Character’s Famous BBQ

Barbecue sauce is like a beautiful woman. If it’s too sweet, it’s bound to be hiding something.—Lyle Lovett

So we tested fate on our recent vacation to Port St. Joe, Florida…

We decided to drive through Georgia, north to south, not a short haul. Now normally, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive through Georgia, but at that time there was a gas shortage…or so we heard. But MapQuest said it would be a lot less time on the road than going through Alabama. And when my kidneys and bladder have to filter four cups of coffee and some sweet tea before 8:00 AM, the stopping time adds up. So Mrs. Big Surf said, “With all of your pee breaks, the odds are one of those gas stations will have gas.”

I was perplexed as we entered Georgia on I-75. For a state that seemingly had no gas, the folks were driving as if gas was in abundance. It does take more fuel to drive 90mph than 65mph, right? Someone seemed delusional here. Surely it wasn’t the media??

My worries would be calmed when we found Character’s Famous BBQ in Adairsville, GA.

From the time we pulled into the gravel parking lot, I knew this would be good. With BBQ joints, the less pretentious the better. It was obvious that the emphasis was on the food here. The ambiance was simple and clean but the aroma was so intoxicating.

OK so going back to the quote from above, there was nothing being hidden here, just good flavor from the sauce with a good balance of sweet and tang and a little heat. The helpings of the pork were more than enough. The sides were delicious. I had potato salad and slaw. They even served a piece of delicious pound cake with the meal.

Part of the wall art at Character’s Famous BBQ was a poster of Muhammed Ali. Of course being from Kentucky, I approved.

But alas, the stop in Georgia that gave us the most angst was in Rome, Georgia, but nothing to do with gas, of which we found plenty (however the Missus did not allow me to drive 90).

We pulled into a Krispy Kreme. From here the next few minutes are a little fuzzy. I heard the voice through the speaker say, “We are out of glazed.” I didn’t know how to respond. I had never actually heard that sentence at a Krispy Kreme in all my born days. Surely the speaker had a short, or we had driven into an alternate universe through the black hole of the unlit HOT DONUTS NOW light. Mrs BS had to throw the last cup of coffee from my half-gallon Contigo in my face to bring me out of my stupor. We ordered a dozen chocolate for the grandkids, and their parents, and Mrs. BS, then headed south, all the while Big Surf was in a state of denial over the glaze.

If you happen to find yourself driving through or past Adairsville, GA. on I-75 slow down and stop in for a wonderful meal at Character’s Famous BBQ. They got nothin’ to hide.

Blaze BBQ and Wings… Fannin’s Market

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Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start—Anthony Bourdain

I love good barbecue.

In the past few years I have associated good barbecue with going on vacation.  I would seek out the best barbecue joints on the way to the beach or wherever we were going.  Sometimes this took a lot of research and extra drive time, much to the exasperation of Mrs. Big Surf.

Now I just have to cross the bridge from West Liberty into Index, for the barbecue gods have looked down on Morgan County, KY with big messy, saucy grins.

Larry Lewis and his wife Julie have opened Blaze BBQ & Wings.  This is a small food trailer.  They will be set up at Fannin’s Market in Index..The days of operation will be Saturdays. I think the menu may vary from week to week.  This past Saturday was the opening of this new venture. There hasn’t been this much buzz about town since the Freezer Fresh reopened after the tornado. Consequently, so many folks came to Index that the food was consumed too quickly.  This was a great testament to Larry’s reputation in our small community.

We joined the line on Saturday for a later lunch, hoping the line would not be as long.  This strategy back-fired because the wings had already been eaten up.  However, those of us in line did get a sample.  Larry sent what was left of the wings out into the line for a sample. It was a good gesture on his part.  The wing I ate was soooo good.  The barbecue sauce was thick and sweet.  I can’t wait for the full order next time.

My other strategy was for my wife and I to order meals that came with two meats and two sides.  We would each get a pork portion and one of the three choices of wings and we could sample all four sides (this looks like one of those statistical probability problems I had in college). Since the wings were gone, we could not do that, so we split up the sides.  She got home fries and regular cole slaw.  I got the Cajun slaw and Nannie Mae’s baked beans.  All sides were really good, but I highly recommend the Cajun slaw. The pulled pork and pork loin was delicious and the sauce was sweet and tasty.

I am so glad Larry and Julie are starting out on this endeavor, boosting the food presence here in Morgan County.  I hope I can eat this wonderful food for many years.  My only advice for Larry and Julie is get a bigger trailer to hold more food, they will need it.

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Pulled pork, pork tenderloin, Cajun slaw, and Nannie Mae’s baked beans.

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Same meats with home fries and regular slaw.

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Larry Lewis served up some really good food. As David Letterman use to say, “It was a good kind of tired.”


I mentioned Fannin’s Market earlier.  Sarah Fannin has owned and operated Fannin’s vegetable market in Index, Ky since 1995.  She has a large vegetable farm and sells the produce in the market, she also sells vegetables from a grower in another county.  The produce is always fresh and tasty.  And it always looks appealing, which is important for me when I look for produce.

Fannin’s Market has provided a really nice place for folks to settle in and eat or mingle in a beautiful location overlooking the farm.

I stopped growing my own veggies a few years ago.  The deer and groundhogs were better fed than me.  So I let Sarah grow my vegetables for me.  I still grow some herbs and a few banana peppers, for some reason the varmints don’t like them.

We have been fortunate to have Fannin’s Market for a number of years.  So before you get in line for some good barbecue, stock up on veggies, fruits, and melons at Fannin’s Market.

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Always great produce at Fannin’s Market.

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Nicely decorated gathering area at Fannin’s, for eating or just good conversation.

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Cozy tables overlooking the farm.