First the swine flu and now an even more certain sign of the apocalypse: a smoke free dining billboard in Davidson County, NC. Why is this billboard a sign of the apocalypse? Well, in case you don’t know/ain’t from ’round here, the main town in Davidson County is Lexington. Lexington is, of course, perhaps the most important barbecue town in North Carolina and even dubs itself the “barbecue capital of the world.” This title is one Lexington can make a legitimate claim to given its rich history and its present day status: roughly 20 barbecue joints, most still cooking over wood in the traditional manner, serve the town of just 20,000 people.
Apparently Davidson County’s Health Department is working with area restaurants to help them go smoke-free. Luckily, this initiative targets cigarettes, cigars and the like, and not the wood pits out back. As a matter of fact, quite a few barbecue joints in Lexington have signed on to the County’s list of smoke-free restaurants. Even The Barbecue Center and Lexington #1 are among the joints that have gone smoke-free, but rest assured they still burn plenty of hickory wood when they cook their pork.
In all seriousness, the fact that so many barbecue joints are going smoke-free is interesting, given how closely tobacco and barbecue have been linked throughout NC’s history. See this interesting article in the Raleigh News & Observer on the subject.