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Getting stuffed down south (IL, IN, KY & PICS)

Getting stuffed down south (IL, IN, KY & PICS)
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  • Getting stuffed down south (IL, IN, KY & PICS)

    Post #1 - October 12th, 2008, 4:44 pm
    Post #1 - October 12th, 2008, 4:44 pm Post #1 - October 12th, 2008, 4:44 pm
    I mentioned in another thread how I was trying to go down to Evansville to the West side nut club fall fest and do some serious eating. I was lucky enough to have a friend who works down there at the moment in Marion and it was the perfect time to go down and pay a visit. Well I got down there and did some SERIOUS eating. Here is a summary of my two days in Southern Illinois, Kentucky and Evansville, IN.

    The first order of business on Thursday morning was to head over to Evansville for the West Side nut club fall fest. I will post many a picture in that thread at some point in time but here a few for now. Yes I really ate this much in a two day period, there were a few of us but this was no joke.

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    WSNC fall fest in Evansville-IN, Pig is king there, pork tenderloin sandwich, the only thing I cant remember on this whole trip.

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    Onion Rings, Burgoo and chocolate bacon

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    Walking taco (too funny), Brain sandwich's, frog legs, monte cristo

    I didnt know there was a place where you could get real bbq pork sandwich's as good as those in the Carolina's and in this same area you will find BBQ sauce as good as anything in Kansas City but it doesn't end there, some of the best rib tips in the state of Illinois (land of the tip) and along with those sandwiches and sauce you will find the best ribs in the entire world including Memphis. I had been told by my buddys that you could find all of this was all together in Southern Illinois of all places. I had no idea that Southern Illinois was so rich in BBQ. You can find pit's in every town and everyone has a place they go to and eat and chat and enjoy the country life.

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    Pig is king in Southern IL

    Before we went to the fall fest we actually stopped for breakfast around 10a at a place I have praised on here for having the best BBQ sauce I have ever had. Johnson's Southern Style Barbecue. Rupert Johnson is a fourth generation BBQ'er who has perfected the art of the sauce.

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    Johnson's BBQ (Harrisburg, IL)

    As mentioned above the pig is king down south and one of the locals favorite ways to enjoy it is "a barbecue." The popular lunch item for folks of the area are smoked pork sandwiches with the places signature BBQ sauce. They are available at different pits all over the area. Rupert uses the best fresh pork he can get his hands. Him and his people rub the butts all over with their secret rub and then proceed to cook it low and slow on one of his mammoth pits using just charcoal. Johnson's serves their amazing barbecues sliced instead of chopped or shredded and the pig combined with his top notch sauce is one heavenly combo.

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    Mr. Johnson gets the coals ready for the days 'que

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    This was a mighty fine sandwich and maybe the best breakfast I ever had

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    John John's BBQ (Colb, IL)

    The best "barbecue" we had down there was from John John's in Colb, IL. JJs is all in the family. John is the pitmaster and helping him run the show are his mother who you know can cook, his brothers and his little nephew Andrew provides the customers with entertainment putting a smile on everyones face. The food here will keep that smile on your face all day long. The star of the show is the best barbecue sandwich I have ever had. JJ uses hickory to slow cook the house spice rubbed pig and they top off the perfectly smoked meat with yet another amazing BBQ sauce I found on my trip down there.

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    So So Good.

    The result is perfection-both crispy and juicy pieces of pulled pork with perfect smoke flavor and BBQ sauce that compliments it all. This family takes great pride in their cooking as I was told by one of JJ's brothers and it sure does show. JJ's brother does up rib tips that are as good and probably better than anything I have found. I would have liked to have tried moms fried blue gill which you just know is good. There will be a next time, thats for sure.

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    Rib Tips

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    If your driving down to Memphis to eat ribs, then you better stop here if you want some of the best.

    If I told you the best ribs in the world were on I-57 you would assume im talking about Memphis, a place known for their ribs across the world. But these ribs are in a small town in Illinois a few hours before Memphis along 57 and the home of the Michael Jordan of BBQ. Mike Mills is a legend in the wide world of BBQ. The Murphysboro native is the three time "Memphis in May" world BBQ champ.. In fact Mike and his team won so many times that they asked him to become a grandmaster judge. Mr. Mills has perfected and I mean PERFECTED the art of the rib. Unfortunately I didnt get a chance to finally meet Mr. Mills b/c he was in Vegas maintaining his spot there.

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    Full slab of the best ribs in the world from 17th St bar & grill (Murphysboro, IL) I know some on here prefer spare ribs and I do too. These were still perfection.

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    close up of pink perfection.

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    Both JJ's and 17th were done on day two. However after stuffing our faces at the WSNC fall fest we crossed over to Kentucky and made a trip to Owensboro to eat at the Moonlite BBQ. When we arrived we were told that the buffet wouldn't be ready for another 30 minutes so in a food coma we kind of just assumed that we were now eating the buffet. So we stepped outside and went to a good looking hamburger place next door called The big dipper. This burger wasnt good and the chili wasnt great either but the shakes were really, really good.

