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Buck's BBQ Bait & Tackle

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When I was invited to participate in Career Day at Lincoln Elementary, I didn’t even hesitate to say, “Yes”!  I love doing those and kids love TV production equipment!  Turn on a fancy camera, put them up on a big monitor, live, and they go bananas!  We saw the Griddy, the Floss, and the Wiggle, we saw more silly faces than we could count, and enough smiles and laughter to keep your heart warm an entire winter.  We were shown massive love, got some hugs, and had a few kids tell us we were their favorite stop.  That was a major achievement considering the fire department brought a pump truck and Talladega Superspeedway brought a racecar.  The biggest gasp came when the kids found out Brandy was actually the teacher’s mom.  That blew their little minds.  It was one of the best mornings of work I’ve had in a long time.

The second-best part of the day was getting to present with Brandy Musick, a coworker and friend who I dearly love.  She’s wicked smart and the best with clients (and children).  She’s also part of the competition cooking team, Saucy Swine BBQ.  I knew she’d be good for a barbecue adventure, and she didn’t disappoint.  Neither did the area we were in.  A quick Google Maps search yielded a few different results, the most tantalizing of which was Buck’s…Buck’s BBQ…Buck’s BBQ Bait & Tackle!  I had to go and Brandy was totally down with it.

Rolling up, this place is totally wild.  The original restaurant, or maybe it’s the bait shop, or maybe it used to be somebody’s home, is built on an old barge.  It’s not the giant barges that float coal down the river, but the oddity is easily missed if you’re not paying attention.  Service is actually out of a food trailer parked at the far end of the barge.  Perhaps it was an upgrade or maybe they take the show on the road for the weekends.  Beyond the trailer was a giant smoker with the pitmaster and a couple other dudes sitting around.  I have to tell ya, if I could make a living sitting on the shoreline watching smoke roll and smelling hogs cooking, that would be alright.

If you’re gonna eat on site, seating is at wooden picnic tables on a covered patio.  It’s comfortable with ceiling fans and a TV hanging on the wall.  The entire complex sits on a quiet road and is a bit perplexing.  The dining area is part of a building that’s a gas station/convenience store, although I couldn’t tell if it was actually open.  It looked in good enough condition, but I saw hardly any traffic.  Other than Brandy and myself, there was very little commotion.  That was OK with me and certainly was no indication of the quality of the food.

I went with my usual order of a pork plate with baked beans, opting to pair them with cole slaw.  Brandy chose a pulled pork sandwich (with extra sauce) and onion rings, which she was kind enough to share.  Being a competition cooker, she understood my need to take pictures, but once that was done, we were past ready to dig in.

Visually the pork had a nice, pink ring and a good smoky flavor.  The bark was present but was thin and soft.  There was a good bit of fat in my serving, which I would normally pull of if making it myself.  For me, it’s not always the most pleasant to look at but fat imparts flavor.  If you love the fat being left on, this place is for you.  Otherwise it’s in big enough pieces it can easily be removed.  It was served with a red sauce on top that had just enough spice yet provided a kick at the end.  It’s a thicker sauce and clings to the meat.  That benefited Brandy as even with extra sauce her sandwich didn’t turn soggy.

The sides were good.  The baked beans were bold but didn’t deliver anything unusual.  The onion rings were battered, deep fried, and crunchy on the outside while soft inside.  The onion flavor was there and they were a delicious bite.  My favorite of the day was the slaw.  The cabbage was shredded and the carrots were cut into thin strips.  It was mixed in a mayo base, balanced with some vinegar and pickle juice.  It had relish and probably some finely chopped onion as an element to give it a little bite.  Every bite was creamy, crunchy, and cool.

I’m a country boy at heart.  Give me the outdoors, the friendliness of a small community, and simple pleasures.  It’s how I make my best connections and how I find peace amongst all the rowdiness life rushes me with.  It’s also a bit nostalgic and I love the thought of Buck’s BBQ Bait & Tackle simply existing.  This place personifies barbecue adventure and that’s just fun.

Bonus points:

Order at counter

Coke products

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