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THE GREAT FOODINI: Knuckleheads – A Mississippi Gulf Coast Cuisine

by The Great Foodini

One of my best and earliest memories of “exotic” food was being introduced to a substance called “white sauce”, which is basically a mayonnaise-based bbq sauce that is best put on smoked chicken, rotisserie chicken or wings.

This sauce was invented near my hometown in a cute town called Decatur, Alabama. Growing up, I never got white sauce in a restaurant, but I had relatives who would bring it to events like pot lucks, church gatherings and the occasional family reunion.

White sauce adds a rich and creamy flavor to chicken although many recipes can range from very peppery to a pungent vinegar-based concoction.

I am happy to be able to announce that Knuckleheads on Washington Ave. in Ocean Springs has a couple of items on their menu in which white sauce is the marinade and dressing of choice.

Hopefully you read this and run out on your next family gathering or date night and head to Knuckleheads because I want to hear about it. This is a part of my childhood. A part of the local culture of North Alabama where I was first introduced to culinary talents beyond belief that was accompanied and assisted by a plethora of fresh vegetables. In short, I want to know if you enjoy it as much as my nostalgia for it holds up.

Knuckleheads itself, has an impressive menu of strange combinations that come out as perfected delicacies…and for the record, the white sauce is better tasting than where it was invented at Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ shack.

My favorite appetizer on the menu was a localized dish that hails from Canada. Their Mississippi Pot Roast version of poutine is a pile of hand cut fries topped with Mississippi pot roast, provolone and au jus/gravy/.

Now if you don’t know what Mississippi pot roast is, this is how I make it. I am writing this column on a flight from New Orleans to Dallas right now so I am recalling this recipe from memory. I promise to not look it up when I return to the land of Google.

I take my pork roast meat and place in my crock pot and season it with a pack of ranch dressing powder and Lipton onion soup powder, then I put tons of tiny red or yellow potatoes and carrots in the pot roast. After that, a stick of butter on top of everything and take a jar of pepperonis and sprinkle them on top with a few tablespoons of their juice. After all of it is in the crockpot, I put one more packet of ranch dressing on the whole thing.

Imagine that on a pile of hand cut fries. It was delicious.

I also had the smoked chicken wings. They are actually smoked, not baked with liquid smoke. Trust me, my heartburn knows when I have had fake smoked wings. The white saucy gave them a slightly tangy, but a light creamy savory finish.

The last thing I want to mention about this spot is a sleeper item on the menu. They have sweet potato fries, but I feel that they are channeling the spirit of Waffle House with these by offering up the most tantalizing combos. You can just get them plain of course, but why would you? These loaded sweet potato fries are piled high with bacon, Jalapeno BBQ sauce, pepper jack, candied jalapeno slices, spiced pecans, green onions and pickled onions. Get ready to smash. This platter of fries are a beast.

Again, don’t forget, if you go out and try the white sauce. I definitely want to hear about it. Contact the Gazebo Gazette and the editor know if White sauce was worth your time and effort to try it.

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