A Greek Comedy (or Tragedy?)

Perhaps comedy is the true third rail of American politics, at least when it comes to barbecue.

colbertbbqSouth Carolina’s favorite successful son, Stephen Colbert, recently mocked North Carolina BBQ on his satirical news show, The Colbert Report.  Colbert’s sister had just lost a (sadly, not all that close) congressional election to morally-corrupt-yet-steadily-bible-thumping disgraced former Governor Mark Sanford.  Colbert expressed thinly veiled disdain for North Carolina barbecue in a bit where he pretended to stray from his South Carolina roots in protest of the election results.  He compared the “sauceless, vinegar-based meat product that they call barbecue” in North Carolina to South Carolina’s ‘cue, gagging as he tried to choke some NC BBQ down.  Touché, Mr. Colbert, touché.

In truth, there are significant portions of South Carolina that serve barbecue that is nearly indistinguishable from that of its better looking neighbor to the north.  (Those are the parts of the state that are closest to North Carolina, and also the parts of the state that serve good barbecue!)   Colbert may well know this to be true unless he’s lived in New Jersey for so long that he’s forgotten then difference between barbecue hash and bagels with lox.   Regardless, I am willing to forgive and forget, and will readily claim Stephen Colbert as a Tar Heel anytime he wishes.

Cut/Chop/Cook(/Devour)

We previously linked to a piece about Scott’s Bar-B-Q in South Carolina. But anytime Joe York, the Leni Riefenstahl of the Southern Foodways Alliance, makes a short film, we try to find an excuse to link to it.

Despite it being on the wrong side of the border, any barbecue lover can appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry of both Rodney Scott’s cue. Same goes for the film CUT/CHOP/COOK. As if cooking over wood coals isn’t visually rich enough, Scott cuts his own trees to provide fodder for the pit and this documentary. Which leads to this great line:

Kinda like a chef pickin out his tomatoes in a garden, I pick my own trees fresh out of the woods. Yup. There ain’t no other way.

I hate to quibble, but there sure is. It’s just amazing that in a world where cooking with wood is considered by many to be too onerous, Scott regards securing that wood himself as essential. Awesome.

Any ‘cue hound has to love this film and the visuals of the coals, the sauce mopping and especially the slow-mo shot of putting the hog on the pit (at the 4:55 mark).

It’s hard to watch this documentary and not want to start up the car for the drive to Hemingway to get a few pounds. If I do, I’ll be sure to ask for a piece of skin and to respect the 9:30 a.m. opening time.

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