Monday, November 1, 2010

Please sir, can I have some Moe?

Fat Buddies is closed on Sunday.
Now, that threw a very large wrench in the works. Some of our new fibreglass RV friends, Ray and Cindy, live about 20 miles from our Cherokee campground so we wanted their local knowledge on where to find proper southern barbecue.
We’ve seen the TV shows where those barbecue cooks face off, each claiming the best barbecue in the U.S. Even without the benefit of smell, we knew from the visuals that this was something to try in the south.
But it wasn’t going to be at Fat Buddies in Waynesville, N.C.
So we rolled further down the highway to Asheville, N.C., heading for McDonalds’ free WiFi. Feeling obliged, we buy something to drink every time we find ourselves at the golden arches but we’re never there for the food.
We’re looking for barbecue, so while Vicki posted to the blog, Ian wandered off to solicit McDonalds eaters for a good place for barbecue.
First table he hit, he struck out. The four southern women weren’t from Asheville. One, from Texas, pointed out in a long drawl that we would have to eat pig, not said in the most complimentary tone, in this part of the country.
“In Texas, we barbecue be-ef,” she drawled.
Next table, more success.
The four men were indeed from Asheville and Ian’s question sparked a spirited discussion on where the best barbecue could be found. Then the talk turned to Sunday, and what would be open.
In this part of the country, many businesses shut down on Sunday, with some also closing up shop on Wednesday afternoon.
But at last, it was settled. Moes Original Bar B Que, just down Lodge Street, would be the one. A couple of gestures for directions plus the words “and by then you’ll be able to smell it” sent us on our way.
There was some confusion, of course, since there are many eateries in Asheville using Moe’s name, including Moe’s Southwest Grill, right next door to McDonalds. Turns out everyone seems to have an old barbecue recipe from some dead guy named Moe.
We followed the loose directions, which included a reference to “you’ll see the chimbley.”
It really is a small hole-in-the-wall kind of place, where you walk in and place your order at the front counter. Allison, the waitress working the till when we got there, was first astounded that we’d never had barbecue, and then quite willing to help the rookies.
The idea is to order a platter, which includes one kind of meat, two side orders and a hunk of melt-in-your-mouth corn bread, plus a drink. Ian opted for pulled pork, Vicki chose chicken. Then the discussion was whether the chicken should be on the bone. Vicki bowed to Allison’s superior knowledge.
The half chicken came on the bone, with side orders of slaw and cornbread dressing as Vicki had ordered. There was enough to keep her knoshing away for an hour or so.
Ian had opted for baked beans and collard greens, a new experience, with his pulled pork. Apparently he inhaled all of this because he quickly moved on to another meal, this time pork ribs with slaw and baked beans, already a favourite.
When we first sat down, a waitress hurried over to wash down our table, we thought, because there must have been children seated there earlier. By the time Ian hit those ribs, and one skittered out of his hands and down his shirt, we knew the table always looked like that after anyone ate.
This was not clean, neat eating. The fact that our food didn’t come with napkins but each table had its own roll of paper towel should have been a hint. This was drip- down-your-chin, dribble-off-your-wrists, slurp-up-barbecue-sauce kind of food.
It was wonderful.
By this time, we had become entertainment for the staff. They watched our every move, the looks of bliss on our faces, the uhms and ahs of each new taste. They were so entertained that they sent us waddling home with complimentary banana puddings for dessert.
Maybe, when we’re willing to eat again, we’ll find out they’re really good too.

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