Grilled Pork Chops with Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce

  • grilledchopsdrpbbqpork chops
  • coarse ground black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • coarse ground sea salt
  • cayenne powder
  • olive oil
  • Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce
  1. Mix seasonings in a small bowl. Next pour about 2-3 TBS olive oil into a bowl. Get a large piece of plastic wrap or foil. You need enough to completely wrap up the chops. Lay out the plastic wrap or foil on the counter.
  2. Rub the seasoning mix into the chops. Next brush or rub the olive oil on the chops. You want enough for a light coating. Tightly wrap up the chops in the plastic wrap or foil. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes – 2 hours.
  3. Grill on both sides. I like to brush on BBQ sauce while it is cooking.

Review: 4 Rivers Smokehouse

Best Brisket I've found in Florida

Best Brisket I’ve found in Florida

4 Rivers Smokehouse is small central Florida chain that has recently moved into Gainesville, Florida.  The 4 Rivers website describes themselves as a sophisticated Texas-style smokehouse. I think I would describe them as trendy. Sophisticated just doesn’t fit with BBQ.  We have tried several BBQ places in Florida claiming to be “Texas-style” and 4 Rivers is the only one that is even close. It has the look, feel and menu of a Texas BBQ place.

They have the best brisket we have found in Florida. They even have Czech sausage or Texas sausage as 4 Rivers calls it. The sausage is from West, Texas. So far we have tried the ribs, brisket, sausage and turkey.  My favorite is the sausage, I think because that is one of the things I miss the most about Texas BBQ.

Chezch Sausage from West, TX

Chezch Sausage from West, TX

Personally, as long a BBQ joint has good meat done right I really don’t care much about the sides. I guess because I really don’t like the usual sides like beans, cole slaw and potato salad.  4 Rivers has a good selection of sides. We have tried the fried pickles, armadillo eggs (jalapeno poppers), green beans, mac and cheese and bread pudding. They have the best fried pickles. Their bread pudding is amazing. I think the sandwiches that include two sides are the best value. They have an ample serving of meat and sides.

One thing that 4 Rivers needs to change to truly be Texas Style BBQ is to offer Dr Pepper. They have that awful undereducated imposter instead. I will say I haven’t missed it.   4 Rivers  has a very large selection of vintage sodas as a well as Cheerwine on tap. I really like Cheerwine in my opinion it is a close 2nd to Dr Pepper.

Don't forget to check out the Sweet Shop. Cheerwine Cupcake.. yum.

Don’t forget to check out the Sweet Shop. Cheerwine Cupcake.. yum.

So a BBQ place with great meat and amazing side, what more could they offer? Desserts, of course! The Sweet Shop has quite a selection of cakes, cupcakes and cookies all made in-house.  We have tried the Snickerdoodle cupcakes and the Cheerwine Cupcakes. The cupcakes are big enough to share. The Big Guy even got me a cup cake instead of a birthday cake this year.


Only Kolaches we’ve found in Florida.

On the weekends the Sweet Shop makes Kolaches (pronounced ko-LAH-chee). Kolaches are yummy Czech pastry that is either filled with sweet fillings like cherry, blueberry etc or savory fillings like Czech sausage. The sausage kolaches are similar to pigs-in-a-blanket. Hint if you by extra kolaches for the next days breakfast store it in an air tight container.


Food: Excellent best BBQ in Florida.

Selection: Excellent. All of the usual offering brisket, ribs, sausage and turkey as well as a selection of signature sandwiches. Oh I they even have pulled pork. My recommendation is skip the fake stuff and stick with real BBQ.

Service: Excellent. The staff is always friendly and eager to help.

Atmosphere: Very nice. It looks like a real Texas BBQ joint complete with the long tables.

Allergy Rating: Very good. Not sure if they have an allergy menu. I haven’t needed one. The staff is knowledgeable and have been able to answer any questions I have.

Overall: Excellent

Review: Bacon’s BBQ

Pretty good chopped brisket for Florida

Pretty good chopped brisket for Florida

We first tried Bacon’s BBQ and Catering in La Crosse, Florida
a few months ago and were impressed. They have pretty good BBQ especially for Florida.

Our first time there we decided to try the chop brisket sandwiches. It was a pretty good chopped brisket could be a little more tender. On our second visit we tried the chicken sandwiches. We were both  pleasantly surprised. It was outstanding.

