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Biting Down On The Best BBQ Joints Across America

If you love barbecue, you’ll want to have this list of the places across the country!

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Americans can’t help it – BBQ is loved. It’s as American as baseball and apple pie. But with a plethora of BBQ joints out there, it’s hard to know which ones are actually worth it. Here, now, are the absolute best BBQ spots in the country. Enjoy!

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina barbecue takes a slow-cook approach, but they’re all about the sauce. Specifically, the question of which one to use! There are four common sauces in South Carolina: light tomato, heavy tomato, vinegar and pepper, and mustard. So might as well try all four by visiting Q2U Pitt and Catering, Besieger’s BBQ, or Sticky Fingers.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Naturally, Memphis made its way on this list. They have some of the best BBQ ribs in the world in Memphis. You can get them dry, meaning the pork is given a spice rub before the cook, or wet, involving a delicious sauce being applied to the ribs before, during, and after the cook! The best spots in Memphis are definitely The Bar-B-Q Shop, Leonard’s Pit Barbecue, and Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous.

ALABAMA

Alabama’s claim to barbecue fame lies in their introduction of the first white sauce. The man that invented it, “Big” Bob Gibson, didn’t like the way typical vinegar-based sauces paired with his chicken. So he developed a tangy mayonnaise variety that fans have been loving ever since. Dreamland Bar-B-Que locations are all across the state and worth a stop, and Golden Rule and Full Moon BBQ are the other can’t miss joints.

TEXAS IN GENERAL

Naturally, Texas has some of the best barbecue in the country. There are different styles throughout the state, from slow-cooked, mesquite style of Central Texas, to the barbacoa Mexican-style of South Texas, to the extremely slow-cooked style of East Texas. Some of the best spots include Snow’s BBQ, Lamberts, Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, Franklin Barbecue, and Iron Works BBQ.

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

St. Louis takes barbecue so seriously it has its own style. It revolves around grilling the meat and then applying some delicious sauce after the cook. The sauce is typically tomato-based and has a sweetness to it. The best BBQ spots in St. Louis are Salt + Smoke and SugarFire Smokehouse.

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

Just like it’s friends over in St. Louis, Kansas City has a BBQ style all their own. They like to prepare the meat with a spice rub, slow-cook it over various woods, and then douse it in some tomato-based sauce. The best spots in Kansas City are probably Car Bar, Jack Stack BBQ, Gates Bar-B-Q, Joe’s Kansas City BBQ, LC’s Bar-BQ, Q39, and Plowboys Barbecue.

 

SANTA MARIA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA

The central coast area of California has a rich history of Spanish-style barbecue, which involves the meat being rolled in salt and pepper based rub and cooked over a red-oak fire. It’s also usually accompanied with some salsa, beans, and bread. The best spots in the area are The Hitching Post, Far Western Tavern, and Shaw’s Steakhouse.

NORTH CAROLINA

In North Carolina, it’s all about smoking pork over hardwood coals. They have two different styles in the state. First, the Eastern style prefers to slow-cook an entire pig, while the Lexington style involves simply smoking just the pork shoulder. The best spots in the state are Skylight Inn BBQ, Sam Jones BBQ, Lexington Barbecue, and Buxton Hall Barbecue.

WESTERN KENTUCKY

The thing that makes barbecue from Western Kentucky so unique is their use of a rarely used meat: mutton. Kentucky has always had a large sheep population, so it makes sense that they’ve used the meat for so long. They also tend to use a more vinegary sauce than other areas. The spots you have to hit if you find yourself in Western Kentucky are Old Hickory Bar-B-Que, Ole South Bar-B-Q, and Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn.


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How To Make A Healthy Gas Station Meal

   

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You’re on the road when you get hit by the old hunger pangs. Normally what you do is head straight to a fast food joint and get a triple chili burger with a shake and cheese fries. But now you’re trying to eat healthy which means making smarter choices. The question is how do you make healthy choices when you’re in the unhealthy world of rest stops and gas stations? Do you order a chicken fried steak and take the breading off? Do you eat the lettuce and onion then throw the rest of your Big Mac away?

No, there are plenty of great ways to eat healthy when you’re on the go and we’re going to share them all with you so you can stay healthy and stay moving.

