“Barbecue may not be the road to world peace but it’s a start.” – Anthony Bourdain

“My dad went to North Korea and all I got was this stupid t-shirt.”- Ivanka Trump

Welcome back to Uncle Tom’s red, white and blue bunting-adorned corner. In the last issue, I told you about going to the competition in Frisco and that the next one was in Leadville…the highest (altitude-10,400 ft.) KCBS sanctioned contest in the U.S. The day before officially heralded the arrival of summer. The drive up was beautiful, the altitude kinda kicked my keister…and then the clouds rolled in. On the second day of summer, I drove out in a full-on blizzard. Granted, the snow wasn’t totally unexpected but the volume and intensity came as a bit of a surprise. My spousal unit had suggested, “If it gets too bad you might want to just spend the night.” There were more than a couple of times when I thought that might not have been such a bad idea…but my fragile male ego couldn’t give her the satisfaction.

Within days of this issue of Inside Educated Minds coming out the Good Ol’ U.S. of A. will celebrate her 243rd birthday. The touring musical group Up With People did a song a number of years ago (43 years to be exact) entitled 200 Years and Just A Baby. 43 years later it still holds true…not at all unlike a toddler she’s still learning to walk and not always too steadily. And, without allowing this to devolve into a political scree…sometimes her youthful decisions and indiscretions warrant criticism. Inversely, I still firmly believe that she’s still the best game in town. As proof witness, those who want to come here for a better life and I don’t hear of a lot who want to go elsewhere for the same reason…or if they say they do they don’t actually do it.

The Sunday Denver Post has a section on new books coming out. One they mentioned was Songs of America, Songs of Patriotism, Protest, And The Music That Made A Nation by Jon Meacham & Tim McGraw. If I’m willing to admit that I still read the newspaper I’ll further admit that I read books…not ebooks but real paper and ink books. While cruising the hallowed aisles of Costco there it was…mine for the taking. Thought to self “Somewhere in here there must be something about the uniquely American form of music…bluegrass (which is one part of the trifecta of 3B’s-barbecue, beer, and bluegrass).” I enjoy studying history (where was that when it might have done me some good?) and I needed a break from William Shatner’s biography.

An excerpt from the aforementioned “History isn’t just something we read; it’s also something we hear. We hear the musketry on the green at Lexington and /Concord and the hoofbeats of Paul Revere’s midnight ride. We hear the moans of the wounded and the dying on the fields of Antietam and of Gettysburg, the quiet clump of the boots of Grant and Lee on the porch steps of Wilmer McLeans’s house at Appomattox-and the crack of a pistol at Ford’s Theatre. We hear the cries of the enslaved, the pleas of suffragists, the surf at Omaha Beach. We hear a sonorous president, his voice scratchy on the radio, reassuring us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself; and we hear another president, impossibly young and dashing, his breath white in the inaugural air, telling us to ask not what our country can do for us but what we can do for our country. And we hear the whoosh of helicopters in the distant jungles of Southeast Asia and the baritone of a minister, standing before the Lincoln Memorial, telling us about his dream.”

Here we are 243 years later. Per John Adams “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. I ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. I ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”

All this reverie is going to require massive amounts of sustenance and what better than barbecue? Whether you’re going for more informal fare…burgers, brats, hot dogs, etc…or grilled steak, shrimp, chicken or salmon you’ll need a couple of sides. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Peg’s Magic Beans

1 lb. bacon

1 lg. white onion-finely chopped

1 lb. 80% lean ground beef

1 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans

1 15 oz. can white cannellini beans or great northern beans

1 15 oz. can black-eyed or navy beans

1 8 oz. can baked beans

1 15 ½ oz. medium to hot chili beans

1 cup brown sugar

6 oz. cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

1 Tbsp. chili powder

½ Tbsp. smoked paprika

Hot sauce to taste

128 oz./1 gal.=32 x 4 oz. servings

Mac ‘n Cheese


1 stick of butter

24 oz. dry macaroni noodles

6 cups of whole milk

2 cups of heavy whipping cream

16 ounce jar 505 roasted chiles

2 pounds of shredded cheese. (I like cheddar jack)

1 pound cream cheese

Start your smoker at 300 degrees.

In a large aluminum half pan (with the edges rolled up) melt stick of butter. 

Add the rest of the ingredients when butter is melted. Put it in the smoker at between 300 and 325 for approximately two hours (stirring every 20 minutes) or until you get the consistency you like.

On that note, I’ll shut it down for this go round. Thanks again for coming back to The Corner. Have a fabulous 4th and celebrate the bounties we share. Hopefully, I’ll see you back in a couple of weeks.