January 19, 2018

Lambstock 2012! (Part II)


Mr. Les Moore

Mr. Les Moore

Earlier I had met a gentleman named Les Moore who, like me, was at the event to provide a little musical interlude or two.  Les and his lovely wife “Cookie” relocated to Patrick Springs from St. Louis.  With his porkpie hat he certainly looked the part of an authentic bluesman.  Deciding that perhaps it was time to start earning our keep, Les and I broke out our guitars and played acoustically for a bit.  He has a beautifully slappy fingerpicked style that intersperses blues chords and jazz formations.  I played lead with him for a while to some old standards and covers from artists such as Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder.  Later I got up on stage with my guitar and Les accompanied me with some artfully played harmonica.  Much thanks is extended to Les for the privilage of his musical company.

About this time they lit the bonfire.  When I say “bonfire” that doesn’t begin to convey the scope of this thing.  The basis was two three-quarter ton hay rolls,

Making Charcoal from the Bones of Lamb!

one stacked on top of the other.  Against this was leaned a perimeter of tree trunks about sixteen feet long and ranging from four to ten inches in diameter.  The whole mass was lit using a welding “rosebud” attached to a large propane tank.  When this gadget was fired up it sounded like (and essentially was) a flamethrower.  As an interesting sidenote to the fire, I had earlier noticed a 55 gallon steel drum in the remnants of the previous night’s conflagration.  Upon enquiring I was told the drum was full of lamb bones in a low-oxygen environment.  They were literally turning the bones into charcoal to use for grilling other foods later in the event!

Just to make sure noone went hungry while the spitted lamb was cooking, Rappahanock River Oysters was on hand shucking freshly harvested bi-valves as quickly as the crowd could possibly slurp them down.  If you have ever had half-shells at Lucky in downtown Roanoke then you are familiar with the unbelieveable quality of these oysters.  I have honestly never had better in my entire life.  They were accompanied by a remarkable okra mignonette whipped up by Chef Johnson of The Grocery.

Rappahanock River Oysters

Then the dinner bell rang.  Not only was the filleted lamb served in all its succulent glory, but there were slow-cooked and smoked lamb ribs, smoked heritage turkeys (also raised by Border Springs Farm) and there was pork belly.  Not just any pork belly either.  This stuff was bone-in and skin-on had been smoked throughout the previous day.  It was then slow grilled until the skin turned into golden cracklings.  I have rarely been more excited about a piece of pig flesh in my life and, believe me, I have been plenty excited.  In the overwhelming mass of gorgeous food, however, I forgot about the belly!  This will go down in my life as one that got away.  Amongst the various desserts was a multi-layered chocolate cake baked by a winner of a Food Network Cake Challenge.

Oh Glorious, Glorious Pork Belly…

All in all, Lambstock was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my culinary experience.  I have already been given the nod for next year’s event and await only a firm date to ink it in my calendar… I am counting the days!




Lamb Fresh off the Spit!

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