sop up the juice, extra sauce both on the plate and your fingers.
The sauce, if needed, is most always served on the side. Sweet tea is the preferred drink of choice, but something out of a tap works also.
At Rick Buff's Hog Heaven in Rossville, folks seem to like their 'cue on a potato. A really big spud.
"We use the No. 50 count potato," Buff said. "It's the biggest you can get."
Buff said he sells between 30 and 35 of the stuffed spuds a day and more on a Friday. He sells an equal number of the barbecue cheese fries.
"We crinkle cut the fries, then add sauce, cheese and then pork, and sour cream if you want it. One person can't hardly eat it. It's a meal and for the price -- $5 -- it's hard to beat."
Contact staff writer Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfree press.com or at 423-757-6354.