On Tuesday, I headed down to Nashville to broadcast live at The Grand Ole Opry.  It was a really special day at the Opry!  A star-studded line-up had gathered for George Jones' 80th birthday concert celebration.  The Oak Ridge Boys were there, Jamey Johnson, Alan Jackson, Pam Tillis and more were on hand to pay tribute to The Possum and I got the pleasure of listening to some of the rehearsal performances.  It was REALLY cool!  But, let's cut the small talk and get down to the business at hand!  Not only did I get to be backstage at The Opry, I got to head over to the OPRY BACKSTAGE GRILL and stuff my big ole face.  And, yes, I had a camera to capture every delicious bite!!

That, my friends, is a big fork-full of PIGS 'N' PEANUTS, pork bacon pieces with a candied BBQ glaze and a sweet Georgia peanut dipping sauce. 

Forgive me for sounding like Alton Brown, but it truly is a dish in which East meets West.  There's a slight Asian flavor accompanied by a jolt of the nutty South.  It's like reading The Joy Luck Club while you're in Alabama!  It was just one of the many tasty OPENING ACTS we sampled off the menu.  Here's another . . .

That's my friend April (from the Grand Ole Opry).  And she is a Southern-fried temptress!!  Look at her taunting me with a plate full of battered treats!  Diabla!  That plate is full of OKRA FRIES and they come with a side of spicy dipping sauce.  Now, I will be honest!  When I initially heard "spicy" dipping sauce, I worried that I might blast my way through the roof of the WBKR van on the way home and cause a mushroom cloud over the William Natcher Parkway.  But it was AMAZING!  And, speaking of "amazing," let's talk about the soups!

That's our singing waiter, Laramie!  But, more on him in a second.  He's nice and all, but I'm starving.  Let's talk about that awesome CARROT SOUP first.  I had never eaten a carrot soup before, but smack my behind and call me Bugs Bunny because I am hooked.  I'm going to eat this all the time.  I'm gonna look like Brer Rabbit. 

There's Laramie again.  I told you he was a singing waiter.  Hey, Laramie!  I get it.  You can play guitar and sing.  You've got moves like Jagger.  Yay!  But can we focus on what's really important here.  I need a refill on water and I'm still hungry!  I was in the Peace Corp and got a tapeworm.  Keep the plates a'comin'!

Atta, Boy!  This is BRUNSWICK BBQ STEW with cornbread croutons.  Did you hear me, Home Skillets????  I said, "Cornbread croutons!"  Notice how there are two of them in the bowl of stew.  Because April is a dear friend of mine, I chose to share with her.  But write it down now.  If she had been a stranger and tried to steal one of those little blocks of heaven out of my porridge, I would have stabbed her with my butter knife.  The cornbread at the OPRY BACKSTAGE GRILL is insanely good.  The thought of not having it anymore made me slightly homicidal.  And, making me one random act of food-crazed violence away from a maximum security asylum . . . not only does it come in little blocks of heaven, it comes in sticks!!

See!!  Cornbread sticks . . . with HONEY BUTTER!!  (And side note, I think I would make a great hand model).  Oh no!  Someone needs to warn April!  I have a knife in my hand.  Back off, you vultures!  I am not sharing anymore cornbread!!!

That's right.  Recognize.  I will cut somebody up in here!

Now, Laramie (yes, we're back to that fame trollop) does a mean Keith Urban, but he also whips up an awesome sampler platter.  Look at that picture above.  MEMPHIS STYLE DRY RUB RIBS, TENNESSEE STYLE BEEF BRISKET, and MEATLOAF.  (And, I will confess . . . I have never eaten a meatloaf I didn't projectile hurl out of my mouth.  The Opry Grill's is delicious.  Seriously.  Just ask April, who was worried I would catapult a piece across the table from my tongue onto her off-white blouse!)  And let's not forget those side orders!!  MACARONI & CHEESE, ROASTED GARLIC MASHED POTATOES and the best CREAMED CORN I have ever eaten!

See!   It was so good it crossed my eyes (they didn't stick, by the way) and I just felt like I needed to let the chef know how much I appreciated all the tender vittles.  So, I did . . .

That was really uncomfortable for him, but I don't care.  There's no shame in my game.  It was the least I could do.  That's Jason Carty, a sous chef at the Opry Backstage Grill and I asked him to tell you guys about the menu personally . . .

In my book, Jason is the Next Food Network Star and I am here to tell you right now . . . if I could kidnap him and make him my kitchen slave I would.  Of course, that would make him even more uncomfortable, but I don't care. 

Laramie, okay!  I get it!  Geez!  You're the next American Idol!   See you on The Voice!  That's awesome.  But the linebacker over here (not you, April) is ready for some dessert.  I've heard the dessert menu is tantalizing, so put the guitar down and pick up a tray!

Okay, first of all . . . I'm pretty sure that waiter is twelve.  Did he just fall off a school bus as it drove by?  But, more importantly, what is that he's holding????  Is that CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PIE???  Oh my gosh!  Get a defibrillator!  I'm coding over here.

April!  Quit taunting me with your baked goods.  I know where you live and work!  OMG!  I want to tear into that piece of pie so bad!!  I want to smear that meringue all over my face.  Hey, good idea, Tad!  I think I will!

That was so flippin' good.  Okay, I've bear-hugged the sous chef.  I've attacked tourists with my silverware.  I still need to find some way to express how AWESOME this food has been.  Oh, I got it!  I'll propose to Ale, the manager.  (By the way, that's pronounced "Alley" as in "Kirstie Alley" not "Ale" as in "Samuel Adams Boston Lager & Summer Ale").  Chad, focus!  Enough with the cold feet.  Just pop the question already! 

Her smile says, "Yes!" . . . but her eyes say, "I'm possessed!"  This just got weird.

Oh, and I almost forgot.  How cool is this??  While I was eating at the Opry Backstage Grill, I met a couple of WBKR listeners from St. Charles, KY.  I met Desiree Oats and her husband, Kenny!  They were eating at the grill before the big George Jones show at the Opry.  I broke Desiree in very quickly.  If you're going to be my friend, you must understand that food is one of my favorite things on Earth and I expect it served, or sometimes even fed, to me.  Desiree, can you help a brother out?

Poor Desiree.  She comes to Nashville for a romantic getaway with her husband and finds herself feeding heaping tablespoons of mashed potatoes to an anatomically correct Gerber Baby!  Well, the good news for Desiree and Kenny . . . her hard work paid off!

April and I hooked the Oats family up with two tickets to the Grand Ole Opry and a $45 gift certificate to the Opry Backstage Grill.  Now, they can plan another awesome trip to Music City U.S.A.  Hey, Desiree and Kenny, it was a pleasure to meet you both and I really appreciate you listening. 

And, I appreciate all of you reading!  I'm being a big goofball in this blog, but I really want to encourage you to head South to Nashville and check out the Opry Backstage Grill.  It was DELICIOUS!!  You've seen my picture and read my reviews of the food I sampled, so ask yourself this . . .

Trust me!  It shucked mine!  Everything I sampled was "yummy for my tummy" and I think you guys are going to love this place.  So, check it out and I think you'll agree . . . it's