From the Office and Backyard to the Road, Boat, or Plane–Backstories and
Side Stories While on Assignment. Updates on Personal Projects, Too.

Archive for April, 2009

River Road, P.M. King’s Gro.

Down on Wadmalaw Island where the road splits to go either to Rockville or Cherry Point, Simon Black had the BBQ drum cooker going hot with some split oak – he adds pecan or hickory wood when he has it. On the grill were a couple of nice-sized pork ribs and shoulders, a line of whole chickens.

His wife, Rachel, had finished wrapping up a dozen or so sandwiches – pimento cheese and shrimp salad – and lined them up in the cold case inside, next to the sausage links and bacon. She gets the shrimp from the boats right down the road at Cherry Point then boils, shells, chops, and makes the salad on soft bread with big gobs of shrimp. (Rachel’s great-grandfather built this island grocery, opened in the late 1940s.) By 11 or so, when the meat was smoked and ready, Simon wrote the day’s specials on a board – $10 plates of ribs with homemade slaw, baked beans and french fries or potato salad; or $8 for the BBQ chicken plate. Pulled pork sandwiches would be $5.

Cars started to pull in. A couple guys got a bag of single beers to go, two Ice House and two Ballentine. A woman with a toddler in a pink t-shirt ordered four hot dogs. And a boat captain came in for “his usual” to take out on the water – a ham and cheese sandwich, bottled water, and a pack of sweet cigars. “I’ll try the grape ones today,” he said, pointing to the boxes behind the register. By then, the first rib plates were ready…

P.M. King’s Gro.

– Sandy Lang, April 2009 (images by PFE)

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Food, Lowcountry S.C./Charleston

barbecue road trip

Just back tonight from a three-day road trip in eastern North Carolina… have some mementos. The color shot is one I took with my old Polaroid camera while the wind was making the whirligigs at Vollis Simpson’s place whir and clang into quite a racket up in the pine trees. It’s like watching an open-air kaleidoscope. I had the honor of meeting Mr. Stephen and Ms. Gerrie Grady at Grady’s Bar-B-Q and taste the most tender and delicious black-eyed peas on earth.  Peter Frank Edwards shot the 4X5 black and white Polaroid of me with the old Chevrolet we came across on Highway 264. I kept peeking in the cracked driver’s window at the soft leather bench seats, the open-spoked steering wheel that was wide as bicycle wheel. That’s the one I wished we were driving.

One more whirligig…


– Sandy Lang, April 2009

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Food, Travel

G&G cover, April 2009, Supper Clubs

The rabbit – from the ranch of a Frenchman-turned-Texan named Sebastian – was fried in just-rendered pork fat. “That’s better than any vegetable oil,” said Jesse Griffiths, who’d rounded up ingredients and was doing most of the cooking that night.  His plates of creamed kale and of fried rabbit were going fast – passed from person to person down one long table set in a Texan pecan grove.

It was a sultry evening on a four-acre urban farm in Austin, Texas where 43 people sat at mismatched chairs for a family-style dinner of eight courses in the lamplight. An old door turned over on sawhorses was the prep table, and Griffiths cooked mostly at a table-height iron grill with a bottom tray that – by consensus of several supper guests – was once a feed trough.  (“Probably was,” said Griffiths, who recalled paying $50 for it, and claims it’s the best grill he’s ever had.)  The fryer – a large cooking pot over a portable propane flame – was behind him. And the whole set-up was under the porch roof of a farm shed. He’d been cooking like that for hours, handing plates as soon as they were ready to his small crew, including his wife, Tamara, who wore an embroidered summer dress, her brown hair in pigtails. A few yards from the long table, he cooked up pan-fried red peppers as big and sweet as strawberries, home-made jalapeno sausages, and smoky Gulf shrimp wrapped in grilled allspice leaves – all of Texas ingredients.

This was a food-loving crowd, and they were eating it up…

That’s the opening couple of paragraphs of my story in the new issue of Garden & Gun. (Actually, the print version is slightly edited… check out a PDF of the G&G layout by clicking below.) The feature is about one hell of a delicious night in Austin, and other stories of new supper clubs in the South, some public and some semi-secret… including Dai Due and Supper Underground in Austin, the Four Coursemen in Athens, and Guerrilla Cuisine in Charleston. Thank you to everyone for the great interviews… would love to cook and eat with any of you, anytime.


– Sandy Lang, April 2009

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Food, In print/published

Delta SKY April 2009

A couple weeks ago I began an assignment to write a batch of articles for a summer issue of Delta Sky magazine. The in-flight magazine has just gotten a fresh re-design, and the editors sent over a copy of the April issue, thought I’d share the cover. I’ll post more on my articles soon…

– Sandy Lang, April 2009

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