The sandwiches come with two sides instead of the usual one side.  They have a very good mac and cheese. It has nice buttery and creamy taste.  We also tried the sweet potato fries, fried okra and green beans. Bacon’s features a selection of vintage sodas.


Big Guy Approved

Big Guy Approved

Food: Very good. Pretty good chopped brisket. The mac and cheese is awesome.

Selection: Excellent. They have the usual offerings like brisket, ribs and chicken. They also have several more unique items.

Service: Awesome.

Atmosphere: Nice. It is a walk up place with a nice covered outdoor seating.

Allergy Rating: Good. They do not have an allergy menu but the staff is helpful. However for my allergies BBQ places are usually fairly safe.

Overall: Very good. It is worth the drive to La Crosse.

Review: Kickin’ Ash BBQ


Picture isn’t great but the food was.

This summer we spent a lot of time on the road. One of the places we stumbled upon was Kickin’ Ash BBQ in Montgomery, Texas. It was really an accident that we found Kickin’ Ash, we were so lost in the Piney Woods of East Texas that even our GPS didn’t know our location.

One thing about Texas BBQ is often small towns have the best BBQ. The place smelled like BBQ. It is always a good sign when you can smell the smoke and meat cooking. The Big Guy looked up for reviews Kickin’ Ash and we decided to give it a try. Kickin’ Ash may have some of the best brisket. I’ve had in a long time. The sausage was good as well.

Kickin’ Ash started as a competition BBQ team. It was well worth the side trip. Oh, according to their website they are only open Friday-Sunday.


Food: Excellent. The brisket was excellent.

Selection: Excellent. They have usual BBQ offerings brisket, sausage, ribs, chicken and turkey. They even have pork. Really don’t know why they need that one.

Service: Outstanding. Extremely friendly and well trained.

Atmosphere: Simple but appropriate. It is a BBQ place after all. Also, you could smell the smoke.

Allergy Rating: We have found that BBQ is usually allergy friendly.

Overall: Excellent. If you are nearby it is worth the drive.

Repost: What is Barbecue?

Barbecue Grill

My failed trip to a new restaurant claiming to be a barbecue joint inspired me to repost this. It seems this so-called BBQ place only served ribs, pulled pork and ham. It is appalling and should be illegal to call one’s-self a barbecue restaurant and not even attempt to serve real BBQ. Originally posted  February 12, 2008.


Sunday I wrote about my Top 10: Favorite Foods. Number #5 barbecue has created a little bit of discussion. So, I have decided to devote an entire post to it. While I do not claim to be a barbecue expert I am from Texas and that is about the same thing. In Texas we are serious about are beef especially barbecue.

That is right I said beef. Barbecue is beef! It is not chicken or pork. Turkey, ham and German or Czech sausage are also acceptable. I prefer brisket although I do like a good Czech or German sausage.

Now that we have established what type of meat to use let’s discuss how to cook it. First, dry rub and then marinate it for a long time. Yes, I did say marinate and dry rub, it is not either/or it is both. The meat should be slow cooked in either a pit or a big smoker rig. The trick to making a nice tender brisket is to dry rub it & marinate then, cook slow cook it over heat. If you can get mesquite wood for cooking it is even better and it smells great.

Ok, we have the meat cooked lets talk about how to serve it. The meat should be served hot with a warm sauce. There is no need for 400 gazillion sauces all you need is one or two good sauces. If you want variety make a mild one and a spicy one. It is however important that the sauce is warm. Also, mustard is for hot dogs not barbecue do not add it to the sauce. You may however add jalapeno, honey, molasses, beer or Dublin Dr Pepper (Don’t know what Dublin Dr Pepper is then read this.) Barbecue is about the meat not the sauce. If you cook it right, you don’t have to hide it under the sauce. Brisket should be served in thick slices for a plate dinner. In a sandwich it can be either sliced or chopped. Brisket is never to be served thin sliced or pulled. Keep your hands out of my meat! A barbecue sandwich contains bread, meat, pickles, onions and maybe a few jalapenos. Keep your slaw and other frilly vegetables away from my meat. After all this is barbecue not a salad bar.

One last thing about barbecue. When you have people over for burgers and hot dogs break out the grill that isn’t a barbecue. That is grilling or cooking out. It isn’t the same thing. Barbecue involves the use of smoke.

Of course that is just my humble opinion about real Texas style barbecue.

America’s Best Barbecue(?)

