Southern State BBQ opens its doors in Camrose
Owner and chef Wes Baumle recently opened Southern State BBQ in Camrose, serving up the best the South has to offer, cooked low and slow. Marilou Yampolsky/ Camrose Canadian Contributor
Some good, downhome southern hospitality has moved-in downtown.
Wes Baumle and his team are serving up barbecue like no other in the city. The reviews have been amazing, and as per usual Camrose residents have stepped up to show their support and try something new.
Baumle, who pulls double duty as owner and chef, grew up in Kelsey and says it was an easy decision to set up his restaurant here.
“Camrose is awesome, it draws a lot of people and this is home for us.”
Baumle has been blown away by the community support so far. Southern State BBQ was filled to capacity twice in the first week they were open.
This family run business is open Tuesday to Friday from 11 a.m. until the meat runs out.
It’s a perplexing concept to imagine how a restaurant could run out of meat, right? At Southern State BBQ nothing has ever been frozen. There is no microwave, no deep freeze, every ingredient is made and served fresh and all meat served is from Alberta.
The meat gets smoked for up to 12 hours. According to Baumle, when you cook a meat typically tough meat like beef brisket “low and slow” it turns into “buttery goodness.” Every business morning the smoker gets emptied and that’s their meat for the day.
Barbecuing is an art form for Baumle. He’s not willing to sacrifice taste for convenience. The “till the meat runs out” philosophy is exactly how you’d find it in the best restaurants in the Deep South — its just “how they do it in the south.”
Typically, they close at 3 p.m. Camrose has put the pressure on Baumle to offer an evening option, and Baumle promises his goal is to build capacity to include a supper service.
Baumle first experienced southern barbecue in 2005. A few years later he had the opportunity to try southern barbecue again. This led to some experimenting at home, researching, and practicing. Baumle is not new to the kitchen, perfecting southern barbecue has been his hobby for years, and he’s always been in the kitchen. In February 2017, Baumle trained under the guidance and direction of Miran Mixon, a judge on reality show BBQ Pitmasters. Baumle mastered the art of southern barbecue and continued to perfect his own recipes.
In April 2017, he and his wife Janice bought their current location and started renovations to bring this unique new food option to Camrose’s thriving downtown.
The whole experience is unique from the moment you walk in the door. The décor is old country music themed. Chatting with Baumle, every piece of art has a story and was chosen intentionally. So much heart and soul was built into this place. There are many table options a custom-built community table that runs the length of the restaurant that Baumle crafted himself. Anyone can just pop down and sit next to another group with the idea being that everyone would chat and feel like neighbours and family.
Baumle and his team prepare all their own original rubs and sauces, and every recipe has been tried and tested at the Baumle home — this isn’t a franchise, there’s only one “Southern State BBQ.”
The menu is mouth-watering. A Southern Pride smoker was shipped here all the way from Tennessee to handle the task of cooking beef brisket, pork ribs, chicken legs and thighs, pork shoulders, and pulled pork.
Side dishes include options like homemade traditional corn bread, beans, coleslaw, mac ‘n cheese, fresh smashed fries and classic or smokehouse poutine.
For dessert you need to try Grandma’s pecan pie. Pecan pie is a southern specialty. Baumle grew up loving his mom’s pie and Joan Baumle knew she had to make it hers. She makes all the pies and is happy to share her talents with Camrose and area patrons.
If you haven’t tried any southern BBQ, Baumle suggests starting off with the Song of the South sample platter. This gives you a variety of menu items to sample. Check the menu for clearly marked gluten free options, and know that all meats are gluten free except the pulled pork.
Stop in to Southern State BBQ at their downtown location and you’ll feel like family. Give it a try, they’re anxious to see what you think.
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