My wife and I were watching the movie The Blindside and during a scene where the ex-coach of Ole Miss, Ed Orgeron, is trying to woo Michael Oher so that he will come to play at Ole Miss. As he is sitting in the living room of Oher’s adopted family, Orgeron says. “Do you like barbeque? We have the best barbeque in the country in Mississippi. Why, you can get barbeque at a gas station in Mississippi.” My wife laughed out loud and looked at me. What she was referring to is Rose’s, my favorite place to eat in Hattiesburg, which happens to be a gas station as well as a BBQ stand.
What makes Rose’s my favorite place to eat is their ribs. They have the best smoked pork ribs I have ever eaten in my life, which is saying something! I am a rib connoisseur, and have worked on my own recipe for smoked pork ribs for years. I know that I will get some hate mail over this, but I am convinced that they are better than Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse, better than Corky’s in Memphis, better than the ribs I had at the Montgomery Inn in Cincinnati, better than at the Smokehouse in Kansas City, or any number of other places I could mention. Their beef ribs, which they serve off the bone, are second to none. You can also get smoked sausage, an entire smoked turkey leg or an entire smoked chicken.
If you are looking for something a little more healthy than smoked pork or beef, you should try their “chicken on a stick.”
“Chicken on a stick” is basically a shish kabob with Chicken, a potato, pickle and onion which is then battered and deep fried. Yummy! Don’t worry, they bring an AED to your table along with your order. That brings me to something I heard during my first week living in Mississippi. One of the guys who works with me asked me “do you know what the State bird of Mississippi?” I replied that I didn’t. “Fried Chicken.” He went on to tell me the State Motto: “You gonna eat that?”
It is no wonder that I have gained 30 lbs since I moved to Mississippi. Almost two years ago, I decided to go on a diet. After finishing my MBA (which I did while I was working 60 hours a week), I realized that I had gotten to 250 lbs, the most I had ever weighed in my life. (When I was in college, I weighed only 155 lbs!) Also, as I was starting a job search, I realized that I needed to lose weight for my self esteem, and so that I could fit in my suits again. I joined Weight Watchers, and in about 5 or 6 months I had lost 30 lbs. One day shortly before I left my last company my HR manager saw me. He had been traveling quite a bit, and hadn’t seen me for a few weeks, and I was wearing black (which according to my wife black is “slimming”.) My HR manager looked and me and said, “you are looking Svelte, Mr. Smith (he often called me Mr. Smith for some reason). Are you trying to get in interviewing condition?” Little did he know…
As I have been once again trying to lose weight (I am not looking for a job this time), I have been increasingly vexed at how good the food is here in Mississippi. It is not just the BBQ, but there are a surprising number of good places to eat in Hattiesburg. My real downfall is, however, breakfast. There are four places (three are gas stations) along the way on my 20 minute ride to work that I can stop at to get a home-made bacon-egg-and-cheese-biscuit.
Did I mention that I love dessert? I am quite partial to the fried pecan pie at a little restaurant down the road from work where we like to lunch. Even Sweet Peppers, a sandwich eatery with mostly healthy sandwiches on their menu, has some of the most amazing layered cheesecakes I have had.
It is no wonder that Mississippi tops the 50 states in terms of obesity. With all this good food it is next to impossible to stay thin.