Re: smoke and beer or beer and a smokeActually, I've been back home (that is, here in America) for the last couple of months, doing the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas thing with my family (that's been GREAT -- I miss my family ALL the time, and holidays are always a bit sad when I'm away from them).
During part of the trip, my husband (who's a composer) had a bunch of gigs lecturing at various universities here, many of which were in the south. As we drove, we stopped off at various places to have, of course, Real Barbecue. The consensus between my daughter and my husband was that, even after we'd tried nearly 10 different places, from big chains to one-off holes in the wall, they still thought my 'cue was the best. I was very flattered.
I know I'll probably get pilloried for saying this, but the best we found was at the chain Smokey Bones. Plus their sides were fantastic. The worst was at a little highway-side joint in Georgia. The sauce was mustard-based, which I found out I don't like. The meat was smoked over oak, which is a VERY subtle flavor, very complex, but it was dry as dust and chopped almost as finely. Still, the place smelled wonderfully of smoke and the atmosphere was VERY authentic -- reminded me of a crab joint on the Chesapeake (big folding formica-topped tables with plastic tablecloths, cheap wood panelling, prints of hunters on the walls, lineoleum floor -- you know the kind of place).
Life is full of adventures....
Happy New Year, y'all!