I am very happy to be home. Spending most of the week in seminars didn't leave much time for looking for new places of interest in State College, PA. Clem's is neither new nor new to me, but there is good reason to stop there on the way home from these festivities, and we always do. Located just outside of Blairsville, PA, about an hour away from Pittsburgh, it has a big old wood barbeque pit. They make ribs and chicken, and serve all the usual sides-potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans- and have several excellent brands of root beer.A person can be very happy here.
I have never stopped at Clem's, day or night, when they didn't have cars and trucks in the parking lot. You can smell the place before you see the "1/2 mile to Clem's" sign, and it smells spectacularly good.A while back they burned most of the place down with an overenthusiastic fire, and we were having some withdrawal pangs and anxiety. But they rebuilt, and the place looks just exactly the same. If it wasn't entirely lacking in artful display, I'd say they'd aged it, to
take off the new shine. I think it's just the woodsmoke though; things do get dusty pretty fast.
Clem's sauce is great, and you can buy a big old reusable quart ball jar of the stuff for $6.50. It is neither bland nor superhot, just kind of the perfect essence of red barbecue, where the individual ingredients are not discernable. I bought some, of course, and what I do with it is so completely nothing special, that I would be embarassed to tell you if it wasn't so good. I put a piece of pork shoulder in a slow cooker, pour the bottle over it and cook it all day. That's all. I do it a day ahead, chill it, peel off the fat on top, shred the meat, and serve it on toasted onion rolls with aforementioned sides.
This should be followed by pie. watermelon. or ice cream. But you knew that.