Over the weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ in Warrenton, VA for a BBQ Blogger Influencer Event. Warrenton is a quaint little town just an hour outside of D.C., and is becoming well known for being part of America’s Wine Country, which consists of 118 wineries. Just because I spend half of my week in the kitchen, doesn’t mean that I don’t want to have someone else cook for me folks. I love going out to dinner, enjoying great food, and getting a few hours away from the screaming kitty banshee who spends every moment of her existence trying to drive me closer to insanity. When I do venture out of my kitchen, I want to visit a local restaurant that serves amazing high-quality food that’s worth every calorie as well as the attitude I’m going to have to deal with when I finally arrive home to the, “How dare you leave me alone!” mad as all get-out Lady Brenna of Fairfax. Even if I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet Shawn himself, and hear a little bit of the history behind his two restaurants and catering business, I can honestly say that I would return to this restaurant without a second thought. I’m a pretty picky BBQ person, and if I’m going to love a BBQ restaurant they need to have not only great BBQ but great sides as well. Sadly, most BBQ restaurants never achieve this. Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ thoroughly impressed me with its entire menu, and I’m pretty sure I sampled almost the whole darn menu y’all. Just ask my tummy. The only problem I foresee with visiting this restaurant in the future will be that I am forced to make some serious decisions when ordering. I have way too many favorites to choose from.
- New Red & Yukon Gold Potato Salad – Oh yeah, no wimpy potato salad here folks. This is a side that the whole family will love.
- BBQ Baked Beans – Thick and saucy, with an amazing amount of flavor.
- Country Green Beans with Succulent Pulled Pork – I know you’re thinking who needs a green vegetable with their BBQ, right? Trust me, in this case, you do. These are definitely the best green beans I’ve had in the Virginia area, and coming from me that’s saying something.
- Pasta Salad with Fresh Tomato and Cilantro – Don’t think I didn’t just see you stick your nose up in the air and make the yuck sound. Although this sounds different, and might not be something you would normally order, you should absolutely go ahead and give it a try. I was really surprised how great this dish tasted, and can’t wait to replicate the recipe. If you are a cilantro hater you may still like it as well, because it has a very delicate flavor that isn’t overpowering.
- Freshly Baked Cornbread Muffins – I’ll be honest and tell you that I really didn’t get to enjoy the muffins because there was just too much other great food and I didn’t want to fill up on bread like I usually do. I wanted to make sure that I had the chance to enjoy everything else.
- Shawn’s Famous Three Cabbage Coleslaw – As Shawn said, you’re either gonna love this coleslaw or hate it, because it has coconut in it. It’s how his mother made it, so it’s how he makes it. I loved it. The coconut was just the right amount. Coconut doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.
- Baked Mac & Cheese with Penne Pasta – This is a must order and is one of the few items on the menu that has a secret recipe. If I were you, I’d get some extra to go, because it’s pretty gosh darn yummy.
- Pulled Pork – This is always my favorite type of BBQ, and it didn’t fail to impress. The pork is pulled right when your order is placed, so it is juicy and tender.
- St. Louis Ribs – You can get either wet or dry ribs, which are both stupid-crazy-fantastic delicious. If I had to choose, I would pick the dry. Shawn’s BBQ Rub is amazing, and they actually sell it in a 13-oz. container. B.O.B. Bob will be buying some to use on the Big Green Egg sometime later this summer.
- Chicken – The chicken, like the ribs, comes with either dry rub or sauce. In this case, I’d go with the sauce, but that’s just because I was brought up that way. They use their most famous sauce on the chicken, which is called Sweet & Sassy Smokehouse. Shawn developed the recipe for each of his six available sauces, which include Sweet & Sassy Smokehouse, Southern Gold Sauce, Mango Chipotle Sauce, and Carolina Love Juice. Bottles of these sauces are for sale at both Shawn’s BBQ Smokehouse locations.
- Brisket (Moist or Lean) – This is the one folks! I have never been a huge fan of Beef BBQ, but that all changed this weekend. I easily could have eaten a whole plate of this brisket. It is cut to order, and just about the most tender and flavorful beef you will ever put in your mouth.
- Mama Sue’s Homemade Nanna Pudding – You say you don’t like banana pudding, but you do, trust me. There is no way to not dig into this thick and creamy secret recipe dessert. It’s pretty rich though, so you may want to share.
- Chocolate Chunk Cookie – Thankfully we got to take our cookie to go because there is just no way in Hell I could have eaten another bite, no matter how delicious the food was. Enjoy your BBQ in the restaurant, but get your cookie to go. It’ll give you something to smile about hours later. P.S. It’s a big cookie, but sharing is not an option. Make sure you get at least one cookie per person. I let B.O.B. Bob try one bite, but only one bite.
