Chow Town

The daily dish on Kansas City's food and drink scene

New book celebrates southern cuisine, including barbeque

04/17/2014 9:18 AM

04/17/2014 9:20 AM

We have identity issues in Chow Town.

Our metro area spans two states at odds with each other for at least a century and a half. We fight over principles, politics, money and sports.

Kansas was known as a “Free State” during the Civil War. Missouri was a slave state that didn’t secede from the Union. Kansas had John Brown. Missouri had Jesse James.

Differences and feuds aside, Kansas and Missouri share an overlapping culinary heritage that is a fusion of North and South, yankee and rebel.

That’s why Fred W. Sauceman’s remarkable new book, “Buttermilk Bible Burgers” will delight Chow Town readers with familiar and novel South-in your-mouth cuisine.

We know cast iron skillets, biscuits, buttermilk, burgers and barbecue. Sauceman serves generous portions of all that and more in his engaging stories about the cuisine and people of Appalachia.

The three parts of the book — people, places and products — blend together well just like a good recipe.

And speaking of good recipes, Sauceman gives up more than a dozen good ones, including Big Bob Gibson’s secret to Alabama white sauce, plus the Lodge Cast Iron cookbook’s recipe for Tomato Gravy, Gladine Davis’ Broccoli Casserole, Besse Cooper’s Swiss Steak and Boiled Custard, Dr. Gonzalo Pedroso’s Cuban Black Bean Stew and the Hotel Roanoke Peanut Soup, just to name a few.

If you, like many Chow Towners, are always on the lookout for unusual burgers, Sauceman describes a bunch that will get your attention.

How about a Mississippi Slug Burger or a Sledge Cheeseburger, a Ju-Ju Burger, a City Burger all the way, or what the heck is a Bible Burger? I’ll

just hint that the Bible Burger has nothing to do with the written word. Sauceman will explain it to you.

“Buttermilk Bible Burgers” introduces so many barbecue joints that you’ll “Sho’nuff” want to pack your bags and head south for some famous blue cheese dip with saltine crackers and smoked fresh ham sandwiches at the Ridgewood, plus some pulled pork barbecue at the Golden Rule, Boar’s Butt or Brushy Mountain Smokehouse, and barbecue chicken with white sauce at Big Bob Gibson’s.

Is Chow Town North or South, rebel or yankee? Yes. Now please pass the deviled eggs, frog legs, fried steak, barbecue, broccoli casserole, buttermilk and Bible Burgers — and save me a slice of Apple Stack Cake for dessert.

Ardie Davis is an iconic figure in the barbecue community. He founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS’s Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on numerous food shows and writes for a variety of barbecue-related publications. He is also the author of a number of barbecue books, His most recent release book is “America’s Best BBQ Homestyle: What Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards.”

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