REMEMBER THE IMPORTANT THREE

When you’re searching through the foods at your gas station look for these three things to make sure you stay feeling full and satisfied after you eat: Protein, fiber and healthy fat. Aim for around 350 calories with 12-20 grams of protein and 5-10 grams of fiber per meal. It’s easiest to start by looking for a protein like nuts or jerky or peanut butter. Then look to add some fiber with fresh fruits or vegetables. Then it’s time to add some healthy fat with guacamole or nuts. Finally, try drinking water instead of that 64 oz. Big Gulp you usually put down.

DECONSTRUCTED YOGURT PARFAIT

This is a great, quick, healthy meal you can throw together at almost any gas station. Find a low sugar Greek yogurt and break pieces of a nut-based bar into the yogurt. Then add some fruit and voila you have your own personal parfait. You will thoroughly enjoy your meal while also keeping the calorie count nice and low. Filling and delicious is the best way to eat when trying to stay healthy.

PEANUT BUTTER AND APPLE ON CRACKERS

Get an apple and cut it up. Then buy some peanut butter or some other type of nut butter and add it on top of a delicious whole grain cracker for a light meal that is tasty and will leave you satisfied. If you have a hankering for sweets then this meal is for you. It is usually hard to satisfy your desires for sugar in a healthy way, but if you can do it with a meal like this then you have hit the healthy jackpot.

TUNA SALAD

Gas Stations usually sell tuna and you’ll be thanking them for doing so. You can get condiments from the hot dog station to properly fix your tuna right then smear it on top of some whole wheat crackers and you got yourself a delicious meal. All you have to do is add some fresh fruit and you’ll be sitting pretty for a good long while on the road.

BEEF JERKY

When in doubt, grab the jerky. Sure it may be processed, but it’s probably your best bet for processed food a gas station has to offer. Pair it with some fruit and some nuts and you will have a great meal that will put you into a savory based heaven. Just be sure to look for a low sodium option because jerky can be high when it comes to the salt.

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Former Olympic Cities That Are Definitely Worth A Visit

  

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We’re still a ways away from the next Olympic Games, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about Olympics past! In fact, this is as good a time as any to revisit some of the amazing cities that have hosted the historic games over the years.

It turns out many of them are still absolutely gorgeous and very much worth a visit. We went through all of them and here are our top 5 you definitely have to see.

LILLEHAMMER, NORWAY

Lillehammer hosted the Winter Games in 1994 and it provided some unforgettable moments. Like American Bonnie Blair winning her third straight gold in the 500-meter speed skating race, and Norway’s own Johann Olav Koss setting world records in three different speed skating events. Many of the courses and tracks used during those games are still open to the public. You can explore all 211 miles of the cross-country trails, ride the luge and bobsled tracks, or check out the ski jump arena.

LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK

I didn’t know this; Lake Place actually hosted the Olympic Games twice! First in 1932, and then again in 1980. The 1980 games were the setting for one of the most famous moments in American Olympic history: The Miracle On Ice. When the men’s hockey team miraculously defeated the seemingly unbeatable Soviet team. Many of the Olympic facilities are still open for use by the public, but the big draw for Lake Placid is the beautiful scenery. Surrounded by rolling mountains and the beautiful blue water of the lake itself, it’s easy to see why Lake Placid is a two-time host of the Olympic Games. 

ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND

St. Moritz also hosted the Olympic Games twice. First in 1928, and then again in 1948. The 1928 games are famous for introducing the skeleton event, one of the most exciting and dangerous sports in the winter games. One attraction you have to catch when you visit is the Olympic Ice Pavillion that was built in 1905 and used in both Olympic Games that were held here. It’s also right by the beautiful Kulm golf course if you’d like to get in a quick 18 while you’re there.

HELSINKI, FINLAND

Helsinki was the proud home of the 1952 summer games. This was the first Olympic Games that saw athletes from Israel an the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union wasted no time getting down to business, as their women’s gymnastics team dominated their field. 

Helsinki is especially famous for its beautiful architecture. Most notably Helsinki Central Station, and Hotel Kamp, which features an incredible hall of mirrors. And don’t forget to stop by the Design District to take in some art, pick up a few mementos, and grab a bite of the local fare. 

