Triple A’s Barbecue near the Barnett Reservoir in Brandon, MS

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Triple A’s Barbecue on Old Fannin Road, near the Barnett Reservoir in Brandon, MS is located inside of the Old Fannin Road Exxon gas station.  To navigate, Spillway Road on the west side of the reservoir intersects with Old Fannin Road, turn south and just behind the McDonald’s and you will see Old Fannin Road Exxon.  You have now arrived at a serious Gas Station BBQ Joint.  You can also follow them on Facebook.

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When you open the door to go inside, the pecan wood smoke begins to take over.  You can quickly tell that the aroma of spices and smoked meats are wrapping around your mind and all of your senses – turn to the left and head over to the counter.  Behind the counter you find a smiling gentleman wearing his work, Mr. Chris Haley, Chef Extraordinaire of Triple A’s BBQ.

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Chef Chris grew up on a farm in Dickson, Tennessee and knows what it takes to grow and raise and tend and harvest a plate of good food.  Country cooking is famous fare in the hills near Loretta Lynn’s house, so when Chris enlisted in the U.S. Navy, he was selected to attend the U.S. Navy Culinary Specialist School in San Diego, California.  Center for Service Support (CSS) Learning Site San Diego Culinary School

Chef Chris then drew orders and sailed aboard the frigate USS Taylor FFG-50, a ship that was just recently decommissioned on May 8, 2015 after 30 years in service. After his tour of duty and later moving to Mississippi, Chef Chris commanded the kitchen at the famous Parker House in Madison, MS for many years. His expertise and enthusiasm is now working everyday in his own restaurant to provide folks with the best barbecue.

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Chef Chris is an enthusiastic Grill Master and I managed to prevail upon him for a tour of the kitchen.  The first piece of equipment I see is the most important – the smoker.  This is a Southern Pride electric smoker that uses a tray for wood chips in the bottom of the cabinet.  This is a self-contained unit and excellent results can be achieve if you have the talent for low and slow.  Some Grill Masters and Chefs are now using pelleted hickory – small chips of hickory wood compacted into a capsule shape similar to a headache medication.  These hickory pellets are placed in a metal tray and put on the top rack of the smoker or any preferred spot.  Chef Chris shows us his hatchet and chopping station where he prepares the various wood varieties for smoking and what the results look like after smoking meat all day.  Chef explains that he doesn’t use just pecan wood, but adds other varieties to give his signature smoked flavor.

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Triple A’s Barbecue offers Pulled Pork, BBQ Ribs, Smoked Beef Brisket complimented with side items like a Loaded Baked Potato Salad and Baked Beans that are WOW! All the meats prepared by Chef Chris are pecan-smoked, low and slow, to be tender and full of flavor. The BBQ Ribs are “3 1/2 down” – Chef-speak for what civilians call Baby Back Ribs – you can pull the rib bone out, they are so tender.  Chef prepares me a sampling of BBQ Ribs, Smoked Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork, Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Green Beans, and a full compliment of his exclusive sauces.

Chef Chris also prepares dessert fresh daily, with Peach Cobbler and Pecan Cobbler as Southern as the Sweet Tea served with your meal.

Anytime I find a Grill Master that prepares Beef Brisket, I always take notice. Brisket is difficult to prepare properly and Chef Chris has a Perfect 10. Our friends say “I didn’t know brisket could be this good.” Tender and flavorful, this brisket really doesn’t need sauce, but Chef Chris has a specially prepared Brisket Sauce that is impressive by itself.

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Speaking of BBQ Sauce, Triple A’s Bbarbecue has Chef Chris’ own fine sauce recipes to create a taste delight with barbecue:

• Sweet Sauce: A perfect medley of Coca-Cola, brown sugar, vinegar, and our rub.
• Rooster Booster: Triple A’s Version of a South Carolina mustard based barbecue sauce. With just a touch of Tobasco to put the “zip in your doo-dah.”
• Red Sauce: A straight forward vinegar and tomato sauce with a touch of heat. Growing up, in Dickson, TN; this is what barbecue sauce was to me.
•Memphis in May: This is the sauce for the person that likes everything. It’s sweet, vinegary, and a little hot; just like Memphis barbecue.
• Hot Season Cider: Triple A’s version of a North Carolina apple cider vinegar based barbecue sauce. This sauce will make you sit up straight in your chair.
• Blue Cheese BBQ Sauce: It is a homemade Blue Cheese barbecue sauce. Any questions? When you add it to our brisket, there needs to be a moment of silence.

I recommend you taste them all.

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You will make a good friend when you meet Chef Chris Haley because he is service Amazing Awesome Barbecue All Day.

