2011 BBQ Jew of theYear: Bruce Pearl

Although it is only August, former University of Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl has already locked up the prestigous 2011 BBQ Jew of the Year award [Editor’s note: See our March 23rd, 2011 profile of Coach Pearl here].  Coach Pearl is one of the country’s highest profile Jewish sports figures.  He was fired from Tennessee this spring in the aftermath of an NCAA investigation surrounding a recruiting violation that took place over barbecue at Pearl’s home in Knoxville in 2008, and the subsequent cover-up.  A few days ago the NCAA announced that Pearl is banned from any recruiting for the next three years.  What did Coach Pearl do when he found out about the NCAA’s penalty?  Naturally, he had a barbecue.

In order to respond to the NCAA’s announcement, Coach Pearl hosted a “press luncheon, where barbecue was once again served.”  It is unclear whether Pearl saw any irony in serving barbecue at an event intended to discuss, and take responsibility for, the penalties imposed on him for an illegal barbecue.  Whether or not he recoginized the irony, Pearl has secured the 2011 BBQ Jew of the Year award.  After all, Coach Pearl either:

a) Realized the irony of having the media over for barbecue and relished in the dark humor of it all, a bad ass move that would make a mob boss proud.


b) Did not think that there was anything odd about returning to the scene of the crime to address the media, since his love of barbecue is so strong.

Whatever Coach Pearl was thinking, he is clearly a dedicated BBQ Jew.  Bravo Coach Pearl, and may your next coaching job be somewhere in the south so you can keep on eating ‘cue and doing it your way.

Porky’s Pulpit: Put Some Swine in Your Stein

With Hurricane Irene behind us, it’s time to relax and have a drink.  And what better to drink after a hurricane than beer?  Although I am generally not a believer in pairing beer with barbecue (unless you count having one in hand while cooking it), I do love beer.  Whereas the explosion of barbecue as an “in” food spreading across the country has many drawbacks, chiefly related to watering down sacred regional differences, the explosion of the craft beer movement has no such side effects.  Locally produced craft beers can be found in every state and have transformed the United States of Pilsner into perhaps the most diverse beer country in the world.

In honor of beer, I have compiled this list of 15 swine-themed beers from among the hundreds of beers that are named after pigs, hogs, sows, pork and other porcine references.  All of the beers below are described on RateBeer.com, an invaluable website for beer drinkers, and are presented below in no particular order:

1) Avery Brewing Company Hog Heaven Barleywine-Style Ale, rated a 99 out of 100 on RateBeer.com. I can personally vouch that this is incredible beer.

2) Aviator Hog Wild IPA, from Fuquay-Varina, NC.  RateBeer.com is less kind (52) to this brew but it has only been reviewed 17 times versus over 1,200 for Avery Hog Heaven.

3) Fullsteam Hogwash, from Durham, NC.  As far as I know, this is the only beer in the world designed specifically to pair with NC BBQ, and it pairs quite well.  A good brew, with the hickory smoked malts pronounced but not overwhelming.  Rated a 90.

4) Maui Brewing Wild Hog Stout, rated an 85.  I’ve never had this beer but wouldn’t mind being flown to Maui to taste it. Pairs well with luaus?

5) Slaughterhouse Swineherd.  This beer was apparently a special cask ale served at a festival in England, so I wouldn’t count on finding it on tap at your neighborhood bar, but the name alone is worthy of inclusion in this list.

6) Speaking of great names, how about pouring yourself a glass of Avery Piglet Purgatory?  This beer is a lower alcohol, less hoppy version of Hog Heaven and scores a 92.

7) Blind Pig Brewery in Illinois produces a large number of beers from Belgian ales to pale ales, Irish Dry Stouts to Russian Imperial Stouts.

8 ) While we are on the subject of Russians and Blind Pigs, allow me to mention Russian River Blind Pig IPA, which scores a perfect 100 from RateBeer.com based on over 800 ratings.

9) Angry Minnow’s River Pig Pale Ale is a mouthful of a name.  It rates a 76 and hails from the beer and cheese state of Wisconsin.

