Alarming news out of Chapel Hill, where a recent press release notes that a local franchisee has entered into a statewide agreement with Dallas, Texas-based Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. GMW Carolina, Inc. already runs two Dickey’s locations in the Triangle area and plans to open a third soon. The statewide agreement gives GMW the right to expand into markets across North Carolina, although details have not been released as to where the next locations will be. Presumably major population centers like Charlotte and the Triad area will be in the mix, as well as additional Triangle storefronts.
What, if any, threat does this pose to North Carolina’s homegrown barbecue culture? A significant one, I’d speculate. Sure, Dickey’s serves a different product than authentic NC barbecue joints. And certainly there are plenty of relocated Texans and others who will enjoy having another options for ribs, brisket and the like. Heck, I like Texas barbecue too. But one has to assume that there are some limits to the amount of barbecue North Carolinians will eat (despite our collectively growing waistline). Thus, for every plate of Dickey’s barbecue sold there will probably be somewhat less NC barbecue sold by a homegrown joint. I highly doubt Dickey’s will be the knockout blow to mom and pop barbecue joints that Wal-Mart was for many smaller retailers, but its expansion does pose a real threat.
What should a proud North Carolinian do? My advice: skip the corporate brisket from Texas and visit your local BBQ joint. If you insist on adding some Texas flavor, just bring a bottle of Kraft sauce along and dump it over your chopped pork.