Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2017 - 55
"Stay with the pig until
he makes a hog," is the
way one long-time BBQ
purveyor talks about
the challenges to her
restaurant. These two
dining rooms have
long-since proven that
axiom to be true.
by Fred & Jill Sauceman
The meat that goes on a Ridgewood barbecue sandwich is never weighed.
"Sometimes those ladies get heavy hands," says Larry Proffitt.
Trish Royall pulled, minced and
chopped barbecue meat for 40 years
in her native North Carolina. Now,
in Northeast Tennessee, she slices.
In 2016, she was driving down
U.S. 421 in Mountain City, Tennessee, when she noticed the lights on
once again at Mike's Bar-B-Q and
Sub Shop. Mike Blevins had operated the restaurant for 38 years before closing it down and putting it
up for sale.
Royall wasn't really in the job
hunt that day in May, but she
made a U-turn on the busy thoroughfare, went inside, and met the
new owners, Jason and Codi Pass,
who had re-opened the place just
four days before.
"When can you start?" Jason Pass
asked the barbecue veteran, who
is originally from Wilkes County,
North Carolina. Royall went to
work that very day and stayed until
9:30 in the evening.
At Mike's, pulling, mincing and
chopping aren't in the cards. Like
another East Tennessee barbecue
icon, Bluff City's Ridgewood, Mike's
serves sliced meat only.
"When you slice the meat, it's
got a different texture to it," says
Pass. "You get a good smoky flavor
in each bite."
May/June 2017 55