ROANOKE, Va. – George Canale is a former MLB player who played for the Brewers in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
(You may also remember him from his time as a star athlete with Virginia Tech and Cave Spring High School.)
Rather than brewing beer, though, he’s gone back to his Memphis roots with Canale’s Ham & BBQ.
It was more than four decades ago that his family found a way to get the flavor inside the meat — a tradition Canale is proud to continue today.
He tells us, “If you talk to people that eat here, they’ll tell you it’s different because the flavor’s all the way through the meat. It’s not just on the outside.”
It’s a process that takes days before the meat ever touches your plate, leading off with the pork belly.
“We cure our own pork belly for our Pork Belly BLT. We put our seasonings and curing salt on it, wrap them up and usually they’ll cure for about 10 to 12 days.”
As for the powerful cleanup hitter, the pulled pork, it’s the usual low and slow technique in the smoker.
“We usually smoke ours for 14 to 16 hours.”
On deck are their popular wings, which stay in the smoker for about four hours.
BBQ isn’t BBQ without signature dry rubs and sauces, all of which are made in-house.
Canale says, “Everybody can choose what they want. You don’t have to eat what I like.”
They run the palette from sweet to savory and spicy with sauces like spicy garlic, sweet chili, low country mustard, Alabama white sauce and more.
For the pulled pork, he recommends the red sauce which is their Memphis-style sauce or the Virginia vinegar.
He says that one, “Gets a lot of North Carolina guys irritated because I call it Virginia vinegar.”
They throw a nasty curveball with a Filipino dish called the Lumpia. It’s a variation of a spring roll with pork, carrots, onion, garlic, ginger and more. It’s something I had a hard time putting down.
Lastly, to close out the ball game, you can finish things off with something sweet like their brownies or a slice of strawberry cake.