I was saddened to receive a call from my brother that our aunt, Eulalia Cantley passed away on Wednesday. She was my father’s oldest sister and was part of the team that made the best BBQ I’ve ever eaten.
She was married to Maxie Cantley and with other members of the Cantley family ran Cantley’s Bar-B-Q restaurant of Nesmith, SC. I mentioned the restaurant in one of my first postings:
My uncle Maxie Cantley cooked the best pork I’ve ever eaten, pulling tender chunks of pork off and serving it with rice drenched with clear, hot spiced, red gravy from drippings, cole slaw, sweet potato souffle, a slice of bread and my aunt Eukie’s chocolate layer cake. The pork was spiced hot, so you needed lots of sweet, ice tea. Their restaurant was near Nesmith, SC.
The BBQ was similar to NC eastern style in the use of vinegar and pepper, but it was pulled off in chunks of meat and not chopped. The rice and sweet potato are part of the tradition for that part of SC. The closest to this style you will find is Browns BBQ, 809 N Williamsburg County Highway in Kingstree, SC.
I later found a recipe for one of Eukie’s cakes and made that available.
One of my favorite memories was asking her about my grandmother, a church pianist. As a girl, my grandmother had wanted to learn to play the piano. The family didn’t have enough money to buy a piano. She took lessons playing on a church piano and returned home to practice on a board on which her father had painted a keyboard. I loved the way my aunt told that story. She told it as evidence of the quiet determination of her mother.
Aunt Eukie was a kind and loving woman. She will be missed.