Monday Dec. 30th- Memphis BBQ Co. – Horn Lake, Mississippi

IMG_0995Waking up next to Graceland was all I needed for that bucket list item, no tour necessary, but getting to the Civil Rights Museum was  must before heading out of town. We woke up to snow- not enough to get the boys to wear pants though

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The Lorraine Motel, the location where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, has been preserved to commemorate such a great man. I had no idea the impact the setting would be until walking around the block to the front of the motel- it was silent except for the recording of Mahalia Jackson singing “Precious Lord” over a loud recording. Everything else was quiet.

It was very a very moving tribute, but I have to say, what added to the experience for us was talking with Jacqueline Smith, a protester of the sight for almost 26 years. Jacqueline was the last resident at the Lorraine Motel, evicted because they were closing it to build the memorial. Her point is very clear- it’s wrong to make money off of his death and not continue with his work. The whole area around the motel used to be affordable for the poor to live, now million dollar apartments have taken over pushing the poor out again. Jacqueline was very kind, passionate, and amazingly dedicated to be committed to this cause for so long. Her website has a lot more detail: http://fulfillthedream.net/pages/mlk.jsmith1.html

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As we were talking to her, the buses carrying the Mississippi State football team, in town for the Liberty Bowl pulled up. ( I did tweet out Brian’s awesome welcome video, did you see it? Classic Brian!)

We wanted to be able to take a drive through Jackson, Mississippi, another town I lived in during the 70’s (we moved 13 times!) but it was too far away and we had a long drive ahead, but first BBQ! The Memphis BBQ Co. owned and operated by Melissa Cookston.

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You might have seen her on BBQ Pitmasters. She’s a legend and one of the Big 3 of our roadtrip. (Big Bob Gibson, and The Shed-still to come are the others) Southern hospitality was at its finest here as we had to talk to everyone, gleaning BBQ tips where ever we could. From one of the pitmasters outside, in the snow, pulling ribs out of the smoker, to a visit from Melissa herself.

We started with pork rinds (no thanks) , and cheese fritters- so good, sitting in a honey dijon sauce.

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Then we had the ribs, smoked with pecan wood which is more subtle than the traditional hickory, so it doesn’t overpower the meat with smoke. The sauces were not too sweet and not too spicy in order to bring out the flavor in the meat. Because of this, these were Brian’s favorite so far. The platter (we shared 1) also had amazing sausage, and brisket which had great flavor and a perfect smoke ring. Since this trip is about sampling food (we cant eat all this food btw, we have this down now- order one plate, then one of their specialties to share)

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Melissa personally recommended we try to donut burger, a huge hit in the restaurant. Who knew that was a thing, but I have to say the salty and the sweet combo….an amazing bite for sure! The BBQ spaghetti was just as it sounds- spaghetti with BBQ sauce. The boys have liked sampling Mac & Cheese the whole way as well (everything comes with 2 sides!) and this one was great.  After more sauce, rub, and t-shirt purchases. We were on our way to the longest drive yet- 6 hrs. straight through Mississippi to get to Slidell, just outside of New Orleans.

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