I was going to post throughout our road trip. However, who knew Oklahoma was not part of the “world wide web”?
Love you, son!
It is somewhat surreal to be road-tripping across the country with you, Bryson. It is hard to believe that you are already old enough to have not only served a two year mission for our church, but to be now heading out to university. Honestly, I swear – I blinked and you grew up.
I am writing this as we are currently smack dab in the middle of Arkansas looking for a place to get good BBQ before we crash in the first of a series of roadside hotel rooms. Road-tripping across the country to bring you out to school is probably one of my best ideas yet! This is well-spent time.
I am a happy mushy sad mess inside. I am so proud of you, of the choices you have made. You always choose the high road, and you have never been afraid to work hard. You are such a great example. I really love you, kid.
I am only sad for myself. I like having you around. I am so happy for you, though. I am excited to see what the next few years bring to you – how you will navigate adulthood and make decisions on the direction your future will take. I love all my many memories of your past, but I am so excited for your future.
To help with the mass of emotions I am currently experiencing, I suggest we embrace one of my greatest talents and… eat our feelings!
Luckily, Fort Smith just so happened to have an award-winning Grand Champion Pit Master who set up shop in in a little strip mall, and we found him! Barbecue is the PERFECT comfort food.
There were so many awards and trophies on display right as you walked in! Stupid CRAZY numbers of ribbons and trophies. The set-up of the restaurant was great – it was very casual, almost cafeteria style. Everything was painted bright mismatched colors with plenty of plastic flamingos to add to the ambiance. Tables ranged from picnic style to painted cable reels. It was awesome.
We wanted to try everything so we ordered the “Judges’ Platter” which was a collection of all the award-winning meats. The ribs were great – not as tender as my oven ribs, really yummy though – they were slathered in the house-made “original BBQ” sauce. All six of the sauces were tomato-based sauces, thick and somewhat sweet. My favorite was the “Smoked Original.” It was a deep rich brown color, and it had a mild smoke flavor with hints of coffee. The pulled pork was actually very sweet with almost no smoke flavor. It was delicious but very different from southern BBQ. I think the best thing on the platter was the sausage; it was really juicy. When you took a bite it would almost pop in your mouth, exploding flavor. It was amazing.
Hands down, my favorite thing that we ate at Ralph’s Pink Flamingo BBQ was their Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie with Caramel Sauce. Holy cow, it was delicious. Sweet enough to send you into a diabetic coma, with all kinds of flavors working together. They took an ordinary pecan pie and sent it over the top with the addition of chocolate chunks, caramel sauce, and bourbon. I am going to duplicate this pie or die trying.