BBQ Jew’s View: Adam’s Roadside Bar-B-Q

Highway 70 West of the Wal-Mart, Goldsboro, NC
(919) 739.3859
Website
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C+
Porky Says: “Hold the sauce!”

Drive By Barbecue
Adam's Goldsboro (9)
I had high hopes for Adam’s Roadside Bar-B-Q, in part because of the phrase “hickory smoked” on the sign outside and in part because there is another barbecue joint on Highway 70 in Goldsboro by the name of Wilber’s.  I figured Adam’s must be doing something right to compete in Wilber’s country.   Unfortunately, my sense is that what Adam’s is doing to compete is not to serve superior barbecue.  While Wilber’s focuses on the fundamentalist wood-fired, whole hog barbecue native to Eastern NC, Adam’s has gone whole hog into the new age of barbecue.  Need some “Texas-style” brisket? Adam’s has it.  Pork ribs?  Sure.  Chicken? Why not?  Turkey? Yes! NC-style chopped pork BBQ?  Oh yeah, that too.

As frequent visitors of this site know, when I review a barbecue joint I focus primarily on the Holy Trinity of North Carolina barbecue, namely chopped pork, slaw, and hush puppies/corn bread/corn sticks.  The rest of the menu, with some exceptions, is just noise.  Sometimes it’s delicious noise, sometimes it’s not, but it is not how I judge a North Carolina BBQ joint.

My experience at Adam’s was less than perfect from the start.  The folks who work there were nice but communication between the kitchen and the front counter was poor.  Below is what came out the 2nd time around after I tried to get my order of barbecue and brisket with sides of BBQ potatoes and slaw corrected. (They got the brisket right but struck out on the other three both times.)

Adam's Goldsboro (7)

Such things happen from time to time, and the owner resolved it to my satisfaction by apologizing and throwing in a free BBQ & slaw tray.  I appreciated that, though I still am curious how those BBQ boiled potatoes taste…

Less pleasant was the outdoor dining area, where I tried not to be bothered by the swarms of flies that hovered around my plate; honestly the most flies I’ve ever witnessed except on the Discovery Channel.  The flies combined with the distinct smell of sewage to send me running for my car after a few minutes.  (For the record, it had been pouring down rain and I suspect a septic system at the restaurant or nearby was struggling … sh*t happens!)

Neither the flies nor the distinct odor were appealing, but it was the pool of sticky, sweet sauce that drenched the ribs Continue reading

R.I.P. Ralph Parker

It seems like North Carolina barbecue legends are dying almost every week, and I suppose this is the natural course of events given the age of many of NC barbecue’s founding fathers.  As reported by the Associated Press and run in the San Francisco Chronicle (which shows just how far and wide barbecue culture has spread), Ralph Parker passed away last week.  Mr. Parker had been the lone surviving founder of the venerable Parker’s Barbecue in Wilson.

Although Parker’s Barbecue committed the original sin of switching away from wood cooking in recent years, the restaurant spent many decades since its founding in 1946 as one of the state’s true old school barbecue purveyors.  Plus, the old time atmosphere at Parker’s still makes it worth a visit even today.  There is no doubt we will always remember Mr. Parker’s contribution to North Carolina barbecue history.  May he rest in peace.

Honey Bee’s BBQ

In the old days (you know, a little more than 5 years ago) one could reasonably fantasize about driving down country roads to discover BBQ gems that were known only to the locals.  The modern day equivalent in this age of social media is to stumble onto a hidden gem on Twitter, Google, or some idiot’s (ahem) blog.

And sure enough, this idiot has stumbled into a possible gem.  Honey Bee’s BBQ is a mobile operation based in Durham but selling throughout the Triad and Triangle and towing a nice, wood-fired rig.  I’ve yet to taste Honey Bee’s barbecue but because they cook over wood, I can at least vouch that they do actually sell barbecue and not gassy roast pork.  Follow them on Twitter, if you are so inclined, and leave a comment if you find them in “real reality” (opposite of virtual) before I do.

Pork in the Road

1c29fde4eb7fb17a6e0c1b4e74d32d5b_largeIf the food is half as good as the name, Pork in the Road will earn many loyal customers in the years ahead.  Now how in the world didn’t I think of  this myself?!

The idea is simple and the name is inspired, as we learn from their website: “The concept behind Pork in the Road is fairly self-explanatory, and there’s no better place for a pork-inspired menu than the second highest pork-producing state in the nation. There will be a few pork substitutes for our kosher friends out there, but rest assured, bacon, and other wonderful parts of the pig, will find its way into most every recipe. Stay tuned for more updates!”

Learn about Pork in the Road’s Kickstarter campaign here, or read more about Christian Thompson, the man behind the pig at this blog.

