Rick Scott and Ryan Pitz teamed up to form The North Carolina Barbecue Company, a mail order business established “to deliver to doorsteps across the country the unique culinary culture of our great state.” The North Carolina Barbecue Company is unique in offering both Eastern and Piedmont/Lexington-style ‘cue and slaw for delivery. Recently I sat down (at my laptop) and interviewed Rick and Ryan about how they got into the barbecue business, battle boxes, and why mail order hush puppies are an elusive goal.
“We’d like to send you our Battle Box. Up for it?” That was the opening line of an email I received recently from Ryan Pitz of the fledgling North Carolina Barbecue Company (NCBC), a mail order barbecue business that debuted a couple of months ago. Given my selfless commitment to conducting research that benefits all of humanity, I had no qualms about accepting Pitz’s offer.*
Longtime readers may recall my first foray into mail order pork, when a friend of mine named Governor Schwarzenoinker taste tested some of King’s Oink Express menu items shipped from Kinston to San Francisco. Prior to NCBC’s debut, the Oink Express had few rivals in terms of a well-oiled mail order barbecue machine (though Brookwood Farms now sells its pork online). If the Oink Express is well-oiled, then the North Carolina Barbecue Company is downright slick. They have a smooth looking and informative website, a Facebook page, a very cool logo that is a play on the state seal, and even a Twitter feed. In short, they don’t seem to be bound by the unofficial NC barbecue business creed: it’s better if nobody knows your company exists. As a mail order business with no retail presence NCBC is wise to ignore this tradition and market themselves anyway they can. (And if that means sending free pork to the likes of me, so be it!)
The NC Barbecue Company is the brainchild of two people. According to his online bio, Pitz, a Virginia native, “became a true NC BBQ convert after having lived in Greensboro, NC for nearly a decade.” His business partner Rick Scott hails from High Point and “was raised on the piedmont style and exposed to the eastern style while in school down east.” Pitz and Scott recognized a Continue reading
A few recent news items that are worth a mention but not a full post:
The Greensboro News & Record mentions the results of a survey ranking the Triad low on how its residents feel about their own well-being. “Maybe it’s time to drown our sorrows in more barbecue,” offers the article. Sage advice.
Maurice’s Gourmet Barbeque, the South Carolina restaurant chain known equally for its ‘cue and its owner’s racist views, has decided to remove the Confederate flag from outside most of its locations. According to this article from WLTX 19, owner (and former gubernatorial candidate) Maurice Bessinger “says a bad economy has forced him to take down some of those flags” and that the flags cost too much to maintain. An odd explanation to say the least. Bessinger decided to place Confederate flags outside his restaurants roughly a decade ago when South Carolina lawmakers decided to remove the stars and bars from the capitol dome.
A University of Pittsburgh study concludes that the ancient people of Carthage did not barbecue their babies after all.
213 W. Main Street, Gibsonville, NC
Hours: Mon-Tue, Thu-Fri 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wed 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sat 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
BBQ Jew’s Grade: D-
Porky Says: “All pork with no taste makes Jack’s a dull ‘cue.”
Can’t We Do Better?
At this risk of sounding overly dramatic or harsh, Jack’s BBQ is emblematic of what is wrong with North Carolina’s dying barbecue culture. It’s a charming and cozy little joint, complete with about a half dozen booths and an old fashioned (and just plain old, as Jack’s dates back 43 years) counter, plus a carry-out window. The service is efficient and the staff couldn’t be nicer. The customers look happy. And so on. But the barbecue is terrible. If the place was called Jack’s Cafe, I’d be nice and leave them alone. Hell, I’d even return for another (BBQ-free) meal. Instead, I have to be honest and mean.
Home of the Big Boy
The barbecue seems like an afterthought on a menu that touts the “Big Boy,” a very large hamburger that the waitress told Continue reading
Location, Location, Location
Even if Stamey’s food was bad (and Lord knows it ain’t), I’d have to give them plenty of credit. The members of the Stamey family are legends of NC barbecue, and smart businessmen to boot. Their grand, lodge-style building right across the street from the Greensboro Coliseum, the site of dozens of ACC Tournaments over the past several decades, is evidence of that. What better place to sell barbecue, and to spread your reputation, than across the street from a huge arena that attracts hoardes of hungry hoops fans from across the state and beyond? The fact that the Coliseum opened six years after Stamey’s did shows either that the Stamey family was a bit lucky or they were really good businessmen.
C. Warner Stamey, the founder of Stamey’s and one of the godfathers of NC barbecue (heck, he even brought the hush Continue reading
4012 W Wendover Ave, Greensboro, NC
BBQ Jew’s Grade: B
Porky Says: “Good enough to make you dance.”
Barbecue Clubs and Gentleman’s Joints
Country Barbeque is the only barbecue joint I know of that is located immediately adjacent to a strip club. (See the Google Maps street view–note that what look like large stained glass windows on the strip club are actually fake, which is probably consistent with what lies inside the club.) Luckily, Country Barbeque’s naughty neighbor is not the main reason to visit.
Electric Table Dance
The food that the friendly, efficient wait staff at Country Barbeque bring to the table is quite good. The joint serves moist, tasty barbecue that is chopped to an ideal consistency—not too fine and not too chunky. The dip that accompanies the ‘cue is an excellent, sharply vinegared dark brown mixture that is reminiscent of the dip served at Lexington #1. The red barbecue slaw that accompanied my ‘cue was good, although a little bit sweet for my taste. The hush puppies were only mediocre, as they were small and somewhat overcooked. I had a better than average piece of homemade peach cobbler for dessert.
Now understand that I say all these positive things about the pork served at Country Barbeque knowing full well that they do not cook it over wood coals. Continue reading