Clint Riddle has a passion for barbecue. Smoke is in his blood. Barbecue is in his genes. Here’s some of the story.
Back in 1986, Clint’s dad Jerrell bought R&D Grocery in Beauregard. He was “the man” till retirement in 2010. That’s when Clint took over the operation. He had experience – been working there since he was 12.
Turns out it was Charles Riddle who taught Clint the art making barbecue. Brian Fetner showed him how to grill. Stew making came from Wayne Pennington. Clint’s been tinkering with things all along and now has his stamp on everything.
The first time I met with Clint, I learned about Crystal Jenkins’ contributions.
When I told him how much I liked the BBQ Mac and Cheese, he said, “She makes that.”
It came with a proud sound. Of course, she was sitting right beside him. Taylor and Teressa Jenkins help make other sides and the sauce. He’s got some long history and fine support in getting his barbecue and other offerings to the table.
Clint cares about the community and the folks who support R&D. When the tornado came through, he and his staff were out there cooking and passing out food and water. They kept on and helped with the cleanup, too.
Clint’s about to expand. He is buying M&M Grocery and will operate there as well. He’ll be cooking on premises before the spring is over. This will be a bigger and better location. But R&D will stay just like it is.
When I write about a restaurant and the food, I visit at least three times. I want to experience the menu. Most of the time, they don’t know I’m involved till after a visit or two. Clint wasn’t there the first time I had his cooking.
Luckily, I’ve had most everything Clint and his staff prepares. The stew got my attention. I’ve ordered it three times.
Shredded pork and chicken. Tender ribs. Plenty of sides like potato salad and mac & cheese. Plus, there’s a tasty chili. And smoked turkey. It is so tender and moist. Almost forgot the excellent brisket.
Clint smokes wings – nice juicy ones. You get a choice of sauces with those.
There’s another side to Clint’s cooking. A fine full-size burger. In addition, you can get an actual 12” foot long hotdog. I put a tape on mine. And it’s over an inch in diameter. Topped with his chili, it’s some fine eatin’. He’s been known to put some barbecue on top.
As to barbecue sauce, there’s one. It’s just right. A touch of sweet and one of vinegar, good seasoning with a kiss of heat on the back end. It sure works.
I asked Clint about what he likes best. He said, “My favorite dishes to prepare are Brunswick stew and ribs. Favorite to eat is any type of barbecue. Really, I love it all.”
Right now, Clint doesn’t actually cater. It’s coming though. He does prepare in quantity and gets dishes ready for an event. Currently, food is served as take out. You can order in advance and your order will be brought out to you.
BTW, Clint told me he’s smoking about 90 slabs of ribs every week and 100 to 200 pounds of Boston butts. Then the chickens and turkeys. Plus, making all those other goodies. I think he’s serious.
Clint’s passion for barbecue shows. Just listen to him talk. Having some of his chow will convince you. It sure did me.
Jim Sikes is an Opelika resident; a food, wine and restaurant consultant; and a columnist for the Opelika-Auburn News. Contact him on Facebook at In the Kitchen with Chef Jim.