Tag Archive | south carolina

Festival of Discovery – Greenwood SC

It does not take a math genius to know that the formula Good People + Good BBQ = GOOD TIME!

At the Festival of Discovery, the focus is all about tasting the best BBQ. Cooks from the surrounding areas have come together to participate in the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sanctioned event. The goal of KCBS is to showcase BBQ and promote those who love to BBQ. Across the US, there are KCBS sanctioned events and participants can receive points for their placement in each competition. Some people only compete at the events in their local area. Others will travel hours to compete. If a team travels the KCBS circuit and enters different local competitions, they can accumulate enough points to have the opportunity to get invited to national premier events like the Jack Daniels Invitational competition.

The KCBS judges take their job seriously. They make sure that all the rules are followed to ensure a fair competition for the $20,000 in prize money. There is a 10 minute window to turn in food for each competition category. Even one second outside of the window, disqualifies the entrant team for that particular competition.

In the past, categories that were judged were hash, chicken, brisket, ribs, pulled pork, potato salad, and a category called “Anything But”. In the “Anything But” category, the submission could be anything but BBQ. For this, one team submitted New England Style clam chowder. Not what you would expect at the BBQ competition, but it goes to show that these cooks are versatile in their culinary abilities.

No gas grills allowed. These grills and smokers use wood and charcoal only. Many of the grilling teams prefer a blend of apple and hickory wood.

How does someone get to the point where they want to compete in one of these competitions? I talked to a few teams to learn more about this type of competition.

One team captain was Chip Youngblood of CD’s BBQ and More. His love of cooking dates back to the days when he was 8 years old watching his parents working at the family own business Somebody’s House in Hodges SC. I like that his team reflects his family oriented origins because his wife, children and grandchildren were all there on the team helping in any way they can. See picture below for some shots at his cooking station.

CD’s BBQ and More is one of the original 7 teams that started participated 12 years ago when the Festival of Discovery was formed. He has seen the competition grow from 7 teams to almost 80 teams in 2012. And after about 4 hours of setup, Youngblood is ready to start cooking.

This is not the only place where he competes either. He has awards from other competitions:

2009 Piedmont Blues & Hash Bash (Abbeville, SC) 1st place Hash 2010 Piedmont Blues & Hash Bash (Abbeville, SC) 2nd place Hash 2010 Piedmont Blues & Hash Bash (Abbeville, SC) 3rd place Overall team Michelob Ultra Invitational Rib Cookoff 2nd place

When it was time for food submissions and Taster’s Choice competitions, there were so many complimentary comments made by tasters. I overheard one person say, “That is the best piece of meat I ever had in my mouth.” Another person commented on the “smokiness” and “tenderness” of the meat. In my opinion, the meat had a mild flavor. The meat was tender and fell off of the bone (just the way I like it). It tasted like a balanced blended mix of seasoning and smoky flavor. But even with all the seasoning, the meat could not be considered to have spicy heat.

Overall, there were a lot of talented BBQ cooks at the Festival of Discovery and I enjoyed trying the different styles of BBQ. I will be in line the second weekend in the next July for more delicious BBQ. I will make sure to look for Chip Youngblood for a BBQ plate also. Super yummy.

http://www.festivalofdiscovery.com

http://www.kcbs.us/index.php

TW Boons – Greenwood SC

Until last October, every time I went to TW Boons , I ordered the same thing: Roadrunner with fries (see top photo). It is basically a chicken sandwich with bacon, cheese, and honey mustard sauce. I used to get the chicken fried, but once I started trying to lower my calorie intake, I ordered it blackened. I love the seasoning mixture they put on the chicken when they put it on the grill. The fries are standard with a dash of season salt. Since they can be skimpy on the salt, I ask them to add extra.
Even though I have been to TW Boons several times in the last few months, I have not ordered my standby sandwich. They installed a hot bar! I am not usually one for eating bar food. I detest Ryans / Quincy’s and many of the chain all-you-can-eat places. But TW Boons’ hot bar is so different.

1. They only put out a little bit of food at a time so the food does not get stale
2. They have REAL mashed potatoes (that are a little lumpy just like I like them) and other vegetables PLUS salad bar
3. The fried chicken is really good
4. Dessert is included!

