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Goebel's Country Store does authentic barbecue that wows you

Wood smoke mingling with the scent of slowly cooking meat, I’ll confess, isn’t the irresistible aroma for me that it is for many.

That is unless I’ve driven past any number of fast-food chains, generic diners and burger joints, convinced that something better lay just a few more miles ahead. On a recent road trip, that intuition led to Goebel’s Country Store in Shady Cove.

Goebel’s barbecue is so authentic that owners Seth and Laura Goebel don’t even need the word in their business name. The corrugated metal shed around this Texas couple’s commercial kitchen and that aforementioned wood smoke are enough advertisement for summoning travelers and locals alike to this walk-up window fronting Highway 62.

Brisket, pulled pork, smoked turkey and sausage headline the menu, served from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Goebel’s offers customers’ choices of meat in tacos, sandwiches and on “big plates” with a selection of side dishes.

Meats by the pound also are available from $9 for pork spare ribs to $18 for sliced brisket or turkey. And side dishes can be purchased individually in small, medium and large sizes for $2, $3.50 and $5.50, respectively. The format clearly makes Goebel’s a popular option for takeout in portions large enough to feed an entire family. “Family packs” containing 1 to 3 pounds of meats, plus sides, are priced from $35 to $78.

My partner and I typically are content to swap our plates back and forth in the name of variety. Years he spent living in Austin cultivated his taste for smoked brisket, but he settled for that in a taco ($3.50), rather than a full plate for sharing with me. The server was quick to point out that Goebel’s tacos are “Texas style” — comprising flour tortillas, onions, pickles and barbecue sauce — not the salsa-spiked, corn tortilla-rolled versions ubiquitous to taquerias and food trucks around the region.

Smoked turkey was my preference for the “li’l sissy” plate ($12), paired with “cowboy beans” and macaroni salad from Goebel’s seven side dishes, which also include white beans, green beans, coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni and cheese. The meal additionally comes with a dinner roll, onions, pickles and extra barbecue sauce. Plates with two meats cost $18; three meats can be had for $24.

The Goebels may be relative newcomers to Oregon, but not to food service. Laura previously was executive chef at Crater Lake Lodge. She and Seth renovated an abandoned building at 22299 Highway 62 in Shady Cove to accommodate the smoker shed and a space for local artisans to sell their wares. The couple built their smoker on the family ranch in Texas and shipped it west. They still source their mesquite and oak in Texas, said Larkynn Tupper, who staffs the store.

Three years after opening, Goebel’s sells only locally made items, from yard art and framed prints to quilts and preserves, from about 80 crafters, said Tupper. And the business’ food service arm has repeatedly logged perfect sanitation scores with Jackson County. Laura Goebel’s former sous chef at the lodge manages the kitchen, said Tupper.

“They make everything from scratch.”

Goebel’s barbecue sauce is so spot-on that you don’t have to be an aficionado of the genre to recognize its excellence. Everything the condiment touches conveys its deliciously sweet spiciness, with an acid kick, that keeps diners dipping and drizzling until the sauce runs out. I appreciated Goebel’s standard format of serving sauce on the side of its plates, which allowed me to home in first on the turkey’s flavor. The bird’s breast was tender and moist inside with some browned and slightly charred edges. Goebel’s conscientiously puts a variety of textures on its plates, so diners get the barbecue’s full effect.

The beans’ straightforward seasonings of onion, garlic and tomato were eclipsed by the barbecue sauce, according to my partner, who is accustomed to spicier Texas-style beans. The macaroni salad provided a creamy contrast of slightly sweet dressing and clean, crunchy celery with just enough black pepper to keep it from being bland.

The taco had a bit too much sauce around its chopped brisket for my partner’s liking. The dish might have been more enjoyable for him with sliced brisket, which costs an extra dollar, rather than strands of meat that soak up lots of the signature condiment.

For anyone who likes tacos really juicy, there’s the “sloppy” taco ($4), which pairs pulled pork and creamy coleslaw. The “sloppy jalopy” puts the same fillings on a sesame bun for $10. Sandwiches are priced from $9 for plain pulled pork or smoked sausage to $10 for turkey or brisket.

