I'm from the South and lived in New Jersey back in the 80s. I missed so many things. I was shocked that the groceries there did not have the essentials of life, like grits, smoked ham hocks, and "real" ham.
But, my bIggest disappointment was no barbecue. I mean real smoked pit barbecue. Once, some locals invited us to eat at their house, where they promised to "barbecue some steak." Why in Heaven's name, I wondered, would someone take a perfectly good cut of meat, smoke it and smother it in barbecue sauce? Of course, they meant they were going to grill it on an outdoor grill.
So, I bought a Weber smoker, and loaded it up with country ribs (not the foo-foo baby backs they had in NJ) and pork shoulder. I had to have a meat shop cut all this specially for me. It was not without incident; one well-intentioned neighbor called the fire department because of the clouds of hickory smoke rolling out of my back yard patio.
I invited all my friends over for real barbecue, complete with a selection of red, white and mustard based BBQ sauces. I made sides of hush puppies, collards, and barbecue hash. The reaction was funny. Some eyed my spread with suspicion, others with curiosity, and a couple with looks bordering on downright revulsion.
But, no one left hungry, or without a desire to have real Southern barbecue again, soon. My smoker and I became local legends.
I'll second Mellow Mushroom. Very good food, excellent service. The specialty pizza's are outstanding.