Izzy’s BBQ Addiction

It is always nice to see a bona fide Barbejew making headlines.  Check out the story of Jewish barbecue man Sruly Eidelman’s efforts to open up a Kosher barbecue joint at http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/short-takes/kosher-barbecue-pop-up-seeks-permanent-home.

Mr. Eidelman sounds like a smart man, at least based on quotes like this one about barbecue: “I think that more Jews need to try this kind of food.”   Still no word on whether he plans to get into whole hog cooking some day, but somehow I suspect not…

Farewell, Bob Kantor

It saddens me to share the news that Bob Kantor, founder of Memphis Minnie’s in San Francisco, passed away earlier this week.

I got to know Bob a little over the last few years, having shared a BBQ lunch with him and his (in his words) “shiksa” Gail, interviewed him for this website, and kept in touch from time to time by email. Many people knew Bob much better than I did, of course, but even in the short time I knew him it was obvious he was generous, kind and had a great sense of humor.  He was also a hell of a cook, and he cared a lot about barbecue traditions even as he made his name running a funky, creative but wood-fired BBQ joint in the Lower Haight.

The best tribute I can offer Bob is to make sure you’ve seen the interview he did for this website a few years back.  It was easily one of my favorite experiences running the site, and I enjoyed revisiting the interview when I heard the sad news of his death.

I understand from the general manager of Memphis Minnie’s that the plan is to keep the restaurant going to honor Bob.  I wish them well, and send my regrets to all of Bob’s family and friends, and to the many relative strangers like me who were lucky enough to spend some time with him.  May he rest in peace, and I sure hope sauce is optional in the afterlife… but sake is plentiful.

(NC BBQ) Anarchy in the U.K.

I’m four years late on this one, but as any true barbecue fan knows good things are worth the wait.  Loyal reader Porcophile recently emailed me with the link to an article published in London’s the Guardian newspaper in June 2009. The subject?  You guessed it, North Carolina barbecue.

Journalist Joshua Stein is a Brooklyn-based Barbejew, judging by his name, who at the time wrote for the Guardian.  (Where are you now, Joshua Stein?  The Guardian needs you, as it’s NC BBQ coverage has really slipped over the years).  The article Mr. Stein authored is a fairly pro forma overview of North Carolina barbecue, so I’m bringing it to your attention only as a further indicator that North Carolina barbecue will someday takeover the world.  No word on whether the Brits like their barbecue served over a jacket potato, but I’d be surprised to learn otherwise.

Although we owe our eternal gratitude to the Spaniards for introducing the hog to America (thanks Columbus, and a belated Happy Holiday to you!) , it is good to know that others in Europe are being introduced to slow-cooked swine.

Will the Real BBQ Jew Please Stand Up?

Well, at long last I may have met my Barbejew match: Ari White of Hakadosh BBQ.  Get the full, kosher scoop at http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/175887/the-holy-grail-of-kosher-barbeque-hakadosh-bbq/

Impressive work, my Jewish brother, but no need to give me a call until you start barbecuing pork.

A True BBQ Jew

BBQ Jews and barbecue lovers everywhere have a new place to visit in The Windy City.  Read all about it, and save some ‘cue for me!

Texas’ BBQ Jew?

It looks like Porky LeSwine may have a new best friend, or perhaps arch-enemy.  The Editor of Texas Monthly Magazine is one Jake Silverstein (a Jewish name if there ever was one), and the latest issue of his magazine is all about barbecue.  Texas barbecue, that is.
http://www.myfoxaustin.com/video/videoplayer.swf?dppversion=11212

Texas Monthly’s Barbecue Issue: MyFoxAUSTIN.com

World Kosher BBQ Championship

In case you missed it this past weekend, BBQ Jews from across the country (well, at least from a few metropolitan areas) descended on Memphis for the 23rd annual World Kosher Barbecue Championship.  For an event preview, see this article.  For event results, check… actually, do you really care who won?  It’s the concept that is most interesting.

