The Easy Way to Clean a BBQ Grill Grate

I cleaned and painted the BBQ this weekend and replaced the burner. (Burners seem to last me about three years.)

I scrubbed the grate, but it still looked rough, so I threw it in the oven and ran the self-cleaning cycle. It came out looking terrific.

Couple things:

  • Do a basic cleaning first. During the self-cleaning cycle my freshly-scrubbed grate smoked enough to set off the fire alarm. It was no big deal – I just needed to open a few windows and turn on the exhaust vent – but a really muck-encrusted grate might catch fire.
  • Line the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil to catch all of the debris. When I removed the grate there was a shower of ash and rust flakes.
  • After the self-clean I scrubbed the grate outside with the wire brush I always use to clean it. That got rid of the leftover ash and loose rust.

P.S. This also works for cast iron cookware, steel baking sheets, and pretty much anything else made of iron or steel. I haven’t tried it with aluminum and I wouldn’t try it with any kind of non-stick coating like Teflon.

Sprayberry’s BBQ in Newnan, GA

Sprayberry's BBQ

On the way back from Florida we stopped in Newnan, Georgia for BBQ. My wife has a college friend there and had eaten at Sprayberry’s BBQ and loved it. Native son Lewis Grizzard called it “merely the best barbecue joint on earth.” With those kind of endorsements I was game.

I ordered BBQ pork and pork ribs. The BBQ pork can be had whole or pulled. I ordered it pulled. The sauce is slightly hot and very satisfying.

The pork ribs are in a sweet sauce. The flavor is great, but what’s really amazing is the texture. The meat is a little chewy. Not tough, just pleasantly textured so you know you’re eating something. The little nubs of meat on the end of the bone get very chewy to the point that you rip them off with your teeth. Great stuff. Possibly the best ribs I’ve ever had.

The sides were a little disappointing. No corn on the cob and no green vegetables. The potato salad was okay. The sweet and sour cole slaw was different, but I wouldn’t get it again.

The Brunswick stew is slow-cooked and yummy. But get the ribs. The ribs are why you should go to Sprayberry’s.


Sprayberry’s isn’t the only reason to visit Newnan. It’s an Atlanta bedroom community that wasn’t destroyed by Sherman. Much the antebellum architecture still remains and there are gorgeous houses old and new.

My wife and I are connoisseurs of little Southern downtowns. Even seeing downtown Newnan at night I could tell how nice it was and how big – it stretches for many blocks in both directions. We’re going back for a visit one of these days.

PreviouslyMexican lamb BBQ at Los Amigos in Maryville, TN

Mexican lamb BBQ at Los Amigos in Maryville, TN

Los Amigos in Maryville had a special on their board today, Mexican lamb BBQ. De-lish. It’s shredded lamb cooked with onions and served with fresh cilantro. The BBQ sauce is soup-thin, served in a bowl for dipping, and unbelievably tasty.

It was today’s special. I have no idea when they’ll serve it again, but try it if you get the chance.

Los Amigos has been in business 20 years now. Here’s hoping Hector continued success. I’d love to see him open more restaurants. If he took over Deadbeat Pete’s in Townsend that place would be a raging success.

PreviouslySugar’s Ribs BBQ in Chattanooga, TN

The Market and Ciao Deli in Maryville

I finally got around to visiting Maryville’s new gourmet food market at the corner of Washington and High Street. The market serves gourmet and local produce, baked goods, cheese, seafood, and meats.

The Laurel Creek Farm’s Meat case was especially impressive, with a variety of beef, pork, bison, lamb, and goat. The most tempting thing I saw were the bison filets. Mercy, they looked yummy, but at $40/pound I’ll be saving that for a special occasion. (And no, the price doesn’t including any sexual favors. I asked.)

Inside, the Ciao Deli serves sandwiches, sides, BBQ, and a du jour menu of hot food. The day I went I had a smoked hamburger, fresh collard greens, and cornbread. They have imported beer and microbrews for takeout or on-premise consumption at the deli. The deli hosts a monthly beer tasting social.