Good luck, Christian, and may the pork be with you!

A Dead End on the Barbecue Trail

On Friday I dragged my wife and kids to Mocksville, on the way to a mountain vacation weekend, in order to dine at Deano’s Barbecue.  You see, Deano’s had been one of the few remaining stops on the NC Barbecue Society’s Historic Barbecue Trail that I’d yet to visit.  The Trail features barbecue joints that, among other criteria, “cook their meat product on pits fueled by wood or charcoal, make their own sauce, [and have a pit that has]… operated continuously for fifteen or more years.”

Until recently Deano’s met the Trail’s criteria for inclusion, and without a doubt earned its place on the map.  But a short visit behind the scenes revealed an unexpected change: I discovered–and confirmed with the owner himself–that Deano’s recently switched to a gas-fired Southern Pride cooker.  The traditional brick-lined, wood-burning pits were for decoration only.  Deano’s change to gas is, first of all, grounds for immediate removal from the trail (I emailed the NC Barbecue Society already, since I figured a 9-1-1 call would be extreme).  I did have some sympathy for the owner when he told me that some health problems had made maintaining the wood pits difficult.  But a gasser is a gasser whether one is sympathetic or not.  And thus another venerable North Carolina barbecue institution has turned its back on tradition and chosen convenience and cost over tradition and quality.  I hate to say it, but Texas is starting to look more appealing every day…

Whole Hog in Asheville? Buxton Hill says yes

With all due respect to President Obama’s favorite 12 Bones, Asheville is not a barbecue town.  However, Asheville is taking a decidedly down east step toward building its barbeculture.  Word on the Twittersphere is that a new whole hog barbecue restaurant will be opening in Asheville later this summer.

According to its Twitter profile (yes, I spent a lot of time researching this post), Buxton Hill will offer “All wood, Pit Smoked, Pastured Whole Hog Barbeque & Heirloom Southern Fare.”  At first blush this sounds an awful lot like a western North Carolina version of Raleigh’s (and soon Durham’s) down home-upscale restaurant, The Pit. And, yes, that is both a compliment (wood cooking and whole hogs should be encouraged) and an insult.

I’m curious to learn more about Buxton Hill, and given all the good beer flowing on the streets of Asheville, it won’t take much convincing for me to visit whether or not the barbecue is any good.

Southern Living Makes a Yankee Mistake

An alert reader, who goes by the pseudonym Zachary Writes, pointed out a gross error in the (virtual) pages of Southern Living magazine.  A recent post about Chapel Hill’s revered Allen & Son barbecue, which every damn fool knows has no website, includes a link to Pittsboro’s Allen & Son restaurant, which every damn fool knows has nothing to do with the Chapel Hill location.

In case you were unaware, the Chapel Hill Allen’s cooks over wood and produces some of the best barbecue in the state.  The Pittsboro Allen’s, on the other hand, is a gasser and has no connection to the Chapel Hill restaurant of the same name other than a shared origin 20-some years ago.  If you believe in evolution–and I pray to God that you do–you can think of it this way: Pittsboro’s Allen & Son is the neanderthal that is not fully evolved, while Chapel Hill’s Allen & Son is the fully evolved human that is evolutionarily superior.  Well, except that Neanderthals always cooked over wood while humans invented gas cooking.  Drat, now I’m confused too…

Credit to Southern Living for at least managing to write a nice post, and take good pictures, about the correct Allen & Son’s.  They may be confused, but they are not Neanderthals.

Guy Parker’s Old Fashioned Barbeque Sauce

I used to regularly travel to Goldsboro for work and was always curious about the vacant but tidy Guy Parker’s Barbeque Restaurant near the edge of downtown.  I never did figure out the story behind the restaurant until seeing this interesting article.  Between Guy Parker’s and Scott’s, Goldsboro is becoming a barbecue town known as much for its ghosts (and their sauce) as for its existing restaurants.

Cooper’s 75th

Come on out this Saturday to celebrate venerable Raleigh BBQ joint Cooper’s 75th birthday.  As detailed in the News & Observer, the special event will raise money for Wake County’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. No better way to be kind to animals than slaughtering and eating ‘em, right?

Ed Mitchell to Durham

First Wilson, then Raleigh and next Durham?  Famed pit master Ed Mitchell, who has been rumored to be interested in opening a restaurant in downtown Durham ever since parting ways with The Pit, may be getting close to doing just that.  Read more at http://www.heraldsun.com/business/x670458637/Pitmaster-eyeing-Durham-for-possible-BBQ-restaurant

If Mitchell’s plans move forward, it will set up an interesting BBQ battle between Mitchell and his former colleagues at The Pit, who are on pace to open a Durham location of the restaurant this summer.  Stay tuned…

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