Canned Pork Madness

After a weekend of visiting with family and more than my fair share of college hoops watching, I have run out of time create original content for Monday.  Instead, I present you the following canned, but BBQ Jew-approved article from my good friends the complete strangers at Man Tested Recipes. (As for me, I’m not sure why this website can’t be woman-tested too so feel free to read on ladies).

“5 Reasons Why Pulled Pork Is The Perfect March Madness Food

Thanksgiving has turkey, the Super Bowl has wings, and the all-you-can-eat buffet of basketball that is the NCAA tournament should have its own signature food. ManTestedRecipes.com proposes that pulled pork should be the unofficial food of March Madness.

Here’s why: 1) Pulled pork can stay warm while you watch 12 hours of hoops. Delivery pizza gets cold, sub sandwiches get soggy, but pulled pork can stay warm in your slow cooker or oven all day.

2) College hoops and pulled pork share a home. Eat pulled pork during March Madness as an homage to North Carolina, that hotbed of great BBQ and great college basketball. [BBQJew.com editor's note: Amen!]

3) Pulled pork is ridiculously easy to make. Can you pour a bottle of sauce over a hunk of meat, then turn a dial? Then you can make pulled pork. [BBQJew.com editor's note: well, so long as you don't claim its barbecue.]

4) Pulled pork can feed a crowd for cheap. Throwing a March Madness party? Pulled pork is your pal. Pork shoulder, the preferred cut for homemade pulled pork, is one of the best meat bargains around.

5) Pulled pork is friggin’ delicious. Tender, juicy meat, delicious BBQ flavors, slapped on a sandwich bun if you choose. What’s not to like? The pickiest eaters can agree on pulled pork.”

Hard to argue with any of these reasons, and I’d added that there is no better time to check on a smoker for 12 hours than while your around the house watching hoops for 12 hours a day.

Article provided by: ManTestedRecipes.com http://mantestedrecipes.com/tips/85/5-reasons-why-pulled-pork-is-the-perfect-march-madness-food.aspx

Barbecue-Based Super Bowl Predictions

Through a combination of rigorous research and modest 6th grade math skills, I have devised a  formula for determining which two teams will play in the Super Bowl and who will win.  The foolproof-ish formula is  (-D + B^2) x Q – O/P + BBQJEW

Where the factors are as follows:
D = the number of cities in the team’s home state that have Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchises.
B = the number of players on the active roster with barbecue-related names (e.g., a wide receiver named Smokey Pitts would count as 2).
Q = the “Quetient”, or the age of the team’s starting quarterback divided by the approximate number (35) of wood-burning ‘que joints in North Carolina.
O = Odds of winning the Super Bowl, according to the first website that popped up on my Google search, expressed as a fraction.
P = State’s rank among U.S. pork “marketings” in 1996.  I recognize that this dataset is 16 years out of date, but since the “marketings” metric is convoluted to begin with I feel confident it doesn’t matter.
BBQJEW = Arbitrary number selected by Porky LeSwine to ensure that the predictions reflect his preferences.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers (-D + B^2) x Q – O/P + BBQJEW
Giants: (-3 + 0^2) x 31/35 – 1/3 /31 + 1.01 = -1.66
49ers: (-20 + 2^2* ) x 27/35 – 1/3 /25 + 15  = 2.65 WINNER

*Tarrell “Outside” Brown and CJ “I Hope the Sauce Don’t” Spillman

Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots (-D + B^2) x Q – O/P + BBQJEW
Ravens: (-1 + 4^2*) x 27/35 – 1/6 /29  + (-9.02) = 2.54 WINNER
Patriots: (-1 + 4^2@) x 34/35 – 5/6 /41 + (-14)  = 0.55

*Chykie “Me Likey Outside” Brown, Emanuel “Slow” Cook, Ray “Next Time I’ll Murder a Hog” Lewis, and Dennis “Wood-Fired” Pitta
@ Deion “Mesquite” Branch, Sergio “Mr. Outside” Brown, Jerod “In Northern Alabama They Use” Mayo, and Danny “Hickory” Woodhead

SUPER BOWL PREDICTION/GUARANTEE

The San Francisco 49ers (2.65) will prevail over the Baltimore Ravens (2.54) by a field goal.  (Bonus fact: San Francisco’s Mayor will bet two pounds steamed crab legs on the game against the Mayor of Baltimore’s six crab cakes bet.  Each Mayor will secretely wish his team was playing that Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers, or any team from Texas so they could win some barbecue.)

