A picture of the famous BBQ Spaghetti at Neely's
After our stomach stretching lunch full of pulled pork and ribs, we had the opportunity to interrogate Mark Neely. Mark is one of the proudest BBQ connoisseurs I've ever meet, whose 50 inch biceps resemble the torso of a full grown obese bull. Approaching the table looking somewhat frustrated, I now know what DaVinci looked like after being disturbed while painting the Mona Lisa. Mark quietly said, "How can I help you guys?" with his bear claws resting calmly in his acid washed Levi's. Captain immediately starts using his small town Alabama knowledge and begins milking Mark's utter of knowledge on BBQ. He begins explaining, "we indirectly cook our meat, it is separated on the grill." Mark then thoroughly marinates our brain with Neely's unique process, "We cook the ribs for 6 hours, and marinate it with the rub for 24-48 hours." Than, almost sounding as if someone was about to insult him, "We only use hickory wood, no exception!" It is from this point on, Mark can tell that we are almost on our knees worshiping his every sound and commandment. Then moving on to the sides, Mark proclaims, "We only use raw ingredients, everything is made here, we buy everything local." Mark's passion is almost overwhelming and I can tell Billy understands that if the Greek's had a BBQ God, it would be a 6'0, 250 lbs. Mark Neely. Interrupting the BBQ sermon, Captain flex' s his spinach deprived BBQ biceps and asks about the sauce. Taking a slow and deep breath, Mark lets out a small smirk and says, "we use 20 different ingredients, three different sugars and we after 21 years we are still evolving." He begins naming all these foreign ingredients, feeling like a naive seasick Christopher Columbus stumbling across new spices, The Busdriver gives me a confused saturated smile. Acting like a kid in a candy store, Mark pours on about the process of cooking shoulders. "They are cooked between 275-300 degrees only for about 12-14 hours." Mark's work ethic is apparent, as he lets us know he gets there at 6 in the morning to put them grill. "I work 6-7 days a week, and usually 12 -14 hours a day." Immediately, I feel completely lazy and envy Mark who wakes up everyday to perform his art. Mark then moves on to the business aspect, "I do everything, I had to fix the bathroom sink this morning, all I had to do was unscrew the nozzle and it worked. I saved myself a couple hundred dollars." Billy then asks rather bold question, "So you do everything, including manuel labor?" Mark proudly says, "Yes, I do everything that needs to be done."
If I left Neely's with anything it was the hope that everyday I wake up with the same passion about my life's work as Mark Neely does.
In all stability,