10) Need another pale ale selection?  You could do worse than Naked Pig Pale Ale, which is from Alabama and therefore sure to have some track record of washing down barbecue.  Rating is 51.

11) Another Durham, NC beer is Bull City Burger & Brewery’s Pigmeat Markham Smoked Rye.  Click the link to read where the name comes from–interesting trivia for Durhamites.  I’ve never much enjoyed rye beers but this one sounds too interesting to pass up.

12) Flying Pig Brewery of Washington state shows its love for swine with several pig-themed beers, including Flying Pig P.I.G. I.P.A.

13) In the interest of supporting whole hog barbecue, I’d be remiss not to include a snout beer:  Pickled Pig’s Porkers Snout. Okay, so it’s actually a cider, but close enough.

14) From snout to tail we go, with the Harvest Moon Pigs Ass Porter, which earns an admirable 88 from RateBeer.com and features killer label art to boot. Keep in mind that when you eat “pork shoulder,” you really are eating pigs ass.

15) Although it is among the lower rated beers on RateBeer.com, earning a paltry 22 based on 278 ratings, this beer has some fans.  I wonder why?  Oh yeah, maybe its the name: Butternuts Porkslap Pale Ale.


Greatest Hits — Porky’s Pulpit: “bbq pulled shreds” rant

[Note: This post originally ran on February 10, 2010.  I have not consumed bbq pulled shreds since then but still have flashbacks and nightmares from the experience.]

I recently lived my nightmare.  I ate–“consumed” is a more appropriately clinical term given I did it only in the name of research–most of a package of “Certified Vegan” tofucue.  (You can pronounce that last word however you see fit.)  I will return to the scene of the crime soon to give you a full report on how this vile product tasted (preview: vile), but today’s post focuses on the packaging.

The Front of the Box
Where to begin?  Perhaps the name itself–“bbq pulled shreds.”  Shreds of what? Pulled what? And don’t think the small print “meat-free” above the word “bbq” gives me any comfort.  Plus, aren’t the words “pulled” and “shreds” redundant?

Was the budget too small to afford paying for capital letters on the packaging?  must every word be written in lower case like a jr high text msg? omg luv u tofu, lol!

Why do the words “contains no poultry” appear at the bottom of the picture?  You’ve already flaunted that you’re meat-free.  Is this small print poultry-free message supposed to make me happy?  Or is it an apology?  If so, why apologize simply that you’re poultry-free?  You look like you’re pretending Continue reading

Will Work for Pork

A friend of mine from Washington state send me the below Craigslist ad from Washington, D.C. (not sure why he was browsing D.C. Craigslist job listings, maybe he was confused).  Anyway, since the ad mentions a pay range of $40,000 to $50,000 it makes me wonder how much a typical pitmaster earns in NC.  Anyone know or have an educated guess?

As for the restaurant’s interest in finding a chef who can make ‘The Best’ barbecue, good luck to them with that…

“BBQ Chef wanted

Date: 2011-08-01, 10:51PM

New restaurant set to open this fall is seeking a young and up and coming chef to lead this BBQ focused kitchen. MUST, MUST, MUST have serious BBQ experience.  Must have several years experience in leadership role.  Duties include creating BBQ menu, controlling costs of goods, controlling payroll and increasing revenue.  Not looking for good or even great BBQ.  Looking for ‘The Best’ BBQ.  If this is something you can do, please inquire and send your resume.

  • Location: Adams Morgan
  • Compensation: $40k-$50k plus bonus
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

Original URL: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/fbh/2525370714.html

BBQ Jew’s View: Carolina BBQ

2307 N College Road, Wilmington, NC
No Website
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C-
Porky Says: “The biggest (not best) BBQ joint in the state.”

Big Enough to Swallow a Lion
Carolina BBQ has a couple of locations in Wilmington, one in Kenansville, and one somewhere in Virginia, if my waitress was telling me the truth.  I stopped at the N. College Street location, which is a mile or so from Interstate 40 at exit 420.  Speaking of 420, one would need to be mighty stoned to think the barbecue is good here, but I still enjoyed parts of my meal despite being stone cold sober.