“:j

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The Old Country Store in Lorman, MS

Heading south on Hwy 61, Milton Chambliss drives to visit an icon of Mississippi culture, The Old Country Store in Lorman, MS.  We are driving through the country of southwest Mississippi where the geography is rolling hills and deep ravines covered with kudzu and pine trees; everything is still green this time of year.  The west side, toward the Mississippi River, of the modern divided Highway 61 holds an antique wooden structure with a covered boardwalk front porch.  Mr. Arthur Davis has been in this place for 20 years now and we have a great afternoon lined up to visit and find out all about this historic restaurant and gift shop.

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Blues Man McKinney Williams arrives in Lorman, MS for lunch

Blues Man McKinney Williams arrives in Lorman, MS for lunch with his guitar.

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I think there is a chance Blues Man is hungry, but he agrees to pause for a moment while I try to get a descent picture.

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The covered boardwalk porch will make great location for some front porch blues.

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The Chalkboard shows Mr. D’s Buffet show the prices, Thank You!!! and the hours are listed as 10 am to 4 pm Sunday thru Thursday and 10 am to 9 pm Friday and Saturday.

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As I walk in to the dining room, a gentleman in a white apron comes down from the office space at the back and walks toward me and I immediately spoke up “You are the owner!  Mr. Arthur Davis himself!”  Arthur agrees with me and comes over and we shake hands and have our introductions.  I then point out Blues Man McKinney Williams, our 2015 Blues Artist of the Year and I continue to take photographs.  Milton and Mr. D are well acquainted, as this lunch stop seems to be getting onto Milton’s calendar regularly and they have become famous friends.

I look around the dining room and find nicely appointed tables with white table cloths and comfortable chairs.  Along the walls are shelves that hold an interesting collection of things.

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Arthur tells me the building used to be a mercantile store, many, many years before he came along.

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I’m not sure how much of the current inventory came with the store 20 years ago, or how it comes and goes now.

Later, while eating lunch, I mentioned to Blues Man that I saw a blue flower vase I needed and wanted to purchase, but since there was no price tag, wondered if these things for sale.  Blues Man commented that Arthur would probably sell you anything in there you wanted.

Blues Man is, of course, correct.

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Arthur Davis moved to Mississippi 20 years ago from the State of Florida after taking his retirement from a career with Florida Power & Electric Company.  Somehow, this makes the presence of a marlin on the wall seems just normal, right?  Interior decor in Florida isn’t complete without a big game fish on the wall, just like in Alabama some deer antlers or a raccoon skin is completely appropriate decoration for any room or exterior treatment.

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Blues Man McKinney Williams presents Arthur Davis a copy of “Big City Rhythm & Blues” magazine because the inside cover ad is Visit Mississippi by MDA Tourism Division with Arthur’s picture on it!  And a good picture it is, holding a platter of his famous “Mr. D’s” Fried Chicken.  Arthur recalled to day that the Touism folks came and took lots of photos and talked with him about The Old Country Store and his personal journey, many of the same things we want to learn.  Mr. Davis had not heard about the ad design or his photo being placed in a magazine until  today.  Ms. Peggy Brown, owner of Hit the Road Entertainment, passed this copy of “Big City Rhythm & Blues” magazine to Blues Man, his name is mentioned in her article there, several days before our trip to Lorman.  Blues Man showed me the article and when I looked through the rest of the magazine, I discovered Arthur’s photo.

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Arthur Davis, Milton Chambliss and Blues Man McKinney Williams talked about Arthur’s place in history and the recognition he gets from all the folks that pass along Hwy 61 that stop and have lunch with him.  Arthur is an amazing character and often entertains his audience with songs.

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So we take a few really good pictures and now it’s time to eat and tell stories.  Blues Man piles up Mr. D’s Famous Fried Chicken on a plate and can’t quit smiling.

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Arthur tells us that 20 years ago he was visiting Lorman, MS on the campus of Alcorn State University where his son was a student.  As he drove along Highway 61, he observed this beautiful building on the side of the road and pulled over to go inside.  It wasn’t long before Arthur was telling the owner of the building that we wanted to buy it and began asking about a price.  The mercantile store and building owner replied “Why don’t you just come on a get open for business and you can pay me a something as we go along.   Arthur Davis starting cooking fried chicken and having ribs and lunch and hasn’t stopped.  Now Arthur Davis is part of Mississippi, the owner of The Old Country Store.  He told me about the welcoming spirit of the people here, how they changed his name from Arthur to “Mr. D” and encouraged him with the lunch kitchen, to fill a need in the community.

