Porky’s Pulpit: Strange Bedfellows

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 

Sex Sells Pork, or Pork Sells Sex?

Sex Sells Pork, or Pork Sells Sex?

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):

  1. Both barbecue and basketball start with a “b.”  Uncanny, right?
  2. Passion for basketball burns long and slow, much like barbecue cooked over wood coals.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 
  7. 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…