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…

BBQ Crime Spree

I’m not sure what the exact definition of a hate crime is, but this sure seems like one.  According to an email from the Durham Police Department, someone has been stealing pig cookers.  C’mon people, have some respect for your fellow citizens!  No word on whether the missing cookers are gassers or use charcoal.  If the former, good riddance. If the latter, shame!

—–Original Message—–
From: Michael, Kammie 
Sent: Friday, July 05, 2013 8:12 PM
Subject: Durham Police Asking for Assistance in Smoker/Pig Cooker Thefts

For Immediate Release: July 5, 2013

Durham Police Asking for Assistance in Smoker/Pig Cooker Thefts

Durham police are asking for assistance in identifying a suspect in the theft of a large $4,000 pig cooker that was stolen on May 23 from the driveway of a home off Mineral Springs Road. 

The suspect was described as a black male in his mid-30s, approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall with a medium build and a bald head. He was wearing a green T-shirt and khaki cargo shorts. He was driving what appeared to be a black 1995-2005 Chevrolet Silverado truck.

Police are investigating two other thefts of large pig cookers/smokers. 

Two pig cookers were stolen from the 3900 block of South Alston Avenue in April. The cookers were chained to the back of a building.

Two large smokers on a trailer were stolen from Mount Bethel Presbyterian Church in late April. The trailer was stolen along with the smokers. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator J. Barr at (919) 560-4281, ext. 29119 or CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.

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.

Dillard’s Disappearing

In case any of you were praying for a resurrection of Dillard’s restaurant in Durham, it looks like God Himself couldn’t bring them back now (after all, even He can’t compete with a gas station).

The beloved, albeit well past its prime, restaurant closed early last year but some of us might have hoped it would return in some form or another.  That appears all but impossible now, as the property has been sold to gas station/convenience store company M.M. Fowler.  Read about the property’s sale, including some heart warming quotes from the family, in the Herald-Sun.  I’m glad that the Dillard family was able to close on its own terms, something not many restarateurs have the privilege of doing.

Bob Garner Moderates Down Home Foodies

From the Durham County library, this looks like a good one, even though it doesn’t feature any BBQ pitmasters…

Southern Cooking (Durham Reads Together)
Sunday, September 23, 3 p.m.
Southwest Regional Library, 3605 Shannon Rd.

Food plays an important part in the culture of the South and in Maron’s novels. InUp Jumps the Devil, Deborah Knott says, “My family will drop every other subject to discuss food.” Join Bob Garner, television personality and food author, as he moderates a panel of leading proponents of Southern cooking, including Chefs Ben Barker of Magnolia Grill, Billy Cotter of Toast, Amy Tornquist of Watts Street Grocery and Iron Chef Walter Royal of the Angus Barn as they discuss Southern food cultures.

Pork, Pickles & Peanuts

What could be finer than pork, pickles and peanuts in Carolina?  Nothing, or so I’m told.  Stop by Duke Homestead in Durham this Saturday (tomorrow, in other words) and find out for yourself.

According to PP&P’s organizers, the festival will feature “a BBQ cook off and pie competition, live music, costumed interpreters at our historic site, local arts and crafts vendors, and a mock Tobacco Queen pageant.”

Better yet, the winner of the pageant “will make her debut in September at our Harvest & Hornworm festival.”  I bet you can’t wait to put that on your resume, young ladies!

In all seriousness, the event looks like it’ll be a blast so check it out.  Learn more on the Interwebs.

Butchering a Whole Hog

There is a cool class coming up in Durham for those of you who really want to go whole hog (or have a meat cleaver fetish) and learn how to butcher one.  Only a couple of spots left in this June 27th class so sign up soon.  On the other hand, if you think the whole (hog) is greater than the sum of its (pork) parts, you could skip the class and just put the whole hog on the cooker like they do in Eastern NC.

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