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Blues Man and Arthur begin comparing notes, talking about all the people they know in the Port Gibson area.  Milton tells us the latest news about economic development efforts in Claiborne County.

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I am concentrating on Fried Chicken, Sweet Potatos, and Black Eyed Peas!  This was after a crisp salad and some side dishes and before the second trip for ribs and things.

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I enjoy dessert and the gentlemen each look ahead to the afternoon and we begin to say “So Long” to Arthur Davis.

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Milton Chambliss takes up our itinerant conversation on the Civil War to stop at the site of a battle that envolved the US Colored Troops and his grandfather that served in those units that fought here.  Travel to Lorman, Mississippi and take a place in history that is rich and diverse, farm country of homesteads and little towns that become more colorful the longer we stay.

Billy Bob’s Bar-B-Q in Port Gibson, MS

Blues Man McKinney Williams and I are on an adventure to Port Gibson and Lorman, Mississippi. Our friend Milton Chambliss has loaded us in his car and drives just south of Port Gibson on Hwy 61, past the Chamberlain-Hunt Academy.  http://www.chamberlain-hunt.com/ Milton tells us of the recent closing of the boarding school and the interest being generated to revive this historic institution. Once south of town. we drive along deep ravines and steep hillsides covered with Kudzu to a service station, because Milton gets a call from a County official telling him his front right tire is going flat!  And how does she know that?  She is in the truck right behind us.  We pull over and this happens – fixed it right on the spot.  These County inmates are using a portable air pump.  Nice to know someone is looking out for us  🙂

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Now, I’m standng in a parking lot wondering where the BBQ Joint is located and Milton says “It’s right over here” and we walk to a building next to the gas station, both on the east side of the highway:  Billy Bob’s Bar-B-Q.  What a thrill to discover a place new to my mind, but with a history and reputation 15 years in the making.

View headed north on Hwy 61 at the Sprint Mart and Billy Bob's Bar-B-Q, just south of Port Gibson, MS.

View headed north on Hwy 61 at the Sprint Mart and Billy Bob’s Bar-B-Q, just south of Port Gibson, MS.

Billy Bob's Bar-B-Q sign on Hwy 61 South of Port Gibson, MS

Billy Bob’s Bar-B-Q sign on Hwy 61 South of Port Gibson, MS  

Billy Bob's Bar-B-Q storefront

We walk inside and immediately meet Mr. John “Billy” Jackson and his wife, Mrs. Henrietta Jackson and her nephew, Mr. Justin Rankin, who are working the counter today.

Henrietta and John "Billy" Jackson, Owners of  Billy Bob's Bar-B-Q  Port Gibson, MS

Henrietta and John “Billy” Jackson, Owners of
Billy Bob’s Bar-B-Q
Port Gibson, MS

Henrietta Jackson and her nephew, Justin Rankin.

Henrietta Jackson and her nephew, Justin Rankin.

I introduce myself and briefly describe the Mississippi BBQ Trail campaign and before I know it, Mr. Jackson has a sample of BBQ Ribs headed out of the kitchen – Wow!  These look impressive, cooked with care and I begin to inquire about methods.

Mississippi BBQ Trail founder Jim Hatten samples a sweet surprise!

Mississippi BBQ Trail founder Jim Hatten samples a sweet surprise!

BBQ Ribs smoked to give a great color and flavor.

BBQ Ribs smoked to give a great color and flavor.

Mr. Jackson begins to respond to our questions and soon is showing us his “Southern Pride” electric smoker, the cherry wood he uses to add flavor and color, and even the exclusive dry rub available only to Southern Pride customers.  Yes, these are Dry Ribs; sauce is a condiment at Billy Bob’s Bar-B-Q.  Mr. Jackson says he let’s the customers put on the sauce, he never puts sauce on anything he cooks.  I can testify, these BBQ Ribs rival the best I have tasted anywhere:  tender and with a smokey flavor only cherry can give.  Mr. Jackson thinks hickory is too strong a flavor for smoking pork.

Mr. John "Billy" Jackson uses an electric "Southern Pride" smoker to achieve consistent results for BBQ Ribs and Boston Butts.

Mr. John “Billy” Jackson uses an electric “Southern Pride” smoker to achieve consistent results for BBQ Ribs and Boston Butts.

Mr. Jackson describes that when you manage the airflow properly, one piece of wood will smoke continuously for hours.

Mr. Jackson describes that when you manage the airflow properly, one piece of wood will smoke continuously for hours.

Mr. Jackson tends his Southern Pride smoker outside his restaurant in Port Gibson, MS.

Mr. Jackson tends his Southern Pride smoker outside his restaurant in Port Gibson, MS.