Barbecue Grill

This past Sunday Good Morning America unveiled the winner of its search for America’s best BBQ.  The results were actually interesting. It all started in April with a call for viewers to submit nominations.  From there the final 4 were selected. So, the entire process was obviously less than scientific. All four were judged on ribs and only ribs.  The finalist were Cousin’s Barbeque, in my hometown Ft. Worth, Texas, Woody’s Smoke Shack in Des Moines, Iowa, Archibald’s BBQ in Northport, Alabama, and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syarcuse, New York.  Saturday internet polls opened for voting.

The winner was Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. I am surprised that a restaurant from a state not-known for barbecue won. Although I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Dinosaur. I’ve even had some of their sauce and it was much better than Cousin’s sauce.

However, I am not surprised that Cousin’s didn’t win. I’m still trying to figure out how they got nominated in the first place. They certainly are not the best place in Ft. Worth much less than Texas.  Also, Cousin’s serves Texas style barbecue, so that means beef brisket not ribs, or that awful pulled pork stuff.  The competition didn’t include real BBQCousin’s ribs are ok. Also, GMA went to the Bryant Irvin location while I prefer the original McCart location.

I would like to see a re-match with a better represenative of Texas barbecue. I would suggest my personal favorite Goode Company from Houston. The re-match should feature real beef brisket. After all that seems to be a much harder task than making good ribs or chicken, not sure it is possible to even make good pork.

Tribute to Tejas (Texas)

San Jacinto Monument Today in 1836 the Texican forces under the command of General Sam Houston defeated the Mexican troops led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna. The short but decisive battle took place near Buffalo Bayou (Houston). While the Mexican forces were taking a nap, Houston launched an attack on the Mexican camp. By the time the Mexican forces woke and figured out what was happening it was all over but the shouting. The entire battle lasted 18 minutes, making it one of the shortest battles in military history. Officially today is San Jacinto Day. Today’s post is in honor of those and other Texicans who fought for independence. Before you send comments about how the war between Texas and Mexico was really funded by the U.S. to steal Texas from Mexico I just want say that when my family first moved to Texas they became Mexican citizens. Well, enough serious stuff and learning on with the festivities and fun.

Texas Facts

  • Texas Flag framed by Mesquite TreeBeaumont to El Paso: 742 miles. Beaumont to Chicago: 770 miles. El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas.
  • The real Texas Rangers are a part of the Department of Public Safety (DPS). There are only 134 officers for the entire state with 254 counties in the state that most rangers cover 2-3 counties. No, the Rangers do not patrol the streets like in Walker Texas Rangers. That show is so messed up in many ways, that it would take several posts to cover. Also, they are nothing like an army or militia force that would be the Texas Guard (National Guard).
  • The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island. Yes, that is one ranch not some fancy development called a ranch.
  • Don’t Mess with Texas is an anti-littering campaign. It didn’t come from the Alamo. The battle cry was Remember the Alamo! Remember Gonzales! Remember Goliad.
  • World’s first rodeo was in Pecos, July 4, 1883.
  • The Capital of Texas is seven feet taller than the U.S. capital.
  • The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built over water.
  • More wool comes from the state of Texas than any other state in the United States. Edwards Plateau in west central Texas is the top sheep growing area in the country.
  • The Heisman trophy is named for John William Heisman the first full-time coach and athletic director at Rice University in Houston.
  • Texas is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation. Texas is also the only state legally allowed to fly its flag at the same height as the U.S. Flag.
  • Six flags have flown over Texas and eight governments.: Spain, France, (Spain), Mexico, Texas, U.S., Confederate (U.S.) So if you ever wondered where 6 Flags theme parks get their name it comes form Texas. The original 6 Flags Park is in Arlington, Tx. That is Arlington not Dallas. No they are not the same city.
  • The state was an independent nation from 1836 to 1845.
  • The first word spoken from the moon on July 20, 1969 was Houston.
  • 70% of the population of Texas lives within 200 miles of Austin.
  • Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. The Dublin Dr Pepper, 85 miles west of Waco, still uses pure imperial cane sugar in its product. There is no period after the Dr in Dr Pepper. Yes, I can tell the difference between regular Dr Pepper, Dublin Dr Pepper and even that fake stuff but that is another post.
  • Average yearly rainfall totals in West Texas are less than 8 inches while in East Texas totals exceed 56 inches.
  • Texas’ largest county is Brewster with 6,208 square miles. Compared to Rhode Island is only 1,545 square miles, Delaware with 2,489 square miles and Connecticut with 5,543.
  • The first suspension bridge in the United States was the Waco Bridge. Built in 1870 and still in use today as a pedestrian crossing of the Brazos River.

