Stillwater: home to appliquéd grandma sweaters, ice cream cones, riverboats, enough antiques to fill every bed and breakfast in America, bed and breakfasts, zany wine shops for zany ladies who like to drink lots of wine, and... some of the country's finest BBQ?
Much like fried chicken, we just don't do BBQ all that well up north. Kansas City is the gateway to the south, and they've got it nailed. They're hoarding all the recipes, we think.
But if you've forgotten about Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar, the quaint little Tim McKee co-owned project in the quaint little town of Stillwater, the Food Network is here to remind you.
The TV show that aims to definitively, categorically declare the finest of all things edible, "Best. Ever." has named Smalley's just that.
But wait. What, exactly, makes good BBQ?
According to chef, restaurateur, and Food Network regular Antonia Lofaso:
1. First smoking whole chickens using actual Jamaican Pimento wood chips (Smalley's says they're one of the few restaurants in the U.S. to use authentic Jamaican Pimento wood, which imparts a tangy spice to the smoke.)
2. Seasoning the birds with a combination of seasonings including fresh allspice, which also comes from the dried fruit of the Pimento tree.
3. After smoking the chicken for two to three days, the birds are then cut in half and finished over a scorching-hot grill.
4. The finished chicken is then served with a choice of three different sauces, 3 Dives, Bourbon Beach, and Scotchies, the latter Lofaso describes as a traditional sauce used by Jamaicans to season their foods.
Jerk chicken is probably the national dish of Jamaica, a specialized regional take on BBQ, and absolutely delicious -- totally worth the drive.
Chef Shawn Smalley recommends as accompaniments the made-to-order mac n' cheddar, plantain and tortilla chips with habanero salsa and queso, and conch (another difficult to find island ingredient) and sweet corn fritters with smoked Caribbean aioli.
This is the fourth time Smalley's has made the Food Network. The episode will re-air Saturday, January 17, at 3 p.m.; Sunday, January 18, at 4 p.m.; and Friday, January 23, at 4 p.m.
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