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    All in all this was a fun experience in Kentucky. I dint care too much for the mutton at the buffet but I also didnt think it was bad either. Everything else was just ok but nothing was bad. The catfish and catfish nuggets along with the dessert selection were the best item's of the buffet. If you get there remember that the country ham isnt in the buffet and you should try and order it in one of their sandwiches at the to-go counter if you do go the route of the buffet.

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    The moonlite buffet at $12.97 is a bargain in my book

    Whats a trip though the old midwest without a stop at a 75+ year old Maid Rite? I forget what small town this maid-rite was located in but they sure were old school.

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    On day two it was time for a little change of pace from the BBQ...but not the pork. Louie's P&R deli in Herrin, IL is a local treasure that has been supplying the locals with their one of a kind salameats and amazing homemade sausage and sandwiches for over 100 years. To my best knowledge the salameat is a old family recipe that they use. They stuff salami and other meats in natural casing creating a very memorable sausage experience.

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    Sidewall of P&R

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    salameat served on fresh baked bread with mustard and onions (standard sandwich at Louie's)

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    This sandwich isnt on the menu but its their famous salameat wrapped in pepperoni and prosciutto covered in homemade red sauce and served with a slice of provolone and peperochinni's. call it the "Don Barzinini"

    Herrin had a real Italian presence and was my favorite little town on our trip. there were a couple pizza shacks that looked like they had been around forever, real old school looking and I just kind of knew they were good and I havent even been...yet.

    One of my buddys on the trip is a pizza/donut expert and when he says that someplace has good one of them im listening and trying. No pictures of the pizza but Mackie's down in Southern Illinois serves up a very respectable Chicago tavern style.

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    Dixie cream donuts has the best donuts I have had. Although I dont eat many donuts, these were so light and tasty I couldn't stop eating and only stopped at three because there were no more left. Im not driving up to Aurora just to go to Sonic but I will stop to get my beloved chili cheese tot's when I see one on the road. It was indeed a great two days, I really need to just sit still and watch football the last couple of days just to let it all soak in.

    Johnson's Southern Style Barbecue
    700 e. Walnut St.
    Harrisburg, IL 62946
    (618) 252-0477
    http://www.johnsonsbbq.com

    John John's BBQ
    103 N Mayor Caliper Dr
    Carterville, IL 62918
    (618) 985-2781
    http://www.johnjohnsbbq.com/

    17th St. Bar & Grill
    32 n. 17th St.
    Murphysboro, IL 62966
    (618) 684-3722
    http://www.17thstreetbarbecue.com/

    Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn
    2840 W Parrish Ave
    Owensboro, KY 42301
    (270) 684-8143
    http://www.moonlite.com/

    Louie's P & R Deli
    120 E Walnut St
    Herrin, IL 62948
    (618) 942-3394

    http://www.nutclub.org/

    http://www.maid-rite.com/

    Dixie-cream donuts (locations throughout the area)
  • Post #2 - October 12th, 2008, 5:07 pm
    Post #2 - October 12th, 2008, 5:07 pm Post #2 - October 12th, 2008, 5:07 pm
    Da Beef, I had to skim this because I'm in the middle of making dinner (thank goodness, because I'm now starving) Can't wait to come back and read it over thoroughly. We have family in the Henderson/Evansville area, and I've long wanted to head down and try some of the local eats. Great job.
  • Post #3 - October 16th, 2008, 3:12 pm
    Post #3 - October 16th, 2008, 3:12 pm Post #3 - October 16th, 2008, 3:12 pm
    In all my years in Illinois, I never ventured much past Champaign, but some of those pics make me want to take a serious food road trip next time I am back there. I;m heading to Las Vegas in the next month and look forward to having some of Mike Mills' BBQ.
    Bob in RSM, CA...yes, I know, it's a long way from Chicago
  • Post #4 - October 16th, 2008, 4:17 pm
    Post #4 - October 16th, 2008, 4:17 pm Post #4 - October 16th, 2008, 4:17 pm
    RSMBob wrote:In all my years in Illinois, I never ventured much past Champaign, but some of those pics make me want to take a serious food road trip next time I am back there. I;m heading to Las Vegas in the next month and look forward to having some of Mike Mills' BBQ.



    I really liked his BBQ in Vegas. If you do a search for Memphis Championship BBQ, you'll find my post. According to someone who has been to both places, the food is pretty much the same (delicious) in both places. I've had 17th Street on my list of destinations for quite some time now. This post is making me reconsider my priorities so I can get there sooner.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - October 16th, 2008, 6:21 pm
    Post #5 - October 16th, 2008, 6:21 pm Post #5 - October 16th, 2008, 6:21 pm
    Whoa, da beef, what a killer photo essay.

    The "walking taco" looks like it's served in some kind of waffle cone (made of cornmeal?); I've had walking tacos before, but it was just chili ladled into a bag of fritos (not bad, but nothing great).

