We have addressed the topic of yuppicue on this site before, and today’s post draws attention to a related and equally dangerous form of swine crime. I call this particular bastardization of barbecue “faux ‘cue.” Faux ‘cue includes just about any carelessly loose interpretation of NC style barbecue, but of particular concern are menu items offered at non-BBQ chain restaurants. Imagine the damage done to NC’s culinary reputation when an out of state visitor thinks he is sampling some of our prized local cuisine when he orders this abomination: the Pulled Pork Panini.I first came across Cafe Carolina’s Pulled Pork Panini–at a safe distance, rest assured–when going to one of the chain’s locations near my house for buy one get one free sandwiches. (Cafe Carolina is only worth a visit with such a coupon in hand.) I reviewed the menu board and, as would be the case for any attentive BBQ Jew, the word “pork” grabbed my attention. I read further and saw the full name of the sandwich, priced at nearly $8, which was described as “carolina style pulled pork with bbq sauce and coleslaw.” Now it’s bad enough for a place like Cafe Carolina to offer a barbecue sandwich, but its adding insult to injury to serve it as a panini. Barbecue has no more business as an ingredient for a panini than a hush puppy has being drizzled with a red wine reduction sauce. Continue reading
Check out this classic sign from Austin, Texas:
Seeing this sign scared the hush puppies out of me. What if I couldn’t eat barbecue one day due to dental issues? I know, I know–it’s too dark a fate to even contemplate. Nevertheless, my next thought was: who’s the closest dentist to Allen & Son?
Mostly, though, this sign warms my heart. As you might suspect, we BBQ Jews enjoy a good rhyme. I grew up patronizing the Yankee Smokehouse, whose owners vowed to “serve no swine before it’s time” (with that apostrophe making a real difference there.)
In our fine state, I can’t think of any barbecue joints pursuing anything approaching porcine poetry. Sure, there’s a few Brew and ‘Cue places. But nothing great out there, even with ‘pork’ lending itself to a rhyme or four. Surely someone has rhymed that with ‘fork,’ and hopefully even ‘spork.’
Yet, after doing a little Web searching, all I could find was this all-too-slick place in California–with its smoked asparagus–“where the fork meets the pork.” But even that’s a touch boring.
So I’m throwing it out there: Can you think of anyone in N.C. Barbecuedom who employs a clever rhyme?
Our colleagues-in-swine John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg Reed, authors of Holy Smoke, have a couple of book tour stops coming up:
Thursday, March 26, 2009 7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble Greenville
Saturday, March 28, 2009 2:00 PM
Barnes & Noble New Hope Commons
Show the Reeds some BBQ Jew love and drop by, or at the very least buy their book if you haven’t already. Plus, New Hope Commons in Durham is right next to Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, a Texas-based chain we are loathe to visit but would love to hear about (at least they spell barbecue right).
A Proud History
I’ve been traveling to Goldsboro for work for the past couple years and finally was able to catch the legendary Scott’s on a day when the dining room was open. The owners had recently recovered from some health problems that had kept them from running the restaurant for several months. They are now open a couple days a week for lunch. Although the barbecue was middle of the road at best (alas, it has been years since Scott’s wood-cooked their ‘cue), I am very happy to have made my way through Scott’s doors.
Scott’s has been selling barbecue for over 90 years, which is an amazing feat in itself and makes it one of the oldest barbecue joints around (and likely one of the longest running family-owned businesses in NC). Many people know Scott’s for its sauce, which is the most widely available of NC barbecue sauces, but may be unaware of the restaurant. It sits in a modest building right next to a large but unassuming bottling facility, where Scott’s peppery hot vinegar
concoction is made and distributed.
The history is palpable at Scott’s, especially with the portrait of founder Rev. Adam Scott on the walls and the fact that his grandkids run the place today. This kind of family legacy is what NC barbecue is all about. Rev. Scott was an African-American preacher who started selling barbecue out of his home in 1917. According to Holy Smoke it was not long before Rev. Scott decided to close in his porch and call his home a restaurant. In the late-1940s, after a Continue reading
It is a distracting time of year for us North Carolinians, and BBQ Jews are not immune to the fever in the air. Indeed, March Madness has taken over and leaves precious little time for updating this site. As you probably know, our state’s reputation for barbecue is perhaps exceeded only by our reputation as a college basketball hotbed (even in a year when, alas, just three NC teams made the NCAA tourney). But what do barbecue and basketball have to do with one another? At first glance they may seem to have as little in common as pork and lingerie, but in fact barbecue
and basketball have much in common. Below are some similarities I can think of even as I multi-task by writing this post in front of the warm glow of basketball on TV (all while eating some equally warm carry-out ‘cue):
- Both barbecue and basketball start with a “b.” Uncanny, right?
