Southern Roots Reunion Review 🐷
Hello again, Foodie Friends 🙂 Hope you’ve had a great week so far! For this special edition of Foodie Adventures, I’m giving you a behind-the-scenes tour and review of the Southern Roots Reunion event from Saturday, April 30th, featuring barbeque from around the state, drinks, music, vendors, and much more, all in support of a great cause! 🙌
Background on IDefine & the Festival
This wasn’t simply any old backyard barbeque festival. This event brought together an incredible line-up of pitmasters, chefs, restaurants & farmers from all over the country to Travelers Rest for an amazing cause! 💜
The festival’s founders – Geoff Rhyne of @idefineorg (and founder of @redclayhotsauce), Brenda Luginbill of @cbeventsgreenville, Jason Callaway of @baconbros_gvl, and Patrick McInerney created this event to benefit the non-profit organization Geoff Rhyne started in support of his daughter.
In February 2019, Rhyne learned from the Greenwood Genetic Center that his 15-month-old, Ella Marie, had a rare genetic disorder called Kleefstra Syndrome. Like most rare diseases, Kleefstra Syndrome has no FDA-approved treatment. There is no cure. However, Rhyne was determined to drive research and drug development to help not only his daughter but as many other patients as possible. In September of 2020, Geoff and his partners launched IDefine and quickly raised over $100,000 to fund the first-ever medical center in the US, the Kleefstra Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital.🏥 To acquire the funding necessary to accelerate research, Rhyne decided to leverage his background in the food and beverage community to create a unique, must-attend event. 🙌
A ticket to Southern Roots Reunion gave you all-you-can-eat access to over 30 pitmasters and chefs, beverages, various local artisans, and music from some incredible musicians all day long. 👏
VIP Section ✨
As media pass holders, we got the exclusive VIP scoop, besides getting there early to see everyone setting up as to all of the goodies and great things that you had access to at the Southern Roots Reunion!
Getting VIP access tickets meant you got into the festival an hour early and had an exclusive oyster roast and seafood boil, courtesy of Broadwater Shrimp Company, our good friends out of Charleston.
One of the founders of iDefine that we mentioned is also one of the owners of Red Clay hot sauce, his hot sauces were present all over the oyster tables and at the Broadwater Shrimp table for use as well.
Underneath the VIP Pavilion, we also had access to a VIP bar and one of our favorite liquor vendors that we encountered, Post-Meridiem Spirits, were giving out their canned pre-made cocktails. These included a Cuban Daiquiri (more lemon and lime focused than your typical strawberry that comes to mind), a whiskey Old-Fashioned, a Mai Tai, a vodka Gimlet, and a Margarita. I think I tried the Daiquiri, the Mai Tai, and the Margarita over the course of the at least three hours we were there and all three were absolutely delicious (although the daiquiri was probably my favorite). They were a perfect size and once you poured them over ice, they ended up being about the same size as a normal drink pour, so they were small but mighty!
There were also multiple non-food-related vendors there as well, from ceramics to jewelry, to candle making, and multiple barbecue sauce vendors as well.
One of our favorites was Smoked Sauce Co., which we ended up featuring on our Instagram this week with their smoked garlic bbq sauce that we bought. It was absolutely fantastic on some chicken thighs! 😋
Six & Twenty Distillery was also at the event sampling their Carolina Peach Cream liquor. This weekend they are releasing the bottles of Carolina Peach Cream (Saturday, May 7th), so don’t miss that launch! It’s coming up at 11 am till close in the Poe West Village in Greenville, SC at their Tasting Room!
Barbecue & Food Galore
Heather and Ray from Foodie McFooderton, Tabitha from My PR Lab and Easley Today, and Brooke from The Pickens Foodie (among other great friends we hung out with that day), along with Jamie and I, had set up camp in the VIP area and we all would go out, grab food, and bring it back to take pictures at our little table of six. We had a great system going. 🙌 😂 We absolutely loved getting to hang out with our foodie friends and would grab a drink or grab food, walk around the festival, listen to music, chat with the chefs, and rinse and repeat for the course of the three or four hours we were there. This festival was an absolute blast!