I think that reason #4 is the best reason of all. I don’t have a picture of my dessert but try to imagine this: Fried sweet pastry with a cheesecake filling with a light dusting of cinnamon and powdered sugar.
My goal was to lower my calorie intake, but I am eating fried chicken and dessert now. Oh the irony!

Buffalo Grill part 2

I went to Buffalo Grill a second time with some people from work. This time, we got wings and appetizers.
Home run out of the park!
We ordered the lemon pepper and classic buffalo hot flavors. I think lemon pepper is my new favorite. The citrusy flavor coupled with the pepper salt seasoning was on point. Is the picture making your mouth water yet? The wings were fried enough so that the skin was crispy without being overly greasy. Their buffalo hot sauce was not too spicy for me, but I think others might find it has heat.

We also ordered fried banana peppers. Every time I looked at it, I would think calamari. The batter was light and adhered to the peppers well. These were not spicy at all. There was a slight vinegary taste which led me to believe these banana peppers were probably pickled. The flavor was good but I don’t think I could eat a whole serving of these since they are not very filling. Good thing I had some buffalo fries on the side.

This was not the most healthy meal I ever had, but it was quite tasty!

Grits and Groceries – Saylors Crossing

If you don’t know where Grits and Groceries is located, is hard for me to explain. It is in the middle of nowhere between Abbeville and Anderson South Carolina. Yes there is a sign that says Saylors Crossing, but that means nothing to me. All I know is that when I want to go to Grits and Groceries, I have to travel on a two-lane road through a small town called Due West going for some distance through a speed trap at 25 miles an hour. About 15 or 20 minutes on the other side of Due West, there is an intersection with a large chicken statute as your landmark. And this is how you know you’ve reached your destination.

So why would I make the trek into the deep country? For the praline bacon, of course. The praline bacon is delicious. It is scrumptious. It is addictive. It’s sweet, salty, crunchy, and everything you would want a vice to be.

But one cannot live on praline bacon alone. I ordered the big breakfast sandwich. It is basically a couple of eggs, bacon, and cheese on Texas toast. It is way too much food for me, but it was sufficient.

The picture in the top right corner was what my friend ordered. It was rabbit with a tomato based sauce served over grits. I don’t like grits, but I did taste the rabbit and it was good too.

If you want to go to Grits and Groceries, it is best to go in the summer time so that you can sit outside while you eat your breakfast. If you go in the winter time, there is probably going to be a 45 minute to an hour wait because this place is always crowded (and they don’t take reservations). I have talked to people that have traveled over an hour just to eat at this restaurant.

My suggestion is to order the praline bacon definitely. If you feel adventurous, try one of their gourmet specials. Pretty much everything on their menu is good, but something are AWESOME while others are just okay. Did I mention the praline bacon?

Farmer Shed – Tuesday lunch

I was on my way to Savannah and was driving through Lexington, SC at lunch time. How fortuitous for me! I decided that I needed to stop by Farmer’s Shed for lunch. I was all ready to order the cranberry pork chop, when the lady taking my order said "That is Wednesday’s menu. Today is Tuesday."

Oh.
I was in a quandary now. I did not know what I wanted to order. I finally decided to get the chicken pot pie, collards, and squash casserole. The collards were very tasty as usual. And the squash casserole was equally wonderful. However, for me, the chicken pot pie was just okay.

(1) I thought I was going to order pork chops. I was so thrown off, that it did not really matter what I ate. The enthusiasm that I had going in was gone.
(2) Even though there was a lot of good flavor in the pot pie, there was so many peas. I don’t like peas. I spend more time picking peas out of the pie than actually eating it.
Complaints aside, the crust on the pie was flakey, delicious goodness. There was a lot of meat which made this very filling. That being said, the peas are a deal breaker so I would not order again. I hate peas that much.

If I do, I will make sure of the day’s menu so I can avoid taste bud disappointment (that has to be a first world problem). All in all, this a Triple D pick that was on point. Sometimes his suggestions can be hit or miss. I am not above giving credit when credit is due. Good going Guy Fieri!