July 13, 2010

Soul Food in the South

Southern roots...that's what I have and I'm proud of them! If there is one thing being raised in the south taught me, its to appreciate good food. The south is known for its tasty cooking, food for the soul.

You'll find that in particular, we southerners seem to have a fetish for Barbeque. There are plenty of places with signs out front sporting their claims to fame for "world famous" barbeque.

Most of you know by now that my dad has a barbeque restaurant and that I eat there every chance I get. It is, in my opinion, and that of many locals, one of the best barbeque places under the sun!

What many people don't realize, because most people can't travel as extensively as our job allows us to travel, is that barbeque varies a great deal by region, and sometimes even within a region. There is "north carolina style" bbq, which my mother's family is big on being from that state. It is pulled, un-sauced, and served with a mustard based bbq sauce. Yummy stuff!

Some regions "pull" it, some slice it thick, some sauce it up, some leave it dry. There's tangy BBQ, smoky BBQ, sweet BBQ...you name it...its served somewhere. We love to try different bbq's from different regions. Its fun!

Dining on the road is a challenge at times, and we generally end up, sadly, at fast food joints. Its mainly a matter of parking that limits us to where we can go. But on occasion we spy little treasures with convenient truck parking, whether planned that way or not. Such was the case on Monday afternoon in western Mississippi.

We had just loaded and were heading west on a route we drove a few weeks ago. From our previous experience, we knew there wasn't anything out there really, except the Subway we'd stopped at the time before, parking in a grocery parking lot and hiking down the road to eat.

This time I was on the lookout for something, so we'd at least have an option maybe. As we pulled into Indianola, MS I spied a Wendy's up ahead. I'm not the biggest fan, but I just wasn't feeling like Subway. So I started looking for some place to park, and immediately located a dirt lot with two trucks parked in it across the road. As we slowly passed it, discussing whether we should turn around and go there, I saw that the trucks were parked next to this little jewel...

Hit the brakes honey! We're having BBQ for lunch!

This is Q-Balls Restaurant, in their new location at 1109 Highway 82 East in Indionola, MS. We were greeted at the door by a charming southern lady with a marvelous southern accent. They had just opened up so we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which always creates the atmosphere for visiting, as the owners/employees aren't too terribly busy just yet.
Through conversation we learned that our hostess and her husband started the restaurant in 1969, and that its still family run. We met a couple other family members, including her son who came out to say hi. I had mentioned my Dad's place near Chattanooga, and as it turned out, he remembered a recent customer who happened to be the owner of another local BBQ place in Chattanooga. Small world isn't it?

Malcolm and I both had the daily special which was a BBQ sandwich, fries, baked beans and drink for $7.50. I substituted potato salad for fries though. Their menu called it "Delta Style" BBQ. I've not had that type before, to my knowledge, but it was very yummy! Take a look at the picture below and see if you don't feel like rummaging around in your kitchen for something to nibble. Bet you won't find anything like this!
It was just the right start to a long drive through Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. I love getting to try new places, especially when they are small, locally owned, and family run. Most people drive by local establishments for the old safe familiar places when they are traveling. Can I strongly recommend that you take a chance on the little roadside, off the beaten track type eateries? I promise 9 times out of 10, you'll find real treasures! Trust me, I know! I was raised on one!
I couldn't find a web site, but I did run across their facebook page. Here's a link.
So, if you happen to be in western Mississippi, anywhere near Indianola, drive on over and give Q-Ball a try. Good food and good company found here!

We are now sitting in southern Texas, waiting our turn to get loaded up with sunflower seeds. Is there a theme this week? We loaded in Sunflower, MS on the last load, and now we're loading actual sunflower seeds?

Anyway, we're about 20 miles from Mexico, and its HOT! We're about as far south as you can go in the US without leaving the country! We'll be delivering in Minnesota on Thursday morning. I hope they get to us soon. Its been a long afternoon, and we're hungry, especially after looking at those pictures! Sure could use a glass of cold sweet tea and a BBQ! Hey, Q-Balls! Do you deliver in southern Texas by any chance?


small farm girl said...

Thanks! Now I'm hungry! Your not helping my diet. lol

Meagan said...

You just made me hungry for some good BBQ! That looks yummy! I had subway for lunch - lol.

Dreaming said...

Mmmmm, nothing finer than good BBQ! Folks can get into a heated debate about tomato vs mustard based BBQ, however!
If you want to taste some fine mustard based BBQ stop by one of Maurice's restaurants in Columbia, SC. Mmmm-mmmm good!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I love BBQ. But I just have to add green chile to mine. It's a NM thang, ya know! heheh!
That plate looks so good!
I like the small local places, too.


word verification: pigsgult

Weird, eh?

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh and just had to mention! After living in South Carolina for 7 years, I can't drink sweet tea anymore. bleh!
In SC, the question should be, "Do you want some tea with your sugar?"

I swear if I would have lived in SC any longer and drank anymore sweet tea, I would have needed to have all my sugar-rotted teeth removed.