Specially prepared foods steeped in tradition


Staff Writer

Many prospective cooks who want to play the long game in food preparation follow techniques passed down from older cooks, something plainly evident in many establishments in the Ohio Valley.

Patrick Fisher, proprietor of Mason Dixon BBQ in Moundsville, had served multiple tours of duty with the U.S. military in Afghanistan and, when he returned home, spent time traveling in the South. He combines the cooking techniques he was taught by his friends abroad with the way his family grew up cooking to create a unique flavor that is offered at one of the only barbecue specialty restaurants in the Ohio Valley.

“Grilling is very hands on — we cut the trees down ourselves that we use to smoke. It’s our own rub, which, I think, it has to be that way, if you want your quality to be where it’s at,” Fisher said. “When I was in the Army, I was stationed throughout the South, a huge barbecue area. I would go into these restaurants and the pit masters would say, ‘Come on back,’ and I’d get to pick their minds about the different kinds of wood they use, different techniques. I just picked up the different styles and took the tastes, mixed them with what I like, and came up with a flavor profile that people in this area would like.”

Fisher only uses white oak to smoke the meat used at Mason Dixon, and he said that proper technique is a 24-hour labor — but one that pays off.

“The beef takes longest, about 16 to 18 hours,” he said. “We start that the evening before, and then I’ll come up about 2:30 a.m. to stoke it. I’m usually here until about 9:30 (a.m.) then … stoking the fire, making sure the fire’s at the right level. Being here at the top of a hill, if you get a gust of wind it could raise the temperature 25, 30 degrees. Some people don’t think that’s a big deal, but it is. … We like to cook at 200 degrees.”

Fisher said that upon his return from his service, he went back to college before being invited by Grand Vue Park to set up shop at one of its buildings. The restaurant’s 18-foot cooker was custom built by a Georgian craftsman for Fisher’s business, which he hopes will be able to start selling custom sauces in local stores next year.

For endeavors of a sweeter nature, Moundsville’s Quality Bake Shoppe has carried on more than 60 years of tradition since relocating to its current site just down the road from its origin. Baker Kari Turvey said the baked goods produced today still reflect most of the same, original recipes used when the shop first opened its doors.

“We purchased the recipes from the original owners who started Quality Bake Shoppe,” she said. “We stick true to those. We’ve added a couple new items, but for the most part we’ve stuck with the original recipes.”

Quality Bake Shoppe, Turvey says, caters to all sorts of occasions, from weddings, to birthdays and gender reveal parties. Most popular for all occasions, she said, are the bakery’s Maddogs — split, icing-filled fried doughnuts.

“Of everything we get orders for, our Maddogs are what we get ordered the most,” she noted.

Orders through Quality Bake Shoppe are taken more than 24 hours in advance, or with even more lead time for larger orders, and bakers like Turvey are in the shop before 5 a.m. to start filling the day’s requests.


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