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Man Bites Food

Love Day Links

8 Bit Heart (1)

Happy day of St. Valentine, LocalEaters! Here's a handful of holiday appropriate happenings around the web. If you're scrambling for last minute dining plans, sort through great locally owned restaurants nearby on the LocalEats app. It's probably wise to avoid French and Italian places at this late hour, but some restaurants will likely have bar seats available (just call!). 

The Hungry Lobbyist asks D.C. bloggers, chefs and politicos about their V-Day dining plans. (Confession: I'm quoted in this. Warning! Not responsible for repercussions resulting from following my shoddy advice on romantic matters.)

Ben Collins of Esquire identifies the worst possible Valentine's Day gift: mayonnaise. The devil's condiment makes a pretty lousy gift any day though really.

Red Velvet Beet Chocolate Mouse from Veggie Desserts makes for an ideal homemade Valentine's dessert. Beets get a bum rap. 

Subtly poison your man to heighten the romance with these boozy Valentine's gift ideas for dudes from The Daily Meal. Hard to go wrong with brown liquor or beer (any, so long as there's no fruit on the label)

Epicurious runs down "6 Cliche Valentine's Day Foods We Secretly Love." I'll buy fondue and chocolate covered strawberries, but I'm unwilling to believe people enjoy consuming the chalk-tastic conversation hearts. 

Publix Heart

The world's most romantic ribeye (spotted at Publix)


Road Hog: Catching up with Rodney Scott

The day before Thanksgiving, the pit house at beloved Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, SC went up in flames. Almost immediately, owner/pitmaster extraordinaire Rodney Scott had temporary pits fired up, the holiday season being by far the busiest for the store. (They sell from 45-60 turkeys per week around Thanksgiving). Following the holidays, Scott has taken his mobile barbecue rig on the road, serving whole hog across the South to raise money to rebuild the pits with the “Rodney in Exile Tour.” It’s hosted by the Fatback Collective — a group of barbecue all-stars, chefs and southern food cognoscenti. We sat down with Scott at Husk Nashville, which hosted a plate lunch as one of these fundraising events, to ask about the tour and his restaurant.

 Rodney Mop

Scott sauces the hogs with a mop on King Street in Charleston (the first stop of the tour). Photo credit: Angie Mosier

As universally loved as barbecue seems to be, it’s easy to forget what a dangerous business it can be— especially on a large scale — what with the constant manipulation of fire and all. Not to mention, some of the more celebrated old school barbecue joints are housed in very old facilities. Scott indulged us and told us a little bit about the fire:

“The hogs caught on fire on the double pit. The fire reached the inner wall. And once it got to the inner wall, there was wood structure behind the FRP. And that wood was so old, that once the spark hit it, that was it. It engulfed the deep fryer, which shot the gas line loose, causing [the employee manning the pits] to panic and pretty much run. I would have run too.”

If a packed lunch crowd at Husk was any indication, the tour has gone well thus far. On his outlook about the fundraising goal, Scott continued, “I feel positive. The goal is $120,000. The estimated cost [to rebuild the pits] is $100,000. Anything over the budget will be put into the Fatback Collective Fund. That will be sitting there for anyone else who has a mishap or to a charity of our choice.”

 Rodney Smoker

 Rodney's road smoker with a burn barrel and a double cooker, which can do two hogs at once)

Anyone in the business will tell that making great barbecue is a slow, laborious process requiring long, late hours and grueling, hands-on work. Veritable iron man Rodney Scott takes this further than just about anyone. The man personally cuts down the trees (pecan, oak and hickory), chops the wood, and burns it down into charcoal to fuel his pits. As far as local sourcing goes, he’s even got the rest of the community involved. Neighbors and tree removal services will call Rodney with tips about felled limbs and trees nearby. “They’ll cut it down and say, ‘if you can clean this up, you can have it.’ We’ve been pretty lucky with neighbors and companies giving us wood.”  The neighbors probably consider themselves the lucky ones, living near one of the world’s best barbecue restaurants that also offers free tree removal.  

