Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Truck Food Cookbook Rolls Into Bookstores

Writer John T. Edge is one of American food's greatest voices. Rooted in the South but curious about every nook and cranny of this globe and what the folks in those nooks cook and eat, John T. approaches  the most humble of foods with a boyish glee and the luxurious and exotic with his traveled sophistication. His latest book, The Truck Food Cookbook, (Workman Publishers) explores food served out of trucks, carts and wagons across America. 

Food carts today serve much more than hot dogs on the streets of New Orleans and New York and more than tacos in border towns and construction areas (although there is absolutely nothing wrong with either of those fantastic offerings).  John T. has found older immigrants--post retirement--making exquisite crepes on the street in Philadelphia and young, upstart chefs slinging sophisticated farm to fork food in a rolling "shack" in Minneapolis. He tasted fused ethnic flavors such as kimchi quesadillas and Chinese spiced duck tacos. Beyond the views of ethnicity and economics in America that eating from a roadside truck affords, it gives us a glimpse into the bootstrap pulled spirit of freedom to express oneself through creative hard work. Folks who serve food out of a truck are brave. They must jump through the hoops of zoning, health codes, and licensing that every other restaurateur jumps through, but they also face standoffs with adjacent business owners and turf wars with other trucks. Their bravery turns into a delicious result as they find their spot for the day, put out their signs, and watch lines form outside of their little windows.

John T. celebrates these creative and brave folks in The Truck Food Cookbook and we, in turn, celebrate our friend and colleague, John T. Edge.  Obtain a copy of the book for yourself, cook out of it (this food is fun!) and support your local street vendor.

John T. Edge is on tour with his book right now.  Tonight he will be in Atlanta, Georgia at A Cappella Books from 7:00-9:00. On June 16th, he will join with music and food forces at the Freshworks Festival in Birmingham, Alabama.  You can follow his tour at:
You can read all about John T. Edge at

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memphis In May 2012--Fatback Photo Essay

The Fatback Collective: Memphis In May 2012

A very special group of friends, chefs, writers, and pitmasters gathered, along with hundreds of other BBQ teams to compete in the 2012 Memphis in May BBQ competition.  The Fatback Collective returned for their second year in a row to set up "camp" (affectionately known as "Camp Fatback") on the banks of the Mississippi River.  The team smoked (pork and lamb, that is), cooked, drank, and shared ideas with each other and guests over the entire weekend while attempting to present the judges with the best tasting barbecue sourced from a sustainable farm in an honest way.  The team accomplished that and much more as their relationships strengthened and their commitment to flavor and sustainable farming increased.
Thank you Fatback Collective for the good work and the great times!

A pig roasts "asado style" on and iron cross over coals

L-R: Team Members, Ryan PrewittSteven Stryjewski,
Farmer Craig Rogers of Border Springs Farm,
Sean Brock and Donald Link look over the incredible
Border Springs Lamb just taken off of the iron cross.

Team member Sean Brock of McCrady's and Husk
in Charleston, SC

Team member and pitmaster, Sam Jones from Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC
Team member and chef Ryan Prewitt relaxing by the Mississippi River after the competition.
Team Member, Nicholas Pihakis of Jim N Nick's Bar-B-Q

L-R: Nick Pihakis, of Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q, Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner in Raleigh, NC and Donald Link of Herbsaint in New Orleans discuss sauce.
Team Member and ESPN writer, Wright Thompson
Team Member and pitmaster, Rodney Scott of Scott's Bar-B-Q in Hemingway, SC
Team member and chef, Steven Stryjewski of Cochon in New Orleans, LA models
his "non-standard issue" Camp Fatback attire.

Team Members, Nick Pihakis and Farmer Will Harris of White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, GA

Team Member and chef, Donald Link of Herbsaint and Cochon in New Orleans, LA
Team Member and chef Drew Robinson of Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q

Team member and chef John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, MS lays out a delicious lunch for the team and guests.

