BBQ Jew’s View: Lexington Barbecue #1

 10 US Hwy 29-70 South (I-85 Business Loop), Lexington, NC
704.249.9814
No Website
Hours: Mon – Sat 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
BBQ Jew’s Grade: A+
Porky Says: “This Monk serves heaven on earth.”

The Honeymonk
Whichever name you call it by–Lexington Barbecue #1,Lexington #1, Monk’s place, Monk’s, or The Honeymonk–this joint is absolutely one of the best in the state.  I’ve been here a half dozen times or so over a period of several years and the barbecue and sides have been superb every time.  Wayne Monk, his family, and the other employees who work at Lexington #1 run an amazingly efficient restaurant.  They crank out ‘cue and all the fixings in high volume without sacrificing quality one bit.  Whether you show up when the line is out the door, such as during the annual Barbecue Festival, or on a slow day at an off hour, Monk & company will dish you out some of the best ‘cue known to man, woman, or child.

 In lieu of a full review of Lexington #1, I am going to defer to the Michael Stern of Roadfood fame on this one.   See Stern’s recent review of Lexington #1 from his Roadfood.com website.  Stern is one of the nation’s premier food writers and his website and books are well worth reading if you’ve yet to discover them.  All I’ll add to Stern’s recent review of Lexington #1 is that some reason the draft Cheerwine tastes extra good there… especially when served to you by Wayne Monk himself at one of the counter stools.  Add it to your bucket list today.  And then get off your duff and check it off the list tomorrow.

BBQ in the News: December 2009

Today marks the debut of an occasional feature called BBQ in the News, in which we share ‘cue related stories that come from near and far, and range from unimportant to not that important. Enjoy.

The Grinch Who Stole the Birthday Brisket – This story comes from Houma, Louisiana courtesy of The Daily Comet, which I think may be the paper Clark Kent worked at before moving up to The Daily Planet.  This sad story begins with Jonathon Pepper buying his wife Brandi a brisket for her birthday.  (That’s the gift that keeps on giving, Clark.)  Unfortunately, after 2 days of marinating, the brisket was stolen from the couple’s smoker while it cooked.  “I would honestly like to know who steals someone else’s barbecue in their backyard,” bemoaned Mrs. Pepper.   My theory:  Mrs. Pepper herself, in a fit of rage that her husband bought her brisket instead of a pork shoulder.

Free New Year’s BBQ in Fayetteville – According to the Fayetteville Observer, “The public is invited to a free feast of barbecue, collard greens, sweet potatoes and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.”  Need I say more?  Get thee to Cumberland County!

The Barbecue Gazebo – Okay, technically this is not a news item.  Still, did you know that you can purchase a “barbecue gazebo” from your good friends at Hammacher Schlemmer for less than $1,000 plus shipping?  Well, actually, the website says this item is no longer available.  Oh well, in that case I won’t mock it.

Barbecue Fork Involved in Stabbing  – According to Australia’s AdelaideNow, “TWO men spent their Rudd Government stimulus packages on drugs before one viciously stabbed the other in an argument over sugar.”  The article is very choppy and difficult to understand–as if the reporter was also using drugs–but it sounds like the meth using stabbing victim wielded a barbecue fork, while the meth using stabber wielded a knife.  Knife trumps fork.

Lexington Barbecue Tourism – According to The Dispatch, the slightly more than one year-old Lexington Visitor’s Center has been an asset to the local economy, in no small part due to its promotion of barbecue-related tourism.  More than 3,300 visitors have come through the doors since the Center opened on December 1, 2008.

McRib’s Revenge – The greatest threat to real barbecue since the invention of the propane cooker, the McRib has returned… at least to Las Cruces, according to hometown paper the Sun-News.  Run for your lives, good people of New Mexico, save yourselves!  Or at least heed the journalist’s advice: “Don’t ask too many questions.  What kind of meat is this? Don’t go there. If you overthink this, the McRib will start morphing on you. If you think, ‘This sort of tastes like chicken,’ it will. It can also sort of taste like beef and sort of like pork.”

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone.  We hope you have a safe, joyous and peaceful holiday.

And remember, if Santa filled your stocking with coal this year then you can use it to cook some barbecue. 

Aporkalypse Now

2009 brought us the aporkalypse. No, not the continued advance of gas-cooked barbecue, but the fear-mongering stemming from the ill-named swine flu. Because really, what did swine, and by extension barbecue, ever do to deserve so much hatred?

While I’d never heard the term before this week, amazingly, it made The New York Timesbuzzwords of 2009 list. Here’s their official definition of aporkalypse:

Undue worry in response to swine flu. Includes unnecessary acts like removing nonessential kisses from Mexican telenovelas and the mass slaughter of pigs in Egypt.

image by IanVisits via Flickr

I’m against undue fear in all forms, but especially when it prevents telenovela smooching. And anything that threatens my barbecue and, by the (delusionary) commutative property, my livelihood. I’m not, however, against a little humor surrounding this topic.

