At least once or twice a week, someone tells me they would love to have my job. I tell them it is a case of “Be careful what you wish for,” but understood exactly what they mean Wednesday when I had a visit from Marvin Carey, owner and chief smoke master at Pure Pit Barbecue.
The last time Carey and his wife, Tina, visited the newspaper with a batch of their barbecue I was super impressed and I’ve thought about hunting down their location between Olive Hill and Morehead almost every time I’ve been on that end of Carter County. Carey said their place is easy to find, “We’re right on 60, 81⁄2 miles from the last red light in Olive Hill going toward Morehead, or eight-tenths of a mile inside Carter County on the right coming from Morehead.” The location actually makes it a little tricky for lunch customers, he said, explaining they are precisely 15 minutes from either city.
Carey reports they’ve “probably quadrupled” their output since we last spoke, and he added ribs to the menu about a month ago. It takes only a few moments with Carey to realize this guy is super serious about his cooking and I appreciated his description of the dry rub on the ribs as the heat and smoke transforms it into a delicious glaze.
On Wednesday, Carey was packing a box of those ribs and a side of coleslaw. Using every ounce of discipline in me, I worked in a quick interview before taking a couple of pictures and tearing into those ribs.
“That is just the rub ... absolutely no barbecue sauce on there at all,” Carey said as I got a first glimpse of his work. The ribs were about 90 minutes off of the smoker and I could tell he really wanted me to heat them back up for my field test, but after only one bite there was no turning back. Those ribs were perfectly cooked, with the meat easily pulling away from the bone and seasoned with Carey’s own dry rub, which provided a hint of sweet with a just a tickle of pepper to bring out the pork’s natural flavor. The coleslaw was also tasty, and I’m not even a fan of that dish. Carey said they originally used red cabbage in their slaw, but found it turned the entire batch pink after they added the vinegar.
Carey seeks his customers’ opinions about everything they serve. He said the only negative comment he’s had so far was in regard to his french fries, and he quickly adds that was before he invested in a new fryer. The Careys are sticklers for making everything they serve from scratch, even starting with dried beans and their own recipe for their side dish selection.
If you want to try those ribs, Carey asks that you call ahead and preorder about four hours before you want to pick the order up. “Sometimes they’re ready in 31⁄2 half hours” he noted after we spent a few moments trying to calculate the best call-ahead time. Pure Pit Barbecue also continues to offer the hand-pulled pork barbecue which is the signature dish, as well as Carey’s own barbecue sauce. Barbecue and sauce are available in practically any size, he said, and available in vacuum-sealed bags.
Pure Pit Barbecue is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For more information or to place an order, call (606) 286-0911. If nobody answers, you’ve just caught Carey working in the hickory and cherry wood smoke of his cooker. Leave a message and he’ll call you right back.
And then ...
I was still licking my fingers from the rib experience when the boss sent me on a journalistic mission of the highest order — the new Yoasis frozen yogurt store in Russell next to Hobby Lobby.
I haven’t had frozen yogurt in a while and looked forward to sampling the premium products at Yoasis, which is an entirely local venture by husband-and- wife team Eric and Amy Robinette, who are graduates of Russell High School with deep roots in the Ashland area. As I was talking to them about their new business, I could not help but notice the frequency of “yummy noises” (a note in my book recorded the word “Nomumummmumm” from one customer) and there was an absolute element of fun as customers and their friends or family gave advice about which of the dozen flavors, or half-dozen twisted combinations, they should try.
The staff at Yoasis is always at the ready with a stack of sample cups and I’m assured nobody will give you a dirty look even if you want to taste everything twice before deciding on a flavor for the big cup. In my own sampling, I quickly proved I have no skills at drawing off a small dollop of frozen yogurt, although it was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. And I really enjoyed the frozen fruit sorbet they have in one soft-serve machine for anyone who can’t handle dairy products.
I know I was capable of standing there for hours wrestling with indecision, so I went with a favorite since childhood, combining chocolate and peanut butter flavored frozen yogurt before checking out the array of toppings. Considering my recent efforts to eat healthy, I really appreciated the amount of fresh fruit awaiting and scooped up a couple of giant blackberries, a small truckload of sliced strawberries and some tasty fresh pineapple bits to top it off.
I actually made it back to the office with that delicious concoction, although I’ll admit to picking a few of those choice berries from it before crossing the viaduct. My mother uses the phrase “You can’t sit still and eat it,” when she describes something extra tasty, and I caught myself doing exactly that as I enjoyed the frozen treat.
Yoasis is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (606) 325-0710.
I had fun last week trading a few emails with Mikel Hornsby, a local massage therapist who is trying to get the word out about the services he and his wife provide. I asked him to shoot me a note with some basic information about the business and he did such a good job, I’m essentially passing it along word for word.
“I work with my wife, Brenda Sue Hornsby Reeves, a cosmetologist/stylist. Our business is called Unforgettable (because we will provide unforgettable service) and we are located inside Pier 17 at 1148 Halee Lane, Ashland, which is just off U.S. 60 in the Cannonsburg area,” Hornsby wrote.
“We have a full-service salon. We offer hair care, manicures, pedicures, acrylic nails, facials and of course, massages. Basically all the services that are offered by the big-name salons/spas, but at more affordable prices (not sure you can say that part, but I HAD to say it). In my opinion we complement the services already offered at Pier 17, including their top-of-the-line hair extensions.”
Unforgettable is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, with extended hours offered to accommodate working clients. For more information or to schedule a session, call (606) 465-1758.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2651.