There is a nicely written, fairly comprehensive article on North Carolina barbecue in Elon University’s The Pendulum. An excerpt: “it’s as important to Carolina culture as the Wright brothers.” I’d say that is a gross understatement, and perhaps we need to replace the junky little Ohioan-engineered plane that appears on our license plates with a whole hog. Now that’s a thought. Anyway, read the article in full at http://www.elonpendulum.com/2013/11/the-bbq-state-unique-origins-of-barbecue-define-north-carolina-history-culture/
In case you want to dine out for T Day…
City Barbeque, an Ohio-based chain, has announced plans to open its first restaurant in North Carolina. According to this account, the new restaurant will be in “one of the hearts of barbecue country.” If you guessed that the heart of barbecue country means Cary, then I suspect you’ve been drinking too much Kool-Aid from a Dickey’s Big Yellow Cup.
Based on browsing City Barbeque’s website, it looks like the restaurant is yet another “International House of Barbecue”, as my barbecue brother-in-arms John Shelton Reed likes to say. City Barbeque serves pork shoulder, brisket, ribs, etc., with no regional, let alone local, emphasis. (“OUR PORK SHOULDER IS REMINISCENT OF THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES, THE BRISKET AND SAUSAGE TAKE YOU TO TEXAS, AND THE RIBS EXUDE A BLEND OF THE MEMPHIS AND KANSAS CITY STYLES.”) In other words, they offer a little something for everyone; everyone except for those of us who believe that at its best barbecue is locally distinct. Also, some of us are awfully wary of ribs that “exude” anything!
In fairness, Ohio has no barbecue tradition so the IHOB model makes some sense there. Yet in North Carolina, where the barbecue tradition is strong, it’d be awfully nice if we politely declined to visit IHOBs and instead focused our limited energies (and caloric capacity) on True ‘Cue.
I was returning home from a long day–and part of the night–at the office and was in desperate need of nourishment. Almost without thinking, and with utter disregard for my need for nourishment, I steered into a Burger King looking for a quick burger.
The poster outside advertised the new BBQ Rib Sandwich, and for only a dollar. Despite my best intentions to play to BK’s strengths and order a Whopper, I had no real choice. It was BBQ Rib Sandwich time–I had to try it and report back to the huddled barbecue masses (you).
Although the BBQ Rib Sandwich didn’t contain anything I would describe as inclusive of barbecue or rib, it was indeed a sandwich. And not a bad sandwich at that. The BBQ Rib Sandwich is basically a pork burger, with ground pork shaped into a patty, and a reasonably tasty one at that. I could have done without the sweet barbecue sauce, but my low expectations were exceeded.
The BBQ Rib Sandwich is a different animal (maybe literally?) than the McRib, and for that I was thankful. Don’t get me wrong, I have no plans to ever eat a BBQ Rib Sandwich again but then again I never planned to in the first place.
True ‘Cue and its Campaign for Real Barbecue are shaping up nicely. Learn more at TrueCue.org or dive right in by taking The Pledge at http://truecue.org/the-pledge/
Although BBQ Jews aren’t known for being evangelists, we need you to evangelize about the Campaign for Real Barbecue. I promise there’s a large tray and an iced tea waiting for you–either in the after life or your local BBQ joint–if you help spread the good word. And maybe 72 virgins too, who knows. Happy evangelizing. Shalom!
I enjoy Cackalacky sauce and Cheerwine quite a bit as individual products, but I am more than dubious about putting the two together. One need only remember the Cheerwine Krispy Kreme donut fiasco of 2010 to think twice about these sorts of experiments. But perhaps I’ll be proven wrong. Until then, here’s the official press release:
Cheerwine® And Cackalacky® Join Forces to Create a New Zesty-Sweet Sauce
Images available at http://bit.ly/CackCheer
Chapel Hill, NC – Cackalacky, Inc. announced today that a new Cackalacky® Sweet Cheerwine® Sauce is now available to consumers. The spicy sauce with a note of downhome sweetness was developed in collaboration with Salisbury, NC-based Cheerwine.
A unique glaze and marinade that lends itself particularly well to barbecue, chicken wings and grilled morsels, the new product is destined to become an indispensible dipping sauce and tableside condiment. Designed to compliment Cheerwine soft drinks and the bounty of the Southern table, the new blend also serves as the perfect “bookend” to the Cackalacky company’s piquant flagship Spice Sauce. The product comes in 16-ounce jars.
While Facebook friends of the two Carolina companies have heard about the product via social media since Nov. 1, the first public roll out of the sauce was hosted at the Cheerwine and The Avett Brothers “Legendary Giveback™ II” Concert in Charleston, S.C. on Nov. 14. Fans attending the benefit concert for three organizations, Operation Homefront, Big Brothers Big Sisters and MUSC Children’s Hospital were able to sample the product prior to the show.
The sauce’s next public appearance was held as a part of “A Legendary Thanks! Giving!” food drive & local music event hosted on behalf of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, N.C. on Nov. 16.
“The folks at Cheerwine have been an absolute joy to work with on this project!” says Page Skelton, creator of the Cackalacky brand. “We are both family-owned North Carolina businesses who share a passion for creating happy moments and ‘doing some good’ in our community.”
Tom Barbitta Senior Vice president of Marketing & Sales for Cheerwine says, “Consumers across the heartland know that Cheerwine makes a great sauce for BBQ and for cooking in general. By now teaming up with Cackalacky, we make it easy for fans everywhere to enjoy a taste of what we like to call ‘the southern handshake,’ Cheerwine and BBQ, a match made in heaven!”
Cackalacky Sweet Cheerwine Sauce can be found at Harris Teeter stores in the Greensboro, NC area in late November, just in time for the holidays. Look for it in the “Meet Your Local Neighbor” section.
The sauce is available nationally at Cackalacky.com.
Loyal readers may have noticed that my posts to this website have once again slowed to a crawl. Rest assured I have been busy working on my new project, alongside my barbecue brother John Shelton Reed of Holy Smoke fame, which is called True ‘Cue. More details soon, as we prepare to launch. Until then, stay low and slow.
Congratulations to downtown Raleigh’s elder statesmen, Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue, which is celebrating its 75th birthday this year while preparing to move around the corner from its current location early next year. Although Cooper’s has long been a gasser–meaning it doesn’t technically serve barbecue, but rather roast pork, in my rule book–any restaurant that survives 75 years must be doing something right. WRAL TV put together a nice video tribute…
It would’ve been more useful if I’d found out about this event before it happened, but better late than never… There is a new barbecue event in Fayettevilled called, “When Pigs Fly,” which took place on Saturday. As Chicago Cubs fans say toward the end (or much earlier) of each season, maybe next year.
Every once in a while your’s truly, the Honorable Porky LeSwine, receives an email that restores his faith in ‘cue-manity. A few days ago I read just such an email.
The message had the subject line, “Raleigh BBQ Scene,” and with a title like that I figured it would be nonsense–Raleigh has no real BBQ to speak of, and what’s a barbecue scene anyway?! Raleigh is a barbecue desert (one “s”, not to be confused with banana pudding) and I think it’s an embarrassment to have a dearth of BBQ in our state capital. Well, as it turns out the email’s author agrees with me:
I am a native North Carolinian (a Raleighite) who has been out west for 20+ years and I am here in Raleigh trying to figure out how to move back here to God’s country. I learned to make my own BBQ many years ago because I couldn’t get it any other way.
Question: Where can I go in Raleigh to get a good plate of authentic (wood smoked, not oven roasted) pork barbecue? Coopers – nope. Carolina BBQ – nope. How many others are using gas or electric ovens and no wood? The Pit cooks with wood, but I just don’t go along with having to make a reservation for a table to get a good plate of true North Carolina barbecue in North Carolina’s capital city. Its just not right. [Editor's note: reservations or not, I've been underwhelmed by The Pit's barbecue but kudos to them for cooking it over wood and it's hard to argue with their success as a business.]
Sorry for my ranting. I just can’t believe the BBQ heresy that is going on here. God bless Coopers for being around for 75 years, but they don’t sell BBQ. They sell roasted pork. Are there others that feel like I do?
Heck yeah, there are others that feel like you do. Not many of us, perhaps, but we exist and we applaud you for speaking truth to propane-power. Unfortunately, Raleigh is the tip of the iceberg. The lack of real barbecue plagues the state and I can imagine a future that has no true North Carolina barbecue left.
While we wait for the private sector to come to its senses, can’t the state legislators in Raleigh turn their attention to this problem through some sort of hickory smoke stimulus program? With or without leadership from the legislators wasting space on Jones Street, some of us traditionalists are as mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.
If you care about traditional barbecue, I encourage you to like the page at www.facebook.com/truecue, where a Campaign for Real Barbecue will soon begin. Until then, keep your faith in the holy smoke.