Goebel’s long wooden picnic tables adjacent to the smoker shed afforded a sunny perch for enjoying our meal, concluded with the day’s special banana pudding ($3). The dessert was a faithful rendition of the beloved recipe combining fruit-flavored custard, vanilla wafer cookies and sliced bananas. Dishes such as these attain iconic status for a reason. Another is the South’s indispensable sweet tea, which we skipped in favor of unsweetened.

Whether it’s the season for sledding at Union Creek or rafting the Rogue River, Goebel’s offers more reason to make Shady Cove a dining destination. Operating hours expand to include Mondays during the summer. See goebelscountrystore.com or call 541-878-3807.

Tempo Tidbits

Organicos’ new retail bakery has opened in Phoenix.

The baker of gluten-free, organic, vegan breads, buns, cookies and pastries closed for several months to move operations to a new storefront at 4495 S. Pacific Highway No. 420. Organicos had planned before September’s Almeda fire to vacate its former Phoenix location, which survived the blaze, and relocate in October. But cleanup and repairs at both locations set back Organicos’ reopening.

Two customers are permitted at a time inside the bakery in keeping with guidelines intended to curb the coronavirus’ spread. There is plenty of space for waiting outside, according to the bakery’s reopening announcement.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, or until products sell out. Fresh pastries, savories and sourdough only are available Tuesdays and on weekends.

Organicos’ products are featured at 30 locations around the valley, from farmers markets and independent grocers to restaurants and wineries. Organicos also wholesales in Eugene, Portland, Yreka and Mt. Shasta, Calif.

See organicosbakery.com to order online or for more information. Email organicosbakery@gmail.com or call 541-944-1473.

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Peerless Restaurant & Bar in Ashland has a new menu available for takeout.

Diners can order for curbside pickup between 4:30 and 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 265 Fourth St. Comprising 11 food items, the menu also offers cocktails and wines by the bottle.

Choose from small and large salads, vegetable and potato side dishes and entrees that include chicken confit pot pie, tuna poke, roast chicken and spinach-mushroom lasagna, priced from $6 to $45. Basque style cheesecake costs $8 per slice or $42 for the entire dessert.

View the menu at peerlessrestaurant.com. Orders can be placed by calling 541-488-6067.

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Wine sales from 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery benefit relief efforts for September’s Almeda fire.

The Medford estate has sold more than half of its 9-1-1 c.2 wine, a red blend released in October and priced at $30 per bottle. The wine’s composition is 38 percent cabernet sauvignon, 32 percent merlot and 30 percent cabernet franc from the 2018 harvest. The grapes grew in the vineyards’ most inhospitable soils, in a block characterized as “one big experiment,” according to the wine’s tech sheet.

Once the entire bottling is sold, said 2Hawk co-owner Jen Allen, proceeds will be donated to an organization helping to rebuild homes or one that has significantly assisted with the community’s recovery from the devastating wildfire that burned thousands of residences in Ashland, Talent and Phoenix. Purchase at 2hawk.wine, email info@2hawk.wine or call 541-779-9463.

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Have a Tempo tidbit to share? Email news about the local dining, food and beverage scene to: thewholedish@gmail.com

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Sarah Lemon has relished the Rogue Valley’s dining scene for nearly two decades as one of the original contributors to Tempo’s dining column. Her palate has helped to judge some of the region’s culinary competitions and festivals. The former editor of A la Carte, the Mail Tribune’s weekly food section, she writes a biweekly column, The Whole Dish, and blogs and podcasts under the same name. Listen at mailtribune.com/podcasts and read more at mailtribune.com/lifestyle/the-whole-dish. Follow @the.whole. dish on Instagram, @thewholedish on Twitter or see facebook.com/thewholedish.

Barbecue sauce typically is served on the side at Goebel’s Country Store.
Macaroni salad is one of the seven side dish choices at Goebel’s Country Store in Shady Cove.