Scott’s Bar-B-Que is truly a family business. Rodney’s parents bought the store in 1972, when he was only a year old. His folks still work there, as well as a number of cousins and other relatives. Fifteen years ago, working the family barbecue business in a town of less than 500 people probably seemed like a relatively anonymous job. But an ever-growing interest in southern food, the cult-like devotion of barbecue enthusiasts and the internet have turned Rodney into somewhat of a celebrity. We asked if he ever thought barbecue would blow up so much in the internet age with pitmasters gaining national notoriety: “Never saw it coming. NEVER. I made this crazy statement when I was younger that, ‘The world will know who I am.’ I never knew it would. I must have been about 12 or 13.”

Upcoming “Rodney in Exile” tour stops include Birmingham, hosted by Drew Robinson, Nicholas Pihakis and Scott at Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Que (Feb 1), and the final stop in Charleston, hosted by Sean Brock, Sam Jones and Scott. (Feb 4). An additional “tribute” event has been scheduled in San Francisco on Feb 9th. For more informations visit The Fatback Collective’s page.

 Rodney Bbq Husk

 Whole hog, fresh from the smoker at Husk


Rodney Scott Brings His BBQ to Nashville (for One Day)

Attention, Nashville 'cue enthusiasts. Next Thursday, January 23th, you'll have the opportunity to sample barbecue from one of the nation's premier pitmasters, Rodney Scott of legendary Scott's Bar-B-Q (Hemingway, SC). The Fatback Collective — kind of the Superfriends of barbecue/Southern food — is hosting two Nashville events showcasing Scott's famed whole hog barbeque. Proceeds from these events will help fund the rebuild of Scott's Bar-B-Q, which suffered significant fire damage in late 2013. 

First, Husk Nashville, will be serving up barbeque plate lunches ("the Rodney plate") for $12 on a first come, first serve basis from 11 am–2 pm. 

In the evening, Sean Brock (of Husk), Pat Martin (of Martin's Bar-B-Que) and Scott will be hosting a multi-course dinner at Ruby involving whole hog, brisket, fried chicken and more. It's $100 per person, but this includes tax, tip and drinks. World-class barbecue for a great cause at one of Nashville's slickets new venues: What's not to love? Additional location and ticket reservation info below.

Rodney Promo

Holiday Gifts for the Food-Obsessed

 Giftcard -holiday (1)

Welcome to the LocalEats holiday gift guide. We'd of course, be remiss not to start things off by suggesting that the new LocalEats gift cards make fantastic gifts for foodies. It's a great way to support local businesses, and best of all, the recipient, not the person who gives the card, gets to decide where to redeem the card. Here's our ever-growing list of participating restaurants. Shameless plug aside, here are some foodcentric gift ideas for your edification. 

In search of a last minute romantic gift for your non-vegetarian significant other? You'll melt their heart (and perhaps make it burn) with the Bacons of the World gift package from Belcampo Meat Co. – five pounds of bacon four times a year, with a different exotic bacon with each shipment. 

There are a number of deliverable smoked fish packages from NYC's legendary Jewish deli, Russ & Daughters, but the Smoked Salmon Medley is among the most popular with 3 kinds of smoked salmon, cream cheese, bagels and even a Russ & Daughters tote bag (you'll be the coolest kid in school!). 

For the classy oenophile (or lush) in your family, there's this Grape Wine Rack from Robert Bronwasser, sold by Greener Grass Design.

Grape Rack

Who couldn't use 50-pound box of New Mexico Green Chiles from the New Mexico Catalogue? Sure, you could just purchase a five-pound box, but why not be set for salsa and soups for life. Go big or go home. 

Cooks and aspiring chefs will enjoy Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird, from James Beard Award-winning chef Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in Portland. If elk tongue stroganoff and roasted pigeon aren't your thing, try the Roberta's Cookbook from the stellar Bushwick restaurant of the same name. 

For the homesick Chicagoan or anyone wanting to step up their frozen pizza game, you can order deep dish by mail from Lou Malnati's (order here) or Gino's East (order here

Looking for a unique interior lighting piece for a carb enthusiast? Try these Pampshades, (lamps made from actual bread).

Pampshades Lantern



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