Posted on July 28, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
3921 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC
Hours: Uh, I forgot to write ‘em down, I’ll find out soon…
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C
Porky Says: “Man shall not dine on pork alone (at least not here).”
Man Does Not Live by Bread Alone
While most barbecue joints use their marquee signs to boast or advertise weekly specials, the sign outside of Dillard’s has read “Deuteronomy 8:3″ for as long as I can remember. Indeed, man cannot live on bread alone. Sometimes he craves pork.
Dillard’s has been providing Durham residents and visitors with much more than bread since 1952, when its late founder Sam Dillard first started selling barbecue. Mr. Dillard was a devout Christian, so the Deuteronomy 8:3 reference is not some tongue-in-cheek statement that a younger pitmaster might put on a sign to lure in the hipsters. At Dillard’s the sign is sincere and heartfelt. Unfortunately, while the fellowship at Dillard’s remains intact the quality of their cooking has suffered over the years.
Soul Food Aplenty
Dillard’s offers a large buffet of “southern style soul food,” as the restaurant’s website puts it. (I have yet to experience northern style soul food, and hope to maintain this spotless record but I digress… .) The buffet is served cafeteria style by friendly staff, some of them direct descendants of Sam (more…)
Filed under: Restaurants & Reviews | Tagged: Durham, Durham County, Gas/electric-cooked, Grade C | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 23, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
An easy to read post for Friday morning: four belated pictures from Spring barbecue celebrations, the first two from the Cuegrass event at The Pit in Raleigh and the second set at customer appreciation day at the Backyard BBQ Pit #1 in Durham.
Filed under: 'Cue Culture | Tagged: Durham, Durham County, Events, Festivals, Raleigh, Wake County | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 28, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
Angier & Driver Streets, Durham, NC
Hours: Usually Thu-Sat 11:30 a.m.. to 3:00 p.m. (or until sold out)
BBQ Jew’s Grade: B+
Porky Says: “This pork on wheels is the real deal.”
The name Mama Jean’s Bar-B-Q Shack is, in fact, a misnomer. This joint is no shack. Far from it, as this joint isn’t a joint at all. It’s a BBQ truck. Specifically, it’s a truck where you order barbecue that is cooked next to the truck on a large charcoal and hickory chip fueled cooker. Although Mama Jean’s is far from trendy–in the best possible way–it is part of a growing trend in the food truck rich Triangle area, where everything from juice to burgers to tacos to crepes is hawked out of mobile restaurants on wheels. And Mama Jean’s serves some of the best barbecue I’ve had in the Triangle, whether the ‘cue is on wheels or not.
Truck, Storefront, Whatever
According to Antonio Hill, Mama Jean’s owner and pitmaster, Mama Jean’s will be opening a regular sit down restaurant soon on the same street where he sets up his truck. But for now, while he puts together the final pieces needed to open the storefront, he’s pretty happy selling his food out of his “BBQ shack on wheels.” Really, I could care less about where he sells his food. He can cook and he does it with charcoal and wood chips, which is close enough to traditional wood-cooking for me. Heck, if it continues to taste good he can sell his ‘cue out of the back of a Ford Fiesta for all I care.
Mama Jean’s Grub
There is no obvious menu posted on the food truck. Actually, I didn’t see a menu at all. (more…)
Filed under: Restaurants & Reviews | Tagged: Durham, Durham County, Wood-cooked | 10 Comments »
Posted on June 7, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
Over the weekend The Rib Rabbi and I, along with our accomplice Nate “Ol’ Hickory” O’Keefe, volunteered at a barbecue-themed fundraising event. More on the event soon, but that’s a separate post. While at the event, we “discovered” a local BBQ joint we’d never heard of: Mama Jean’s Bar-B-Que Shack (as is common with barbecue joints, alternate spellings abound, with “Mama Jean’s BBQ Shack” and “Mama Jean’s Bar-B-Q Shack” also featured in their marketing materials). Better yet, Mama Jean’s operates out of a truck, which as far as we know is unique for BBQ in food truck-rich Durham; other examples exist elsewhere in NC, such as Fatback’s BBQ & Rib Shack in Fayetteville.
Despite being set up squarely in the middle of a long row of BBQ cooking teams, the guys from Mama Jean’s caught our attention because they were the only ones using charcoal and wood instead of propane. Of course, they also had that BBQ/Bar-B-Q/Bar-B-Que truck of their’s doubling as a hard-to-miss billboard.
