It’s an East Tennessee legend -  a BBQ joint - known far and wide primarily by word of mouth -  perched precariously  up a narrow, winding country road on the side of a ridge, where the winter sun is scarce as ‘hounds teeth.”

To the many dedicated pork eaters it is the ‘Holy Grail.’ Just a mile or so away around the winding road is the Bristol Motor Speedway from which it attracts locals, year around from as far away as 25 or more miles, and NASCAR fans, drivers and crews from across the nation during race seasons.

It isn’t unusual to see locals from various businesses carrying out more than $100 worth of BBQ, gallons of tea,  and extra gallons of sauce at $42/gallon, as others dine in the austere, rustic dinning rooms, which might, if stretched,  seat maybe 100.

Ironically it is owned by Larry Proffitt, a pharmacist, and his family.  Beginning with his mom and dad in the 1950s, it is where their struggle to make the perfect BBQ began.  

Nowadays, during meal time, you’re lucky to get inside.  Customers park on the narrow mountain road, reducing it to one-lane travel as they hustle to get inside the door.

The barbecue is made of hams, not pork butts like most  BBQ joints.  And the recipe is as much a secret as Col. Saunders chicken or Coke.  When he turned  the operation over to his daughter, he took her to the restaurant.  Had a copy of the recipe.  Told her to memorize it. When she agreed she had it, Larry had her make a couple batches of BBQ.  When satisfied, she had the secret down, he burned the recipe.

Being a vegetarian, I can’t personally testify to the BBQ, but from the sauce I tasted, I hadn’t tasted anything quite like it.  It wasn’t a ‘vinegar’ NC style or southwestern ‘sweet’ style.  The flavor was in between and certainly unique and seemed to have a taste of cumin or curry.

They don’t skimp on food.  The orders are gigantic.  Many couples order a single BBQ sandwich and fries and share  them.

The restaurant has been quite a magnet for northerners and those coming down south discovering BBQ for the first time.  It has been written up in several national magazines and has won several national awards for what many call the feast of kings.

 

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