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There are many different styles of barbecue. To some, it’s the sauce that makes or breaks the taste of a smoky pulled pork sandwich. To others, the long, slow process of smoking the meat to the point that it falls off the bone is key. The meat must retain enough moisture to stay tender without being unbearably greasy.
Christopher Abatangelo was born in Texas but spent his college years in Tennessee. To him, each regional style of sauce is unique and delicious. He still hasn’t had the chance to try them all, but here a few that are next on his to-do list.
Coined by Big Bob Gibson’s restaurant in Decatur, Alabama’s white barbecue sauce is an interesting change of pace for even most well versed fans. According to BarbecueBible.com, the sauce has a mayonnaise base, accompanied with apple cider vinegar and black pepper. It has been described as having a flavor similar to ranch dressing.
Just below the Ohio River, a small town has its very own style of barbecue. The people of Owensboro, Kentucky conjure up a pot full of sauce with Worcestershire, butter, lemon juice and a dash of allspice as its main ingredients.
German immigrants in the area created their mixture of vinegar and molasses with mustard. The tangy flavor adds a unique twist to the tender meat.
To this day, Christopher Abatangelo still can’t choose his favorite. He believes it’s not the style that is important but the right blend of spices that makes each bite of barbecue finger-licking good.
Ditch your cellphone and GPS. It’s time for a camping trip! If you’ve never been camping before, you may not know what to expect. While what to bring and what to do may vary depending on your desired destination, there are a few things you need to know no matter where you’re traveling. Here are some tips for beginner campers.
Always bring a flashlight. Even if you think your cellphone battery will hold out for a few days, pack some other form of lighting and extra batteries. The woods and even the beach can get unbelievably dark, especially if it’s a new moon. Having a bright beam can prevent you from twisting your ankle on the short trip from the bonfire to the tent.
Make sure your food is sealed tight and put away. You’re not the only one who enjoys an afternoon snack! Animals in the woods love a free meal and the easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to visit your campsite. Be sure that your trash is collected and stored in plastic bags. If you ate something that gives off a particularly potent smell, double bag the scraps. A rummaging raccoon is nothing to worry about but a bear is another issue entirely.
Don’t forget raingear. While weathermen across the world do their best to predict the future, they’re not always right. Even if the forecast calls for sunny skies for days, don’t leave home without a raincoat or poncho. Most tents have a laminated bottom but double check before starting off on your adventure. There is nothing worse than sleeping through a noisy rainstorm and waking up in a puddle. This is especially true if you are camping in cooler conditions.
Christopher Abatangelo loves camping, especially when he gets the opportunity to try someplace new with his friends. He and his buddies swear by these easy tips for a successful evening in the woods.
Hurricane season in Miami is June 1st through November 31st. Roughly 97% of the location’s hurricanes happen between these dates. A hurricane is a large cyclone occurring over a body of tropical or subtropical waters. The winds of a Category 1 hurricane rage at 74 to 95 miles per hour on to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, while a Category 5 hurricane packs winds of 155 miles per hour and greater..
Residents like Christopher Abatangelo keep themselves informed during the season by watching local news coverage. Knowing the evacuation routes for each neighborhood before the season even starts is just one of the many things locals can do to prepare for a hurricane.
Other smart preparations include having a family emergency plan. These generally involve assigning an important task to each member in the family. For instance, Dad is in charge grabbing the keys and getting the car started. Mom will gather the social security and health insurance cards. The older sister will get the flashlight and first aid kit and the younger brother will get Fluffy into the car when it’s time to go.
If you are a homeowner, it is important to protect your property in the event of a hurricane. If you don’t have permanent storm shutters, board up your windows with thick plywood treated for outdoor protection. Have them precut at your local hardware store to insure easy installation. Check the plants and trees around your home and trim any loose branches that could easily break in strong winds. Bring any lawn decorations, planters, garbage cans and outdoor furniture inside.
If you are visiting Miami during hurricane season, you should consider purchasing vacation insurance. A plan can help you avoid losing money due to cancelled flights and hotel closings when serious storms hit the area.
Christopher Abatangelo has always loved barbecue. Having lived in Texas and Tennessee, two major barbecue states, he has tried many different restaurants and their secret sauces. The states have similar base ingredients but each brings something unique to the picnic table.
