Ask BBQ Jew: Finding a Caterer

Today’s post is the first in what will be an occasional series that presents actual questions from actual readers.  Today, as always, we will protect the reader’s identity unless the reader decides to self-disclose it him/herself.  Without further ado, to the e-mailbag we go…

Dear BBQ Jew,
Love the blog/website. I recently moved back to NC in the Durham/Hillsborough area. I made my first trip/pilgramage to Allen and Son tonight. Yum!  Here’s the problem. All of my neighbors are Yankees. They keep using barbecue as a verb. I want to hire someone who knows what they are doing to come cook a pig in our cul-de-sac and show them what dining heaven is all about. Know of any good adherents to the Gospel of Vinegar based BBQ who would be willing to make my block party the shizzle?
-Hungry in Hillsborough

Dear Hungry in Hillsborough,

Forshizzle, I’m happy to offer some advice.  But first I want to commend you for seeking to convert your Yankee neighbors to our pork-based religion.  With a little persistence on your part, along with the sacrificial offering of a slow-cooked pig, I have no doubt these Yankees will soon see the light. 

My first suggestion is to talk to your favorite local barbecue joint and see if they cater.  Most do.  However, since it sounds like you are interested in finding someone who will provide your Yankees neighbors with the experience of a traditional pig pickin’, not just aluminum trays of food heated over sterno candles, be sure to ask if the pig can be cooked on site or at least served straight from a grill.  You should be able to find a barbecue joint that is willing to cook the pig (whether shoulders or whole hog, the latter being more impressive looking for the unconverted) and transport it to your site on a portable grill for serving.  Just be sure you have enough people to warrant this “call in the calvalry” approach.  There is nothing wrong with sterno candles and aluminum trays if that works  best for your event.

pig-bwIf your favorite local barbecue joint doesn’t cater (unlikely), or won’t serve the meat straight of the grill (possible), thumb through the yellow pages for a caterer.  I’m willing to bet that every yellow pages in NC features at least one caterer who specializes in barbecue.  Since you mentioned you live in or around Hillsborough, if you are too lazy to thumb through the yellow pages then check out Gillis Catering.  I had a very satisfying meal from them last year.

Drop us a line and let us know how many Yankees you convert to the Church of the Divine Swine.  Good luck and god speed!

5 Responses

  1. One good caterer in the Triangle area is Reid Hilton in Chapel Hill (he’s in the phonebook). He has quite a cooking operation at his place and will also haul his cooker to yours.

  2. I would 2nd Reid as a caterer if you are looking for the smokey taste.

    If you are looking to go “hog wild” and have more than 50 people get Keith Allen at Allen and Son to do the event. Keith will be $2-4 more per head than the other two but he is the hardest working man in the business so I don’t question his prices.

    If you are looking at price and overall BBQ experience including sides and desserts Gillis’ would be my choice. Stevie James 732 6106

    I personally have hired all 3 people mentioned above.

  3. Thanks for your comments Robby, good advice!

  4. Thanks so much! I reviewed your comments with my BBQ friend from Hillsborough. He was born and raised around here and his dad was a judge at Hog Days. He agreed with your comments, almost without exception but was surprised that Gillis was not on the JOINTS list. I will have to make sure to send him this link so that he knows you two really were separated at birth.
    By the way, I LOVED B’s BBQ in Greenville. Hard to find, in a crazy shack way behind the hospital. But it is just great. Also my sister and her beau swear by a place in Carthage, near Pinehurst.
    Thanks for the advice.

  5. Here’s another recommendation. This guy cooks over coals and I’ve been told by several reliable sources that he’s real good.

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