Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy Hawg

Derek and I were out and about running some errands today that took us to a couple of neighboring communities.  One of them was Hiram, GA.  And on the way back out of town, on the aptly named Hiram Acworth Highway (a mostly 2-lane road that runs between these two towns), we looked at each other and said, in chorus, "I'm starving!  Let's stop and get some lunch."

That's how we ended up parked behind a many-times remodeled old home that is painted an eye-popping shade I can only describe as Pledge-can yellow.  Emblazoned in big bright red letters across the front it says "Happy Hawg Bar-B-Q and Catering."  Sounds like a classy joint, doesn't it?

Happy Hawg is everything you'd expect of a little roadside country diner right down the vinyl red-checked tablecloths.  The food is delicious, they bring out generous portions quickly and the prices are very reasonable.  We both had their special pulled pork sandwiches.  The buns were nicely toasted and the meat was smoky and tender.  Derek got french fries with his sandwich - fresh potatoes cut into wide strips and cooked crispy and golden.  I got both onion rings and potato salad with mine.

I'm gonna have to go back to Happy Hawg a few times just to figure out what in the heck they put in that potato salad!  You could park my fat backside in a big ol' tub of that and I'd die happy thinking I was in Hawg heaven...  I'm pretty sure the potatoes were baked, not boiled, and it was tossed with bacon crumbles and a good handful of chopped green onion.  The silky dressing wasn't exactly Ranch but that's the closest description I can come up with.  So good!

As impressed as I am with the potato salad, its yumminess pales when I start thinking about the BBQ sauce I drenched my sandwich in.  There was a choice... there were 3 squeeze bottles on the table:  a tomato-based sauce like most of us think of when you hear BBQ, a vinegar and herb-based sauce and a mustard-based sauce.

I've never had a mustard-based barbecue sauce before.


I'm still stuffed from lunch.  But that doesn't keep me from drooling at the mere thought of that sauce... Holy moly!!

After we got home, I started looking for recipes for mustard-based BBQ sauces and I found quite a few.  Most come with some caveat that they're pretty much a regional thing for the Carolinas and northern Georgia.  But don't let geography stop you... you really, really, really NEED to try this stuff at least once in your life!

This recipe from is what I'm going to use as a starting point to try to duplicate today's delectableness, except instead of black pepper I'm going to very finely mince a bit of jalapeno, red bell pepper and onion and cook them in butter (as was suggested in another recipe I read) or olive oil first.  My adjustments for the first trial:

Mustard BBQ Sauce

1 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbl very finely minced jalapeno
1 Tbl very finely minced red bell pepper
2 Tbl very finely minced yellow onion
2 - 3 Tbl melted butter

Saute the jalapeno pepper, red bell pepper and onion in the butter until soft but not browned.  Add remaining ingredients and bring just to a boil whisking constantly.  Let simmer for 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust for salt, spices, sweet and tangy.  Cool to room temperature and pour into blender container.  Blend until perfectly smooth.  Makes 2 cups.

Use as a baste during final 15 minutes grilling chicken, pork or beef or as a dressing on pulled pork sandwiches or as a dip for fried chicken strips or nuggets.  Refrigerate any leftovers promptly.  Use within 2 weeks.

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