Texas barbecue sauce is known for its thick consistency. It is ketchup and vinegar based and usually has a hint of sweetness due to the added brown sugar. Recipes vary but Worcestershire, cayenne, paprika, onion powder and garlic are frequent additions to the sauce. Occasionally, red chilies, jalapeños or even habanero peppers are added to the pot to give the sauce a heavy kick.
Tennessee, home of Jack Daniels Distillery, is known for its whiskey and bourbon. Barbecue sauce from this state is usually thinner than Texas style, largely in part by the aged corn alcohol added to each batch. The booze is reduced on the stove to cook out the majority of the alcohol. Bourbon gives the sauce a hint of vanilla. When paired with molasses, ketchup, Worcestershire and malt vinegar, sticky Tennessee barbecue sauce is hard to resist.
Christopher Abatangelo enjoys all of the different barbecue styles. His current favorite is from Iron Works BBQ in Austin, Texas, however, he is still experimenting with ingredients to craft the perfect sauce at home. One of his handcrafted recipes includes traditional Texan and Tennessean spices but includes chunks of pineapple, adding a twist to the flavor profile. He admits that the sauce still needs some tweaks but he believes the unique flavor will impress his friends and relatives from both states.
Christopher Abatangelo also enjoyed hunting in Texas as a boy, and the white-tailed deer population in Hill Country is the largest in Texas, with one deer for every 3 acres. If not deer, perhaps he and his father hunted the Rio Grande turkey, when in season.
In Austin, Christopher Abatangelo gathered with other Austinites and tourists to watch the exodus of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats each sunset of summer, from their roosts under the Ann W. Richards Bridge in search of the evening’s meal of insects. The Mexican free-tailed bat is a unique specimen, and its habits continue to be extensively researched. The bat colony under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge is a nursery colony, and some years can approach a million mother bats and pups. Male colonies are much smaller, generally, but can reach 10,000 or more. The mothers prefer roosts at 5000 feet or less, while the males will establish roosts at much higher altitudes. The annual migration arrival in south central Texas, to a primary nursing colony in Bracken Cave, Frio cave, and other birth places like the Richards Bridge, begins around February, while the leavetaking in the fall coincides with the first serious cold air event. Generally, the bats leave in large groups, but not all at once, and some bats will stay behind, why is not known. Overwintering in the north is an iffy proposition, with some bats dying and falling from their perches on cave and bridge walls.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department works to ensure that Austinites and visitors alike, and Christopher Abatangelo when he returns home to his roots, will always be able to enjoy the unique delights of Austin and its environs.
Parks, pools and lakes throughout Austin support Austinite’s and Christopher Abatangelo’s, love of water sports, and are the spur to its Excellence in Aquatics award in 1999, and Gold Medal Awards in 2004 from the National Recreation and Park Association. Austin’s renowned naturally-fed pools, Deep Eddy Pool and Barton Springs Pool, maintain steady temperatures between 68 and 71 degrees, summer and winter. Attesting to Austin’s eccentricity, it is the host of the only clothing-optional public park in Texas, Hippie Hollow Park. It offers “… rockclimbing, kayaking, swimming, mountain biking, exploring, and hiking.” The park would seem to support Austin’s liberal politics in a conservative state, giving Austin yet another nickname:”People’s Republic of Austin.”
Though surrounded by soundly conservative Texans, Austin finds itself more of a libertarian environment. The eclectic mix of blue and white collar workers, students and musicians gives Austin a decidedly liberal take on the politics of the day. Christopher Abatangelo typifies a citizen with a foot in both camps.
Austinites have adopted the environmental movement as their own, and it evolved into a neighborhood movement, then a conservationist cause, embracing both the concern for preserving the beauty of the Hill Country and the need to retain Austin’s quality of life, and “sense of place.” Plastic bags are now banned in Austin, a reflection of its extreme environmental concern. To retain the view of the “City of the Violet Crown”, a nickname for the violet auras which mark summer sunsets in Austin, and retain the beauty and health of the environment, city officials have enforced non-smoking ordinances in all public buildings and places downtown, a decision supported by the views of Christopher Abatangelo.