A recipe for success: Waynesville B&Bs score kudos for scrumptious breakfasts

fr foodPeople rent hotel rooms because they need a place to shower and lay their weary heads. But, people check into bed and breakfasts because they want a place that feels like home.

Vinegar pie? Southern Living lauds Jarrett House’s ‘delectable’ fare

A local Dillsboro inn had four recipes featured in the Southern Living cookbook, Off the Eaten Path: Favorite Southern Dives and 150 Recipes that Made Them Famous.

The Jarrett House, a favorite Dillsboro bed and breakfast for the past 127 years, has received national recognition for its regional expertise. Pages 160 to 163 of the cookbook contain photos of the Jarrett House, an introduction to the restaurant and four of its famous recipes.

Morgan Murphy, the former travel and food editor for Southern Living magazine, toured the South in his old Cadillac, searching for the region’s best restaurants and recipes. He stopped at the Jarrett House, giving the GPS coordinates for fellow travelers, on his way through North Carolina.

“The cooking here is as straightforward and simple as their buttery biscuits. You won’t find complex ingredients or cutting-edge techniques. But what you will find is delectable Southern fare served with a smile,” Murphy wrote about the Jarrett House.

Murphy’s favorite was the chicken and dumplings. “I’d be a dumpling myself if I lived anywhere near the Jarrett House,” he wrote. The cookbook lists the ingredients and preparation instructions for the dish, including the diner secret: two kinds of pepper give the recipe a “country kick.”

Murphy included the Jarrett House’s 3-step recipe for Vinegar Pie, describing the taste as “something between a poundcake and a pecan pie without pecans. Yum.” The Jarrett House’s “easy, four-ingredient biscuits” and house apples (2 pounds sliced apples, 1 cup sugar) were also featured.

The Hartbargers have owned the Jarrett House for 36 years; in that time, Southern Living has visited the restaurant and written articles about it periodically, which the restaurant has kept for display. According to Jim Hartbarger, Southern Living has always offered an extremely positive response.

Hartbarger said the Jarrett House was chosen over other restaurants “because of its age and standards. It was a no-miss situation.” When Murphy came to visit the restaurant last year, he sat down for lunch and interviewed the staff, making sure he had a story to accompany the recipes.

“Southern Living has always been good to us. It’s an honor, and we’re really proud,” Hartbarger said.

By Tessa Rodes • SMN Intern

Blackrock brings Sylva its own distinctive BBQ

“Barbecue is all about slow and low,” said Blackrock BBQ owner and pit master James Aust. “The secret’s in the rub, and I can’t share that.”

Barbecue, as a food, lends itself to mysterious discourse, in part, because it’s so simple. Pork shoulder butt (or whole pig) cooked in a smoker until it’s poised to fall apart. For purists, the nuance of flavoring with smokes and rubs is where the art is.

Sylva has a new repository for that art thanks to Aust and his partner in crime Chef Jay Horton. Aust recently purchased the building that used to be Lee’s Barbecue on NC 107, renovated it, and started a whole new kind of shop.

“It just kind of fell into my lap. Lee was looking to get down to one restaurant, so I talked to him about it and thought I’d give it a try,” Aust said.

Horton and Aust met in the kitchen at the Cedar Creek Racquet Club in Cashiers where they worked last summer. Horton, raised in Canton, has 21 years of experience in fine dining and got his start cooking at Ghost Town when he was 16.

“The only other thing I’ve found I’m good at is putting money into the cash registers at a convenience store,” Horton said.

Aust, an Army brat who’s spent the last 16 years of his life in Sylva, was going to school to become a teacher when he decided to take over Lee’s. Blackrock BBQ and Grill has been open for less than a month now, but it’s already packed during the lunch hour with a mix of Lee’s loyalists, WCU students and staff, professionals from the hospital complex and members of local law enforcement agencies.

The barbecue is Eastern North Carolina style pulled pork and they serve it with both vinegar and hot pepper sauce and sweet tomato-based sauce on the table.

Aust cooks the dry rubbed cuts of pork for 15 hours in a smoker, and the result is delicious. Barbecue in the mountains, unless you’re at someone’s house, is often a dicey proposition. The economies of scale that make for barbecue meccas in places like Lexington don’t exist, and the result is often meat that is rushed or over-sauced.

The pork at Blackrock is spot on. The dry rub adds a distinctive signature that isn’t distracting, and the smoke flavor doesn’t overpower the meat. One of the great things about whole pig barbecue is the crispy bits of skin on the outer layer and the strands of pork underneath coated in the rendered fat. When the meat is pulled, it yields a range of textures from crisp to succulent and fatty.

“Slow and low” sounds easy, but getting the right seal on the pork is crucial and you can tell Aust know his work, because the meat pulls right and arrives on your plate in a neat little mound of crispy-edged hunks.

Horton prepares all the sides and a la carte items, like collard greens and hand-cut potato wedges, from scratch and to order. The pulled pork platter comes with two sides and hush puppies for $7.50. The beans were the second star of the show, tangy and sweet with the same distinctive spice signature as the rub.

Another huge upgrade to the Lee’s experience is the total interior renovation that Aust’s father, Jim, contributed to the project. Jim has transformed the kitchen into a clean, efficient stainless steel commercial space and the front room into a rustic, hand-worked wood parlor with four spacious booths and five two-tops.

“We wanted to make it a rustic clean place to sit down for a good meal,” said Aust. “ Everything in here is hand-made, just like the food.”

Aust and Horton plan to add Memphis-style spare ribs and catering to the operation in the near future. They also cure their own bacon for their BLT’s and burgers. Mmmmm, bacon.

The two partners are happy to be out of the fine dining world and confident in their product.

“It’s the kind of food we love to fix,” Aust said. “Just good old Southern food.”

Find them on Facebook or call 828.586.3490.

Highlands sets the table for a fall feast: Inaugural gathering of gastronomes holds great promise for the plateau

By Michael Beadle

Indulge in a seven-course meal that includes roasted pheasant, foie gras and braised wild boar. Sip award-winning wines from Tuscany. Savor sushi, soft-shell crab and sake. Tempt your tongue with rich chocolates.

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