This is Progress?

Big news from downtown Raleigh where the venerable Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue will soon disappear from the building it has occupied since 1938.  Cooper’s is not going out of business but will soon move to make way for new development.

Losing a historic spot like Cooper’s is the downside of the continued real estate boom that has brought hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment to downtown Raleigh in recent years.  The modest building that long-housed Cooper’s, even as the shadows of nearby buildings grew longer and longer, seemed invincible for awhile–every time a development proposal bubbled to the surface, it popped and Cooper’s was spared.  But this time looks like it will be different. The Holts, who own Coopers, were forced to choose between moving or trying to survive what would have been an estimated 15 months in dormancy while development went on around them.  So they are moving.

Thanks to reader Dave “Pork Skins” Schiller for sending me the article from the Raleigh Public Record that describes the situation Cooper’s faces.  As Dave said to me, it’s hard to imagine Cooper’s anywhere but 109 East Davie Street.  Where will they land next?  Probably not too far from their current location, according to the Triangle Business Journal.  Good luck to the Holts as they try to move forward while preserving the restaurant’s distinct history.

Advertisements

Barbecue Sauce Contest

Taking a page from the Democratic National Committee’s barbecue sauce contest (which I was invited to help judge but unfortunately could not participate), the Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer are seeking the best amateur sauce recipe in the state.

The Great N.C. Barbecue Sauce Contest offers a cash prize ($100) and “bragging rights” (pricelessworthless) to the winner.  The contest is open to residents of North or South Carolina who are at least 18 years old. Makers of commercially sold sauces are not eligible.  Enter by 5 p.m. on April 27th at charlotteobserver.com/food or nando.com/saucecontest

Piedmont Barbecue Happenings

A few Piedmont-area NC BBQ articles of note:

1) Speedy Lohr’s boldly mixes meat and dairy.

2) New heavy metal barbecue restaurant coming soon in Gastonia.

3) Yankee transplant unleashes Porkasauras, and new BBQ joint, on Belmont.

Bull City BBQ Classic

I am very late in promoting this event–alas, “real life” has gotten in the way lately–but I wanted to let y’all know about the first ever Bull City BBQ Classic.  The pork shoulder and pork rib cooking competition takes place this weekend in… you guessed it, Durham (aka the Bull City).  The event is affiliated with Refiner’s Fire Community Church, which is a damn near perfect affiliation for a barbecue contest.  (Other good BBQ church names might include Holy Hickory Episcopal, Outside Brown Baptist, the Church of the Latter Day Whole Hogs, or Barbecue Presbyterian Church.)

The event takes place at Refiner’s Fire Community Church’s parking lot at 1003 E. Main Street on Saturday.  Cooks will compete for pork rib and pork shoulder prizes, as judged by a three-celebrity panel: Michael Reese with 103.9 Radio Station, Anthony Wilson with ABC 11 and Dan Hill with Hill Chesson Insurance Company.  You’ll notice that your’s truly is conspicuously absent from this panel, but maybe next year I’ll get called on.

Judging begins at 11 a.m. and awards will be handed out by 2 p.m.; what happens in those three hours is anyone’s guess.  For more information, including seeing if you can enter the competition last-minute, contact Renee Brown at brownrr9 @ gmail.com

Porky’s Pulpit: Barbecued Newt

Newt Gingrich has about as much chance of winning the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination as I have of being named spokesperson for the Kosher Cheese of the Month Club.  Nevertheless, America’s Most Self-Aggrandizing Amphibian is headed to North Carolina to campaign.  Hide your barbecue plates, Tar Heels, unless you want to wash your pork down with a tall glass of unsweetened Newt.

In a wide-ranging interview with WRAL news, Newt proclaimed: “I like barbeque well enough I’m prepared to eat the right barbeque in the east and the right barbeque in the Piedmont. As a Georgian, I think I can lay some claim to barbeque, and so I’m happy to come and eat both kinds.”  A solid answer from the Newtser, assuming the ‘q’ spelling of barbecue is WRAL’s doing and not his.  However, Newt missed an opportunity to push for the environmental benefits of wood-cooked pit barbecue: a step toward homegrown energy independence and less controversial than natural gas given the fracking issue. (It occurs to me that “frack-free” barbecue might be the South’s answer to gluten-free cornbread.)

Certainly Newt’s BBQ credentials are better than his yankee-competitors, Rick “No Google Stock in My Portfolio” Santorum and Mitt “Don’t Call Me Mittens” Romney.  If Newt can avoid a Rick Perry-sized barbecue gaffe, he has a good chance to dominate the Republican primary’s barbecue voting bloc.

Riding the NC Barbecue Trail

Continue reading

Carolina Pork Experiment

The yankees are coming, the yankees are coming.  But this time they are here to spread joy and pork.  This weekend the Carolina Pork Experiment, a stop on the circuit of the Brooklyn Brewery-sponsored The Food Experiments, will be held in Durham.

The event is a chance for amateur cooks to show off your porcine cooking talents, and for spectators to have a good time and a cold draft minus the competitive pressure.  (Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver is well-known as a perhaps the leading advocate for pairing beers and food.  His book, The Brewmaster’s Table, is a classic for foodies and beer geeks alike.)  Read more about The Carolina Pork Experiment after the jump. Continue reading