P.S. They’ve partially removed the second story floor to give it an open feel, but ages ago my older brother had an apartment in the upstairs of that building. The one clear memory I have of it is sitting on the steps reading a comic book featuring Spiderman and Nightcrawler. Back then the downstairs was a gas station. A Mobil, as I recall. Later the downstairs became a laundry mat.

Sugar’s Ribs BBQ in Chattanooga, TN

I had seen the sign off the interstate for Sugar’s Ribs, so on the way back from Manchester I stopped in Chattanooga to get BBQ for the family.

When I got to the counter I met the lady above. I had to ask. “Are you Sugar?” The answer: “Honey, there ain’t no Sugar. She fictional. Caucasians own this place.”

I’m usually not a fan of BBQ chicken, but Sugar’s is unusually good. They cook their chicken on a broiler that uses ceramic wicks. The brisket was also good, but the whole pork was just OK. Give me pulled pork any day.

Sauces are Classic, tomatoey Tennessee Sweet and Goopy, Mustard, a red pepper and vinegar Carolina, a habeneros and vinegar sauce they call Clearly Hot, and a hot green sauce.

The potato salad is out of this world. It has seeds that I thought might be carraway seed, but the cook says they use celery seed and dill seed. Like a lot of good BBQ joints, Sugar’s has both vinegar slaw and mayonnaise slaw. I liked their vinegar slaw better, but I always like the vinegar better.

That’s the end of the food review. Pictures follow. Sugar’s is on a hill, and hills are hard to mow. That’s why they have an all-goat mowing squad:

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Tin Roof BBQ Outside Birmingham, AL on I-65

So on the way back from the Florida panhandle we were dying for BBQ. Melissa used her Blackberry to search for Alabama BBQ joints and found Tin Roof BBQ just south of Birmingham, barely a mile off of Interstate 65.

Despite the name, Tin Roof BBQ is in a new brick shopping mall. They made the inside grungy, I guess to suit people’s expectations for a BBQ joint.

We had the pork and beef brisket. The BBQ is good. Not incredible or sublime, but good. You won’t be disappointed. Sauces are a Carolina vinegar, a Carolina mustard, and a spicy tomato BBQ. If they had a sweet, Memphis-style BBQ sauce it wasn’t on our table.

What was really impressive were the sides. They had both creamy cole slaw and vinegar cole slaw. I ordered the vinegar cole slaw, which had just enough sugar to balance out the sour flavor. Their corn on the cob is fried, which I usually hate, but I liked theirs.

The turnip greens were porky and delicious – everything you could ask for from greens. Melissa had the fried green tomatoes and liked them. Other sides are french fries, potato salad, baked sweet potatoes, fried okra, and baked beans. Good stuff.

Mapquest directions

See also:
Backroom BBQ in Knoxville, TN
My Million Dollar BBQ Ribs Idea
Maurice’s BBQ in Columbia, SC
Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ in Maryville, TN

Buy a Piece of Mothership BBQ

Jim’s looking for investors to finance his move to a new location. clickety

I have busted my ass getting this prototype where it is today. I have worked 70 to 80 hours a week for nearly a year. I am really really tired, but I am dedicated to this project. However, I need $50,000 for the move. I am willing to sell more equity in the company than that amount of investment would usually get. I have a business plan. I’ll show you the numbers. If you have a dottering old rich uncle who is loose with his checkbook, let me know.

Otherwise, I’ve got to pack it in.

If you’ve ever eaten at, read about, heard about or dreamed about Mothership BBQ, please link to this post.


Yakima Herald-Republic November 17, 2002 Morehouse-Busch Stephanie Busch and Michael Morehouse were married July 28 at the Yakima Area Arboretum. A reception followed.

The bride is the daughter of Dan and Lynda Busch of Yakima. The bridegroom’s parents are David and Katy Morehouse, also of Yakima, and Darrell and Terri Small of Upton, Wyo.

Patty Guthrie was maid of honor and Dave Morehouse was best man. Other attendants were Michael Jr., Amanda and Alexander Bastin and Ben Minick.

