BBQ Chronicles:  Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue–Jefferson, TX

Yesterday was one of those rare days when both my wife and I were off work. We had planned on some type of outdoor family adventure, but the rainy weather made us modify our plans.  Plan B was to make a short trek to Texas for some delectable barbecue.  I brought, Alli, my oldest daughter to Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue last year when I started my journey to visit the TM Top 50 joints, so I already knew that we were going to get a respectable meal.

 

Spare rib, fatty brisket, and sausage.
 
Alli and I asked for untrimmed fatty brisket–sliced.  I’ll have to admit that there wasn’t much of a crust, but the perfectly rendered fat made up for it.  The meat was a bit blandish, but it did have a nice smokiness and was deliciously tender. Any joker can chop shoe leather and slather it in sauce, but it takes a certain level of expertise to smoke up a slab of fork tender meat.  My wife, Heather, and I had a second dose of brisket in our swamp fries–a devilish concoction of hand cut fries smothered in brisket, jalapeños, onions, and cheese.  Hand cut fries are the best and when they are paired with BBQ, they are phenomenal.

 

The fabled swamp fries that might be the Fouke Monster’s main staple.
 
The spare ribs had a nice smoke ring.  There wasn’t much rub induced flavor, but they were nice.  They gave the perfect resistance when bitten.  No mushy meat and it came clean from the bone.

The smoked sausage was forgettable.  It gave a nice hint of fire as if they were hot links, but I should have passed on it to make room for some smoked turkey.

The barbecue beans were punched up baked beans from a can, but man, they were punched up.  I really enjoyed them.

I also asked the pit master what he puts in the sauce that gives it its sweetness. He immediately responded with brown sugar.  When I pressed him, he gave a bit of a sly smile but wouldn’t give it up.  I detected a fruity note, perhaps cherry.  Whatever he sneaks into his sauce works.

Aside from the lack of bark on these delectable morsels and the tired sausage, everything was great.  I’m a bit surprised because my favorite from our smorgasbord was the swamp fries.  Incredible.
Explore the following links for more BBQ exploits:

Bartley’s BBQ

Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q

Hitch-N-Post

Bob’s Bar-B-Que

Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q

Dreamland

Billy’s Old Fashion Barbecue

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Opposing God

I was reading a Franklin Graham post on Facebook when I was reminded of the dark times we live in.  The subject of the post was concerning the legalization of homosexual marriage in Ireland.  We all know (whether you admit it or suppress it) that God defined marriage between one man and one woman.  We can force a square peg through a round hole and “redefine” anything we wish.  But that doesn’t make it true.  

I enjoy reading peoples’ responses on Facebook.  Sometimes you read something poignant, but most of the time it’s thoughtless bumper sticker rhetoric.  “Don’t Judge” is one of the most popular remarks.  I can understand that coming from a pagan, but professing Christians say it too.  It seems to escape these people that they are guilty of judgment when they tell people not to judge.  But to have so-called Christians disregarding scripture?  Is this the New Intolerance?

We must not do what is right in our own eyes.  We can see where that path leads by reading Judges.  I think that is the disconnect.  What do the statistics say regarding Christianity in America?  Seventy percent?  Eighty percent?  These statistics are so misleading because most of these people only like a Jesus that approves of them.  Their Christ didn’t die for their sins.  

Realistically, I wouldn’t be surprised if America is only ten or fifteen percent Christian.  The other sixty five percent are wannabe poseurs who think Matthew 7 teaches that it is wrong to judge and that God won’t punish lawbreakers.  These people think that they are good because they go to church, or not.  Maybe their worship is their own private affair when they are watching American Idol or cheating on their taxes.  It’s a smokescreen.  That own “private worship” business is oftentimes justification for their lawless hearts.

It’s no wonder that pagans call us hypocrites because we act just like they do.  We stand on the Bible regarding homosexual marriage, but we forget about divorce.  We appear to be the wet blanket at the party when we oppose sin instead of upholding virtue.  It’s not a matter of preference.  It is a matter of right and wrong.

We don’t define sin.  God does.  Yet, we tell people to avoid sin because it is wrong or even gross.  Try looking at sin from God’s perspective.  All sin, divorce, rape, murder, homosexuality, blasphemy–all sins aren’t merely aberrant.  God views sin as abominable.

Why can’t we just let people persist in their sin?  It’s not hurting us Christians.  That’s not what Paul says.  He states, “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (‭Romans‬ ‭1‬:‭32‬ ESV)  Our approval of sin or even our winking at sin is an abomination.  

If we encourage any sin, we are in rebellion.  If we stand for and support sin, we may as well be participants.  We are opposing God.  How can a Christian call himself a friend of God when he behaves like an enemy?  He can’t.

Unborn Again

I was listening to Paul Washer today when I was reminded that Christianity isn’t about morality or being a good person.  This is oftentimes the message that unbelievers hear.  A common belief is that God is loving; therefore, He will overlook my sins because overall I’m a pretty good person.  After all, I’ve never killed anyone.  I even help old ladies across the street.  But the truth is that I’m not good.  It doesn’t matter what I do.  It is impossible for my good works to overcome my bad ones.  

In reality, I have no good in me apart from Jesus.  Yet people despise the godman and attempt to earn their own salvation.  When we get caught up in religion, we are no more saved than the unregenerate.  

