Texas Pete Twin City RibFest & Blue Ridge BBQ Festival This Weekend

Looking for something ribtastic to do this weekend?  You could do a lot worse than heading over to Winston-Salem (the city so nice they named cigarettes after it twice) for the Texas Pete Twin City RibFest.  RibFest is in its sixth year and features music (Cyril Neville, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, and more than 20 others), beer (Foothills Brewing, which is one of the state’s best, among others), activities for kids (highlighted by a pirate-themed magician named Captain Jim who is every bit as creepy looking as you might imagine), and plenty of slow-cooked ribs and other good eats.

But wait, there’s more… this year RibFest features a special appearance by none other than the one and only, everybody’s favorite, the man with the master plan, your’s truly, Mr. Porky LeSwine.  Yes, in a rare lapse of judgment, otherwise lucent festival organizer Allen McDavid invited me to help judge the cooking competition on Saturday.  Roughly a dozen cooking teams from all over the eastern half of the country, including two hometown teams, will compete for the judges’ favor.

And speaking of judges, Miss Texas Pete herself decided to join the judge’s panel, presumably because she heard I was going to participate.  Needless to say, her presence puts a dent in my chances of winning the coveted title of prettiest judge but I still think I can win.  And I’m sure Miss Pete will be awed by my dashing good looks and the fact that I carry a bottle of her namesake sauce with me at all times… it’s like expensive cologne for the barbecue set.

Enough of me rambling, go visit the festival website for more details on RibFest or to order advance tickets.  I hope to see you in Winston-Salem this weekend.  Oh, and if you need a “celebrity” judge for your upcoming BBQ event, you know how to reach me…

Winston-Salem too flat for you?  Head for the mountains of Tryon, where the Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival will be taking place.  See this article or the BBQJew.com events page for more details.

Mama Jean’s: BBQ Shack on Wheels

Over the weekend The Rib Rabbi and I, along with our accomplice Nate “Ol’ Hickory” O’Keefe, volunteered at a barbecue-themed fundraising event.  More on the event soon, but that’s a separate post.  While at the event, we “discovered” a local BBQ joint we’d never heard of: Mama Jean’s Bar-B-Que Shack (as is common with barbecue joints, alternate spellings abound, with “Mama Jean’s BBQ Shack” and “Mama Jean’s Bar-B-Q Shack” also featured in their marketing materials).  Better yet, Mama Jean’s operates out of a truck, which as far as we know is unique for BBQ in food truck-rich Durham; other examples exist elsewhere in NC, such as Fatback’s BBQ & Rib Shack in Fayetteville.

Despite being set up squarely in the middle of a long row of BBQ cooking teams, the guys from Mama Jean’s caught our attention because they were the only ones using charcoal and wood instead of propane.  Of course, they also had that BBQ/Bar-B-Q/Bar-B-Que truck of their’s doubling as a hard-to-miss billboard.

Alas, we arrived at the event too late to sample Mama Jean’s cooking but we vow to check it out soon and report back.  We did get a chance to chew the proverbial fat with the Mama Jean’s crew.  They were nice guys who clearly care about ‘cue and were proud to be cooking over wood/charcoal.  They told us that they are working on opening a permament brick and mortar location soon, but for now you should be able to find their bar-b-bus parked near the corner of Angier and Driver Streets in Durham a short drive east of downtown.  They also would be happy to help you with catering your next event.  See their website for details and stay tuned for our patented BBQ Jew’s View review coming soon.

Ooh…That Smell!

image by obswhatsinstore.blogspot.com

While Triangle residents have battled against digital billboards, the Charlotte-area now has a slighly more interactive kind of roadside sign: A scented one. 

Drivers in Mooresville, near Charlotte, are currently getting a whiff of hickory and steak, thanks to a Bloom supermarket billboard promoting a new kind of beef. With fans wafting its aromas 30 to 50 yards down to the roadside, sign maker ScentAir Technologies just might be onto something.

The news has even gone national and international. Of course, they have the wrong kind of meat.  

We here at BBQ Jew can’t help wondering what it would look like if this technology were applied to the sacred swine. For instance, as cars approached the hypothetical NC Barbecue Museum, a scented sign could signal your arrival.  

Then again, we’re prone to think that real wood-smoked barbecue needs no aromatic assistance. But, I’d enjoy having a ‘cue scent piped into my home (you can keep the billboard). And I’d even settle for barbecue poutpourri.

And yes, this post’s title is our first, but hopefully not last, Skynyrd reference.

BBQ&A: Michael Stern, Road Foodie

Michael Stern, along with his writing partner Jane Stern, have authored more than 40 books, including the wildly popular Roadfood series.  They also write a recurring column for Gourmet magazine and maintain a lively, interactive website that features restaurant write-ups, recipes, user forums and more.  The two are also frequent guests on The Splendid Table, which airs on National Public Radio stations across the country. 

Michael’s biggest career misstep to date was being kind enough to mention BBQJew.com in a web post way back in 2009.  Emboldened by our good fortune, we set out to track him down for an interview.  We caught up with Michael in between Roadfood travels and peppered him with questions about North Carolina barbecue. 

Follow this link to read the interview.