The bride graduate from West Valley High School and is a teller for U.S. Bank. The bridegroom also graduated from West Valley High School. He is employed by Fred Meyer and the Zillah Police Department Reserves.

The couple is at home in Yakima.

Kohls-Lloyd Tracy Lynn Lloyd and Brooks Patrick Kohls were married Aug. 24 at Holy Family Church. A reception followed at the WestCoast Yakima Center Hotel.

The bride is the daughter of Rick and Gayle Lloyd of Naches and the bridegroom’s parents are Chuck and Karin Kohls, also of Naches.

Tammy Lloyd was maid of honor and Brian Thomson was best man. Other attendants were Teah Huls, Jessie Meloy, Laura Novobielski, Mark Bailey, Scott Miller, Justin Wammock, Kobe Kohls, Makenzie Hatfield, Mandy and Hunter Vance and Shantel and Nick Schab.

The bride graduated from Naches Valley High School and is employed by Cascade Surgical Partners. The bridegroom graduated from Naches Valley High School and Yakima Valley Community College. He is attending Central Washington University, pursuing a degree in criminal justice and works for Poppoff Inc. web site maid of honor

After a wedding trip to Las Vegas, the couple is at home in Naches.

Beaudry-Baker Mandi Mizell Baker and Ty Beaudry were married Sept. 14 at the Gilbert House. A reception followed at the Yakima Valley Museum.

The bride is the daughter of Ralph and Judy Mizell and Barb Abrams, all of Yakima. The bridegroom’s parents are Larry and Diane Beaudry, also of Yakima.

Sarah Abrams was maid of honor and Scott Beaudry and D Baker were best men. Other attendants were Angela Beaudry, Jennifer Van Norten, Shea Farr, Nyree and Eryn Hede, Nikki Hill, Natalie Hernandez, Larry Beaudry, Brian Jones, Joe Matthews, Bob Grubenhoff, Nate Montgomery, Jeff Brownfield and Eric Hampton.

The bride is employed by Windermere Real Estate. The bridegroom graduated from Washington State University and works for National City Mortgage.

After a wedding cruise to the Mexican Riviera, the couple is at home in Yakima.

Bartheld-Corpron Lisa Kae Corpron and Christopher Scott Bartheld were married June 15 at the Hyatt Vineyard Winery in Zillah. A reception followed.

The bride is the daughter of Karen Corpron-DeCamp of Yakima and Bill and Linda Corpron of Sunnyside. The bridegroom’s parents are Jaci Martin and Rick Bartheld, both of Yakima.

Sarah Corpron was maid of honor, Jennifer Carter was matron of honor and Jeremy Bartheld was best man. Other attendants were Jaime Hammerstad, Carol Garza, Amber Smith, Charlie Walker, Dave Frank, Derik Hudson and Aaron Gillaspie.

The bride graduated from Davis High School and Central Washington University with a bachelor of arts degree in family and consumer studies. She is employed by Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health. The bridegroom graduated from East Valley High School and CWU with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration and finance. He co-owns the Central Washington Entertainment News and is employed by the Greenway Church. in our site maid of honor

After a wedding trip to Cancun, Mexico, the couple is at home in Yakima.

Sausen-Jenson Katie Jenson and Brent Sausen were married July 26 at Grand Tradition Estate, Fallbrook, Calif. A reception followed.

The bride is the daughter of Ray and Karla Jenson of Selah and the bridegroom’s parents are Bill and Judy Sausen of Phoenix, Ariz.

Jessica Kissel was maid of honor and Dan Gonzalez was best man. Other attendants were Margie Mills, Amy Gibson, Dana Gillhan, Jeremy Sausen, Rick Thacker and Kevin Kaffagna.

The bride graduated from Selah High School and attended Washington State University. The bridegroom graduated from Rancho Bernardo High School and attended Palomar Junior College, San Diego. They are supervisors for Costco in San Diego.

After a wedding trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, the couple is at home in Escondido, Calif.

Gamble-Pinnell Nicole Alexis Pinnell and Cole Oscar Gamble were married Oct. 26 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

The bride is the daughter of Rick and Mary Jo Pinnell of Yakima. The bridegroom’s parents are Betty Gamble and Ken and Cheryl Gamble, all from Spokane.

