Art, Religion & Barbecue

We recently received an email from Joel Haas of Raleigh, who kindly agreed to let us share excerpts from his witty message.  Joel’s email begins as follows: “I am very, very grateful that my Jewish grandfather who immigrated to NC in 1900 didn’t take his religion seriously and married a Methodist girl, or I, a NC born and bred back sliding screaming left wing Episcopalian, would not be enjoying the joys of Q.”  How’s that for an opening salvo?

Joel’s email continues, “My true religion is ultra orthodox right wing don’t even talk-to-me-about-using-gas hickory-smoked Eastern NC Q.  I am in a mixed marriage since my wife is from near Lexington and Salisbury NC.”  Since Mrs. Porky LeSwine is from Illinois, thankfully I do not have to deal with such contentious debates at my home.  After all, Illinois produces corn and corn is enjoyed in cornmeal form throughout both of North Carolina’s regional barbecue empires.  Of course, Mrs. LeSwine has never taken a shine to barbecue, so not all is well at my home.

Functional pig art by Joel Haas

Functional pig art by Joel Haas

Back to Joel.  In addition to being a left-wing Episcopalian and a right-wing Hickory Thumper, he is a professional sculptor.  Although he does not specialize in barbecue-themed art, he created a grill that qualifies him as a bona fide Pigcasso.  The grill’s features include an air intake just below the mouth, a double layer of sheet steel to catch ash, stainless steel interior grills that can be adjusted to various angles and heights, and a tail that folds apart to serve as a chimney while in service.  Not only is the pig-shaped grill a terrific piece of functional art, but it was made for a barbecue loving client who, according to Joel, “is an EPA advisor by day on the subject of particulate matter in business emissions but tells me the legislature of this great state, while often unable to express wisdom beyond naming the Plott Hound official state dog, did write in a specific exemption from particulate air standards for cooking Q.”  (I vow to do some follow-up research to investigate that story further, but in the meantime I just had to share it.)  Learn more about Joel Haas’ pig cooker sculpture here or see his studio’s homepage here.

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One Response

  1. A friend of mine (who was in fact a lawyer – UNC Law School in fact) liked to promulgate the myth that NC State law required that restaurants provide free refills for tea.

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