The best part about a visit to Carolina BBQ at N. College Road is the atmosphere.  It must be the largest barbecue restaurant in the state in gross square footage (the picture at left does not do the vastness of the space justice).  It feels like you could fit an entire grocery store inside the restaurant, which is quite true given it inhabits a former Food Lion.  As the hermit crab-like replacement for Food Lion, Carolina BBQ is the de facto anchor tenant in a strip mall that features a nail salon, Subway, and a few other non-descript businesses (I would describe them were they not so resolutely non-descript).  I was sincerely impressed with the interior decorating job, which managed to make a grocery store feel almost homey.  Sure, the seating capacity is enough to house probably 10 times the number of people ever likely to enter Carolina BBQ at one time, but it is a creative and attractive reuse of a difficult to fill space.  The large historical BBQ photos printed on the far right wall are particularly interesting.

All You Care to Eat (and Then Some)
Carolina BBQ features “buffet style” dining.  This means it is a buffet.  I am not sure where the style comes in. Continue reading

B’s on TV

WRAL TV recently profiled the famous B’s Barbecue in Greenville, NC.  The two minute video gives a good peek into the atmosphere of B’s, even if the reporter naively refers to the pit as an “oven.”  I still think that the Skylight Inn in Ayden, just outside of Greenville, is a couple of notches better than B’s, but no denying B’s is among the state’s best, and best known, barbecue joints.

Greatest Hits: BBQ&A with Bob Kantor of Memphis Minnie’s

It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy lazy.  As I take a little time to unwind, I’ll be sprinkling some reruns into my weekly posting schedule.  Today’s rerun is one of my favorite interviews, with Bob Kantor of Memphis Minnie’s barbecue restaurant in San Francisco.  Well worth the read if you missed it the first time around: https://bbqjew.com/2010/02/17/bbqampa-bob-kantor/

Charlotte’s World Wide Web of Barbecue

There is nothing unusual about an accomplished woodworker and set designer being involved in building the set for a theatrical production of Charlotte’s Web.  But when the person in question has a day job at Lexington Barbecue #1, I get right curious right quick.

According to an article in the Lexington Dispatch, Keith “Bub” Wright  spends his working hours behind the counter at one of the most famous barbecue restaurants in the state,  but has many hobbies from baking to furniture making.  Wright, who is married to the daughter of the legendary Wayne Monk, owner of Lexington #1, designed the set for the Lexington Charity League’s spring production of E.B. White’s children’s classic.  Yes, that would be that Charlotte’s Web, the story about a friendly spider, a little girl and a lovable pig named Wilbur–no relation to Wilber Shirley. (Spider pig, spider pig, does whatever a spider pig does.)

In E.B. White’s story, of course, Wilbur the pig is saved from slaughter.  Thus, I am concerned by a long-time barbecue man being given free reign to design a set for a play featuring said pig. Oh, the irony.  No word in the Dispatch article as to whether the set included a built-in barbeuce pit or bottles of Lexington-style dip, but this photo from the Interweb of a pig named Wilbur may answer that question.

How to Make Carolina Barbecue

This video, despite the cheesy Muzak and accompanying voiceover, is actually a fairly good introduction to how to make barbecue on a backyard cooker.  Check it out here or below.  And if you want to turn it into a drinking game, take a swig every time the video shows something that should make North Carolina BBQ aficionados cringe (drink twice when you see the BBQ plated next to steamed brocolli!).


How To Make Carolina Barbecue by Howcast

BBQ&A: Porky LeSwine on WPTF-680 AM

As a barbejournalist, usually I am the one who gets to ask the tough-as-overdone-brisket questions, but tonight the tables will be turned.  I will be appearing live on the radio with host Tom Kearney of WPTF-680 from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m.  Tom jokingly describes his show as “like the poor man’s Charlie Rose,” which is fitting because I am definitely a poor man’s version of a celebrity.

The thought of talking live on the radio for an hour is enough to make me want to hide under a large BBQ tray until the sun rises tomorrow.  Tune in to see whether I remain conscious… and to see whether this is actually all some elaborate set up to have me assassinated, as Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is one of WPTF’s sponsors.