Kristi Gamble was maid of honor and Wes Gamble was best man. Other attendants were Sydney La Badie, Lauren Alexis Crandall, Nancy Pinnell, Jamie Lee Webb, Shawn Isbelle and Eric Herbison.

The bride is attending Long Beach State University, Calif., and is employed by Nordstrom’s in Hollywood. The bridegroom graduated from Eastern Washington University and works in the journalism and film industries.

A wedding trip is planned to Australia. The couple is at home in Hollywood, Calif.

Mack-Haverson Cicily Haverson and Marlin Mack were married Sept. 7 at Gray Gables Estate, Milwaukie, Ore. A reception followed.

The bride is the daughter of Cliff and Sheila Haverson of Scappoose, Ore., and the bridegroom’s parents are Morris and Kara Mack of Selah and Sandra Maberry of Bellingham, Wash.

April Mazanec was maid of honor and Adam Mack was best man. Other attendants were Chelsea Haverson, Carissa Gordon, Kelli Matthews, Allison Dominic, Elizabeth Vitu, Shawn Bergquist, Howard Schwartz, Marcus Appy, Greg Gordon and Jordan Dominic.

The bride graduated from Scappoose High School and the University of Oregon. She is a pharmaceutical representative for GlaxoSmithKline. The bridegroom graduate from Sehome High School and is an instructor for the Yakima School of Karate.

After a wedding trip to Grand Cayman Island, the couple is at home in Selah.

Backroom BBQ in downtown Knoxville, TN

On Saturday I got to try Backroom BBQ. It’s at the old Lucille’s space in Knoxville’s Old City, and is part of the Patrick O’Sullivan’s enterprise. I had the Pit Sampler, with a quarter rack of pork ribs, beef brisket, chicken, and pulled pork for the very fair price of $13.95 with two sides. I couldn’t eat it all and wound up bringing the ribs home.

The beef brisket was very tasty. The chicken was boring, as BBQ chicken tends to be unless it’s spicy. The pulled pork was very nicely smoked, and I enjoyed the ribs for my Sunday brunch.

Sauces on the table are Memphis-style sweet and tangy BBQ and Carolina-style BBQ which is less tomato and more vinegar and therefore hotter (and thinner). Knoxville is about halfway between the two styles geographically, so it’s nice they offer both. Both sauces were good. I liked their Carolina sauce better.

Jay had the pulled pork sandwich and was very happy with the size of the meal for the modest price. About six bucks as I recall.

The sides were a weak point. The hushpuppies were overdone, the coleslaw was on the bland side, and the flat-sliced potatoes were completely overcooked. Corn on the cob – one of my favorites – is only available deep-fried, which is an abomination of nature. Granted I didn’t taste it, but based on past experience with fried corn they could have thrown the ears on the smoker and gotten corn that was both tastier and healthier.

The place was not what anyone would call clean or snazzy. I expect authentic BBQ joints to be a little grungy, but Lucille’s was a classy enough jazz dive and Sullivan’s is a nice enough place, so it seems like Backroom BBQ’s grunginess is a combination of overeager pseudo-authenticity and a general lack of cleanliness. I may have been a little sensitive because I had the kids with me, so judge for yourself. If you can deal with the hygiene standards at the usual run of BBQ joints you probably won’t mind, and Backroom’s ‘cue is good and the price is right.

My Million Dollar BBQ Ribs Idea

My idea is to have a rib dinner called “Ribs for Her Pleasure” served with a flower. Ladies love BBQ and flowers.

Someone tell Dr. Funkenswine he can use the idea no charge.

See also:
My Million Dollar Proctology Journal Idea
My Million Dollar Museum Idea
My Million Dollar Longhair/Parrothead Mashup Idea
My Million Dollar Beer Name Idea
My Million Dollar Rap Music Idea
My Million Dollar Salad Dressing Idea
My Million Dollar Restaurant Idea
Teddy’s Million Dollar Doughnut Idea, and My Million Dollar Cell Phone Idea

Townsend’s BBQ in Rockford?

