I’m back, after 4300 miles and almost three weeks on the road. A big part of exploring any place is the food, and I had four or five good barbecue meals on my Southern swing. Because what’s the South without barbecue? (Okay fine, there’s also the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, the birth of the blues and country music. Details.)
But I have a confession: I don’t love barbecue. Feel free to fling sauce-smeared-ribs at me in disgust.
I mean, I like barbecue, and I respect it as a Southern tradition, but if some sort of meat apocalypse happened and pork or brisket were no longer an option, I wouldn’t be upset. My life would go on, and I’d be happy with my lentil soup and facon-and-egg sandwiches. (Which probably explains why I was a vegetarian for ten years.)
The best barbecue I had was at Jack’s Bar-B-Que in Nashville. (I ate at the Trinity Lane location.) Lean meat, excellent sauces, and delicious sides. (Or “vegetables,” which conveniently include my favorite not-a-vegetable, mac ‘n cheese.)
But I wonder. Was the replica of the pig supposed to make me hungry? Because it didn’t. It made me sad. So sad that I had to tell myself that cute little pig never made it to the plate, that he lived a long, happy life running free in the sunshine with all his little pig friends.
And then I went inside and devoured a heap of barbecue, smacking my lips over its smoky goodness. I never said I was immune to hypocrisy.