by Kellie Henderson
Many families have their traditional roadside stops, the shops or restaurants that mark their vacations, year after year. And for many people, a trip down I-65 just wouldn’t be complete without taking Exit 128 in Greenville to visit The Smokehouse.
"We’re known from here to Canada," says owner Margaret Poole, "and from one coast to another. Being right off the interstate brings in customers from all over, and we’ve gotten to be a part of a lot of people’s travels."
Margaret is a native of Birmingham who moved to Greenville in 1980 when her husband’s construction job took him to the Camellia City.
"He worked for the company that built the hospital in Greenville and we just fell in love with the community. We wanted to stay in the area and began to look for a business to buy. We were able to buy The Smokehouse in 1981 and we opened on June 15 of that year. We started with a staff of four, my husband and myself and two employees," she says.
And 25 years later, Margaret says she’s put down roots in Greenville. "This is home. I love Greenville. It’s a friendly, pretty town, and the people here have sure been good to me."
Margaret lost her husband in 1988, but she says her employees have been like family to her. "Good workers are hard to find, and I couldn’t have kept the business going without them. I know I have to take care of them, and I’ve tried to do that because they have been so much help to me," she says.
Margaret says they have an extensive menu at The Smokehouse with huge biscuits for breakfast, ribeye steaks Friday and Saturday nights, and weekly blue-plate special lunches in addition to all their barbecue offerings. She also has a meat market and a gift shop featuring jellies, jams and syrups.
Margaret says several women from her family and her husband’s family influenced her love of cooking. "My mother-in-law and my husband’s grandmother were both a big help after I got married, and of course I learned from my mother, too. But I had an aunt who also taught me a lot and was a good cook. The family always said I cooked like her because it only took 30 minutes for us to have a meal on the table."
Margaret is the mother of two and grandmother of six, and she is anxiously awaiting the birth of her first great-granddaughter in early December.
"I can’t wait for her to get here," Margaret says.
In the meantime, she is staying busy with her Smokehouse family. "We have regular customers who’ve been coming here since we opened and new faces every day. We try to have something for all of them, and feeding people is a good feeling," she says.
And like the dishes she serves at The Smokehouse, Margaret offers a wide variety of recipes this month, including some dishes perfect for holiday get-togethers. While she won’t give away all her secrets, she also shares Smokehouse Coleslaw and her recipe for a restaurant-sized batch of cocktail sauce. And with Shrimp & Rice, Quick & Easy and her simple Mandarin Orange Pie, you could have your family’s supper to the table in no time.
Kellie Henderson is a freelance writer from Troy.
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1/3 cup horseradish jelly
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1/3 cup horseradish jelly
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
10 thin slices of ham, turkey, or beef
10 slices of cheese of your choice, room temperature
Beat softened cream cheese until smooth. Stir in jelly and cayenne. Spread 1 rounded tablespoon over each slice of
meat. Top with a slice of cheese and spread with another
rounded tablespoon of cheese mixture. Roll up and chill.
Slice rolls into 5 pinwheels each. Yields about 4 dozen.
Mexican Pizza Dip
1 large can refried beans
1 pound sausage, browned and drained
1 jar picante sauce
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup chopped onion
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
Sliced jalapenos, if desired
Spread beans over a plate the size of a pizza pan. Cover with sausage, picante sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion and sour cream. Top with shredded cheese and jalapenos. Serve with corn chips.
Sweet Potato Casserole
6 medium sweet potatoes
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated milk
½ cup raisins
Oven Fried Potatoes
3 pounds new potatoes, washed and cut into cubes
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
Vegetable cooking spray
Coat a large baking dish and potatoes with cooking spray. Sprinkle with dressing mix. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about an hour or until potatoes are tender.
Baked Whole Bass
For each whole bass, place three slices each of lemon and onion inside cavity of fish and salt and pepper as desired. Wrap each fish with strips of bacon, securing with toothpicks. Place fish on sheet of foil large enough to wrap and seal. Lay additional onion and lemon slices on top of fish and seal fish in foil packets. Place in an oven-proof dish.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Fish is done when flesh flakes easily with a fork.
Shrimp & Rice,
Quick & Easy
1 pound medium to large shrimp, cooked
1 cup roasted garlic salsa
1 cup rice
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
Salt and pepper as desired
In a bowl, mix shrimp and salsa; cover and chill for 1 hour. Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions, adding onion, bell pepper, and salt and pepper as desired. Warm shrimp mixture over medium heat, just until heated through. Serve over rice. Serves 4.
Mandarin Orange Pie
Boil potatoes. Remove skins. Mash potatoes with all ingredients except marshmallows. Pour into a casserole dish. Bake in a preheated 350° oven until top is browned. Top with
marshmallows and return to oven to brown marshmallows.
Note: Margaret uses regular marshmallows, but she says mini-marshmallows would work too.
1 graham cracker crust
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
Reserve four orange segments for garnish. Mix remaining oranges, whipped topping, condensed milk and lemon juice until smooth. Pour into pie crust. Top with reserved oranges. Place in refrigerator to set.
1 head of cabbage, grated
8 carrots, grated
1-¾ cup sugar
2-½ cups white vinegar
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed
Mix all ingredients together in a large lidded container. Let marinate at least overnight, preferably 24 hours.
1 gallon catsup
1 small bottle Tabasco sauce
2 jars of grated horseradish
¾ cup Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup lemon juice
Combine all ingredients and keep refrigerated.
Tropical Chicken Salad
2 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
½ cup blanched snow peas
1-½ cups blanched vegetables of your choice
½ cup raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing
¼ cup pineapple chunks, drained
¼ mandarin oranges, drained
¼ cup grapes, halved
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat in raspberry vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.