Midway Barbecue and Fred’s Chicken Stew
Fred has known about Midway Barbecue for a long time. It’s been reviewed in “Garden and Gun” and “Southern Living” magazines as one of the great barbecue restaurants in the South. Midway is in Buffalo, South Carolina, on Highway 215 right off the Union, S.C. bypass.
We made the trip on a recent Friday and found the food well worth the mileage. Midway opened in 1941 and has been going strong ever since.
The first thing I noticed when I stepped in Midway’s front door was a table of fried pork skins for sale. My Daddy would have scarfed them up with a dash of Texas Pete hot sauce and loved, loved it. They have a butcher shop in addition to the restaurant.
The prices are unbelievable. We ordered two pork sandwiches, slaw, one chicken stew, one chocolate chip pie, one banana pudding, one order of beef hash and two drinks. The bill was $18, tax included. Yes, we were pigs. Especially me. I ate both of the desserts.
The chocolate chip pie was made with a shortening, a rich, flakey crust and small chocolate chips. Then I believe it had a thin layer of chocolate pie filling, covered with a thin sugar mixture. Crisp, rich and delicious.
I do not like the banana puddings usually served in restaurants. I prefer the creamy rich style I find at group events at Adnah Methodist Church made by friends of my Howell family. This Midway banana pudding was just such – creamy and divine. It was room temperature, another feature I like. It seems the others are cold and the pudding is thick and globbey.
My friend and fearless leader Alan Jenkins has been a guest judge at the Waxhaw Grillin’ and Chillin’ barbecue event in the past. He told me some of the guidelines most use when judging. I learned to be aware of how the barbecue feels in my mouth, how it looks, the texture and the flavor.
My pork was excellent. It was moist, with no burnt ends. The flavor of the meat and their original red sauce were perfect. They also offer vinegar, pepper and mustard sauces.
Their signature dish that gets rave reviews beside their regular pork offerings is their chicken stew. Fred loved it just as the food critics had predicted. It was a different dish to start off a barbecue adventure. The stew had a thin consistency, with shredded chicken and onions. It reminded me of an oyster stew, but served with chicken instead. We discussed how to make it on the way home and came up with a recipe like some I found in my old cookbooks.
Fred’s Chicken Stew
1 whole chicken (I had a 5.39 lb. chicken)
1/2 stick of butter
1 tablespoon of flour (or until your desired thickness)
1 - 2 cups of milk ( I used a mix of cream and milk)
Salt and pepper to taste
Texas Pete Hot Sauce to taste
Cover the whole chicken with water and cook on medium heat until chicken is tender and pulls easily off the bone. For my chicken and size pot I poured in 14 cups of water. Remove chicken, reserve broth. Pull all the chicken meat off the bone. I ended up using 10 cups of broth. Suit yourself as far as the texture and thickness of the stew and the amount of chicken. Make a thickening mixture with the melted butter and flour. Add the milk. Stir and make sure there are no lumps. Add milk to the broth. Add the chicken and season to taste. Serve with saltine crackers.
Monroe resident Jeanne Howell has attended cooking schools in San Francisco, Atlanta, Charlotte and Monroe. She and a partner are working on a cooking video project. She may be reached at 704-221-1905 or firstname.lastname@example.org.