I just saw an episode of Schwall’s World on WBIR that mentioned a BBQ joint in Rockford, TN owned by a guy named Townsend. I had never heard of it and couldn’t find it on the Web.

Li’l help?

No BBQ at Brackins’

I was thrilled to find out that Brackins’ Bar in downtown Maryville was going to have BBQ cooked by one of the guys from Sarge’s BBQ. (See previous post.)

I went there Thursday night, didn’t see BBQ on the menu, and asked about it. Turns out the cook quit right after the article was published. Dangit.

BBQ at Brackins’ in Downtown Maryville

BlountToday says that Brackins’ bar is adding BBQ to their menu. It turns out their cook, Cleo Scarbro, used to cook at Sarge’s, which was easily the best BBQ joint in Knoxville. The article has some history of Sarge’s and its owner, Theondrad “Sarge” Jackson. According to the article he was a Knoxville police detective for 25 years. I didn’t know that.

Jackson’s barbecue place was a Knoxville legend, as is Scarbro’s mentor. Jackson opened Sarge’s Bar B Que on Texas Avenue in Lonsdale in 1979 and later moved to Pleasant Ridge Road and Western Ave. Jackson served legions of Knoxvillians before he retired and closed the restaurant in February of 2001. One of his most famous customers was legendary singer Ray Charles. Sarge’s Bar B Que was also featured in Southern Living magazine in 1999 in a story on Southern barbecue.

Vince Staten’s Old-Time Barbecue

Yesterday I mentioned author Vince Staten. He was an editor of the Daily Beacon when he was at the University of Tennessee, and has since written books about American institutions of drugstores, supermarkets, hardware stores, and BBQ. I just found out he has his own restaraunt, Vince Staten’s Old Time BBQ. It’s in Prospect, Kentucky, outside of Louisville. Google map here. Sounds like a place to go the next time we’re up that way. Here’s a review of his Legal Limit hot sauce.

Goofiest Trip Yet

It’s hard to even describe today’s trip down Highway 11. I need to think about how to explain it. It ended up – totally unexpectedly – at a BBQ joint and I wound up riding an electric scooter around Cleveland, Tennessee. More later.


Maurice’s South Carolina Mustard BBQ

MrB.jpgOn the way to Florida we stopped in Columbia, South Carolina for lunch at Maurice’s. Jim Thames had brought back some Maurice’s sauce and fixed a pulled pork roast at work, and I wanted to try more.

When most people think of BBQ, they think of Memphis-style BBQ, with its sweet-to-tangy, tomato-based sauce. The Carolinas have other varieties.

There’s vinegar-based BBQ, with just a hint of tomato. You’ll also find mustard-based BBQ, which is what Maurice’s serves. I ordered the Big Pig so I could get the complete experience to report to you, my reader. Taking one for the team, I had ribs, pulled pork, cole slaw, cornbread, fries, and a fresh pork rind with lean meat.

Verdict: it may not displace Memphis BBQ, but it’s great stuff, and you should try it if you get the chance. If you’re not planning a trip to South Carolina, you can try one of the online recipes, or get Maurice’s to ship you some. He has an online store, and the shipping’s free.

You won’t find Maurice’s BBQ sauce at your local grocer because, well, here’s the thing. Big stores like Wal-Mart and Bi-Lo used to sell it, but they stopped because people complained about Maurice’s politics. Maurice Bessinger is – how to put this? – a political nutcase and unreconstructed Confederate cracker. That’s him in the picture standing in front of one his stores, which display the South Carolina flag flying over the Confederate battle flag. One of his pet peeves is that state flags should fly above the national flag.

You can get a better idea of his beliefs by visiting his (ahem) Truth Store. Or just visit his restaurants, which sell Confederate flag t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “May We Never Forget Their Sacrifice” and books like “Myths &Realities of American Slavery.” Or you can judge him by the company he keeps. At the store we visited, there was a signed thank-you note saying how good the barbeque was. The author? Pat Buchanan.