Southern Lovin BBQ Tour 2016 - Hot as a Pitmaster in Georgia
After I came home from Day 1 from Southern Soul I could think of little else but the tired. These guys really shift serious amounts of BBQ, cooking ribs all day, pulling butts, slicing briskets and serving birds (this is what they call chicken). I spent most of my day prepping meat and making sides. I went home and slept like a baby until my sleeping baby wakes at 2am (that whole ‘sleeping baby’ metaphor is a bit mixed up). This makes waking up at 5:15am a little more difficult but I get up and on the purple push bike because I’m excited to meet Harrison today, amongst others.
It has been super busy on Saint Simons Island due to the 4th of July celebrations so Harrison has had a Day off on my first day at his BBQ joint. Today he is by the pit bright and early getting ready for what I know will be a busy and hot Georgia day. There's a heat wave here at the moment and about 100 degrees Fahrenheit every day! Makes being at the hot pit a bit sweatier.
Harrison and I hit it off, there is a comraderie between folk who quit their jobs and decide to cook BBQ on stick burners. We share a common love and experience of the gruelling hours and labour that exists in this way of life. We chat and talk about the love of BBQ and the difficulties and the rewards of running your own business. He is a super nice guy, more than willing to share stories and experiences.
After getting the pits ready for the day’s cook we head inside to prep for service. The doors open at 11am and we better be ready as we will be busy. This morning I make 50 gallons of bbq sauce, Brunswick Stew, prep ribs and brisket. Harrison cooks me up a whole rack of ribs for breakfast. I spend a bit of time observing and writing notes and enjoying some southern hospitality. Today I meet a young fella called Austin who use to live in St Kilda (where the wife and I spent our first 8 years in Australia) and lived in Australia for a number of years - small world.
At some point during the day my family and friends arrive and we are treated to a family style feast from Harrison, pulled pork, ribs, brisket, mac and cheese, Brunswick stew and French fries. They were blown away by his hospitality and of course, the quality of the Q.
After lunch I head outside to clean pits with Trent. Southern Soul share the same philosophy as me around cleaning the pit after every cook. It is so stinking hot here at the moment that cleaning a hot pit is a challenge but the process is interrupted by 4 Apache helicopters flying so low that you can see and wave to the pilots. Crazy. The BBQ joint is next door to an airport so often Air Force pilots whilst getting their air hours up, fly in and grab their BBQ lunch and fly off.
Around 4:30pm I decide to call it quits for the day and decide to call my wife to come pick me up as the thought of riding the purple beast back home in 100 degree heat is not something I am looking forward to. Tomorrow I’ll spend some time with front of house folk who I’ve had very little time to chat to – looking forward to it!