I know, I know, eating barbecue at Whole Foods seems about as wise as a barbecue joint offering tofu on its menu. But I am an intrepid soul when it comes to barbecue and I’ll do nearly anything for the sake of a blog post. Plus, Whole Foods is based in Austin, Texas, which even this Carolina boy admits is pretty serious barbecue country.
It pains me to admit this, but the NC-style pork barbecue at Whole Foods was not bad. Not real good and certainly not great but okay, adequate, passable, just fine, thank you. I was expecting a gussied up dish that bore little resemblance to real NC BBQ but the pork was rough chopped to a nice consistency, moist despite being on a steam table, and served with a simple Eastern-style vinegar and spices sauce. The pork even contained some outside brown meat, firmer and more flavorful than the rest. Most importantly, the barbecue contained no unwanted additions: no chunks of organic kumquat fruit, no sauce made with locally-raised fig compote, and no free-range kale juice used as seasoning.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are relatively few barbecue joints I’d pass up in favor of Whole Foods, but if you find yourself (as I did) needing a quick NC BBQ fix you could do worse. (As an aside, I had the beef brisket too and it was awful.) If you find yourself in that weak position, do what I do and recite the following prayer for strength:
“Yea, though I walk through the parking lot in the shadow of Whole Foods, I will fear no tofu: for thou art with me; thy pork and thy sauce they comfort me. Thou preparest a Cafe table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my tongue with vinegar; my iced tea cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the church of ‘cue forever.”