KEEPING SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY ALIVE IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM

Barbecue

A Conversation with Edell Pinter

"Born in Warner Robbins, Georgia on June 30, 1953. First recollection of barbecue was, I was about 13 yrs. old. I guess it would be back with my father when he used to use charcoal and cook steaks on the grill. He had an acute sense of flavoring. He just loved to cook meat. All kinds. Pork, beef, and sausage when he didn‘t burn it up because of all the grease. I guess the day I knew he was really, really good was when he cooked a large mouth bass; in those days there wasn’t a whole lot of release going on. He cooked a 9 lb. large mouth bass I caught, cleaned it, and filled the body cavity with vegetables and onions and then closed it up and cooked it on the grill. I was very, very impressed with how that fish tasted. I knew he was serious about his cooking. He was a short-order cook in the Air Force in his early days at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida."

"Never worked in a barbecue restaurant before but on my many visits to Galveston, Texas, my friends, they used to comment on how well I cooked on the grill. I cooked pork, beef and I use to love to smoke turkey. Sometime the guys would come up and comment, ‘Boy, I tell you what Edell, you just want to slap somebody when you eat some of this food!’ They just couldn’t believe that what they were eating was actually a turkey thigh. It was because of the way I cut them up — it almost had the flavor of steak. So I knew at that point, I had the ability that my father had. I truly believe it was inherited. My interest was trying to duplicate what he did in flavor. He always said whatever you do don’t hold back on the seasoning because seasoning is the most important thing. When it comes to barbecue, it is more important to have good flavor in the meat than it is to have a sauce because sauce was invented, in his opinion, to cover up the steak. So if you burn chicken, steak or anything you would take away from the actual flavor he was looking for, then you could take sauce and [cover it up]."

"In the South, we love what’s called a sweet’n'sour with a tomato base, where in North Carolina they have a sauce with more of a vinegar base. You’ll find that 'southern' in Georgia, what I call Georgia barbecue, will settle on the stomach a lot better without any other factors. You want to make sure you have your grease drained off your meat before you sauce it, or what is sometimes called a marinated barbecue. Then we have what’s called a regular pork which is generally sliced. It is put together on a steam table so you can get the full flavor of the meat. It’s always good to seal it off with some tin foil instead of just a lid so it is air-tight. The flavor is just amazing."

"Between 1994–98 we owned a restaurant in Blue Ridge, Georgia. We were located right off the four-lane so it was convenient, for all the traffic in the area had to pass right by my place. I had people coming from all directions. We had people come in from Atlanta and comment about how wonderful the barbecue was. I was just impressed because they had so many down in Atlanta that were superior. In 1996 there was a great barbecue quest. The Georgia Journal magazine put out an article called “The Great Barbecue Quest.” One of the local Atlanta barbecue honors had a huge plate of food presented on the front page. What they did was go through the State of Georgia and handpicked certain restaurants they were impressed with. They selected 19 barbecue restaurants, and my little ole 32-seater with a drive-thru was picked as one of those from the whole State, of which I was very impressed. I just didn’t know how good my stuff was until we got this recognition. The local paper picked up the story and wrote an article labeling us as barbecue specialists. After being in business only approximately three years, I had achieved recognition in the area. Today, people still wish we were in business, and it’s quite flattering."

"We called our restaurant "Becky’s Country Kitchen and Barbecue." I love my wife so I wanted her to have first billing. A lot of people thought she did the cooking but I was the cook. Becky was the Manager/Administrator and was responsible for the cold dishes like cole slaw and pasta salad. Our baked beans also were well known. Some customers would come in and order just baked beans. They were made with brown sugar, catsup, lots of onions, and mustard. We baked large quantities in a kettle in the oven. The reason we got out of the business is because my wife, Becky, was involved in a head-on collision and had to learn to walk again. You need two people who are totally dedicated to this kind of business in order to be successful."

Edell Pinter now operates a glass and mirror business in Blue Ridge, GA.

Blue Ridge Glass and Mirror

3781 East First Street
Blue Ridge, GA 30513
(706) 632-8138