Porky’s Pulpit: World Series Bets

Little known fact: Porky LeSwine is as big a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals as he is of North Carolina barbecue.  He also likes referring to himself in the third person.  Porky was thrilled with the Cardinals thrilling World Series victory over the Texas Rangers.  Better yet, he won a plate of Texas-style brisket from a Rangers-rooting co-worker.  (The co-worker lost a similar bet last year, poor sap.)

What other bets were made on the World Series between Cardinals and Rangers fans?  I’m so glad you asked.  Here’s my favorite bet list from St. Louis’ independent weekly, the Riverfront Times.  And rest assured barbecue is involved so this post is completely justified.

Countdown to The Barbecue Festival

Saturday, October 22nd is the date of The Barbecue Festival in Lexington, which is far and away North Carolina’s largest barbecue-related event.  Assuming the weather is nice, well over 100,000 people will descend on little Uptown Lexington for the day, making it perhaps the worst day of the year to visit unless you love crowds.  While October 22nd is the big day, there are Festival-related events aleady underway:

-This past Saturday was the 20th annual Tour de Pig bicycle race, which was held the same day as Ridin’ Hawg Wild, an event for folks who prefer their bikes motorized.

-Archdale resident Tabatha Allred won the 2011 Childress Idol competition on October 2nd and will sing at the Festival.

-This coming Saturday the 15th will feature the Hawg Shoot high school air rifle competition (for those who don’t mind guns at school), the Hawg Run 5K, and the Barbecue Festival Golf Tournament.

-On the weekend of the Festival, competitive folks can participate in the 1st annual Barbecue Festival Cornhole “Throw Down” or the Barbecue Festival Softball Tournament. Personally, I think horseshoes would be a more appropriate pairing with barbecue but to each his own.

-Oh, and the Pepsi “Pig Tales” Creative Writing Contest is still accepting entries for all age categories through October 14th so if you have a burning desire to write fiction that includes mentions of barbecue and Pepsi then this is your chance to make your work pay off… category winners take home 20 cases of Pepsi products.

Finally, don’t forget to book at ticket on Amtrak for its once-a-year stop in Lexington.  My family took the train to the event last year and were surround by fellow barbecue lovers, some from as far away as Long Island, NY.

Porky’s Pulpit: Barbecue & Baseball

October is hands-down my favorite month of the year.  All of a sudden the 95+ degree weather of North Carolina summer seems to be a distant memory–except when it is still present–and is replaced by cool nights and temperate days.  The leaves change colors but don’t really clog up the gutters until next month.  The sunset is still at a reasonable hour.  You get the picture.  October is also a month full of fun–beer festivals, fall festivals, The Barbecue Festival in Lexington, pig pickings and, notably, playoff baseball.  Of course, October is not the only link between baseball and barbecue.

Similarities
Barbecue and baseball both take a long time, and for much of that time it appears to the casual observer that not much is happening.  Experienced observers know that a lot is happening even when nothing is happening, or so we tell each other.

Barbecue and baseball are consumed by many but fully appreciated by a relative few.  Similarly, baseball snobs and barbecue snobs can be insufferable–I am both so I know.

Making barbecue and watching baseball are perfect times to drink beer.

Eating barbecue and playing baseball are inappropriate times to drink beer.

There is a long history of tobacco in baseball, from early baseball cards coming in packs of cigarettes to chewin’ and spittin’ and the like.  Barbecue has much tobacco-related history too.  (Okay, so pretty much everything connects to tobacco one way or another, admittedly.)

The best barbecue restaurants and baseball stadiums are revered as much for their history as the product they offer.

Differences
Barbecue is made of pork, baseballs are made of cows.

There is often good baseball played north of the Mason-Dixon line; there is rarely good barbecue in that geography.

Baseball’s fan base is eroding, barbecue’s is expanding.

There is no Major League baseball team in North Carolina.  There are several major league barbecue restaurants here.