    The monte cristo looks incredible, like it was maybe deep-fried.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #6 - October 16th, 2008, 10:22 pm
    Post #6 - October 16th, 2008, 10:22 pm Post #6 - October 16th, 2008, 10:22 pm
    I found myself walking through the Nut Club Festival last Saturday night as my in laws are in Henderson, Kentucky and a sudden emergency called us down there. Unfortunately I was walking and not eating due to a recent surgery which has caused me some nausea and taste alterations. Still I heard food festival, it was a beautiful night and my 20 year old urban son was bored out of his skull.

    The most important thing to know is that the food vendors are not restaurants but churches, charities, clubs and other not for profit type of organizations. The set up for the food booths are compact trailers, one after another, lining both sides of a commercial street for four blocks. Any cooking appears to take place inside the trailers with no outside grills visible to me. Peering into the trailers I noticed lots of deep fryer and crock pot type set ups. I suspect some off site cooking and on site warming takes place at a few of the trailers. Most of the booths were not that busy with customers, probably due to a parade also going on, and a few of the more exotic items such as brains and pig lickers were already sold out. No alcohol is sold or was being drunk on the street but there are several interesting looking bars along it. The smell of fried dough dominates the air.

    My son thought his gumbo and craw-fish etoufee were decent. He was not impressed with the pulled pork bbq, stated to have been prepared on a big green egg. Pork tenderloin sandwiches seemed to be sold at numerous booths. I nibbled at an apple cobbler and kuchen which were advertised as fresh never frozen. As much as I could tell they were good.

    Would I travel six hours by car just to partake in the Nut Festival food? Based only on what I observed but clearly didn't taste, probably not. if you couple it with excursions to other food emporiums in the area, a la Da Beef, that would be the way to go. I only wish the Shady Rest in Owensboro was still part of the scene down here.
  • Post #7 - October 17th, 2008, 6:52 am
    Post #7 - October 17th, 2008, 6:52 am Post #7 - October 17th, 2008, 6:52 am
    Great post Da Beef. That is serious weekend of eating.
  • Post #8 - October 17th, 2008, 10:13 am
    Post #8 - October 17th, 2008, 10:13 am Post #8 - October 17th, 2008, 10:13 am
    I really like far downstate as well. I did a quick search and found a string from '02, pre-LTH. Interestingly enough, the string involved Cathy2, G Wiv, ReneG, Zim, Hammond and a couple other luminaries...

    Gary, thanks! I was stuck in Carbondale for work for many months a few years back and ate dinner at 17th St. Bar & Grill in Murphysboro 3-5 time a week. As good as they say, and downright consistent. Got to see the MIM qualifier up close. Very cool. Also, the loveliest waitstaff in So. Illinois, biggest beer selection, and most "normal" (i.e., worldly and not disturbingly cold toward strangers like some local places down there) crowd at 17th St. Otherwise it was a truly bizzare roadhouse named the Ferris Steakhouse on a lonely stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere. Good steaks "imported" from Chicago, red flocked wall paper, great blue cheese dressing, and a gaudy neon sign with a gravel lot out front. Oh, and a few times a week, a tremendous jazz trio comprised of geriatric SIU music faculty. Meanest old waitresses you'll ever meet. And, my favorite part, the only steaks I ever saw consumed at Ferris were by us expense accounters -- a $25 porterhouse for $15 bucks including sides, but still too steep for the locals. Everyone else had the $5.95 bottomless chicken basket. The last night we ate at Ferris, I looked back in the rear-view mirror, and it was gone.... But nothing compares to the Lick Creek General Store -- a sort of redneck hippy commune run by ex-Carribean speedboat and small aircraft operators ;) who will throw you one hell of a gourmet multi-course shindig, by appointment only, and only if they like you and you can figure out how to contact them (no small feat), in an authentic tumble-down shack on the edge of the glacial moraine in what is doubtless the most wild and beautiful place in Illinois. Perhaps the finest party of my life. Your pics have inspired me to dig out a photo of the Lick Creek soiree and scan/post it for posterity.
  • Post #9 - October 17th, 2008, 10:16 am
    Post #9 - October 17th, 2008, 10:16 am Post #9 - October 17th, 2008, 10:16 am
    David Hammond wrote:The "walking taco" looks like it's served in some kind of waffle cone (made of cornmeal?); I've had walking tacos before, but it was just chili ladled into a bag of fritos (not bad, but nothing great).

    The monte cristo looks incredible, like it was maybe deep-fried.


    I didnt try a walking taco but they sure were popular. To me it looked like a regular old waffle cone stuffed with ground beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, sour cream and salsa. The cristo was indeed deep fried and maybe the best thing I had there.

    It is true about the WSNC fest being all non for profit groups. We were there on Thurs. at high noon and it was absolutely packed and lines were extending across the street at some carts.

    I wouldnt call this festival destination dining and the food was just ok but it was fun seeing all the different offering's/people and even though we ate like we were Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi on weed with the munchies, the price was still more than half less of what it would of cost to consume half that food at Taste of Chicago. I would recommend going down to WSNC if you are making a roadfood trip out of the weekend, so much good roadfood joints down there.

    My biggest regret was not going into Henderson, KY for some BBQ/fried chicken. It was only after I came back that I realized how rich they are in BBQ over there as well.

    Herrin, IL has a majority Italian population hence the P & R deli. We didnt make it to any of the pizza parlors but I got the feeling that the pie was awesome just by the look of these parlors. They had a real old school feel with the red and white squared table cloths and the cheese/pepper/oregano on the table. Reminded me of Zaffiro's.

    I will def. be back down that way for more eating...its rich in it.

    The ribs at 17th were the best thing Ive eaten in some time. Amy Mills invited us back soon to meet Mike and exchange chili recipes (he aint getting all my secrets).

    Also whiskey is dirt cheap in KY. I couldnt believe how cheap it was. They have those drive-thru liquor stores down there that are pretty funny, its like going thru a sonic but beer and whiskey instead of limeade and tator tots.

    I never got to Shady Rest for BBQ but hearing about it and reading up on it over the internet the past few years, it is like a sports legend with foodies. Fan's of food and their BBQ talk and tell stories like two guys sitting at the bar talking of Ted William's triple crown years...its a legend ill never have gotten to see/eat.
  • Post #10 - January 9th, 2010, 9:22 am
    Post #10 - January 9th, 2010, 9:22 am Post #10 - January 9th, 2010, 9:22 am
    My boy working a campaign down south brought me back late last night a couple salameat sandwiches from P&R as well as a few bottles of Rupert Johnson's southern style sauce. Made me forget that I have unfinished business down south and might need to head that way soon. Love those salameat sammy's.
  • Post #11 - January 10th, 2010, 3:43 pm
    Post #11 - January 10th, 2010, 3:43 pm Post #11 - January 10th, 2010, 3:43 pm
    great job on this . if your taken a trip south ,let me know
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #12 - July 24th, 2012, 1:36 pm
    Post #12 - July 24th, 2012, 1:36 pm Post #12 - July 24th, 2012, 1:36 pm
    I think this post might of been one of my 1st "foodventure" shared here. The only reason I ever bought a camera was so I could snap some photos to always have and also share them here and elsewhere. Well I was back down south for the first time since then this past weekend. We were in St. Louis but en route down we took I-57 as opposed to I-55. this so that we could stop in at a couple places my politician buddy who gets all around the state wanted me to see down there, where its another world from up here. One state, two totally different places with alot of boring in between.

    Da Beef wrote:My boy working a campaign down south brought me back late last night a couple salameat sandwiches from P&R as well as a few bottles of Rupert Johnson's southern style sauce. Made me forget that I have unfinished business down south and might need to head that way soon. Love those salameat sammy's.


    But not before heading back into Herrin and over to Louie's once again for one of their famous if your from down there salameat sandwiches. Herrin Illinois has an interesting past. There was a massacre named after the town that took place there in 1922 and during prohibition it was the site of some bloody battles between bootleggers and the KKK who were trying to help enforce it. Today its pretty quiet and aside from a few restaurants and Louie's along with a small hospitable theres not much else going on. I read they're trying to go back to their Italian roots by attracting Italian owned businesses to open up shop and create some kind of "Little Italy" town. They already throw one of the areas largest festivals called HerrinFesta Italiana.

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    A Trip back Louie's P&R Deli

    Louie's is well known for their salameats which there isn't much on out here on the WWW. There's a recipe HERE and then there's another HERE with a little history about them that says "Italian restaurants in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky began to serve salameats in the 1980's" but that's not accurate as Louie's has been making them alot longer than that. I wish they weren't so busy when we stopped in but to date the best piece of info about these Southern IL specialties is that the salameat is what they refer to the casing used to stuff them. Theyre alot different in texture than your normal Italian sausage and these are much more popular at cookouts around here than brats or hot dogs. Is it a play on salamini to mean dry sausage with raw meat inside? Still not sure.

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    One of a few articles proudly on display

    There are some great pics of the old Louie's with huge bins of pastas along the walls that shows this old mining town really was flooded with Italian immigrants and first generation born Americans. A few of the old articles give insight to the salameat including the one pictured above from the the Southern Illinoisan about making Zampat aka stuffed pigs foot. Its an old time Italian holiday tradition. "The foot is stuffed with sausage prepared with Grappa brandy, Marsala wine, Parmesan cheese and lots of spices. That sausage is also used to stuff salameat casings which are popular" In Louie's heyday during the 50's they made 100's of these for families which ordered them for their Christmas feasts. The article which is old in itself says that the number was down to about 10 when it was printed.

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    Salameat Sandwich from Louie's P&R Deli

    The best way to explain a salameat is an Italian sausage with the casing of landjager. They're damn good too if that helps. These arent made with hogs or sheep casing but I'm not sure exactly what they are as far as ingredients go. Not many outside the family do. Not many outside the region have ever heard of these. On we rode taking in the sights and sounds on this fine Friday afternoon. Unlike Central Illinois, Southern Illinois is somewhat hilly with lots of lakes and some very scenic views and lots of wildlife as I saw as we rode thru Big Giant State Park which is a beauty. To go with all that you have some interesting little towns you go thru with different vibes in each.