Chef Rob McDaniel of Springhouse Restaurant in Alexander City, AL

The good folks from Foggy Ridge Cider kept the refreshing cider flowing.  (It's great with BBQ, spicy crawfish and Beaufort Stew by the way...)

Tuck Beckstoffer from Beckstoffer Wines joined us and poured beautiful Hogwash Rose throughout the weekend.

Sean Brock roasted Rappahannock Oysters for the team and guests to enjoy along with the amazing "Beaufort Stew" he made with 100 lbs of fresh shrimp from South Carolina. (below)

Ashley Christensen and Patrick Martin of Martin's BBQ Joint in Nolensville, TN talk to one of the judges.

The littlest team member.

Jim N Nick's team member, Donna Smith sends the team a good message.

Our fantastic team bartenders, Jon Orchard and Adam Kirby kept us hydrated and in good spirits.

Team members relaxing in the Camp Fatback Clubhouse

Billy Link (Donald's cousin) is an accomplished crawfish farmer.  Billy and cousin Dwane Link brought up bags full of live crawfish for an incredible meal in the tent for team members and guests.

A toast to Camp Fatback, 2012!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival 2012

This past weekend, thousands of hungry, thirsty, curious people gathered within a few blocks in Midtown Atlanta to celebrate the 2nd Annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.  Visiting chefs, writers and bartenders from all over the country came to join forces with Atlanta food folks to create compelling panel discussions, delicious drinks and incredible food from intimate white tablecloth dinners in Atlanta restaurants to fried chicken and barbecue in the outdoor tents.

Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q was delighted to sponsor the Bar-B-Q line-up that included local Atlanta bbq talent as well as folks from around the South.  Our friends Pat Martin from Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint in Nolensville, TN, Rodney Scott from Scott's Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, SC, and Sam Jones from The Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC drove in, set up the charcoal burner and smokers and stayed up all night watching the hogs so that Atlantan's could sample their incredible flavors.

Rodney Scott
Sam Jones
Pat Martin
Always making sure that Jim 'N Nick's Atlanta shines brightly, Brian Lyman and his team hauled the rig into Midtown, set up, decorated and served up smoked pork tacos and spicy corn on the cob.  They always display true hospitality to festival guests as well as all of the participating and visiting BBQ professionals.  Thanks so much to Brian and everyone who worked hard at this year's festival!
Brian Lyman Cooking on the Rig
Mike Huffler

Congratulations to the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival team on a great event and thanks for letting us participate!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Southern Salad Artistry

Salad can be many things.  At its most basic it's a wedge of iceberg draped with blue cheese or a tangle of greens, lightly dressed with vinegar and oil on the side of a plate. On the other hand, a well crafted, correctly balanced melange of fresh ingredients, properly dressed is a demonstration of art and love. For some reason, a chopped salad has been deemed a Southern thing by lots of folks. Perhaps it is because a chopped salad displays a cook's way with a knife and a flair for thoughtful abundance and hospitality.  It's something you serve to company or at a luncheon--perhaps to honor your mother this coming weekend.

This morning, Drew Robinson, Executive Chef of Jim 'n Nick's Bar-B-Q showed Fox 6's Good Morning Alabama viewers how to put together the popular chopped salad that is available at every Jim 'n Nick's restaurant.  The salad is a composition of grilled corn and red onions (a technique that brings out the natural sweetness in these ingredients) tossed together with cucumbers, tomatoes, crispy lettuce, bacon sharp cheddar cheese, toasted pecans, homemade croutons and topped with smoked chicken.  It's the perfect main dish salad and a lovely, creative way to make a great meal out of healthy vegetables and chicken when the weather starts to warm up.

Check out Drew's video clip from this morning's broadcast here to learn how to make this salad yourself

or stop in a Jim 'n Nick's location and let us do the work for you!

Happy Mother's Day.