An NHL All-Star Guide to North Carolina Barbecue

As you may know, particularly if you are masochistic enough to pay attention to sports played on ice, this weekend the NHL All-Star game comes to Raleigh’s RBC Center. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, NHL stands for the National Hockey League, not Numerous Hickory Logs. And RBC stands for Royal Bank of Canada, not Really Bland ‘Cue.  To help out visitors to the area who are unfamiliar with our state’s barbecue culture, and locals who blush when they hear someone mention “hooking,” I have created the below guide to hockey and barbecue.

  • Hockey is often played by European men who wear mullets without irony. North Carolina barbecue is often prepared, served and eaten by men and women of European ancestry who wear mullets without irony.
  • Hockey is the most popular sport in Canada. Barbecue ain’t (if you’ve ever tried to cook a whole hog over hickory coals on top of a frozen lake, you know why).
  • On a good night, the Carolina Hurricanes might draw 20,000 fans. On the fourth Saturday of October, nearly 200,000 people are drawn to Lexington, NC for the annual Barbecue Festival.
  • Hockey requires long hours of strenuous exercise to become an expert. Barbecue requires long hours of drinking and telling lies to become an expert.
  • You can’t play hockey without a puck. You can cook barbecue without a puck.
  • Hockey’s greatest team accomplishment is winning the Stanley Cup. One of North Carolina barbecue’s greatest families is the Stamey’s, who have sold many cups of iced tea over the years.
  • Wayne Gretsky is arguably the greatest player in hockey history. Wayne Monk is arguably the greatest pitmaster in NC barbecue history.
  • People who are ignorant of hockey’s rules have a difficult time understanding the icing penalty. People ignorant of barbecue have a difficult time understanding why they should avoid Dickey’s Barbecue Pit.
  • Good hockey can be found in cities like Montreal, Pittsburgh, Boston, Vancouver, and Detroit.  Good barbecue can be found in towns like Dudley, Salisbury, Mebane, Ayden, and Farmville.

To learn more about North Carolina barbecue, check out BBQ Jew’s BBQ U and this article that explains the difference between our beloved state’s two styles of ‘cue.

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