Paul Washer had an analogy that clarified this.  Suppose a preacher went to visit a member of his congregation at his house because he has not been attending lately.  The man says, “Preacher, you’re right.  I need to get back in church because it is good for me.”  The preacher confronts him on his drinking.  The man retorts, “You’re right preacher.  I’ve been getting drunk a lot lately.  I like boozing but I need to quit because that’s what’s best for me.”  Now the preacher confronts the man about his infidelity.  The man says, “I know it’s not what’s best for me.  I need to quit carousing.”

The following Sunday, the man comes to church and fellow church members are amazed that the preacher was able to lead a sheep back into the fold.  The truth is that this man never was a sheep.  He’s just a goat attending church.

We shouldn’t be doing what we hate doing because it is good for us.  It’s not like force feeding yourself kale because it is heart healthy.  If we are secure in Christ, what we love should be a reflection of that.  If we love our sin we aren’t saved.

This reminds me of a former friend.  After sharing the gospel many times, he claimed that he has “accepted” Christ.  After only a few weeks, he shed his identity with Christ as easily as he allegedly identified with him.  He actually says he was born again (but no longer).  One cannot be saved only to become unsaved.  Either you are born again or you are not.  

It is clear that he doesn’t know what it means to be born again.  He never was born again.  He was blinded by his own wisdom and goodness.  He doesn’t realize that he is a bad man in need of a savior.

There are people just like him in the church.  They are caught up with religion or self righteousness.  They don’t understand that keeping law will not save them.  This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t obey God, but we don’t follow God’s laws to be saved.  We strive to keep the law because we are saved.

Counting Down

My first Remicade infusion was April 20.  My second was May 7.  I’m taunted by short bouts of relief.  I’m aware that it can take three months to begin to enjoy the effects, but when you are in the middle of a flare up, you can’t even see thirty minutes into your future.  You can’t see beyond the pain.

At times it feels like my lower spine was smashed with a framing hammer.  My hips don’t feel much better.  At least I’m reminded of my disease because too many days of relative comfort make the pain fade into a fog where you can’t quite grasp the enormity of the crushing torment.  That is perhaps the greatest gift.  Those are the days where I’m completely disconnected from my illness because I can’t quite remember how crippling it feels.  The memories rush back as you stagger like Frankenstein, though.  

It feels like I made a mistake when I made the leap from Humira to Remicade.  Humira works for me, but I dared to try something new to see if I could feel more normal.  I’m drifting in agony and my dad decides to text me about my sister.  About some sort of reconciliation.  I’ve played that game before and boundaries are more important than dealing with something hopeless.  Don’t get me wrong.  I wish her the best, but we have never been close.  We are strangers linked by blood.  After you sift the details, we are still strangers.

I rattled off a laundry list of what I endure daily, and to look at it, it is rather depressing.  I told him that I haven’t had a pain-free day in almost six years.  I told him I have days where I don’t know how to survive another thirty minutes, so if God grants me another thirty years, that is 262,800 more hours of desolation.  Sure, some days are better than others, but the pain always lingers.  It prowls waiting to consume me.  And I’m devoured moment by moment.

I don’t think he ever considered my problems.  He just wants to repair a dysfunctional family before he dies.  Good for him.  He just needs to pick a new family on which to focus his efforts.  (I hope that last sentence was properly structured.  I was thinking of grammar nazis and prepositions.  If not, I really don’t care as I think an alien is erupting from my spine right now).

When I wake up in the morning, my focus will be counting the hours until I can go back to sleep.  An Ambien induced slumber that allows me an unconscious respite.  My little slice of heaven.

Mooyah–Tyler, TX

I was on my way home from a Mercy Chefs deployment in Van, TX and had planned on stopping at Stanley’s in Tyler, TX.  They have excellent barbecue.  In fact, I’d say they have the only barbecue in fifty miles.  All other claimants in the area do not produce barbecue, but an abominable imposter.  Sadly, Stanley’s is closed on Sundays, so I had to think fast and settled on Mooyah Burgers, Shakes & Fries.  I won’t make that mistake again.

I was encouraged when I saw fresh cut fries on the menu.  I also thought the burgers looked promising.  I was thinking about Five Guys fries and a punched up burger as I consider five Guys’ burgers as consistent, yet average.  If I hadn’t shelled out eleven bucks for a burger, fries, and a drink, I could have better enjoyed an otherwise unenjoyable burger.

The bun was soft and squishy like an old lady’s flabby neck (I mean this in the most complimentary way).  The size of the party was impressive.  The sheer number of available toppings and sauces were unmatched.  The flowing grease mustn’t be confused with juiciness, though.

At first, I actually thought I was assaulting an incredibly juicy burger, but the unpleasant liveresque aftertaste coupled with grease that coated my throat, I quickly realized that I had stumbled into a nightmare.  I’m not opposed to excessively greasy burgers, but this was no enhancement.  This was obscenity on a bun.  This was equivalent to grazing on a minefield of back acne. 

If you want some tasty fries, Mooyah will satisfy.  If you are still lusting for decadence, pass on the burger and get a peanut butter and banana concrete at Andy’s Frozen Custard down the street.