A tip of the snout to my barbecue buddies John Shelton Reed (Holy Smoke!) and Daniel Vaughn (The Prophets of Smoked Meat) for engaging in an amusing debate about the relative merits of NC and TX barbecue on the pages of Texas Monthly magazine. See their jabs and counters at http://www.tmbbq.com/the-barbecue-editor-disputes-a-tar-heal/
My favorite passage–a TKO, in my opinion–goes to John with his brilliant dissection of Vaughn’s inability to describe what exactly is Texas barbecue:
“There are more hogs than people in North Carolina, but if we are ‘porcivorous’ (in 1728 William Byrd II said we were) it’s not just for convenience. Our barbeculture is something like the dogma of the Orthodox Church—settled, unchanging, secure in the truth, threatened only by modernity, not by rival faiths. Meanwhile, y’all west of the Mississippi seem to have erred and strayed into the barbecue equivalent of speaking in tongues and taking up serpents. In fact, for all I know, you may take up serpents and barbecue them. Wouldn’t surprise me. Look, surely it’s not my responsibility to defend what has been an understanding universal in Christendom. It’s for Texans and Kansas Citians and Owensboroites to justify their departure from it. Martin Luther nailed some theses to the Wittenberg church door: he didn’t just go do his own damn thing.”
As a related aside, I should point out that the very first trip Daniel Vaughn took after being named Barbecue Editor of Texas Monthly was to none other than… not Lockhart, not Luling, but North Carolina. To eat barbecue. Yep. I assume Mr. Vaughn came to North Carolina as many pilgrims do, to draw strength for what he realizes will be many years of wandering the Texas barbecue desert.
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