Bryson City Seasons — Barbecue and Bacon (Part 2)

This is from the eighth chapter from my best-selling book, Bryson City Seasons, which is the sequel to Bryson City TalesI hope that you’ll enjoy going back to Bryson City with me each week, and that if you do, you’ll be sure to invite your friends and family to join us.

BARBECUE AND BACON (PART 2)

A gentle breeze cleared the smoke and left my barbecue professor, Dr. Bacon, facing me and pointing his lecturing fork at me.

“Walt, you gotta understand that consistency is critical—a sauce that’s just a tad thinner than ketchup works best. If it’s any thicker, the sauce will hang heavy on the meat like goop. If it’s a thinner version, it’ll just slosh off before it can do any good.”

He paused just long enough for me to insert my first question.

“Harold, do you put the sauce on throughout the cooking process?”

He looked at me like I had two heads. “Why, of course not. Remember, a prize barbecue sauce always contains a bit of sweet— some kind of sugar—and if you put it on the meat too early, it’ll just burn on the outside before the inside is done. Since I slow-cook my meat, I don’t start putting the sauce on until ten to twenty minutes before it’s done.”

We heard the sounds of giggling children and Barb’s happy voice and turned to see them climbing Harold’s driveway.

“Now here’s the last secret I’ll tell you,” he said conspiratorially. “Never let the sauce do all the work for you—you gotta season the meat well before and during cooking. I use a spice rub that Mitch makes up for me. He doesn’t share his recipe with me, and I don’t share my barbecue sauce recipe with him. We figure this arrangement will preserve our friendship.”

He let out a rumbling laugh and slapped his knee—sending pellets of sauce flying off the end of the fork.

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After the meal, Harold called me into the kitchen. He looked back toward the family room to be sure no one was looking and handed me a folded piece of paper as he whispered, “Walt, here’s my recipe. You can have it, but just don’t ever let Mitch or Ray know. And for sure don’t let Paul Sale know you’ve got this. You know, they’d kill for this recipe. Let’s just keep it between us, okay?”

I took the paper and held it like a treasure. “Harold, thanks for your trust. I promise you I won’t betray it.”

“Well, after I’m gone to the hereafter, you can share it with folks. But not before, hear?”

I nodded, and we turned to walk back to the family room. Dr. Bacon slapped me on the back. “I’ve always liked you, Walt.”

Having never before this day seen any indication of evidence that would corroborate such a statement, I was appropriately, but happily, befuddled.

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Later that evening, I opened the treasured piece of paper. Written in a scrawled handwriting, barely readable, was “Basic Barbecue Sauce.” Below the heading was a list of the secret ingredients:

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 15 to 30 minutes or until sauce is dark, thick, and rich.

I vowed to myself to keep Dr. Bacon’s secret—at least as long as we both lived in Bryson City.

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As we turned off the light to go to bed, I hugged Barb.

“Did he give it to you?” Barb asked.

“What are you talking about?”

“Did Dr. Bacon give you the barbecue recipe?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Well, someone at the hospital, who will remain unnamed, gave me Mitch’s secret recipe for spices to rub into the meat before barbecuing.”

Hmm, I thought to myself. “What’s in the spices?”

“I could tell you,” Barb whispered, “but then I’d have to kill you.” She chuckled and then snuggled against me. “It was nice of him to have us over.”

“It was,” I agreed. “But why do you think he waited until Mercedith was out of town?”

“I was thinking about that,” Barb replied. “You know, I think he’s sensitive that she’s so much younger than he is. Maybe that’s part of it. Or since she’s so involved in Democrat politics here in town, and all the doctors are Republican, maybe she just didn’t want to mix.”

“Well, I’m just thankful to get to know him a bit better.”

“Me too,” Barb whispered. “Makes me feel a bit more at home here.”

I was quiet for a moment. I did feel a bit more at home here. And then I laughed out loud.

Barb rolled back toward me. “What are you laughing about?”

“I was just thinking about the fact that, with you having Mitch’s secret spice rub recipe and me having Dr. Bacon’s secret barbecue sauce recipe, we’ll just have to stay married.”

Barb laughed softly and then whispered in my ear, “Indeed ’tis an arrangement that may well keep us together.”

TO BE CONTINUED

PAST STORIES FROM BRYSON CITY TALES

  1. The Murder (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. The Arrival (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. The Hemlock Inn (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. The Grand Tour (Part 1)(Part 2)
  5. The Interview (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  6. Settling In (Part 1)(Part 2)
  7. First-Day Jitters (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Emergency (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. The Delivery (Part 1)(Part 2)
  10. The “Expert” (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. The Trial (Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Shiitake Sam (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  15. White Lies
  16. The Epiphany (Part 1)(Part 2)
  17. Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1)(Part 2)
  18. Monuments (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. My First Home Victory (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Fisher of Men (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
  22. Something Fishy (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. A Good Day at the Office
  24. An Evening to Remember
  25. Another New Doc Comes to Town
  26. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1)(Part 2)
  27. A Surprising Gift
  28. The New Year (Part 1)(Part 2)
  29. The Home Birth (Part1)(Part 2); (Part 3)
  30. The Showdown (Part1)(Part 2); (Part 3)
  31. The Initiation (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
  32. Home at Last (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2017. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.