One Word: Livermush

Livermush: Click the image to read about it!

If you frequent barbecue joints in Lexington, Salisbury or other parts of the state where the barbecue tradition is closely linked to German settlers,  sooner or later you are likely to run into something called livermush.  Although it sounds like a Dr. Seuss-invented food, livermush is very real.  Heck, it exists on Wikipedia so it must be real.  Also, I’ve seen it in person so I can personally attest to its existence.  Full disclosure: I have yet to work up the nerve to taste livermush, largely because it is, according to Wikipedia, “composed of pig liver, head parts, and cornmeal.”  It’s the vagueness of “head parts” that has me quaking in my boots.  I am also a bit nervous of the food because it is served both at breakfast (often with grape jelly) and at lunch (with mustard).  Odd. 

Actually, I am planning to eat livermush some day soon.  Truth be told, I only noticed livermush on BBQ menus very recently.  Apparently my usual laser-like focus on the barbecue portion of menus has limited my awareness of certain items.  See a nice picture of a livermush sandwich at the foodie blog Pretty by the Bay, run by a North Carolina ex-patriate who now lives in San Francisco.  Next time I get the chance, I will order livermush and report back to you.  In the meantime, do any of you readers have anything to say about livermush?

The Origins of Pulled Pork

This cartoon by Leigh Rubin is worth a chuckle.

Hunting for ‘Cue in Chile

We BBQ Jews are not ones for idleness.  While Porky was on his Canadian billboard photo safari, I headed to Chile to research meat consumption. As with my Turkey letdown, there’s bad culinary news for visitors to the South American nation: they’re not particularly fond of chili.

But, Chileans do love their lamb. In fact, they prefer it to pork, which may explain why it’s such a skinny country (Hey now!)

While in Chile, I was lucky enough to get invited to a catered barbecue cookout attached to a farm tour. Since I was traveling with a group of chefs, the organizers stepped up their culinary game.

And so…this was what we saw upon arrival:

Damn! (in a good way)

Now…after the initial twinge of regret that these weren’t hogs cooking “a la parilla,” I took a step back and thanked my lucky carnivorous star. Yet, when I ventured over to the open fire to gawk at the lamb, I saw something that really made me think of you ‘cue hounds:


I had to laugh at the juxtaposition (and I swear I didn’t move the bottle to set up the above photo). On the one hand, they were cooking lamb (for about 6 hours) in that arduous, time-consuming, legit way familiar to anyone who’s made or maybe even eaten NC ‘cue. And then they were grilling pork ribs smothered in the corniest, corn syrup-iest of sauces.

Upon seeing that bottle, I made up my mind to forego the ribs altogether. But who was I kidding. I mean…have you seen my nom de blog?

P.S. — Give $ to Chile! Help earthquake victims get back to eating lamb like this.

BBQ Jew’s View: Jack’s BBQ

213 W. Main Street, Gibsonville, NC
Hours: Mon-Tue, Thu-Fri 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wed 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sat 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
BBQ Jew’s Grade: D-
Porky Says: “All pork with no taste makes Jack’s a dull ‘cue.”

Can’t We Do Better?
At this risk of sounding overly dramatic or harsh, Jack’s BBQ is emblematic of what is wrong with North Carolina’s dying barbecue culture.  It’s a charming and cozy little joint, complete with about a half dozen booths and an old fashioned (and just plain old, as Jack’s dates back 43 years) counter, plus a carry-out window.  The service is efficient and the staff couldn’t be nicer.  The customers look happy.  And so on.  But the barbecue is terrible.  If the place was called Jack’s Cafe, I’d be nice and leave them alone.  Hell, I’d even return for another (BBQ-free) meal.  Instead, I have to be honest and mean.

Not fit to be served

Home of the Big Boy
The barbecue seems like an afterthought on a menu that touts the “Big Boy,” a very large hamburger that the waitress told Continue reading