I wake up this morning at 5:30am, back on the purple pushy and ride to work. I don’t mind riding in the morning as it hasn’t yet reached unbearable temps. When I arrive at Southern Soul this morning Terrance and Q are already hard at it, lighting pits and adding rub to briskets. Jason is inside making mac and cheese. Jason has been my go to person all week for all things southern cooking and is a top bloke. Jason’s shares his approach to Brunswick Stew, Mac and Cheese, BBQ beans, Collard Greens and countless others. You’d think he was born and bred in the deep South and he’s got the drawl to match but Jason was born in San Diego. The boys tell me he runs for mayor of the St Simons every election and there are even bumper stickers with his face on them plastered in the Kitchen. Funny dude.
I spend most of my morning making burnt ends. The point of the brisket is removed, cut into about a centimetre cube and is returned to the smoker with beef stock. I prefer this to the burnt ends I have had which is mixed with BBQ sauce. I like my brisket without sauce so this is perfect.
At some point service starts and I find myself pulling butts. I like pulling butts – I get to chat to little Terrence. I struggle to understand Terrence through his thick Georgia accent, but we manage. He asks me lots of questions about Australia and he shows me the Southern Soul method of pulling butts. Southern Soul is famous for its pork and its pulled is the best I have ever tasted. It is not mixed with anything, it is straight-up, soft, smoky pork. Terrence pulls together sandwiches and sides at lightening speed. And as fast as I can pull butts they are flying out the door. This lasts for about 2hrs and I take a break.
I like to go to see the guys and gals out front for a different view. They like to have fun and you can see that they really enjoy themselves. Not that the kitchen doesn’t have fun – the boys laugh and sing and have a great time but the kitchen is hot and sweaty and filled with sounds of orders being yelled. There are more woman than men out front and I enjoy listening to their lovely, buttery southern accents. I have a good chat to KK who is awesome – she talks to me about music and her travels around the world being a rock star. No, literally she is in a famous band, my friends in the UK are big fans. Once again, small world. Micah worked behind the bar or taking orders and was super friendly. Her boyfriend, who is from Manchester, England, is currently living in Melbourne. She is coming out to visit him and has promised to come say g’day when she lands in Australia.
My favourite spot is out by the pits, it’s peaceful. Maybe it’s that it reminds me of home and is so familiar to me. It can be hectic inside but outside Big Terrance, one of Southern Soul’s Pitmasters is at peace, he is quietly spoken and goes about his business methodically with purpose. It is hot though – a little like a sauna with a fireplace.
This afternoon I make banana pudding with Jason. This is one of my wife’s favourite desserts so I’m quite familiar with it; it’s been on the Red Gum menu at varied points so I’m thrilled when he makes me my very own individual one. It’s delicious and I’m decided that it needs to be back on the menu when I return home. I decide to leave around 2:30pm. Back on my bike and back to the family. Tomorrow I just have a few hours in the morning with the crew before we head off and leave St Simons Island and Southern Soul BBQ. I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye.