Dress Tiezed and Confused

One of the things that’s surprised me most about running a food blog is how many PR lists one gets on.  Not a week goes by without an offer to review a book, test a recipe, get a free sample of a product, and so on.  I’ve become a bit jaded and rarely reply.  But the email I got a few weeks ago caught my eye:

Porky, eat out a lot?

 What’s worse than a splotch of balsamic vinegar that does a Jackson Pollock knock-off on your shirt or tie?

For those men or women who like everything to be just so and are tired of staining their clothing when they have lunch….Mike Tanney has invented the perfect accessory for anyone who likes to look immaculate all day long… The product is called Dress Tiez ™ and it is brand new. Created by Mike, who was tired of replacing his expensive Hermes stained ties. Now there’s the perfect gift for foodies and all of us who appreciate leaving a meal without looking like we walked off a battlefield.

 *Stylish, fashionable and suitable for fine restaurants

*Halts stains from pasta sauce, red wine, olive oil etc and is machine washable

*Is portable and comes with its own matching pouch and is gift boxed.

*Comes in 19 different styles and colors

*Can be monogrammed or personalized

Visit: www.DressTiez.com

Please let me know if you would like to receive a complimentary sample to review.”

IMAG2003Needless to say, I couldn’t pass this rare opportunity up.  After all, eating BBQ gets messy, even when sticking to the vinegar-sauced North Carolina variety.  If I had a dollar for every shirt I’ve ruined with grease stains from eating trays of BBQ I’d have enough money to, well, buy another tray.

I requested a free sample DressTiez (the brand name doesn’t work well for singular usage, but I didn’t order a plural amount), and a few days later I was in business.  Rather than subject myself to potential public humiliation, I invited a friend over and asked him to make a fool out of himself for the good of you readers.  (Well, I asked his wife too but she was too demure.) Inset is Cody “Whole Hog” Marshall–friend, neighbor, and now genuine hero–test driving a DressTiez with about two pounds of my home-smoked barbecue in front of him.

As you can tell, the DressTiez is not actually a tie at all.  This came as a surprise to me when I opened the package.  It is a bib.  Perhaps DressBib didn’t have a good ring to it.  I prefer to call it a Man Bib.  You may call it something else if you wish.

I’m not sure what else to say about the DressTiez.  It’s interesting, it’s functional (though it leaves some neckline exposed), it’s polyester, and it’s definitely a conversation starter.  You should read this review, and you must watch this video ad to fully understand the product, if that is even possible.

R.I.P. “Smokey” Joe Cope

Sad news from Lexington, where Joe Cope of Smokey Joe’s BBQ has passed away.  From the restaurant’s Facebook page:

Our precious Dad has gone home to be with our Lord and Saviour. Thank you all for your prayers your love. Please continue to pray for our family. Thank you. We love you all.

Not So Complicated

I recently came across a simply great article about Sam Jones, Rodney Scott, cooking pig, friendship, the SFA, tradition, the American South, and a whole lot more.  It’s called, “The Southern Foodways Alliance Wants to Complicate Your Meal.”  Check it out at: http://bittersoutherner.com/southern-foodways-alliance-part-2#.UuBzZtIo6t9

Lexington Barbecue Feature

Nice article on Lexington’s barbecue culture at http://guardianlv.com/2014/01/lexington-north-carolina-barbecue-capital-of-the-world/

WUNC TV Tonight

Tune in to WUNC-TV tonight at 9:30 p.m. to see an episode of North Carolina Now & Then (a special series celebrating NC Now’s 20th year on air, if I understand correctly) that includes Bob Garner’s first barbecue feature from 1994.  In the episode, Bob Garner visits Lexington, NC to talk about their barbecue traditions.  Should be fun.

R.I.P. Hillsborough Hog(g) Day

Whether you spell it with one g or two, the Hillsborough Hog(g) Day festival has come to an end after 31 years. Although it was a nice event, the cancellation makes sense to me–Orange County Chamber of Commerce cited an interest in focusing their limited capacity on economic development rather than festival coordination.  Learn more in the Chapel Hill News.

