God bless our men and women in uniform! Especially my nephew, Murray “Cuatro” Johnston. Cuatro’s current uniform is that of a West Point cadet, but this spring it will be that of an Army lieutenant headed off to Fort Benning to prepare to lead an Infantry platoon. You met Cuatro as the Founder and First President of a Barbecue Club at St. Anselm’s Abbey School for Really Smart People. More recently, you saw him bringing up some good barbecue for his send-off before he left for West Point. Cuatro is a cousin of whom to be proud. What a pleasant surprise it was to find him on my doorstep in the company of his sister, Griffin — you read (or need to read) her post on Texarbama BBQ. She’s now in her first year at Hillsdale College. So much talent in one family! We were surprised and excited to see them appear at our door.
The pleasure of that surprise was joined by the thrill of learning that they had brought a gift of Conecuh Sausage.
As I have written, and as everyone who has tasted it knows, Conecuh Sausage is the best smoked sausage in the world. How many sausages do you know that have a fan club? I’ve never tried their Cajun Sausage. Perhaps with red beans and rice? Jambalaya? The Hickory Smoked Sausage is headed straight for some shrimp and grits. (All of their sausage is hickory smoked, but the Hickory Smoked is super-hickory.)
The only problem with Conecuh Sausage is that you can’t get it here in Washington; thus my jubilation at Cuatro and Griffin’s gift. Well, you can buy in online, but the shipping costs are … daunting. Perhaps Washington doesn’t deserve something that good. The sausage is made in Evergreen, Alabama, which is the county seat of Conecuh County, and the best smelling town in the world. Conecuh Sausage is readily available at stores in Alabama and in much of the South. You also can find it at stores in Detroit, home of many Alabama expatriates.
And Conecuh Sausage is available at PXs in military bases all over the United States. Good call, Department of Defense and the Conecuh Sausage folks. Nothing is too good for those who protect the United States. As a West Point cadet, Cuatro has access to PXs, such as the Fort Myer PX, where he bought out the Conecuh Sausage. It really is better to give than receive, though when the gift is Conecuh Sausage, it’s a near-run thing.
You should get out there and start thanking everyone in uniform you see for their service. Take them to lunch. They deserve it. They keep us safe and strong, and, who knows, you might get a very special gift.
And while you’re at it, click “follow” on our front page to receive blog posts in your email box. Or bookmark us and check in from time to time. If you’re planning a trip, you can “Search” the name of the city, state, or country for good restaurants (in Europe, usually close to sites, like the Louvre or the Van Gogh Museum, that you’ll want to visit in any event). Comments, questions, and suggestions of places to eat or stories to cover are very welcome. And check out our Instagram page, johntannerbbq.
Perhaps I should explain the “Year of” theme here.
Over 30 years ago, I stopped by a Washington convention hotel at the end of a big national NAACP convention, and stood around, acting as if I were helping break down the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division booth. As it happened, the next table over was sponsored by the Southland Corporation, and they gave me — unloaded on me, really — hundreds of coupons for hot dogs at 7-11. It also happened that there was a 7-11 on the way back from our swimming club. Neighborhood children, now adults, still mark that summer as the Summer of the Hot Dog. You will be happy and, perhaps, surprised to learn that they all are well and healthy.