It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m finally heading south on Route 206 to Hammonton with a friend in search of (see Pie Mania post of June 18) and barbecue. First stop is for said pies and a spot of brunch in the Red Barn Farm Market and Cafe. The place is hopping! We say hi and ‘bye to owner Evelyn Penza who’s in a whirl of activity, and leave the bustle behind with my bounty of pie for home (blueberry with crumb topping) and for the office (ricotta with peaches and blueberries on top).
Next stop is back up Route 206 a few miles to Christine’s House of Kingfish Barbeque in Shamong. Sisters Towanda and Rhoda (Christine was their mother) are hustling around their roadside digs getting ready for afternoon ‘cue hounds. The stand is open seasonally, from around Easter until maybe late October (609-268-3600). Kingfish Barbeque first operated on Route 40 in Buena, but about 5 years ago they relocated to the current location where the sisters now run it. Their cooker is under a lean-to outside, and I could smell the barbeque before I even opened the car door.
Inside it’s hot, but there are a couple tables for the hardy, and a fan. I may have seen a picnic table outside, too. But I always order ribs to take home for dinner. A half rack for my friend. A half rack for my father. A half rack for me, which turns out to be enough for three meals since they’re so rich. Sauce on the side for me, tangy and, thankfully, not too sweet. I add a side order of potato salad, deliciously eggy.
On the way home we pull into a wildy busy farmstand for some sweet white corn and fresh blueberries. Like they say, this is, indeed, the Garden State. Shhh, don’t tell anybody, we’re crowded enough – if they ever hear about the barbeque, we’ll be in gridlock forever!
Well, Faith, I share that passion for barbecue, and I know Pat Tanner headed down there last weekend to sample this feast that matters so much to you. Don’t EVER let me stand at your side again without ordering ribs to take home! Made some myself this week with tried and true recipe (soy sauce, olive oil, garlic) and ribs from a certain healthy nearby food store. But o my LORD they have ruined all the pork! I wish you’d ask Christine where she gets good pork. Where do you?! thanks for this savory journey Carolyn
Yes, that whole “Pork the Other White Meat” trend is a shame. But people are looking for alternatives now, and there is more and more “niche pork,” as they call it, on the market lately, and I’ll be writing about that for my In The Kitchen column in the Princeton Packet soon. I would not expect that a casual BBQ place would have special grassfed or heritage pork, as the cost would be prohibitive. I have gotten great pork at Cherry Grove Farm, myself.