Alas, we arrived at the event too late to sample Mama Jean’s cooking but we vow to check it out soon and report back. We did get a chance to chew the proverbial fat with the Mama Jean’s crew. They were nice guys who clearly care about ‘cue and were proud to be cooking over wood/charcoal. They told us that they are working on opening a permament brick and mortar location soon, but for now you should be able to find their bar-b-bus parked near the corner of Angier and Driver Streets in Durham a short drive east of downtown. They also would be happy to help you with catering your next event. See their website for details and stay tuned for our patented BBQ Jew’s View review coming soon.
Filed under: Restaurants & Reviews | Tagged: Durham, Durham County, Mobile food truck, Wood-cooked | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 7, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
Sometimes bad luck leads to good news. After hearing that the recent salmonella outbreak at Bullock’s Bar-B-Cue had put a serious dent in their business, despite the fact that the outbreak may not have been Bullock’s fault, area chefs have rallied behind the venerable Durham institution. Join local chefs at Bullock’s for lunch at high noon today to show your support for the BBQ joint, which is Durham’s oldest and likely best known restaurant.
It’s also worth checking out the post on Bull City Rising–as an aside, BCR is well worth reading if you give even a pig’s patoot about Durham–and viewing the comments. The line of thinking that Bullock’s business may be declining in part due to the restaurant’s own mediocrity and increased local competition may have some truth to it. Nonetheless, it’s hard not to root for a restaurant with as much history and as many loyal customers as Bullock’s.
Filed under: Hog Happenings, Restaurants & Reviews | Tagged: Durham, Durham County | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 3, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
It’s been a rough few weeks for NC barbecue lovers (and friends). Between the rash of closings, fires and even a proprietor’s death, it appeared things had hit rock bottom for NC barbecue restaurants. But now there’s more.
Bullock’s Bar B Cue in Durham is being investigated for a salmonella outbreak, according to an article in the oh-so-creatively named Food Safety News. The barbecue sandwich pictured in this article is covered in a thick tomatoey sauce and undoubtedly has never been within 500 miles of Bullock’s, but the salmonella outbreak was real. Note that more recent media reports indicate that the food that contained the salmonella was a takeout order, indicating that perhaps food safety was compromised after the order left the restaurant.
Thought it was safe to eat some Brunswick stew while debating whether there is salmonella in your BBQ sandwich? Think again. The FDA has recalled 414 pounds of Brunswick stew from Louisburg-based Murphy House Barbecue. The recall stemmed from the stew containing undeclared potential allergens of… wait for it… wheat and milk. Okay, not quite as gross as salmonella, though one wonders what business wheat and milk have hanging out in a bowl of Brunswick stew.
Filed under: BBQ in the News | Tagged: Durham, Durham County, Franklin County, Louisburg | 3 Comments »
Posted on March 22, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
What do Irish rock stars and the Vice President of the United States have in common? Both eat mediocre barbecue when visiting North Carolina.
Back in October, we learned that U2 chowed down on Clyde Cooper’s barbecue after a show in Raleigh (they had eaten Bullock’s on a past visit). And now comes news that Joe Biden dined at Bullock’s on a recent visit to Durham. Although I am not a huge fan of Bullock’s, I am pleased to see from pictures of the meal that it appears the Veep, Durham Mayor Bill Bell and others ordered “family style.” If only Democrats and Republicans could sit down and share a family style meal, maybe we’d get some decent legislation passed once in awhile. Instead, we end up with legislation that is more watered down than bad iced tea. Speaking of tea, no word on whether Delaware’s favorite son Biden knew to refrain from ordering his unsweetened…
Filed under: BBQ in the News | Tagged: Durham, Durham County, Pork barrel politics | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 25, 2010 by Porky LeSwine
2816 Cheek Road, Durham, NC
Hours: Mon-Fri 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C
Porky Says: “Noah’s Temple didn’t make me a believer.”
“Worth Your Time to Find”
I’m embarassed to admit that I first heard of Byrd’s Barbecue fewer than 6 months ago. Byrd’s–with the motto “Worth Your Time to Find” etched onto its rooftop sign–is located in Durham within 20 minutes of my house. And it was founded over 50 years ago. (According to a recent News & Observer article, Noah and Michelle Temple bought Byrd’s in 2005. Noah used to work at Danny’s Bar-B-Que in Cary, which we’ve yet to visit but have poked fun at.) How could I have not know about Byrd’s sooner? And was it worth my time to find after all these years living in the dark?
