Good Eats: Broken Spoke Barbeque
George W Bush

People often ask me, 'George, what's the best dang thing about being president?' And I tell them that there are two best things. One is all the vacation time. No other job where a man can get so much time off, not unless they live in Europe or something. Not that I don't work plenty hard when I'm on the job, because I do. But even when I'm working those grueling eight and nine hour days, I get to enjoy the other best thing about my job - food. It's true what you hear. A president gets to eat anything he wants any time he wants it. That's something I learned from my predecessor, the very talented gourmand, Bill Clinton. Hell, old Bill even taught me that word. It means someone who appreciates the art of good eating. And that would be me.

Now listen here: I think you know where I'm heading with this. What about eating anything you want while you're on vacation? That's the crowning crown of all treats. That's as good as it gets.

I love barbeque. There, I said it. Mmm, mmm, barbeque. Cook me up a chicken over an open fire and you've got a buddy for life. Flame me up a nice rack of ribs and don't be surprised if you find a hefty government contract residing there in your back pocket. Cause I love barbeque. No bones about it, except for those rib bones.

Now the best barbeque I've had in a coons age has to be that at Stan and Kathy Hickey's Broken Spoke Ranch. Mouth watering delicious and then some. You can find the Broken Spoke Barbeque right off Route 417 in Crawford, Texas. But before you go saddling up your car, I'm afraid I've got to tell you that eating at the Broken Spoke is by invite only. That's what makes it so special. Even then it cost $25,000 a plate, so it ain't cheap. But if you ever get an invite, I suggest you go for it it, even if it means spending the kids college fund or taking out a second mortgage.

Of course, presidents get to eat free, which makes it all the more delicious. Once I got me a whiff of those smoking bones my lips were smacking so hard that I sounded like a motorboat. Man, they had everything at that spread. Forget about the whore derves (joke), I went straight for the good stuff.

There was this big pit of coals stocked up high with Silver Queen corn, picked just that morning and flown in from Iowa. You didn't even want to butter the son of a bitch, it was so sweet. Baked taters I took a pass on because I figure 'what the heck can you do with a baked potato'? Ha, fooled me. Found out later that they had been cut open, filled up with some primo white cheddar, then sewed back up by hand. Next time, I guess.

Let's see, there was heavenly cole slaw, macaroni salad, some of the best baked beans you ever had, all thick with molasses and little chunks of charred lamb - yum, yum, yum. But you know me, I headed straight to the ribs. Lookin' good, Mister Brisket, howdy-do Charlie Chicken, now make way for the Ribmeister!

Man oh man oh man oh man! You know who was handling those babies? None other than Paul Kirk, the Baron of Barbeque, author of the best-selling 'Barbeque Your Way to Greatness'. They say he knows 500 ways to smoke a bone, but he's only got one end result. Pure, unadulterated barbequed deliciousness. I told him 'Partner, if my belly explodes, you're gonna find yourself in big trouble'. He just laughed a little nervous-like. Squirrelly kind of guy, but one great chef. I'm thinking he has a future in the White House kitchen.

All good things must come to an end, they say, and I knew my brush wasn't going to clear itself, so I decided to take my leave after polishing off my fourth rack. But first I asked Stan and Kathy if they would make me up a couple of bags of chow to go. Not for me, mind you. I was ready to pop. See, being a compassionate president, I was thinking about the average American, like the ones I saw by the side of the road when I was headed to the ranch in the first place. They were having some kind of protest because they couldn't get in the Broken Spoke. Can't say as I blame them - if I smelled all that good food and could get to it, I'd be protesting, too. So on the way back, I had my guys slow down and toss them the eats. They sure did look excited, shouting and waving at me. What the heck - let 'em eat ribs.

2005, Mark Hoback