When The Economist, a highly respected and intelligent international news magazine that I read*, takes on the subject of barbecue it is worth a gander. The December 16th issue features an article that explains the predominant styles of barbecue and then delves into barbecue culture. It’s definitely worth a read whether you are a pipe smoking member of the intelligentsia or just an ordinary Joe.
If you don’t have time to read the full article, here is The Economist’s take on North Carolina barbecue: “[The] pork, either whole hog or shoulder, is seasoned minimally if at all. The sauce, applied at table, varies. In the eastern part of the state it is usually nothing more than cider vinegar, salt and red pepper flakes. In the west it may include a bit of tomato. North Carolina barbecue at its best is as austere and perfect as a bowl of properly cooked Japanese rice. As with rice, however, perfection is exceptionally difficult to achieve, whereas mediocrity is easy. Mediocre Carolina pork will bring back memories of school dinners and premonitions of the nursing home.” Well said for a London-based magazine.
*Okay, not very often, but I do enjoy it from time to time.