Short Stories by Pat Nelson

Skeeter's to Serve BBQ

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March 2014
By Pat Nelson - Reprinted with permission

Click to enlargeWest Woodland is heating up with a new BBQ place! Eager Beaver, the long-time hamburger joint near Dollar Tree, at the corner of Goerig and Robbins Street, will soon open as Skeeter's BBQ. Owner Marv Ray, aka Skeeter, is no newcomer to Woodland's food scene. Folks have lined up for his barbecue at Don's Donuts as well as Woodland Planters' Days and LaCenter Our Days celebrations plus wedding receptions and other catered events. Whenever my husband, Bob, and I spotted Skeeter at local-area events, we took a couple orders of his delicious baby-back ribs home for dinner. Skeeter hopes to open the new eatery by April 5 and will be open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday.

Dustin Ray, a 1995 Woodland High School graduate, will join his father in running the restaurant. Dustin, who served in the Army and the North Carolina National Guard for 10 years, was deployed to Afghanistan from 2010-2012. Dustin, along with his wife and three children, have just come home to Woodland.

Click to enlargeSkeeter told me, "I've always done catering. I've owned a couple of small delis and I've catered a lot of weddings." "When I spent two years in Texas with Alcoa," he said, "I learned the barbecue trade." He liked smoking meats so much that he bought a big smoker and trailer and put together a catering truck with kitchen. He's looking forward to cooking barbecue at the new Skeeter's restaurant. "With the truck," said Skeeter, "I had to stay with the smoker for 12 hours. But with my new state-of-the-art indoor smoker, I will be able to set it and forget it." He will continue to cater weddings, picnics, and other events for up to 50 or 60 people.

So that customers will be able to enjoy the flavor of the meats and the smoke, Skeeter will not offer pulled pork. Instead, he will slice pork loin or beef as it is ordered, and will serve the sauce on the side, allowing customers to enjoy the flavor of the meat and the smoke, not just the sauce. Customers ordering at the walk-up window rather than going inside can watch as Skeeter and Dustin Ray carve the freshly smoked meats to order.

Click to enlargeAlong with baby-back ribs, pork loin, and beef, Skeeter's will offer homemade macaroni and cheese, beans, coleslaw, smoked beef or pork-loin nachos, seasonal meats such as smoked turkey leg, and specials like smoked bologna or smoked hot dogs. There will be lunch specials, as well as some non-traditional but flavorful breakfast items on Saturdays and Sundays, including homemade pork gravy with chunks of smoked pork loin served over biscuits.

For those with a sweet tooth and an imagination, Skeeter's will offer a dessert called Chocolate- Gravy Frosting Cake. "This," said Skeeter, "is a cupcake with butter-cream chocolate gravy." To me, gravy's good on anything, so Bob and I will give it a try. Other homemade desserts planned for the menu include banana pudding and pecan pie, and seasonal favorites like strawberry shortcake . . . topped, of course, with sun-ripened Woodland strawberries!

Photos by Pat Nelson

Pat Nelson is a contributor to "Not Your Mother's Book..On Being a Woman," "On Being a Stupid Kid," "On Dogs." "On Travel" and "On Home Improvement." She is co-creator of three books in the series: "On Being a Parent" (released September 2013 and available wherever books are sold); "On Being a Grandparent" and "On Working for a Living" (now accepting your true stories at www.PublishingSyndicate.com). Visit Pat at www.Storystorm.US.

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