Porky’s Pulpit: An Essay on the Origins of My Addiction

My name is Porky LeSwine and I am a barbeholic.

The barbecue version of the food pyramid.

Early Symptoms
Like most addictions, it all started out innocently enough. I grew up in Orange County not far up the road from Allen & Son. My folks took me there from time to time. Back then it was just a couple of times a year habit. I liked barbecue from the start but didn’t think much about it in between those occasional meals. It’s a couple decades later and I’ve now eaten enough barbecue that my cholesterol level can be measured from 100 yards away. How did I, an innocent kid who grew up eating just the occasional BBQ plate, turn into a bona fide barbecue junkie?

After continuing my occasional BBQ routine through high school I soon left North Carolina to attend college in Missouri. There are good ribs in St. Louis but nothing quite like NC barbecue, so I found myself fitting in a visit or two to Allen’s every time I returned home. Soon I was stopping at Allen’s on the way home before even arriving at my parents’ house. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Still, I remained just an occasional visitor to the Temple of Divine Swine, not a member of the congregation. 

After college I worked a job that sent me on several day trips to Lexington, where I interviewed people about their experiences with… well, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I started my interviews by asking people where I should go for lunch. I was amazed at how varied and passionate their responses were. It seemed like everyone had an opinion and they took pride in sending me off the beaten path to the “little place down the road a bit.”

I knew Lexington was barbecue Mecca (or maybe Medina for those of you partial to the ‘cue served in the Eastern part of the state ), but I was shocked to discover that Lexington had over 20 barbecue joints for 20,000 people. At one joint for every 1,000 people, there may be more barbecue options per person in Lexington than there are physicians or churches. But who needs a physician when a chopped tray a day keeps the doctor away? And who needs church Continue reading