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    Top: View at Alto's Pass -- Bottom: Driving thru an old hippie town & Union County Jail

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    Alto Pass Illinois

    I had hoped to stop in and eat at the Root Beer Saloon in Alto Pass but they were just getting ready to leave. This is maybe the most interesting restaurant I've ever been in. There's not an empty space on the walls which are filled with animals of all sorts and other old school memorabilia. The menu has things like Cioppino and crab cakes or fresh sliced country ham. Its very unique as are the owners. The husband hates the Cardinals and was passionate about them. Hilarious. As were were riding away the old timer was getting ready to take off himself but not before riding up to the car window and asking "What do you give to those Redbird fans when you see them?" Proceeding to flick us off as he rode off.

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    Helps keeps the mystique of the place high...Permission given to Cubs fans

    Totally a stop for that Guy on Food Network. We didn't get to have food but they poured us some root beer from the tap and we talked baseball and Chicago. He went down there from Chicagoland after college a few decades back and hasn't left. Our final destination was a couple of centennial farms down and around Alto Pass known for their peaches and apples. First up was a place that my buddy had actually never stopped in at always opting to go to the other place instead. I'm glad I made him stop here first.

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    Flamm Orchards in Cobden, IL

    Flamm Orchards started back in 1888 when Leonhard Flamm, a German immigrant, purchased the original 117 acres of the Flamm Farm. Early crops included rhubarb, asparagus, cherries and then later they shifted the focus over to peaches and apples. In the early days the fruit packing plant was simply a tent in the orchard. Times and technology have changed as they now have some heavy duty modernized equipment on display where the fruit is prepped for sale.

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    Some sights from the farm incl. the equipment used to separate fruits and box them

    The peaches were in full bloom this past weekend. At Flamm they had a few different kinds of them including Loring peaches and Flaming Fury Peck peaches. They had freshly picked ones still waiting to change color once ripe as well as soft spots ready to eat. $13 for a 1/2 bundle my buddy got two only to ask me after the fact if I would make something with them. Flamm has a fruits and cream stand as seen in the collage above. The menu changes with whats in season so depending when your there it could be anything from strawberry shortcake to apple pie and apple dumpling on the menu. With peaches in season they had fresh sliced those available as well as a classic in cobbler and a handful of ice cream selections too.

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    Flamm Orchards Peach Cobbler from their Roadside Stand

    This was really good, not quite as nice as the version I had from a gas station in Mississippi but with the ice cream and extreme heat and all it was exactly what we were hoping they'd have. After Flamm we wandered a few miles over to Rendleman Orchards which is in Alto Pass. "Rendleman Orchards began in 1873 when John and Isabelle Rendleman bought and established the original 88 acre family farm raising chickens, cows and corn for livestock. In this past century, the small family farm has grown and developed into our present day modern agricultural enterprise while maintaining its identity as a family farm." From their Website.

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    Rendleman Orchards in Alto Pass, IL

    Both of these places are great examples of the old time family farms that used to flood America. As each generation passed the farm has grown. It wasn't until around 1910 that they started to grow fruits. This due to the fact one of the original owners daughter in laws family was well known for their fruit growing ability around the area so they started up a branch of that too. Nowadays they grow peaches as well as nectarines and apples too but their main crop is their peaches. Peach trees line the roads down in this area, they're everywhere. Both Orchard stops are a must do in my book. You cant just go to one and get out of there with a little bit of everything like you should.

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    Too Plump, Too Sweet, Too Juicy, Too Good

    I thought the peach selection on the day we visited was better at Flamm and loved the fact they had a Fruit & Cream stand. I got some good looking homemade peach jam from them too. But Rendleman might of had the better options as far as what they make with their peaches and other things you need. They had the family cookbooks ready for sale and they package their own mix to make peach cobbler and crisp. If its the weekends they offer fresh smoothies and they make some of the best cider I have ever had. They offer different flavors but don't not try the peach. Get one of the smaller cold ones for the road and stock up on the Growlers which at $7 with no deposit on the bottle are worth it. If anyone is looking for something to do the first weekend in August it's the 75th Annual Peach Fest down in Cobden.

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    The Southern IL Peach Trail

    As is seen on the OP of this thread, Southern Illinois is a hidden gem on the American BBQ trail. It has a big BBQ culture and after stopping in at 17th Street for what continue to be some of if not the best baby backs Ive had, I made my buddy pull over and into the lot of Dixie BBQ which we drove by while riding around. Even though I just had a full slab of some fantastic hard to beat that BBQ I had to stop in and try Dixie so I could know what its deal was.