There was so much food that Jamie and I did not have the room or the space to be able to eat everything, as some dishes were grabbed up quickly over the span of us being there. However, I tried to take pictures of as many things as I could. There were some all-stars that I had to spotlight and those are in order of our favorites here:
My top favorite, although I must say I am truly biased because I’m from New England, was the Holy City Hogs pork linguica sausage with field peas, corn succotash, and an aged cornbread crumble from Madison Ruckel of Mama Jean’s Barbecue and Shawn Kelly of Fork & Plough. I remember trying Madison’s Reuben sausage at the Euphoria Feast at the Field event last year and absolutely fell in love with his unique flavors and style of sausage making.
I knew that whatever he made for this event was going to be awesome, so when I saw that he had made linguica, and the fact that he even knew what linguica was, since nobody south of the Mason-Dixon Line seems to know what linguica is (unless they’re a transplant from New England) made my heart so happy. The taste of this sausage was so so right and mouth-wateringly good, and the edge was just so crispy – it tasted like your grandma tried to make you homemade linguica and it was fantastic. I even asked him if he had any leftovers, and could I buy the rest from him at the end of the event. Unfortunately, he did not, or I absolutely would have, because it was that good. My grandpa was Portuguese, and we always used to have linguica sandwiches, put linguica instead of sausage into our sloppy joes growing up, or add it into soups or grind it up on pizza. It has such a connection to my childhood for me that whenever I get to have it, it just means so much to me that this is obviously such a biased first choice. However, if you got to try this one, I really hope this was at least in your top three to five on taste alone. 💜
One of our favorite meats of the day was the Jerked Manchester Farms Quail Breast with cornbread strata, smoked gouda, and pickled jalapenos from Chris Williams of Roy’s Grill and Craig Kuhns and Vince Bienish of The Cook’s Station. Chef Vince and Chef Craig are two good friends of ours and we have always done everything we can to support The Cook’s Station through Pimento & Prose. What we absolutely loved about this dish, as much as the cornbread strata was awesome, was the sauce and the rub on the quail. It was such a small piece of meat, but the tenderness of it and the rub and the sauce that they put on it was so so good, that I really wish there was more of it because I would have gone back for seconds! Obviously, these were such small bites and small plates that they didn’t want us to fill up on them though.
One of Jamie’s favorites was the Truth BBQ Brasstown beef brisket with jalapeno pimento mac and cheese and sticky greens from Leonard Botello IV of Truth BBQ and Terry Musolf of Camila Kitchen at M. Judson Booksellers. We showed you all pictures of them setting up everything at the beginning of the blog. However, the plating, the absolutely gorgeous pickled veggies that they put on here, along with the portion sizes were fantastic. The brisket and the char that they got on those burnt ends were absolutely amazing. Loved those collards too!
There were also quite a few barbecued taco options, which was a lot of fun, and one of my favorites was the slow-cooked Providence Farm pork shoulder, charred scallions, green tomatoes, and bell peppers with a citrus salsa verde, served on a corn tortilla from the team of Rob Levitt of Publican Quality Meats and David Porras & Lori Nelson of Oak Hill Cafe and Farm. I loved getting to try their cooking at the last Euphoria event I went to, To the Root of it All, last year, so I always love getting to see what they do creatively with produce and fresh veggies, along with the collaboration element of the barbecue portion as well.
Because we couldn’t review everything, here are some of the rest of the dishes we ate and ended up taking home as leftovers too! Enjoy this slideshow for more awesome pictures and check out our reel here for videos we took from the event:
All in all, as the first inaugural event, they had an amazing turnout, and I can’t wait to see them come back next year! 🥰 What was your favorite bite of the Reunion? Did our favorites line up with any of yours? Let us know your thoughts and if you missed the event this time, definitely make sure to look out for it next year or donate to iDefine here in the meantime! 💜
So how was your weekend, Foodie Friends? Are you excited about more food festivals coming up this summer? Sound out in the comments below to let us know your suggestions of what dishes to make or places we should visit next. As always, feel free to like, comment, & share 🤗