Photo: Fred Lopez
When it comes to Southern culture, barbecue is as popular as college football, whiskey, and country music. In fact, it might top the list of the four Southern food groups, which also includes biscuits and gravy, grits, and anything fried.
And that’s why a steady stream of visitors—some dining in, some carrying out—trickle through Artman Country Smokehouse every day.
Artman’s offers an interesting concept. Diners order at a counter, choosing from a variety of meats, appetizers, side options, and desserts. Yet, they still enjoy traditional tableside service because, after being seated, a waitress stops by to refill drinks.
I began my meal with two appetizers: the golden brown fried pickles and the fresh smoked jalapeños. The jalapeños—stuffed with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and kielbasa—was easily the star of the two.
For my main course, I had sliced brisket with potato salad, fries, and cornbread. While the brisket was certainly good enough to stand on its own, I drowned it in Artman’s homemade sweet and hot sauces (there’s also a mustard-based sauce.) Some may consider that a sin, but I rarely follow the rules of food etiquette.
During my meal, it became apparent that the love of barbecue cuts across geographic boundaries. My dining companion, a native of Michigan and a sucker for Detroit-style Coney dogs, offered up a slew of superlatives for everything on his plate. He particularly enjoyed the “tender, melt-in-your-mouth ribs,” the “sweet and moist” cornbread, and the “oily-burnt cheese goodness” of his mac and cheese, which came from the bottom of the pan.
Barbecue may be a Southern sacrament, but at Artman’s, it can be enjoyed by anyone.
Artman Country Smokehouse // 6900 SE Highway 42, Summerfield // 352.307.6240