After our delightful tour of Panther Branch Vineyards, it was time for John and I (and baby) to have lunch. We didn’t want to eat too heavily, so we headed for Uncle Dewey’s BBQ out on Wheat Road (uh, yeah…a light lunch). Uncle Dewey has been serving up the ‘cue out on Route 40 in Mizpah for over 9 years now, but we decided to check out the snazzy new stand (complete with outdoor bar) that opened last year in Vineland.
We went up to the window to examine the menu, but we couldn’t decide. Chicken? Brisket? Turkey Leg? I asked Jeremiah Roberts, one of Uncle Dewey’s magicians-in-the-kitchen, what they do best. “Everything,” he replied with a smug smile (OK…thanks…). Actually, he wasn’t too far off. We tried not to order too much stuff, honestly, we really tried, but we needed to do thorough research for you, dear readers. In the end, we settled on the kettle fried fish, ribs, pulled pork sandwich, lemon-pepper wings, and collard greens and settled down to wait (good food cooked to order takes time, folks). While I relaxed in the breezy sunshine, John walked over to the side of the stand where he had heard a loud sizzle; sure enough, our fish went straight into a giant kettle drum of hot oil. There were various grills, smokers, and frying kettles, and it seems that the tradition of using the old tried-and-true outdoor equipment that worked so well for the Mizpah location was to be carried on. Why mess with a good thing, right? Now we were really hungry, knowing something special was on its way.
At last, the wait was over and we dug in. The ribs were smoked to perfection, of course-I would pick one up and the meat just slid off the bone (all the better to dip in the sauce). The sauce was a nice balance of tomato-vinegar-spice, with just a hint of sweetness; I would have liked a little more seasoning on the meat itself, but the sauce was such a perfect compliment, I didn’t mind it being so essential to enjoying the ribs. The fish was simply perfection: skin still intact, it was coated in a perfectly crispy cornmeal breading, while juicy and flaky on the inside. And the wings…ahhh, the wings. It’s hard to convey how something so simple as lemon-pepper coated chicken, fried to crispy goodness, becomes a heavenly experience. A classic side of collards, not too firm or mushy but with a hint of tartness, and homemade lemonade completed the experience. The only disappointments were the pulled pork sandwich (tender and not too dry, but not juicy or flavorful, either) and the french fries (just typical, tasteless old commercial out-of-the-bag-into-the-Fryolater fries). In the end, we decided not to gorge ourselves on all that we ordered and packed it to take home. Instead, we gorged ourselves on a slice of the irresistible sweet potato pie for dessert. Mmmmmm…whipped-to-creamy, spiced sweet potato pie filling in a buttery, tender, flaky (not at all mushy), crust: a perfect end to the meal.
As we rolled our disgustingly bloated selves out of there, we were wrapped up in a discussion of exactly when we should come back. After all, they were out of the brisket that day (which Jeremiah assured us was, “juicy, just fallin’ apart good”). And what about the baked beans? Or the hush puppies? Or…? -Lisa
Uncle Dewey’s BBQ – 470 Wheat Rd, Vineland. 856.691.4454.
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion, A Grand Day Out, Part 3!!!
UPDATE: This location has since closed, but the original roadside location on Route 40 in Mizpah is still going strong. – John