BBQ Events This Weekend

If you’re in the Triangle area this weekend you could do worse than checking out one of these two BBQ-themed events.  First, in Cary (yes, that Cary) on Friday and Saturday is the traveling road show called the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival.  Or, if you are looking for something with a little more of a downhome sophisticate flair, swing by The Flying Saucer in Raleigh on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. for a pairing of Hogwash beer with barbecue.  Twenty bucks gets you five 5-oz pours of Fullsteam Brewery beers and a heaping plate o’ ‘cue.  (A tip of the snout to BBQ Dave for pointing this event out.)

Yankee Doodle ‘Cue

It’s amusing to learn about the deviant behavior in the north that passes for cooking barbecue.  Recently the New York Times ran a piece on some friends putting on a “pig roast” in New York state.  This was no ordinary barbecue, at least by our humble southern standards: the pig was stuffed with “quartered and peeled pineapples and butternut squash, halved red onions and a dozen sprigs of rosemary” and then wrapped in banana leaves.  Instead of hush puppies and slaw, sides included kimchi,  as well as “a vegetable piccalilli with ample peppers” and “a concoction of coconut milk, pineapple juice and crushed banana mixed with a pesto of basil and cilantro.”  Yep, we ain’t in Mayberry anymore, Toto.

It’s easy to poke fun at New Yorkers cooking a hog, but all kidding aside it looks like the pig roast participants had a good time and a good meal, which are two defining features of good barbecue.  Plus, the slide show of pig roast pictures is nice.  Still, it’s hard not to smirk when the guys wrap the pig in banana leaves followed by burlap followed by chicken wire.  As if that’s not enough overkill, they then lower the strait-jacketed pig into a stone-lined pit in the ground and cover it with coals and dirt.  Sheesh,  I guess it’s hard to rent a pig cooker up north?

Two Rights Can Make a Wrong: A Review of Cheerwine-filled Krispy Kreme Donuts

You are not asleep and this is not a dream

Somehow this news got past me when it was announced in June, but it’s about the biggest thing since sliced pork: beloved NC donut makers Krispy Kreme partnered with beloved NC soft drink maker Cheerwine to produce a Cheerwine cream-filled donut.  Wow.

On paper the Cheerwine-Krispy Kreme donut is the most delicious idea to emerge in a long time, possibly ever.  Krispy Kreme donuts are a NC tradition and an international sensation.  And Cheerwine is the preferred barbecue pairing beverage aside from ice tea.  Unfortunately, whereas the sticky sweet cherry taste of Cheerwine pairs splendidly with tangy barbecue, it is an absolute disaster when turned into cream form and injected into a sticky sweet Krispy Kreme donut.  At least that is the verdict reached by my palate and the palates of the five fellow testers I employed during a recent double-non-blind taste test.  In the interest of full disclosure, none of the testers are big fans of creme-filled donuts to begin with and none much care for Krispy Kreme’s “chocolate” icing.  If you don’t trust my opinion (fair enough), see more coverage on the donut here and here; the latter link includes a terrific, if nauseating slide show.

All members of the BBQ Jew Test Crew agreed that the cream had a distinct Cheerwine taste but that it would have been much better to use that Cheerwine flavor as an icing or in the dough itself instead of in cream form.  Are you listening Krispy Kreme Korporate Kings?  Make the Cheerglaze or Cheerdough happen and I will buy a dozen, I promise.  Until then, when I crave dessert I think I will stick to my staple: the barbecue sundae.