“It’s the most wonderful time of the year/With the hickory coals smelling/And the pit masters telling you, “Barbecue’s near”/It’s the most wonderful time of the year/It’s the pork-porkiest season of all.” Or at least it could be if you make sure your holiday shopping list includes some of these gifts:
- Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue. If you don’t own this book yet, shame on you. You’ll certainly learn more about barbecue reading this book than wasting your time on silly websites like BBQJew.com.
- Join “The Fun Tribe”. For 35 tax-deductible dollars a year (less for students & seniors) you can give the gift of membership in the NC Barbecue Society–known to some as The Fun Tribe, for reasons that remain a mystery to me despite being a dues-paying member. NCBS promotes North Carolina’s barbecue culture, sends out a monthly newsletter and offers classes and other special events. As their website says, “It is time we step up as a state and rightfully claim what many of us have known for a long time, that North Carolina originated barbecue (it’s a Noun), we produce the BEST and we are the Barbecue Capital of the World.” Amen!
- BBQ Jew Ornaments. Yes, the rumors are true: Hanukkah is over. You may not have even known it was here. But rest assured that these BBQ Jew ornaments are for Christmas trees AND Hanukkah bushes. Phew.
- Long distance pork. Do you know any down on their luck folks who, gasp, don’t live in North Carolina and therefore can’t find good barbecue?* If so, send a styrofoam cooler to their doorstep to say, “I care about your health and well-being enough to ship you frozen meat through the mail.” I linked to the website of the NC Barbecue Company, a newcomer to the cutthroat (?) mail-order BBQ world (I’ll be sharing more about them on this site soon). You can also use King’s venerable Oink Express or call your favorite local joint to see if they ship–some do if you ask real nice.
- Other BBQ Jew merch. T-shirts, onesies, fridge magnets? Yup, yup, and yup. The BBQ Jew Store has everything your heart desires and quite a few things it does not.
- Local pork. Maybe your family and friends are lucky enough to live in North Carolina and smart enough to buy their own ‘cue. But don’t give them too much credit, you know them better than that. Buy them some barbecue in case they don’t have the sense to do it themselves. Better yet, see if your local joint sells whole shoulders. Many joints sell shoulders around the holidays, and nothing says “happy holidays” like a big ol’ hunk of slow-cooked pork.
- An education in swine. The NCBS offers barbecue judging and cooking classes, including weekend getaway “Boot Camps”. The Kansas City Barbecue Society offers classes too, including an upcoming judging class in Lexington, NC in February.
- Sauce. Are the options above too expensive or complicated? Well, if you live in NC, just head down to your local grocery store and buy some North Carolina barbecue sauce. Of the brands that are fairly widely distributed, I highly recommend Scott’s, a classic Eastern-style sauce with serious hot pepper kick to it. (Scott’s is available online too.) And don’t forget a bottle of Texas Pete, the condiment that accompanies the sauce at most barbecue joints throughout the state.
*Texans and residents of Owensboro, Kansas City, Memphis and other such places need not be concerned. I know you good folks have palatable barbecue too, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and other such atrocities notwithstanding.