- Shawn’s has several beers on tap, but the ones you MUST TRY are made by Tin Cannon Brewing Company of Gainesville, VA. While there we sampled both the Virginia Blonde and Imperial Red IPA. Jose, the Distribution Manager for Tin Cannon Brewing Company, took quite a bit of time to tell us all about this recently opened brewery and the selections on their menu. The Virginia Blonde is a beer that any person can drink and fall in love with; you can’t go wrong ordering it. The Imperial Red IPA surprised even me. I hate IPA’s, and I do mean I hate IPA’s, but even I kind of fell in lust with this one. B.O.B. Bob looked at me like I had lost my mind when I told him this. I’m pretty sure he’s jealous that I got to try these beers without him, so I’m sure we’ll be taking a trip to Gainesville very soon to visit the brewery.
Plan a day in Fauquier County, Virginia to visit both Tin Cannon Brewing Company and Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ. You can pick up a growler at the brewery, some BBQ at Shawn’s, and head out to a winery to enjoy a picnic with friends and family. Most wineries are now extremely kid and pet-friendly. Barrel Oak Winery and Pearmund Cellars are two local favorites worth checking out. Visit Fauquier to find out more information on local events, celebrations, festivals, and parades. Upcoming events include the July 1st Warrenton Town Limits celebration, First Fridays, and Movies in the Park. There’s something for everyone in this cute little town; BBQ and beer are just two great excuses to visit. If you need someone to tag along I’m your girl. Just remember that you’ll have to get your own cookie because I don’t share.
- As well as offering mouth-watering BBQ, Shawn’s also has gourmet catering available. Visit www.shawnsbbq.com for more information.
- Like Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter or Instagram.
- Like Tin Cannon Brewing Company on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter or Instagram.
- Visit the Town of Warrenton, Virginia at www.warrentonva.gov.
- Visit Fauquier County at www.visitfauquier.com.
So Memorial Day is this coming weekend, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Not just because I really need a three day weekend, or that I seriously need to get all of the Easter decorations put away, but because B.O.B. Bob and I are ready to start grilling for the summer. While I don’t know exactly what meat we’ll be tossing on the Big Green Egg, I do know that we’re going to need a few side dishes to share with friends. Deviled eggs and some sort of homemade bread are an absolute must, but instead of potato or pasta salad this year, I’m thinking of making roasted sweet potatoes. Forget throwing them in the oven, on the grill, or in a fire pit, I’m going the lazy route this time around and simply wrapping them in foil and tossing them in a crockpot for eight hours. I’ll fancy them all up later with some homemade Cajun butter, and no one will even care how little effort went into making them. I mean come on people; I’ve got better things to do with my time, like put up 4th of July decorations. Hell, if things get really busy around here, maybe we’ll head out to Warrenton and Gainesville for some Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ to-go and a few Tin Cannon Brewing Company growlers. Now, that really sounds like a perfect holiday weekend to me, not to mention a fantastic way to start off the summer. Let someone else do the cooking for a change.
- 3 Medium to Large Sweet Potatoes
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sea Salt
- 8 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
- 1 Teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder
- Chopped Chives
- Scrub, rinse, and dry each sweet potato.
- Pour a little bit of olive oil onto each sweet potato and use your hands to rub the oil into each potato.
- Lightly sprinkle sea salt over the potatoes, and then wrap each one tightly in foil.
- Cook for 8 hours on low heat in a crockpot.
- Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl until well incorporated.
- Carefully remove each potato from foil and cut in half lengthwise. Top with Cajun Butter and then sprinkle with chopped chives.
- Make sure to buy sweet potatoes that are not too large for your crockpot. You don’t want monster potatoes or dwarf potatoes; you want an average sized sweet potato.
- Use Legion of Spice Black Bayou Cajun Rub & Seasoning in this recipe. Visit HERE for more information.
- If using a store-bought Cajun seasoning, you may choose to omit the salt. Taste the butter without adding salt first.
- Add a clove of crushed garlic to the Cajun butter.
- Mix 1-tablespoon of honey into the Cajun butter.
- Serve with chopped crispy bacon on top.
Crockpot Monday Link-Up Party #7:
Welcome to the Crockpot Monday Link-Up Party. If you are interested in joining, please use the inlinkz link-up button to add your own original crockpot recipe. It’s just a crockpot, Monday, dinner, and hopefully a whole lotta yummy, uncomplicated, and timesaving scrumptious food. Please follow along at Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck for future Crockpot Monday posts, join our Facebook page, or even get ideas on Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck’s Crockpot Monday Ideas Pinterest page. There’s even a special Crockpot Monday badge you can find HERE if you are interested in joining along.
Crockpot Monday Rules:
- Please link-up only original crockpot recipes created by you.
- One link-up per person please.
- Try to visit at least a few other link-ups to leave a few words of thoughtful encouragement. Spread the crockpot love y’all.
Come Join Us in the Kitchen!
Subscribe to Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice to receive exclusive recipes, newsletters, and special updates.