Ban­jos & bar­be­cue

Get your­self a plate of BBQ and catch live mu­sic at Cow­boy’s

The Covington News - - LOCAL - SA­MAN­THA REAR­DON news@cov­

Steve and Vicki Deal have been serv­ing the ru­ral com­mu­nity at Cow­boy’s BBQ for four years. Their res­tau­rant in So­cial Cir­cle is go­ing strong, and Steve is look­ing to ex­pand to a sec­ond lo­ca­tion within the next year.

The cou­ple is just look­ing at lo­ca­tions now around Madi­son, but Deal said they plan on look­ing for a space that can ac­com­mo­date their de­mand.

“Some­times we have lines Satur­day nights,” Deal said. “So we’re look­ing for a larger dining room and stage area.”

Ev­ery Satur­day night Cow­boy’s hosts a pickin’ cir­cle from 6-9 p.m. They have been host­ing the event since they opened, and Deal said it’s some­thing peo­ple don’t want to miss.

“Any­one lo­cal with tal­ent or who wants to sit down and play with us is wel­come,” Deal said. He plays guitar, wash­board, spoons, ka­zoo – and any­thing else he can pick up.

Fri­day night is when the mu­sic be­gins. Fri­days are re­served for mu­si­cian Danny Pot­ter of Nashville. Pot­ter, who has played with the likes of Johnny Cash, re­lo­cated to the area re­cently. He charms the au­di­ence from 7-9 p.m. with a mix­ture of blue­grass and coun­try. The show is free, but Deal said he asks cus­tomers to have a bite to eat while they watch and lis­ten.

“You can’t find this kind of tal­ent any­where else in town for free,” Deal said. “Just come eat with us —that’s it.”

And that’s what cus­tomers keep com­ing back for. Cow­boy’s menu is full of home­made bar­beque, sides and spe­cial­ties. Deal said the hick­ory smoked ribs are their trade­mark.

“It’s the rub I put on my ribs,” Deal said of his most sought-af­ter dish. “We do a spicy rub and pull them out an hour be­fore they’re done, then add a sweet bark. So you first bite into that sweet bark and then into the spicy rib. Peo­ple come all the way from Car­roll­ton, Ge­or­gia to pick up my ribs, and a lot of peo­ple from Athens. We’ve been told we’re the best ribs east side of Mis­sis­sippi.”

The key is that Deal’s meats are smoked daily. Any leftovers are thrown into the Brunswick stew. Deal said mak­ing food fresh ev­ery day is what made Cow­boy’s a spot cus­tomers keep com­ing back to.

Grow­ing up in an Army fam­ily and mov­ing from place to place in­tro­duced Deal to bar- beque recipes from all around the coun­try. His tech­niques are in­flu­enced by the di­ver­sity of bar­beque from Kansas City, Wy­oming to North Carolina.

His four sauces are made from fam­ily in­flu­ences; the spicy rib sauce is his own con­coc­tion, while the mus­tard sauce is based on his mom’s South Carolina recipe. The North Carolina vine­gar sauce is from his dad, and the honey bar­beque is for the “wimps.”

“There was al­ways a fight at the ta­ble as to which sauce was bet­ter,” Deal said. But he him­self mixes the vine­gar and spicy sauce on brisket.

Deal makes sauces and rubs avail­able for pur­chase in store. Just don’t ask him about the in­gre­di­ents. He’d have to shoot you.

Up­com­ing event: Cow­boy’s will be vend­ing at the 9th An­nual Fall Fling in Shady­dale from Sept. 26-28. Come grab a flyer at Cow­boy’s for more de­tails.

Dar­rell Everidge/The Cov­ing­ton News

Steve Deal hold­ing up his rack of ribs, smoked right out­side the res­tau­rant. Below: Cow­boy’s BBQ uses a cor­ral-style theme, host­ing a pickin’ cir­cle Satur­day nights.

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