Maybe a volunteer organizing committee (not it!) will try and bring the festival back to life.  Or maybe a professional in the event business will come up with a proposal to revive the event.  Until then, thanks for the Hog Day memories. Honestly, some of my most enduring memories are of oppressive heat and mid-rate Elvis impersonations, yet I still had fun every time I attended and surely tens of thousands of others did too. R.I.P.

Pork for a Cause

Come join us for NC barbecue at Toro Dreams of Billy!  Toro Dreams of Billy: 
Billy Cotter thinks of barbecue and puts his thoughts onto the plateBenefiting Meals on Wheels of DurhamMonday, January 13th
at The Cookery

2 seatings: 6:00pm and 8:30pm
Tickets are $35
Please bring non-perishable food donations along with your ticket
(see below for details)!

If you are a vegetarian, you may want to attend a future event!
Since this is a pork-focused menu, vegetarian options will unfortunately not be available.

North Carolina barbecue at it’s finest!

Toast’s very own Billy Cotter will be cooking up some of his Southern favorites, but with a modern twist!  This meal will be served family style, to ensure you get to know your neighbors as you have your very own pig pickin’ at the table.  Other menu items include pimento cheese and homemade flatbreads, Billy’s take on NC clam chowder, winter greens salad with ham hock vinaigrette, and a special made in house headcheese.

Ticket sales include a can of PBR upon entry. Hand crafted cocktails, wine and craft beers will be available for purchase at The Cookery’s bar. All bar proceeds will also be donated to Meals on Wheels of Durham.

TICKETS GO ON SALE TONIGHT AT 5pm!

Purchase tickets here

Delwood’s Barbecue Sauce

A few months back I received a complimentary jar of Delwood’s Barbecue Sauce & Marinade courtesy of Delwood Cavenaugh II  himself.  I told him I’ d write about soon if I liked it.  Well, I owe Delwood my sincere apology for taking so danged long to fulfill my commitment.  The sauce is excellent and I’ve enjoyed it on several occasions; you readers should buy a jar ASAP to make up for my lack of timeliness in writing this post.

Delwood'sBefore I get to the sauce, who is this Delwood character?  When he initially contacted me, he described himself as “a Browns Summit based Eastern NC style BBQ sauce business with an eye towards whole hog catering, food trucks and eventually a family style restaurant.”  I was intrigued already, as Browns Summit is squarely in the middle of Lexington-style barbecue country, yet Delwood was committed to Eastern style sauce and whole hog cooking.  Another confused soul?  Well, not really, as Delwood was raised in Newport, NC, which is about as far east as one can get in NC without swimming in the ocean.

As Delwood writes on his website, “My earliest memories of BBQ are late nights and wood smoke.  Newport is ‘The Town With Old Fashioned Courtesy’, but it is best known for the Newport Pig Cooking Contest, the largest whole hog contest in these United States.  As such, I grew up surrounded by by Amazing barbecue cooks, steeped in the Eastern North Carolina style, and it was the rare weekend that someone wasn’t cooking up a pig somewhere.  As I grew up my dad taught me everything he knew about barbecuing pigs, making sauce… .”  Those sound like pretty good Eastern credentials to me.  Plus, Delwood is the son of another Delwood, and that ought to count for something.

But back to the sauce.  I’m generally skeptical of buying NC-style barbecue sauces, since the basic recipe is awfully simple–vinegar, salt, peppers, more ingredients as you wish.  However, Delwood’s sauce is really good and worth the money.  It is grounded squarely in the Eastern NC tradition, being that it is tomato-free and has an emphasis on cider vinegar and hot pepper flakes, among other spices, but it has a dollop of brown sugar that ever so slightly mellows out the vinegar tang.  I’ve enjoyed the sauce on pork shoulder and chicken, thus far, and the Mason jar and handsome label make it an attractive table sauce.

If you can find a sauce purveyor in your area (see the list of where to purchase), I definitely recommend you give it a try.  You can even order the sauce from Amazon, although the shipping fee nearly doubles the price.  Still, if you’re reading this in some far flung place like New York or California, go for it–heck, you can barely buy a bottle of water for $12 so this is a real bargain.

Thanks to Delwood for sharing his sauce with me, and I look forward to ordering my next jar as soon as finish up this one… it surely won’t be long!

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