Saturday, June 01, 2013

Smoke House BBQ - Florence, MS

Three hours after racing. Facing a three hour drive. Road-side diner just south of Jackson, MS: Smoke House BBQ. Parking lot full. Next to a gas station. Burning cartoon pig on the side. And a plaster recreation of the Ten Commandment looming ominously outside the front door. Greeting hungry BBQ fanatics with their somehow-appropriate slogan: It ain't no sin to get sauce on your chin. How could I pass THAT up?

Clearly a local haunt.Homestyle decor. Fake plants. Ceiling fans slowly turning in the rising Mississippi heat. One late middle-aged woman working the "counter." Another dashing back and forth in the kitchen. And Ms Nancy, the well-past-middle-aged server. All of them quite pleasant and quite southern. Wide smiles. Hint of a drawl. Nodding while they talk. And incredibly happy to help or make you feel at home. The restaurant itself more than half full. Mostly families with kids younger than mine. Across from me, a group of indeterminate aged local men. Bigger than me. Probably younger than me. And very hungry. They order seconds after sitting and it wouldn't be a surprise if Ms Nancy knew their preferences by heart.

I ordered the brisket  plate. Mixed review there. The meat was okay. Nice smokey flavor. Nice sized serving. Tender. But I prefer my sauce ON the meat. Smokehouse BBQ prefers self-service. Three different sauces featured at the table. Smokey. Hot. And "Sumpin" sauce. I liked smokey. Couldn't decipher the original of "Sumpin." The sides were disappointing. "Texas Toast," was (as best I could tell) toasted white bread. The greens were completely unseasoned. And the mac n cheese (which I ordered after Ms Nancy said it was home made) was straight out of a Sam's box. Barely tasting of cheese. Over-cooked to boot.

For a road trip, it was good eating. If I wasn't enormously picky, it was good eating. Great service, though. And that goes a long way these days.
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