Then again, if there’s any truth behind Aporkalypse Now–the online game–maybe the fear isn’t so unnecessary. Be afraid of anthropomorphic zombie pigs wearing suits. Be verrry afraid.

Porco Pizza: “Wise person who if dealt with a stuffed pig”

Do any of you BBQ Jew readers speak Portuguese?  If so, your help is needed in figuring out what the heck is going on in this video about a Portuguese pig pizza.  According to the website Boing Boing (surely a reliable source judging from the name), the video “documents the creation of the revolting Porco Pizza, a pizza whose crust is an entire, flattened suckling pig.” (Thanks to reader/BBQ buddy Eric “Raw Food Hog” Calhoun for the story idea.)

Unfortunately, I speak no Portuguese and I have no time to learn given my busy barbecue eating schedule.  Luckily, I discovered an article on the porco pizza to help explain things.  Unfortunately, like the video the article is also in Portuguese.  Luckily, I was able to find a free web-based translation service.  Unfortunately, the translation is a wee bit confusing, as this abridged transcript reveals: 

“Today the Oba presents an unusual plate at least. This Saturday I was invited for a confraternização of a group of friends intitled “the Eaters,” heading given in function of all the fridays to go in a different restaurant… The offered cardápio was the “Paraguayan Pig” or “Pig Pizza “, as some had called. Wise person who if dealt with a stuffed pig, but did not imagine the content of the filling….  Arriving at the mansion, I was to know the process of the preparation. In the reality, it was a boned and open wild boar, that rested in the grate with a golden one to full the eyes… 

1 – The pig (or in the case wild boar) boned is tempered with left pickling brine and on of paper aluminum, with the leather for top, until dourar.
2 – Then it is turned for another grate, of this time with the leather for low e without aluminum.
3 – The grate is returned to the fire.
4 – The wild boar is covered by one mixture of cheese, ham, tomatoe, maize, peas, olives, palmito, onion and orégano… Then it is served, abundantly served (he is enough to see my plate).

…Difficult to explain the delight that was. The meat baked in the accurate point… Detail that beyond the wild boar, still had a rib made in soil fire, melting of so soft….”
 
Here’s my summary: Dude went out to eat with some other dudes.  Dudes who knew dude’s dudes made some crazy pig pizza dish for all the dudes.  Dude thought pig pizza tasted pretty dang good.  Dude ate his fill of pig pizza.  Dude wants to share his love for pig pizza with the world, but not many dudes in the world speak Portuguese. 

Porco Pizza!

Allen’s: Minor Changes

Just a quick update for any Allen & Son’s devotees out there.  (I’m talking about the Chapel Hill location, of course.) I visited for the first time in close to a year and discovered that their prices have gone up yet again.  Allen’s is now pushing $10 for a barbecue plate, which is a bit ridiculous but it doesn’t seem to be hurting their business so it’s hard to fault them.  As long as Keith Allen keeps cooking over wood and making everything from scratch, I’m willing to pay a premium.

As for the food, the pork was good as ever. I did notice a minor change to the hush puppies though.  They seem slightly smaller. I always assumed that one of the reasons the hush puppies often taste over cooked is that they were so large.  Well, so much for that theory, as the reduced size had no impact on the taste.  The puppies are also served with “butter” (margarine really) these days, something they didn’t do back in the day… and a waste if you ask me.  Finally, and most importanly, I believe the Allen’s slaw is a good deal creamier than it used to be, which is a disappointment because their old ‘cue was just about perfectly tangy and nearly mayo free.  Picky comments, and maybe my memory is failing me, but I’ve been going to Allen’s for 20 years so I take these changes personally!

On the Origin of Brunswick Stew Species

For those of you who believe in evolution, I thought you might be interested to learn about the origin of Brunswick Stew, that classic accompaniment to Eastern North Carolina barbecue.  But then it seems Brunswick Stew’s story is as much a creationist one as it is a story of evolution.

As served today in North Carolina barbecue joints, Brunswick Stew’s recipe varies significantly from place to place.  Common ingredients include chicken, pork, corn, lima beans, tomatoes and more.  The consistency ranges from quite soupy to rather thick, and the texture from chunky to almost baby-food soft.  Even the color ranges from bright tomato red to a sickly brownish-gray.

Although present day species of Brunswick Stew have evolved over the years to adapt to whatever niche they fill, with ingredients varying widely from region to region and cook to cook, all the Brunswick Stews seem to have a common ancestor.  Or maybe two.  The origin of Brunswick Stew remains in dispute roughly a century and a half after it emerged from the primordial soup of southern culture.  Continue reading