I still can’t figure out the answer to the first question, but maybe it has something to do with the answer to the second one: No. Although it is a decent enough place, Byrd’s is nothing special. It’s one of hundreds–or thousands–of mediocre barbecue joints in NC that long ago took the cheaper, easier path and stopped cooking over wood, in the process sacrificing quality, flavor and tradition.
Looks Like the Real Deal,
If you choose to ignore the propane tank that looms behind the building (which, of course, you should not), Byrd’s has the look of a gem of a BBQ joint. Located just outside the city limits, it occupies a rural setting that is appropriate to good ‘cue. The modest wood frame building looks the part too. And the parking lot welcomed a steady stream of (more…)
Filed under: Restaurants & Reviews | Tagged: Durham, Durham County, Eastern style, Gas/electric-cooked, Grade C, Lexington style | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 11, 2009 by Porky LeSwine
[BBQ Jew's note: Today's post was written by Holy Smoke author and intrepid airplane passenger/swine taster John Shelton Reed.]
Yes. I know that both Porky LeSwine and H. Kent Craig have knocked Brookwood Farms grocery store barbecue, but when Dale and I found ourselves in the Delta terminal at RDU, waiting for a noon flight that served no lunch, we weighed the options and went for the stand that says “Brookwood Farms Carolina Pit BBQ,” and I’m here to tell you about it. (By the way, I gather that they’re also in the Charlotte airport.)
First, let me say that, to my mind, Brookwood is missing a great opportunity to educate outlanders, the way the Salt Lick outpost in the Austin airport introduces folks to the Texas product. I guess they’ve done the numbers, though, and decided that catering to travelers whose ideas of barbecue vary wildly requires them to take what I’ve come to think of as the “International House of Barbecue” approach: some of this, some of that, something for everyone, none of it great, but all of it, I guess, OK. For our part, we passed up the “Santa Maria tri-tip,” the barbecued chicken, and barbecued turkey, and went for the barbecue – that is, for the pork. Here the choice comes down to a $7.00 sandwich or a $10.00 plate. (Yes, those prices are steep, but this is airport food, after all.)
We decided to split a plate, which comes with hushpuppies and a choice of two side dishes. Since slaw and Brunswick stew were on offer, naturally those had to be the sides. (more…)
Filed under: Restaurants & Reviews | Tagged: Durham, Durham County, Raleigh, Wake County, Wood-cooked | 6 Comments »
Posted on October 14, 2009 by Porky LeSwine
5122 NC Highway 55, Durham, NC
(2nd location at 3218 Guess Road, Durham, NC)
Hours: Mon – Fri 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
BBQ Jew’s Grade: B-
Porky Says: “Research Triangle Pork?”
BBQ in RTP?
It’s hard to believe that there is decent barbecue in the middle of Research Triangle Park (RTP), a science research park sitting in the middle of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, aka “the Triangle.” The Triangle in general has little in the way of good ‘cue–I call it The Bermudacue Triangle for the way barbecue traditions disappear inside it–and RTP is in the geographic heart of the Triangle. Worse yet, RTP is filled with sprawling office parks and crawling with white collar transplants from California and other places where barbecue is merely a misunderstood word that means “a cookout.”
You might think that ordering barbecue in the heart of RTP is as bad an idea as visiting a seafood market in Topeka, Kansas. Yet the owners of the Backyard BBQ Pit were smart enough to see an opportunity in an underperforming BBQ joint on the edge of RTP. With more than 50,000 employees in RTP, they must have reasoned that some of them would appreciate a nice plate of ‘cue. And since buying an old, so-so BBQ joint in 2007, the owners of the Backyard BBQ Pit have provided some pretty good ‘cue to RTPers. And they have done a bustling business, so much so that they opened a second location on the other side of Durham earlier this year.
Backyard BBQ Pit #2 on Guess Road
Isn’t It Good, RTP Wood?
Visitors to the Backyard BBQ Pit #1 (the original location in RTP) will notice (more…)
Filed under: Restaurants & Reviews | Tagged: Durham, Durham County, Grade B, Wood-cooked | 8 Comments »