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    Jonesboro, IL

    The people weren't the most welcoming I'll start off with that. They were kind of snobbish after I asked what the difference in a couple things were as if I'm supposed to know. Down here they eat sliced pork sandwiches and call them BBQ's. Just like the sandwiches served at Johnson's seen upthread they slice the smoked butt cold here for sandwich meat which is reheated when served. I got a small for around $3 and after staring at sit next to the lady while she chatted with a local for five minutes I got it and it was just ok. A little dry and the sauce wasn't anything worth buying a bottle of. I was thinking if they only had some sort of au jus for the thinly sliced smoked pork meat, it might of made these great. Nonetheless I was glad I stopped in and cant wait to get back to Southern Illinois for more exploration soon. See ya next time y'alls.

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    BBQ Sandwich

    Louie's P and R Deli
    120 E. Walnut Street
    Herrin, IL 62948
    (618) 942-3394

    Root Beer Saloon
    4 Main Street
    Alto Pass, IL 62905
    (618) 893-1634

    Flamm Orchards
    8760 Old Highway 51 N
    Cobden, IL 62920
    (618) 893-4241

    Rendleman Orchards
    9680 State Route 127 N
    Alto Pass, IL 62905
    (618) 893-2771

    Dixie Barbecue
    205 West Broad Street
    Jonesboro, IL 62952
    (618) 833-6437
  • Post #13 - July 24th, 2012, 4:23 pm
    Post #13 - July 24th, 2012, 4:23 pm Post #13 - July 24th, 2012, 4:23 pm
    This brings back some nice memories of Herrin and its redneck Italian ex-mining community. I want to say that much of the population has roots in the North - Piemonte or Tuscany. I had a judge down there of 100% Eye-talian ancestry. Strong Eastern European undercurrent as well, owing also to the long-gone mines. Indeed, Carbondale was my Ukranian great-grandfather's first stop after Ellis Island, before settling down in Pittsburgh. An interesting, sometime surreal place, far downstate IL.
  • Post #14 - July 25th, 2012, 8:51 am
    Post #14 - July 25th, 2012, 8:51 am Post #14 - July 25th, 2012, 8:51 am
    JeffB wrote:An interesting, sometime surreal place, far downstate IL.


    Surreal is indeed the perfect word. Its another world down there and there's worlds within the region. This is a family site (that I know of) so I wont go into details but hanging out in Brooklyn IL into the night amongst packs of wild dogs and other untamed creatures was like being in the third world but oddly enjoying. There's no Landan twins at those clubs :D Right down the way in Anna IL its exact opposite. I dont know if its true but I heard a disturbing description about how the town name came about. I'm always fascinated with life when down there. Even if not my style.
  • Post #15 - July 25th, 2012, 10:34 am
    Post #15 - July 25th, 2012, 10:34 am Post #15 - July 25th, 2012, 10:34 am
    JeffB wrote:I want to say that much of the population has roots in the North - Piemonte or Tuscany. I had a judge down there of 100% Eye-talian ancestry.

    Interesting comment, Jeff. A memory comes back to me of my aunt and uncle from downstate Illinois coming to visit us in Highland Park, and all of us going up to Highwood to eat, and my uncle chatting up the Italian restaurant owners there and sometimes finding close relatives of downstate neighbors of his.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #16 - August 20th, 2012, 9:42 am
    Post #16 - August 20th, 2012, 9:42 am Post #16 - August 20th, 2012, 9:42 am
    I had lunch yesterday at the 17th St BBQ in Marion, IL (also on 17th St!). I found a lot of good food, but I did not walk away wholly impressed with the Q. As I said once about Wheaton's Austin BBQ, it seemed to me that 17th St's ribs were better the day before. In other words, there seemed to be some decent flavor and smoke, but they delay in serving the ribs seemed to rob them of a lot of succor. As my daughter noted also, they was no bark to the ribs.

    Nearly all the sides we had, although on the sweet side, were very well done.

    I'd also say that the place is a bit on the down side of the value slope, with several of the sides needing a $1 up charge and no bread served with the ribs.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #17 - August 20th, 2012, 11:22 am
    Post #17 - August 20th, 2012, 11:22 am Post #17 - August 20th, 2012, 11:22 am
    In Marion, we've always been fans of Triple-E BBQ. Triple-E is where I had my first Southern Style vinegar based sauce. While not as vinegar-centric as an eastern North Carolina sauce, cider vinegar is still the predominant ingredient, giving the sauce a very distinct flavor.

    On our last visit, we were driving home from a very 'Que and fried food intensive vacation in New Orleans with a stop in Memphis. We noticed a bluegill sandwich on the menu and thought it might be a nice change of pace. Unfortunately, the proscribed method of preparation was, of course, fried. We asked meekly if we could get the fish grilled instead. The chef obliged and hot-diggity if that wasn't some of the best fish I've ever tasted.

    Triple-E does some good 'Que, too, with regular daily specials. IIRC, we had some dandy smoked turkey legs there a number of years ago. They've got multiple locations in southern Illinois, including a recent encroachment on 17th Street's home turf in Murphysboro. We've only visited the one in Marion and can't speak for the quality of the others.