- Passion for basketball burns long and slow, much like barbecue cooked over wood coals.
- The proverbial Tobacco Road that links Wake Forest to UNC to Duke to NC State covers a large chunk of the territory covered by the NC BBQ Society’s Historic Barbecue Trail.
- People argue over the Lexington-style vs. Eastern-style divide just like they argue over Duke vs. UNC (sorry, NC State fans, but your team needs to win a few more games this decade to re-enter the debate).
- Politicians and other public figures often refuse to tip their hand about whether they prefer Eastern-style or Lexington-style, UNC or Duke, unless they are pandering. President Obama covered all bases by playing pick-up hoops with the Tar Heels but having former Duke player Reggie Love on payroll. Smart guy.
- Politicians damn well better at least pretend to enjoy basketball and barbecue if they want to be elected to a statewide office. If you don’t believe us, just Google “Rufus Edmisten barbecue.” Lucky for politicians and the general public, most key elections are in the fall and not during prime hoops season, since elections during March would surely mean many political foot-in-mouth incidents, not to mention historically low turnout.
- Barbecue joints almost always have goofy “mascots” in the form of cartoon pig signage, and basketball teams have true mascots. Sadly, no NC team has a swine-related nickname or mascot. This fact is disgraceful as a gas-cooked pig drenched with KC Masterpiece.
I could go on, but I am quickly running out of ideas and there’s a close game on TV…
There’s plenty to say about this sign from Danny’s Bar-B-Que, but not much to like. Hence, some good natured ribbing:
First off, claiming to have the “Best BBQ in Cary” might just be the most backhanded compliment in the history of mankind. For those not in the know or the state, Cary is our much-maligned center of yuppydom. To be fair, it looks like they have three locations, so they aren’t just in Cary. (It’s OK, we still love you, Cary).
Plus, it’s a little odd that this pig, who we’ll call Danny, is squirting himself with sauce. He’s basically basting himself. What kind of death wish does Danny have? Although I do appreciate that it’s that oh-so-Carolina of squirt bottles.
Also, yeah right–like a pig could hold a squirt bottle. Hello?? We see that he has hooves on three legs, but then–oh, how convenient–Danny has one magical thumb hoof.
Now I’m all for anthropomorphic pigs, but Danny looks almost human. Is there any kind of mythical centaur-like creature that’s a pig with one human thumb?And why do we have to see this mythical pig/man thing’s butt?
Because nothing makes me hungry like the sight of a pigman’s butt. Pass the sauce, you crazy, mythical thumbhoof pigman.
Note: I have not eaten at Danny’s and, hence, can’t comment on their barbecue. I just wish they’d get a new sign.
OUT OF BUSINESS AS OF JULY 2011!
401 E. Center St., Mebane, NC
BBQ Jew’s Grade: A-
Porky Says: “Damn fine swine, well worth your time.”
It’s the Barbecue, Stupid.
I love the A&M Grill, but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart (then again, neither is reading online reviews of barbecue joints so you can probably handle it). The outside is unassuming at best and the interior is not what I’d describe as warm and cozy. But who cares? The barbecue is what matters, and the A&M delivers great ‘cue.
The Reeds hit the nail on the head when we asked them what they look for in a barbecue joint and they told us: “Barbecue… The meat’s what matters, at least as far as I’m concerned. I don’t give a damn about the décor or the ‘ambience.'” They’re right: if the swine is fine, let’s dine! And if you can’t cook the swine, I ain’t got the time.
Hard Work Pays Off
In my humble opinion, the A&M serves some damn fine swine. The pork shoulders are wood-cooked the old fashioned way and the A&M’s efforts pay off in the form of succulent, tender, hickory-kissed pork that has plenty of outside brown. The Lexington style dip is thicker than I tend to prefer, with more ketchup than needed, but Continue reading