OXFORD, Miss. — It’s no secret that Oxford is home to some of the finest restaurants and tastiest food in the Southeast. The real culinary secret, though, is found in left field at Swayze during any Ole Miss home baseball game.
Fans fortunate enough to inhabit a left field barbecue spot have access to a small, approximately 300-square-inch open grill, big enough to grill a few hamburgers, hot dogs, or brats for the 20 or so members of the group.
But follow the smoke to BBQ 1, Row 3, and you will find Steven McCord and Kortni Clemons serving up much more to many more than that.
When left field was nothing more than a grassy knoll dotted with pine trees, Steven and Kortni started grilling for friends and fans of the game. In this ‘pre-Bianco’ era, space was claimed on a first come-first served basis requiring them to camp out to reserve a spot to grill.
After construction of the left field terraced seating, the very coveted reserved barbecue spots were created, giving Steven and Kortni a perfect venue to feed their friends.
Theirs is an organized and well-run operation. It has to be. On average they feed over 40 people for non-conference games and as many as 75-100 for an SEC home game series. That’s 40-100 for EACH game of a weekend series!
The folks Kortni and Steven feed include the members of their own barbecue spot plus two more barbecue spots, as well as many others who are dotted throughout left field. Each person chips in $30 for the grocery budget at the beginning of the season. Other funds come from the remains each night from a friendly home-run pool.
Steven and Kortni plan the meals for each game or series. While some preparation is done at home, all the grilling is done on-site at the field.
When asked about the craziest thing they have cooked, the response was “mountain oysters” (if you don’t know what this is, ask Google). Some meals are planned with visiting teams in mind, like corndogs for LSU or pulled pork for Arkansas. For Tuesday games, it’s Taco Tuesday, of course, for which some 18 pounds of meat is prepared. They even have a wild-game night of grilling venison, duck, dove, and other game donated by the hunters in the group.
Other favorites include some dishes native to Kortni’s New Orleans roots such as gumbo, red beans and rice, and even freshly shucked grilled oysters on the half shell. Regardless of the meal, it is guaranteed to be delicious and plentiful.
Steven is a civil engineer and Kortni is employed at Lafayette Insurance Agency. Those are their day jobs. But if there is a home Ole Miss baseball game, these two turn into a dynamic duo who feed the masses.
If you visit left field, follow your nose. You will find the best smells coming from their grill — and if you look a little hungry, they are always happy to share!