    Buddy

    Triple-E Bar-B-Q
    906 East Deyoung Street
    Marion, IL
    (618) 997-1369
  • Post #18 - August 20th, 2012, 11:35 am
    Post #18 - August 20th, 2012, 11:35 am Post #18 - August 20th, 2012, 11:35 am
    Don't know if they still do it or not but Anna's Kiwanis Bar-b-q weekend in the fall is not to be missed. Whole butts done low and slow, falling off the bone and deeply smoky. Just killer. Sold by the pound. I looked forward to it every fall - but can't remember which month the event was held. It was an annual fundraiser for the Kiwanis Club.

    Davooda
    Life is a garden, Dude - DIG IT!
    -- anonymous Colorado snowboarder whizzing past me March 2010
  • Post #19 - August 20th, 2012, 2:30 pm
    Post #19 - August 20th, 2012, 2:30 pm Post #19 - August 20th, 2012, 2:30 pm
    Triple-E is solid, but I've had a few orders of pst-prime ribs that should've been tossed rather than served. The catfish was always stellar there.

    I'd never stop in Marion for BBQ and not make the trip out to the original 17th Street. It's not quite Pizzaria Uno versus the chain version, but it's also not exactly the same food and definitely not the same atmosphere and experience.

    RIP Pulley's, which went back to the 20's and was the antithises of a new wave BBQ with booze and lots of meats represented - the big crowd at Pulley's was post-church for sliced shoulder on squishy buns with mustard-based cole slaw, sweet tea, and 100 kinds of pie. Different places, all legit BBQ.
  • Post #20 - August 20th, 2012, 6:18 pm
    Post #20 - August 20th, 2012, 6:18 pm Post #20 - August 20th, 2012, 6:18 pm
    Now see, we went to Pulley's and weren't that impressed. Triple-E was our fave in Marion; going back at least two more times while we were traveling southern Illinois. We hit about a half dozen more places throughout the area, but I'd need to consult my notes to tell you which places were better than others.

    I can tell you, if all you're judging is atmosphere, Shemwell's in Cairo was the clear winner. Others had better 'Que, but Shemwell's was the ambiance champ. I've recently seen Shemwell's sauces sold up here. I think (Joe) Caputo's has them.

    Buddy

    Shemwell's BBQ
    1102 Washington Ave.
    Cairo, IL 62914-2048
    (618) 734-0165
  • Post #21 - August 20th, 2012, 8:41 pm
    Post #21 - August 20th, 2012, 8:41 pm Post #21 - August 20th, 2012, 8:41 pm
    Don't get me wrong, they all have/had their charms. I worked down there for several months years back in a situation where we had delivery or catering for lunch and dinner 6 days a week. I was exposed to many meals from these places in Marion. Helps to like BBQ and catfish down there. Otherwise it's Applebees and Red Lobster.

    Shemwells is good. Went to a wedding reception there, believe it or not, many years back. But that's a ways down the road.
  • Post #22 - August 21st, 2012, 12:22 am
    Post #22 - August 21st, 2012, 12:22 am Post #22 - August 21st, 2012, 12:22 am
    And don't get me wrong, I didn't detest Pulley's, I just didn't like it as much as some others. And I totally get what you're saying about the Old World Greasehouse charms Pulley's possessed. In retrospect, I wonder if we shouldn't have given them a second go, just to see if they were having a bad day the first time we visited. Too late now.

    Buddy
  • Post #23 - August 21st, 2012, 10:34 am
    Post #23 - August 21st, 2012, 10:34 am Post #23 - August 21st, 2012, 10:34 am
    Thought I'd chime in about 17th Street BBQ. My uncle stopped in Murphysboro on his way to Memphis this past January to try it. He was so excited, he had Mike Mills' book and everything. He said it was such a let down, he couldn't believe it. Just about everything was lousy except the chicken. He wouldn't return because how can you have an off day if the ribs, the brisket, the pork were all mediocre. Plus all the championships they won are from 20-30 years ago (so he said). It reminds me of Mr. Beef of Orleans who clings to their reviews and awards from the 80's. Anyway, that being said - I would try it if ever in the area.
  • Post #24 - August 21st, 2012, 11:03 am
    Post #24 - August 21st, 2012, 11:03 am Post #24 - August 21st, 2012, 11:03 am
    Well, I haven't been in some time to 17th Street. That's distressing to hear, but I believe anyone can have a bad day and it sounds like they had the wrong person in charge that particular day.

    On the flip side, it's funny that you mention Al's on Orleans. I long felt it was a place resting on its laurels and coasting on Jay Leno's free publicity. I had a few mediocre beefs there years ago and gave up on it. Then a few weeks ago I was in the area late and gave it a shot. The beef and giardinera were both terrific, really great. You never know. Consistency is very important, but I'll take greatness with a few (very few) clunker days mixed in.
  • Post #25 - August 21st, 2012, 12:27 pm
    Post #25 - August 21st, 2012, 12:27 pm Post #25 - August 21st, 2012, 12:27 pm
    Ram4,
    Couldn't agree more on 17th St. BBQ. It wasn't bad, just not what you'd hope for from a triple Grand Champion at MIM. And we had the same high point, the chicken, and the same lows. The pulled pork was the real disappointment; just a soupy mess of overly sauced meat on a bun.