From the contest website: “In a city where treif BBQ restaurants far outnumber synagogues, it was only natural that a creative team at the oldest, Jewish Orthodox congregation in the Mid-South, Anshei Sphard-Beth El Emeth (ASBEE), decided twenty-four years ago to offer a kosher alternative to the long-standing Memphis BBQ contest of the swine variety.”

Sounds like a good time and good food. Not as good as eating pork, of course, but good nevertheless.

2011 BBQ Jew of theYear: Bruce Pearl

Although it is only August, former University of Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl has already locked up the prestigous 2011 BBQ Jew of the Year award [Editor's note: See our March 23rd, 2011 profile of Coach Pearl here].  Coach Pearl is one of the country’s highest profile Jewish sports figures.  He was fired from Tennessee this spring in the aftermath of an NCAA investigation surrounding a recruiting violation that took place over barbecue at Pearl’s home in Knoxville in 2008, and the subsequent cover-up.  A few days ago the NCAA announced that Pearl is banned from any recruiting for the next three years.  What did Coach Pearl do when he found out about the NCAA’s penalty?  Naturally, he had a barbecue.

In order to respond to the NCAA’s announcement, Coach Pearl hosted a “press luncheon, where barbecue was once again served.”  It is unclear whether Pearl saw any irony in serving barbecue at an event intended to discuss, and take responsibility for, the penalties imposed on him for an illegal barbecue.  Whether or not he recoginized the irony, Pearl has secured the 2011 BBQ Jew of the Year award.  After all, Coach Pearl either:

a) Realized the irony of having the media over for barbecue and relished in the dark humor of it all, a bad ass move that would make a mob boss proud.

or

b) Did not think that there was anything odd about returning to the scene of the crime to address the media, since his love of barbecue is so strong.

Whatever Coach Pearl was thinking, he is clearly a dedicated BBQ Jew.  Bravo Coach Pearl, and may your next coaching job be somewhere in the south so you can keep on eating ‘cue and doing it your way.

BBQ&A: Porky LeSwine on WPTF-680 AM

As a barbejournalist, usually I am the one who gets to ask the tough-as-overdone-brisket questions, but tonight the tables will be turned.  I will be appearing live on the radio with host Tom Kearney of WPTF-680 from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m.  Tom jokingly describes his show as “like the poor man’s Charlie Rose,” which is fitting because I am definitely a poor man’s version of a celebrity.

The thought of talking live on the radio for an hour is enough to make me want to hide under a large BBQ tray until the sun rises tomorrow.  Tune in to see whether I remain conscious… and to see whether this is actually all some elaborate set up to have me assassinated, as Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is one of WPTF’s sponsors.

Only in New York: Kosher Pork

A tip of the snout to alert reader and longtime BBQ buddy Ike Walker*, who alerted me to a story in the New Yorker about pork that was mistakenly labeled Kosher in a Queens supermarket. Although pork is by definition not Kosher (or treyf, if you want to show off), few things could be more Kosher than reading an article in the New Yorker about pork.  And it’s a pretty interesting story too.

Among several gems in the story: “In this era of budget cuts, [New York] state has laid off all eight of its  Kosher-enforcement inspectors, leaving Rabbi Weiss as a one-man department… .” State-funded Kosher inspectors?  Really? Better yet, I am pleased by the discovery of the Orthodox Union, which according to the article, has a “voice-mail recording [that] describes it as “the global leader in Kosher supervision and the world’s largest Jewish resource.”  The Orthodox Union, among many other things, certifies products as Kosher and offers a “Kosher Alerts” RSS feed.  A recent alert:

“Brands: West Coast Select
Products: Maple Nuggets Smoked Sockeye
Company: Sundance Seafood LTD., Surrey British Columbia
Issue: Unauthorized OU
West Coast Select Maple Nuggets Smoked Sockeye bear an unauthorized OU symbol.  This product is not certified by the Orthodox Union, and it is being withdrawn from the marketplace. “

I am thinking about trying to get OU certification for my favorite local BBQ joint, Allen & Son’s, so I can dine completely guilt-free.  Until then, the BBQ Jew certifies all pork as Kosher.  Keep on swinin’ and dinin’.

*Notably, Mr. Walker is also the man whose family introduced me to pig pickin’s way back when.

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