Durham Becoming a BBQ Mecca?

It’s a bit of hyperbole to refer to Durham as a BBQ mecca, but here it is:  http://durhamnewsservicemainfeed.blogspot.com/2014/04/durham-becoming-bbq-mecca.html?m=1  Yet honestly, when Ed Mitchell’s Que opens (next month, as of last report) Durham will have four True ‘Cue certified wood cooking barbecue joints, which puts the mid-sized city on the BBQ map in a way that was hard to imagine just a few years ago. Durham’s already on the culinary map regionally and nationally, so it’s fitting that the city is starting to show some pride in its barbecue beyond the long-standing but gas-reliant “barbecue” restaurants that long were Durham’s go-tos.

Sure, Durham isn’t quite Lexington, NC, which has easily been the state’s BBQ standard bearer for years, and it’s sure not Austin, TX when it comes to a growing urban BBQ scene, but Durham is a pit-cooked barbecue leader among urban North Carolina communities.  Let’s hope others follow the Bull City’s lead–Raleigh, are you paying attention? Charlotte, are you out there?  Wilmington, do you even care? I could go on…

Alabama Beats NC in BBQ and Basketball?

The North Carolina tourism folks really need to get their sh*t pork together.  First, South Carolina launched a statewide barbecue campaign with accompany billboards, highway maps distributed at visitor’s centers, and a slick website. As if that wasn’t bad enough, now comes word that Alabama–yes, the football state–has a NCAA basketball tournament-inspired BBQ Bracket.

Alabama beating NC to the punch on a basketball tie-in for barbecue?  South Carolina doing more for their highways than NC?  Say it ain’t so.

With all due respect to the people of Alabama–who put white sauce on their barbecue and may well bathe in it too–and to the hash-eaters of South Carolina, this shouldn’t be happening.  North Carolina should be leading the way in barbecue tourism, not lagging far behind.  In the immortal words of Walter Sobchak’s best friend, The Dude, “This aggression will not stand, man.”  Or maybe it will.  At this rate Oregon will be promoting barbecue before North Carolina does.

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

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.

Merry Christmacue

I was searching for a feel good barbecue story to share in honor of the holiday when this one popped into my inbox. Divine intervention?  Perhaps.  Either way, it’s a nice story about Inspire Bar-B-Que in Washington, D.C., so check the video out.

Oh, and Inspire appears to be a wood-burning joint, which qualifies as a Christmas miracle in and of itself.  Learn more about the restaurant and its philosophy at http://inspirebbq.com/about.html

Merry Christmas.

Teach the Children Well

I believe the children are the future, teach them well and… they will cook a pig?  That seems to be the plan in Thomasville, where students at New Hope Christian Academy have opened their own business called Butch Cassidy Barbecue (motto: “Barbecue worth stealing”).

Read more about the high school sponsored endeavor at http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20131104/NEWS/311049998 or visit the Butch Cassidy Barbecue website.  Oh, and try not to worry that these kids are cooking with propane, as evidenced in the picture in the Dispatch article.  Hopefully they’ll learn right from wrong by the time they get to college.

A NC Barbecue Primer Video

Here’s a neat new video by Bob Garner and The Pit restaurant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80m1Od3Gvco.  (You can see the Spanish language version here, if you’d like to replace Bob’s narration with that of a Spanish speaking woman.) The four minute long video gives all the background on NC barbecue that anyone really needs, and will surely make you salivate while you watch.

In addition, there’s a companion video about barbecue sauce, with an emphasis on NC and SC.  This is Bob’s “grad school seminar” companion to his above “NC BBQ 101 lecture”.  It’s an excellent account of BBQ sauce’s variations and history, well worth the nearly 8 minutes.

The Best Sandwich in NC

Surely everyone agrees that there is no better sandwich in North Carolina than a barbecue sandwich. Wait, what?  Not everyone agrees?  Well, I guess not…

131104_bi_sandwichmapWe Tarheels can at least take solace, as we often do on a number of subjects, that we are not from South Carolina, where apparently the best sandwich is a tuna melt.

The Fog of War (aka Eating BK BBQ)

Burger King '13 (2)Sometimes the BBQ Jew lifestyle, such as it is, involves supreme sacrifice in the name of research. Recently I stumbled into just such a situation.

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.

Burger King '13

 

A History of South Carolina Barbeque

Here’s a nice article about a new book–which I’m midway through reading at present–by my BBQ comrade-in-arms Lake High, Jr.  Not only does Lake have one of the best names I’ve ever encountered, but he is a nice guy and very knowledgeable about barbecue in SC and beyond based on my email correspondence with him.

In A History of South Carolina Barbeque(available at your local Amazon.com), Lake makes a strong case for South Carolina as the birthplace of barbecue, though I’d still argue that us Tar Heels perfected the art and have better maintained it over the last few hundred years!  But us fellow Carolinians should probably put our sniping aside and focus on real foes like gas cookers, chains that rhyme with Mickey’s Barbecue Shit, and other such things.  Plus, if the Texans hear us feuding with our neighbors to the South, they might well invade.

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