    We spent several days in southern Illinois and decided to do a revisit. I remember things being a little better the second time around, but nothing that connected the food we were eating that day to the trophies sitting by the front door. I think the mythology they've created around those championships might be working against them in some quarters, creating false expectations before you even walk in the door. You're anticipating Barbecue Nirvana, and instead get plain ol' 'Que. Even if it's pretty good it can never live up to the hype.

    We were much more impressed by the now closed Brown's BBQ which stood on the east side of town, just as you entered Murphysboro. It was run by Mrs. Brown, a sweet/tough old African-American lady, who was looking at retirement. Even then, she was only open a few days a week, and we felt lucky to have caught her.

    Buddy
  • Post #26 - March 10th, 2013, 8:18 am
    Post #26 - March 10th, 2013, 8:18 am Post #26 - March 10th, 2013, 8:18 am
    Stopped at 17th Street on a recent road trip and tried the lunch sampler. Ribs were a sort of visually perfect product, crisp, glistening, decent resistance to the bite. Flavor, not so much. Pork was slightly better, though as I have said before, I am not much of a pulled pork fan. Hot links were actually quite tasty.

    Best of all was the banana pudding dessert, a mason jar overflowing with pudding, banana slices and wafers. Really a dish for two to share, but I managed to get it down.

    Top to bottom, it was a decent pit stop, but hardly worth a detour.

    Quite enjoyed my later pit stop to New Madrid later on. Did not eat anything or see anything worth exploring (though I was not hungry after the banana pudding, either, so that may not be fair). But the history museum was delightful, and I did not realize it was both the site of so much Civil War fighting, as well as all the continuing seismic activity. And then there are the floods. Quite an eventful little spot.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #27 - October 28th, 2013, 10:57 am
    Post #27 - October 28th, 2013, 10:57 am Post #27 - October 28th, 2013, 10:57 am
    Da Beef wrote:
    My biggest regret was not going into Henderson, KY for some BBQ/fried chicken. It was only after I came back that I realized how rich they are in BBQ over there as well.


    I got your back chief... :wink:

    Could have just taken the easy route back up I-65 from a few days visit to the Louisville area. What fun is that? Took I-64 West into Evansville then popped back into Kentucky to Henderson, KY. added a few hours to the trip but the chicken stop made it worth it.

    Had Bon Ton Mini Mart on the radar for a while, saw just a few sporadic mentions of them on LTH. They are considered to be near the top of the heap for fried chicken in the U.S.

    http://www.courierpress.com/news/2012/j ... -you-wont/

    Bon Ton Mini Mart
    2036 Madison Street
    Henderson, KY.

    Image

    Small spot, maybe an old house converted into a restaurant. Was warned the fried chicken would take 40 minutes(we had a couple orders ahead of us). Like a 40 minute wait is going to deter me. I laughed and told them to take their time, just make it good.


    Image

    Image

    yep, some solid fried chicken, crispy batter and even crispy skin underneath.

    Glad I got to try another of the spots touted as having the best fried chicken on the U.S., makes me all the more confident when I state that the fried chicken in LaSalle/Grundy County, IL. can hold its own with any spot in the U.S..

    I did try some bbq at Thomasons BBQ in Henderson, ill leave it at that:

    Image

    Image

    Thomasons BBQ
    701 Atkinson Street
    Henderson, IL.
    Last edited by jimswside on October 28th, 2013, 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #28 - October 28th, 2013, 12:02 pm
    Post #28 - October 28th, 2013, 12:02 pm Post #28 - October 28th, 2013, 12:02 pm
    Nice report Jim. And for anyone wanting to make Bon Ton's fried chicken at home, here's a thread that links to the recipe. The old link isn't working for me so you can try this one too. I made it once and thought it was terrific, although I personally prefer a simpler, more straightforward brine.
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #29 - October 28th, 2013, 12:46 pm
    Post #29 - October 28th, 2013, 12:46 pm Post #29 - October 28th, 2013, 12:46 pm
    BR wrote:Nice report Jim. And for anyone wanting to make Bon Ton's fried chicken at home, here's a thread that links to the recipe. The old link isn't working for me so you can try this one too. I made it once and thought it was terrific, although I personally prefer a simpler, more straightforward brine.


    thanks for the tip on the recipe, id like to turn out a chicken as crunchy as this one was.
  • Post #30 - October 28th, 2013, 3:29 pm
    Post #30 - October 28th, 2013, 3:29 pm Post #30 - October 28th, 2013, 3:29 pm
    jimswside wrote:
    Bon Ton Mini Mart
    2036 Madison Street
    Henderson, KY.

    <snip>

    Glad I got to try another of the spots touted as having the best fried chicken on the U.S., makes me all the more confident when I state that the fried chicken in LaSalle/Grundy County, IL. can hold its own with any spot in the U.S..



    I hear you. When I went to Bon Ton, I thought it was fun and interesting, but not quite as exalted as I was made to believe.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.

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