It takes 18 men to play a game of baseball* and only 1 to make barbecue.  (However, as soon as 1 man starts to cook barbecue, 17 others arrive ready to eat it.)

*Yes, 18, not 20, as I feel the same way about the designated hitter as I do about gas/electric cookers.

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Barbecue

Baseball season is in full swing and the biggest news is from the concession stand.  Since Dillard’s BBQ, long-time Bulls game concessionaire, met its demise (well, mostly) in the offseason, my hometown Durham Bulls have brought in some new ‘cue.  Does the BBQ come from long-time Durham Bullock’s? Nope, they are only AA BBQ. Relative newcomer Backyard BBQ Pit? No again.  The Bulls have made the barbecue equivalent of signing a big name, albeit overhyped, free agent. “Now introducing, for your hometown Durham Bulls, our new barbecue vendor: The Pit restaurant from Raleigh, North Carolina!”  (Of course, soon enough The Pit will be from Durham too.)

I must say, at $6 for a sandwich The Pit’s ballpark barbecue is annoyingly overpriced like all ballpark concessions, but the ‘cue is a significant upgrade from Dillard’s.  To put it in baseball terms, the Dillard’s barbecue was like veteran pitcher Jamie Moyer: okay for five or six innings but not too special and likely to give you some heartburn before the game ended.  The Pit ain’t exactly Phillies ace Roy Halladay–maybe it’s Cole HAMels?–but it’s a big step up from Moyer: wood-cooked, good texture and generally capable of filling mealtime needs well into the late innings. (For the record, I’m not a Phillies fan and I’m not sure why I am using a convoluted Phils-centric analogy… deal with it.)

A picture of my too small, overpriced but fairly tasty The Pit barbecue sandwich is above. Note the crappy, from-a-plastic-container coleslaw, which is unforgivable. Still, better than an shriveled hot dog and a more than adequate representation of North Carolina barbecue; something we can be comfortable with the many out of town visitors to Bulls’ games tasting if it happens to be their first exposure to North Carolina barbecue.

Take me out to the DBAP,
Take me out with the crowd/
Buy me some peanuts and bar-b-q,
I’ll eat ‘em both ’cause I’m the BBQ Jew/

Let me root, root, root for the D-Bulls,
If they don’t win it’s a shame/

For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game!

PLAY BALL!

BBQ and Baseball

Barbecue and baseball are both great American traditions, but do the two have an intertwined history? A curious reader who shall remain nameless unless he’d like to be named asked me the following questions, which I was unable to answer (Bob Garner and John Shelton Reed were also stumped):

Do you know if BBQ was ever served during baseball games throughout North Carolina for any of the minor league farm teams?

Is there any historical connection between barbecue and baseball in North Carolina, that you know of?

It seems logical to assume that ballparks in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Kinston, Burlington, and the like had BBQ at their concessions stands at some point. However, I’m only familiar with the relatively recent history of soon-to-be extinct (tune in Friday) Dillard’s BBQ in Durham offering food at the Durham Bulls’ concessions.  Any readers know of additional BBQ-baseball connections in NC?

Super Bowl XLV Prediction

[Editor's note: This post was originally scheduled to run one week ago but was  embargoed until today due to a dispute with Fox Sports that has since been resolved in BBQJew.com's favor.  Please accept our sincere apologies for the delay, as we fully understand that sports reporting is time sensitive and it would have been more desirable for this post to run as originally scheduled.]

What better day of the year to eat barbecue (ribs especially) than Super Bowl Sunday?  And what better pre-game activity than guessing the winner and final score?  Both the Packers and Steelers had impressive seasons and have earned their berths in the big game. Pittsburgh and Green Bay appear on paper to be evenly matched, but only one team can win. That team? My not so well educated prediction follows.

I predict that the first half of the game will be surprisingly one sided, with the Packers controlling the action on both sides of the ball and jumping out to a 21-3 lead, before the Steelers score a touchdown with a few seconds left to go into halftime down 21-10.  In the second half, the Steelers will strike quickly to cut the Packers’ lead to 21-17.  In the end though, I predict the Packers will prevail over the Steelers 31-25. Will it pan out like that? Only time will tell, so tune in on Sunday to find out.

Whatever the final score, I just hope it’s a good game this year.  What’s your prediction?

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