Eating across Arkansas

It’s fitting that on the night before Thanksgiving — when those of us across Arkansas are busy in the kitchen or at least thinking about what we will eat the next day — the Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” program will feature an episode taped in our state.

Overeating will certainly be the norm.

In tonight’s episode — which will air at 9 p.m. — host Adam Richman will go out to the Osborne family’s farm for one of those giant barbecue platters. One Osborne platter is usually enough to feed my family of four for a week, though I haven’t had one in years. When my wife once asked if she could just have the barbecue sandwich, she was told: “Take the whole platter and just say thank you.”

You’ve likely been to an Osborne family barbecue at one time or another if you live in Arkansas. If not, we can tell you that the platter consists of a whole chicken (and not a small one), a beef rib that appears to be more of an elephant rib, a slab of brisket, sausages, a jumbo pulled pork sandwich and one of those turkey legs like you find at the Arkansas State Fair.

Richman next travels to Cotham’s (we assume this is the original location in Scott and not the lunch joint next to the state Capitol) to try to eat four Hubcap burger patties stacked on one bun. I’m getting a bit ill just writing this.

Next, he heads to the Mean Pig in Cabot for a pulled pork sandwich that has something called Shut Up Juice on it. According to the show’s publicist, more than 4,000 people have tried to eat a whole sandwich with Shut Up Juice spread on it and just 64 have succeeded.

Frankly, I don’t want my barbecue sandwich to make me scream. The medium sauce at Craig’s in DeValls Bluff is about right for me.

At any rate, I’ll be watching tonight to see how our state is portrayed.

A question: What is on your Thanksgiving menu? And if you’re reading the post after Thanksgiving, still feel free to share with us what you had that day. I love hearing about the unique dishes that many Arkansas families add to the traditional turkey and dressing.

I’m one of those who believe Thanksgiving to be the ultimate holiday for men. It always falls during the week. There’s plenty of football to watch on television. You’re allowed to eat too much. You’re allowed to take a nap. You don’t have to buy anyone a gift or even a card.

You find your inner child as you even begin the day by watching a parade on television. And when else would you feel obligated to actually watch a Detroit Lions home game? After all, it’s a tradition.

Have a nice Thanksgiving.

6 Responses to “Eating across Arkansas”

  1. the Jensens says:

    Hey there! We live in Blytheville , but are up here in Wisconsin with mom and dad and grandma and grandpa (in their 90’s) and baby James… we just had our Thanksgiving dinner here with balsamic roasted yams, cornbread-sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy (yum) and the best turkey (stuffed with rosemary, thyme, and orange and lemon, and coasted with olive oil, salt and pepper and zest from the fruit). Later some pumpkin pie with ice cream. Now we are watching Man v Food and are planning to find some of these great places next summer when all the family comes down to Arkansas to visit with us!

  2. I’m up here in Philadelphia cooking an almost-traditional Southern Thanksgiving dinner (no green beans because this household doesn’t like them). The menu is roast turkey breast, cornbread dressing, cranberry salad (with apples, oranges, walnuts), sweet potato casserole (with walnut/brown sugar topping; no orange juice, pineapple, marshmallows, etc., for this gal!), mashed potatos, corn, and pumpkin, coconut and apple pie. Cooking for a friend, who’s been very ill but is recovering, and his teenaged son, who spent a good part of the summer in Arkansas with me. Life is good and I’m thankful for my friend’s progress back toward health, as well as for my three great daughters who are scattered amongst other family gatherings today!

    Re: Great places to eat. Next time you’re in Hot Springs, have breakfast at the English Muffin, out on the lake, and lunch at the Red Oak Filling Station near Garvan Gardens. Go on Thursday for the meat loaf!

  3. George Baker says:

    Rex, I am still basking in the warm glow of our traditional Thanksgiving meal we had yesterday due to our adult children’s (oxymoran?) commitments to their respective families. Our children expect the meal to be exactly the same as it has bveen their complete lives. Any changes of traditional recipes are met with loud diaproval! “Dad, you put in water chestnuts, we never put water chestnuts in the dresing!” And so it goes, year in and year out, reasuring our family traditions by familiar, comfort food served with love and tenderness. We are Southern to the core and very proud of it. I do the turkey and I have stolen techniques and methods from wiser cooks to the point that I can deliver a tasty, attractive bird that is moist and tender to to the tooth. I do the dressing, true to our history, I do the green beans that are made from fresh, although from a produce section and not home grown. My wife does the strawberry salad, ( Rand Chappel never fails to ask about the strawberry salad she makes that he became enamored with when he was “our coach,” My daughter does her pumpkin roll her husband does the mashed potatos and my daughter-in-law does her sweet potato cassarole. We have evolved to buying our rolls, this time from the new Chicken Express in Arkadelphia. These rolls are second only to O’Charleys rolls, try them. We have too many other little offerings to list, and invariably I end up too full. The men go to the oiving room and nap while the women clean up the kitchen, then we have fresh ground coffee and the dessert of our choice. Indeed, a favorite holiday in which we thank the Lord for our good life and wonderful family and we always remember the less fortunate and the military men and women who offer up their last full measure to keep us free. Rex, here’s wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving. G.B.

  4. Larry Hellums says:

    Rex, hello again from Blytheville, finally got back to work where I have some time to do this kind of thing. The wife and I as we mature are venturing out in the cooking area. We did an Ethiopian style rack of lamb. This is one covered in a barbare paste from Ethiopia. The rack from Sam’s was great, the chef, me was lacking. Got scared of the level of spice and cut back. Should have left it. The garlic and bacon mashed potatoes were just right as was the bacon and sugar wrapped asparagus. All in all was a great day and did enjoy the two of us. Am looking forward to end of December as we will make it around to Joe Cotten’s in Robstown, TX. Don’t know if you have made it, but is a must if you get the wife back home. Brisket, sausage, ribs, bread, onion, tomato and pickled hapalano served on freezer paper. They do put the red beans in a bowl. Happy holidays to you and yours. lh

  5. rexnelson says:

    You guys are making me hungry! I am sure we all will be eating too much from now through Christmas.

    Larry, as I know I have told you, my wife is from Alice so I have been to Cotten’s many times. I love it. There is also a small place there in Robstown (home of the Cotton Pickers) that we know simply as “the taquito stand.” It has some of the best Mexican food on the planet and charges very little — Rex

  6. Ruben Tijerina says:

    I saw your episode on man vs. food and “OH MAN” i wish i live near you guys. Being from Texas BBQ is really big here and your food left my mouth watering.

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