Mr. Jackson shows the Mississippi BBQ Trail the exclusive dry rub he uses to prepare pork for smoking, a competitive advantage he has in the marketplace.

Mr. Jackson shows the Mississippi BBQ Trail the exclusive dry rub he uses to prepare pork for smoking, a competitive advantage he has in the marketplace.

I am very pleased to make a new friend on Port Gibson and the Jackson family has established a great tradition of feeding the traveling public and local residents a delicacy that only a true Grill Master can prepare.  Experience and technology come together.

Take time to visit Billy Bob’s Bar-B-Q and taste the classic flavor of a Mississippi BBQ Joint.

Billy Bob’s Bar-B-Q

3035 Hwy 61 South

Port Gibson, MS  39150

(601) 437-9004

Port Gibson, Mississippi

Blues Man McKinney Williams and I set out on Wednesday with our destination set on Port Gibson, Mississippi, a day with clear, blue sky and mild weather.  We drove the Natchez Trace and arrived in downtown Port Gibson to meet our guide for the day, Mr. Milton Chambliss.  Milton is the Executive Director for the Claiborne County Economic Development District.

We met Milton on the town square and made our way to his offices on Main Street.  The lobby of the Claiborne County building is full of interpretive displays and historical artifacts of the local history.  Famous musicians and community leaders have their photos and stories there as well as many of the pictures and stories of the civil rights protests and the struggle for equality under the law and black Americans.  We were welcome to the second floor where Milton proceeded to share the County website developed by his office to help attract business and tourism to the area, in particular the interactive components to discover the historical homes, Blues Trail and Civil War sites, along with dining, shopping, lodging and camping options in the area:  http://www.claiborneworks.com/

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2015 Blues Artist of the Year “Mr. Entertainer” Blues Man McKinney Williams is welcomed to the City of Port Gibson by Claiborne County Economic Development Executive Director Milton Chambliss. Mr. Chambliss arranged for the Mississippi BBQ Trail to visit BBQ Joints in the area.

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The Claiborne County Courthouse and Civil War monument in downtown Port Gibson, Mississippi.

Milton is very keen on sharing the Civil War history of Claiborne County with the world, as his Great-Grandfather served in the Colored Troops infantry with the U.S. Army during the Vicksburg Campaign.  http://claiborneworks.com/index.php/tourism/civil_war/  Milton and I have discussed the Civil War period of Mississippi many times, as my ancestors also served during the War, on the Confederate side.

Our tour of the city began across Market Street at the Mississippi Cultural Crossroads, where Mrs. Dotson and the ladies do quilting.  The handmade quilts on display are wonderful, colorful expressions and are hanging throughout the building.  There is a ballroom in the Mississippi Cultural Crossroads facility, most recently hosting a Madri Gras party for the young people in town.  http://www.msculturalcrossroads.org/

Our next stop is the local newspaper,The Port Gibson Reveille, serving Claiborne County since 1876.  Here we met Mrs. Emma Crisler, the Publisher & Editor.  She kindly took our photo and collected some of the story about the 2015 Blues Artist of the Year and the Mississippi BBQ Trail for a story in her paper.  We walked together down Market Street to see the Blues Trail marker for the Rabbit Foot Minstrels, a traveling music troupe headquartered in Port Gibson.  This African-American entertainers traveled the South from 1918 to 1950, traveling mostly by private train car, performing comedy skits and song-and-dance that spawned many of the entertainment forms in America, including vaudeville.  http://www.msbluestrail.com/blues-trail-markers/rabbit-foot-minstrels

Emma Crisler, Publisher & Editor of The Port Gibson Reveille Newspaper, wrapped up warm and taking photos.

Emma Crisler, Publisher & Editor of The Port Gibson Reveille Newspaper, wrapped up warm and taking photos.

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Blues Man McKinney Williams at the historic headquarters of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels.

Blues Man McKinney Williams at the historic headquarters of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels.

We next make our way to the historic City Hall.  http://claiborneworks.com/index.php/interactive_map/attractions City-Hall_Port-Gibson-MS

The Mayor of Port Gibson, The Honorable Fred D. Reeves, Sr. greeted the three of us and we gathered in the lobby to meet his staff.  Here we discussed the Heritage Festival now being planned for Saturday, March 21, 2015 in downtown Port Gibson Main Street.  Activities for the day, include a 5k walk-run, arts and crafts, childrens activities, guided tours of historic sites and the original Mississippi Venison Cook-off.  The venison cooking sounds to me like a great reason to attend!  Here is a link for this event:  http://www.craftlister.com/E1702970  This is a super-cool photo Mayor Reeves has of a classic parked along side the mural on the south exterior wall of the Mississippi Cultural Crossroads.

