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Last night the James Beard awards included a category for classic American restaurants around the US, small, regional places that have been around for years, essentially. I thought it was the most entertaining part of the evening, although it was like one big coronary after another--it seemed like every restaurant was known for something deliciously indulgent, like crispy fried chicken from the Brookville Hotel in Abilene, Kansas and sandwiches piled high with grilled meat, cole slaw, fried eggs, tomatoes and french fries from Primanti's in Pittsburgh. Of course, given the audience, there were collective sounds of approval when the videos aired, especially for the steak at Doe's Eat Place in Greenville, MS, where they grill the steak from the top, then catch the drippings and pour them over the steak when it's served. Insane!

All of this gluttony and excess reminded me of a new book that also embraces fatty food in all its glory: King of the Q's Blue Plate BBQ, by Ted Reader. Flipping through the book (which we have not yet tried out in the Test Kitchen), I came across some pretty fun (albeit a little scary) ideas for serious overindulging:
1. Cheesy Stuffed Burger dogs (roll a hot dog and a string cheese inside hamburger mix and grill, then slap on a hot dog bun).
2. Teddy's Grilled Cheese Beef Burger with Ludicrous Beer Butter Basting Sauce (two grilled bacon and cheese sandwiches become the "bun" for the burger, which is basted with a mixture of butter, bbq sauce and beer while grilling).
3. Butter-Injected Fully Loaded Baked Potatoes (inject your grilled whole potatoes liberally with butter, then split them and fill with mozzarella cheese, sour cream, bacon and scallions).
We'll have to try at least one of these in the Test Kitchen. Stay tuned for the results.