MONTREAL, QUEBEC

The 1976 Olympic games took place in the one and only Montreal. A very important Olympics, as women’s handball, rowing, and basketball were included for the very first time. But beyond that, most people remember Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci the most. She famously earned the first-ever perfect 10 at the age of 14. 

The legend of these games lives on in the old Olympic Park through ‘Since 1976,’ a beautiful exhibit celebrating all that took place that year. Definitely worth a look if you ever make it to this beautiful city. 


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Food

10 Ways to Get More Creative With Home Cooking

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10 Ways to Get More Creative With Home Cooking

If you cook at home regularly, you might eventually find yourself running out of ideas – or making the same things over and over again. Even if you love these dishes, they may eventually become stale and boring, both in terms of taste and preparation.
Fortunately, there are several strategies that can help you be more creative in the kitchen – and find more inspiration for dynamic food preparation.

Experimenting in the Kitchen (and Beyond)

These are some of the best ways to get more creative with your home cooking:

  • Ditch the recipes. Recipes are great. They make it easy to replicate dishes at home, they provide straightforward instructions that are difficult to mess up, and they provide you a system of organization that can remind you of things you’ve made in the past. But if you’ve spent enough time cooking and baking, you probably know most of your favorite recipes by heart – and you understand the fundamentals of cooking well enough to experiment on your own. Stop depending entirely on recipes and start coming up with your own creations. Deviate from the instructions and trust your own culinary instincts.
  • Invest in a wood stove. A wood burning stove is an excellent source of heat – and you can even cook with it! If you’re used to preparing most of your meals over the stove, in the oven, or in the microwave, this can be a dynamic new way to cook almost anything. Even if you’re using the same ingredients, you’re going to be using a different preparation method and you’ll end up with a finished product that tastes at least slightly differently.
  • Buy ingredients from multicultural markets. Multicultural markets are one of the best ways to find new, exotic ingredients that you can’t normally find in your local grocery store. Some of these ingredients may not be palatable, and some of them will be so strange that you don’t know how to use them properly, but sometimes, this extra novelty is exactly what you need to spice up your old favorite dishes or break out of your rut.
  • Experiment with seasonal produce. When produce is in season, it tends to be much more plentiful and much less expensive. Use this as an inspirational opportunity to experiment. Create some new dishes out of whatever produce happens to be in season – and find the perfect ingredients to compliment them.
  • Create a competitive challenge for your family. Iron Chef and similar competitive cooking shows have been popular for decades now, since people love food, cooking, and the thrill of competition in the same setting. Why not create a competitive challenge for you and your family? For example, you can have you and your spouse create two similar, yet distinct dishes and call upon the kids to judge which one was better.
  • Invest in a new spice. Visit a local market and buy a spice or herb you’ve never tried before. Taste it carefully and try pairing it with various other ingredients to see how it fits. Then, start incorporating it into dishes where you’ve never had it before.
  • Make your own signature spice blends. It’s not hard to find recipes for homemade spice blends, but have you ever considered making a blend that’s entirely your own? Take a handful of your favorite spices, preferably ones that complement each other, and mix them all up. Once you stumble upon a formula that works for your taste buds, you can mix a larger batch and add it to a wide variety of foods.
  • Coordinate with colors. You’re probably used to cooking with your senses of smell and taste at the forefront. But what about vision? Consider cooking entire dishes based around a color, or a set of complementary colors; it’s a great way to force some creativity.
  • Find outside inspiration. Are you struggling to come up with creative new ideas on your own? Consider branching out by visiting new restaurants, watching new cooking shows, and talking to skilled chefs in your own life.
  • Splurge on a new piece of cooking equipment. Finally, consider splurging on a new piece of cooking equipment. A new appliance or tool, like an air fryer or multicooker, could be exactly what you need to make the kitchen feel refreshingly new.

Committing to Creativity

The best way to keep things fresh in your kitchen consistently is to commit to your creativity. Make a plan for more culinary experimentation and stick to it. For example, you can set Fridays as a total experimentation day, where you try a new recipe, tinker with a new ingredient, or do something crazy in the kitchen. As long as you keep trying new things and adjusting old formulas, you and your family will never be bored with your food.

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