Fred Reeves Fb photo

A local promoter, Esselean Burks Gordon, happened to be in City Hall and we were pleased to make her acquaintance. Ms. Gordon has the “Turn It Up a Notch” Concert event being held at the Claiborne County Fairgrounds on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 2 p.m.  This will be an uplifting gospel music festival and local talent should contact Ms. Gordon for an audition, held on Saturday, March 21st at 2 p.m.

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Blues Man McKinney Williams and gospel music promoter Esselean Burks Gordon visit at the Port Gibson City Hall.

Event Flyer for Saturday April 18, 2015 concert in Port Gibson, MS.

Event Flyer for Saturday April 18, 2015 concert in Port Gibson, MS.

Now we head south on Hwy 61 to discover more on the Mississippi BBQ Trail.

www.msbbqtrail.com

BluesMan travels to Lorman, MS to The Old Country Store

Old Country Store storefront_Port Gibson

BluesMan McKinney Williams will travel to Lorman, MS on Wednesday 2-18-15 to meet Mr. D himself,  Mr. Authur Davis.  We understand that Mr. D will entertain his customers for lunch with his fine singing.  BluesMan is bringing his guitar and we hope the gentleman will let us play along.  The Mississippi BBQ Trail and Tailgate TV will be on hand to capture some of the fun and friends at The Old Country Store.

The Mississippi BBQ Trail is pleased to bring you 2015 Blues Artist of the Year and we hope you will take time to join us for lunch.

The Old Country Store (601) 437-3661 18801 Hwy 61 Lorman, MS 39096 Claiborne County

MAP:  http://mapq.st/1DPCQkc

Blues Artist of the Year for 2015 is “Mr. Entertainer” BluesMan McKinney Williams

Blues Artist of the Year 2015

The Mississippi BBQ Trail is pleased to announce “Mr. Entertainer” BluesMan McKinney Williams has been named 2015 Blues Artist of the Year!

Please take time to enjoy our new web page in honor of BluesMan McKinney Williams at:  http://www.msbbqtrail.com/bluesman.html

McKinney Williams was born in Lexington, Mississippi, a small community in Holmes County, in the hills along the edge of the Delta.  His father, Mr. T.L. Williams, Sr. was a farmer, musician and singer.  The family raised a variety of crops on the family land north of Lexington.

There was always music in the Williams home.  His father, T.L. Williams recorded a successul album with The Williams Sisters and consistently played and performed in churches and for revivals throughout Mississippi and The South.  His brothers and sisters all took part in family musical groups as they were growing up, learning to sing and play instruments.  From a young age, McKinney took up the rhythm guitar and at age 12 his mother, Mrs.Christeen Dixon Williams presented him with a new 6 string guitar and for his brother a matching 4 string bass guitar.  It wasn’t long before McKinney, his oldest brother T.L. Jr. and David Lee “Heavy D” Williams, a drummer and just one year younger, were sneaking out of the house to play the blues at the local juke joint in Acona, a place called “The Village.”

McKinney grew into a man a became a professional truck driver, spending 37 years behind the wheel while raising a house-full of stair-step children of his own.  He followed in his father’s footsteps, forming a singing group that he named “Pop and them Chillin.”  Now that his children are grown and have their own lives, McKinney has put down the steering wheel and picked up his guitar again to sing the blues and entertain audiences everywhere with his Front Porch Blues style of singing and authentic Delta Blues guitar work.

We look forward to bringing you more of his story in future editions of our blog.  Also, look forward to the series of articles “The Life and Times of BluesMan McKinney Williams” coming in Spring 2016 in the Mississippi BBQ Trail Guide.

Be sure to ask for the 2015 Blues Artist of the Year at your local entertainment establishments and BBQ Joints and tell them about “Mr. Entertainer” BluesMan McKinney Williams.

Let’s Begin a New Year 2015

The New Year has many surprises in store for us to discover in 2015.  New people and new places, great stories and great food as we travel the State of Mississippi in search of barbecue.

The first surprise is right around the corner.  The Blues Artist of the Year on the Mississippi BBQ Trail !

We invite you to join us for a press conference to make the announcement of this annual award:

  • Who:        Mississippi BBQ Trail
  • What:       Press conference for Blues Artist of the Year
  • When:     Tuesday, February 3, 2015
  • Where:    The Pig & Pint  3139 North State Street

Jackson, MS  39216  (601) 326-6070

  • Time:      10 a.m. to noon

This event is open to the public.  The restaurant will be open for business for food and beverages.  Mark your calendar and join us to celebrate our great music and food with the Mississippi BBQ Trail and find out who is this year’s winner.