Sometime ago I got this one via email and decided to hang on to it. Hope you enjoy it, I found it amusing. Texas Logo With Hat

Rules for Living in Texas

  • Pull your droopy pants up. You look like an idiot.
  • We have one stoplight in town. We stop when it’s red. We may even stop when it’s yellow.
  • It’s called a ‘gravel road’. I drive a pickup truck because I need or want to. No matter how slow you drive, you’re going to get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get out of the way.
  • They are cattle, and oil wells. That’s what they smell like to you. They smell like money to us. Get over it. Don’t like it? I-20 and I-10 go east and west, I-35 goes north and south. Pick one.
  • So you have a $60,000 car. We’re real impressed. We have $250,000 cotton strippers that we drive 3 weeks a year.
  • Every person in every pickup waves. It’s called being friendly. Try to understand the concept.
  • Trucks are made to get dirty. Don’t bring your Eddie Bauer Limited Edition to my huntin’ camp and expect to leave clean on Sunday. It won’t happen.
  • We all started hunting and fishing when we were nine years old. Yeah, we saw Bambi, too. We got over it.
  • If that cell phone rings while a bunch of doves are coming in, we will shoot it out of your hand. You better hope you don’t have it up to your ear at the time.
  • Go ahead and bring your $800 Orvis Fly Rod. Don’t cry to us if a flathead breaks it off at the handle. We have a name for that little 13-inch trout you fish for—bait.
  • Yeah, we eat catfish, carp, and crawdads. You really want sushi and caviar? It’s available at the corner bait shop.
  • The “Opener” refers to the first day of deer season. It’s a religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November.
  • Our women hunt, fish, and drive trucks – because they want to. Our women are some of the best looking in the country.
  • We open doors for women. That applies to everyone regardless of age!
  • No, there’s no “Vegetarian Special” on the menu. Order steak. Order it rare. Or, you can order the Chef’s Salad and pick off the two pounds of ham and turkey.
  • When we fill out a table there are three main dishes: meats, vegetables, and breads. We use three spices – salt, pepper, and Picante Sauce!
  • We don’t care what you folks in Cincinnati call that stuff you eat… It AIN’T REAL CHILI!! Chili was born and bred in San Antonio…. and real chili never met a tomato! Real chili doesn’t have beans. Think about how silly “Northern Chili sounds”. Chili was developed by the Vaqueros or Mexican cowboys.
  • You bring “Coke” into my house it better be brown, wet, served over ice, and plenty of it! You bring “Mary Jane” to my house she better be cute, know how to shoot, drive a truck, and have long hair.
  • High School Football is as important here as the Lakers and the Knicks, and a more fun to watch.
  • Yeah, we have golf courses. Don’t hit in the water hazards – it spooks the fish.
  • Colleges? Try Texas A&M, Hardin-Simmons, Texas Tech and University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. They come outta there with an education and a love for God and country, and they still wave at passing pickups when they come home for the holidays.
  • We have more Navy, Army, Marines, and Air Force than any other state, so, “Don’t Mess With Texas”.
  • Also, remember what Governor Sam Houston (President or General if you prefer) once said, “Texas can make it without the United States, but the United States can’t make it without Texas!”

In honor of Texas eat some real barbecue or some thick sliced beef brisket served hot and with warm sauce. We don’t care how many sauces you have just so it is warm. Pulled should never be used in the same sentence with Brisket. It is served either sliced or chopped. No it won’t be dry if you thick slice it. Why is that people in Texas and Oklahoma can do what outsiders believe is impossible? No BBQ isn’t pork or chicken. If you are unclear about what real BBQ is read this. If you can’t find real BBQ then eat some Tex-Mex. No that is not Taco Bell, which is neither Mexican or food. If you don’t know what Tex-Mex is find the nearest On the Border. Yes, there is a difference between Tex-Mex and Mexican food. Every Texan living in exile knows that On the Border has good Tex-Mex. If you can’t find that cook a nice thick steak and throw some cheese enchilda’s on top and serve with Ranch Style Beans (or Texas Beans as they are called outside of Texas). Since my husband is an Aggie (graduate of Texas A&M) we will be attending our local Muster. Hope you have a happy San Jacinto Day.