Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Papa Bear’s BBQ Hot Link Sandwich

It’s a secret, but no secret, and it’s a rule, but no rule, that you will find the BEST BBQ in the most unlikely places.
Down in the piney woods of east Texas, just south of Carthage there is a little 10 foot Airstream Trailer with a smokestack coming out the top and an awning over the window where you place your order. There are a couple picnic tables in theparking lot, and a beat up sign that reads:

I remember the first time I stopped in at Papa Bears. I was hungry as a horse, on my way home from fishing at Toledo Bend. I said hello to the girl at the little window, and decided on “Papa Bears BBQ Hot Link Sandwich”. I thought for a minute I might get two I was so hungry, but I asked the girl if that came with onions and jalapenos and cheese and stuff.
“Oh yes sir, we put lots on there”
“Good” I replied and went and sat down at the picnic table,and watched an old man with a broom sweep the asphalt in the parking lot.

A few minutes later the girl brings my hot link sandwich out.
I couldn’t believe it!
It was two Hot Links on a bun, open-faced and topped with about half a pound of chopped BBQ Brisket, smothered in onions and jalapenos and buried underneath grated cheddar cheese.
I didnt expect the chopped brisket on top. Nice touch. I guess that's what made it Papa Bears.
The thing must have weighed about two pounds.
I was really glad I hadn’t ordered two.

So as I ate this sandwich with the plastic fork she gave me,I took note of the old man sweeping the parking lot. A weather beaten face,grey whiskers, and kind wrinkles around his eyes, he looked to be a really fit 70.

“Excuse me sir, are you Papa Bear?” I asked.
He stopped sweeping and leaned on his broom. ‘Yes sir that would be me.”
“Well sir, I just want you to know that I am a chef at a really nice Country Club up in Fort Worth, and this is a damndest sandwich I ever had. When I get back to work, I’m going to put this on the menu. I’m a gonna call it Papa Bear’s BBQ Hot Link Sandwich, just like you do!”

Did he swell up in pride? Uh-uh.
Was he impressed to have a REAL CHEF eating at his little BBQ stand. Not so much.
Nonplussed? Not at all.

What Papa Bear did was stop sweeping the parking lot long enough to lean on his broom, and with just a little touch of amusement on his face say to me:


red dirt girl said...

Cowboy, your stories are the BESTEST!

bulletholes said...

Thanks Red!
I could have swore I wrote this one up before. I was at one of these outdoor art shows last year, and I started telling this story while eating a Corny Dog at the table to the two girls I was with. By the time I was finished, I had the whole food court listening in!
It one of those that maybe "tells" better than it "writes"