A Dead End on the Barbecue Trail

On Friday I dragged my wife and kids to Mocksville, on the way to a mountain vacation weekend, in order to dine at Deano’s Barbecue.  You see, Deano’s had been one of the few remaining stops on the NC Barbecue Society’s Historic Barbecue Trail that I’d yet to visit.  The Trail features barbecue joints that, among other criteria, “cook their meat product on pits fueled by wood or charcoal, make their own sauce, [and have a pit that has]… operated continuously for fifteen or more years.”

Until recently Deano’s met the Trail’s criteria for inclusion, and without a doubt earned its place on the map.  But a short visit behind the scenes revealed an unexpected change: I discovered–and confirmed with the owner himself–that Deano’s recently switched to a gas-fired Southern Pride cooker.  The traditional brick-lined, wood-burning pits were for decoration only.  Deano’s change to gas is, first of all, grounds for immediate removal from the trail (I emailed the NC Barbecue Society already, since I figured a 9-1-1 call would be extreme).  I did have some sympathy for the owner when he told me that some health problems had made maintaining the wood pits difficult.  But a gasser is a gasser whether one is sympathetic or not.  And thus another venerable North Carolina barbecue institution has turned its back on tradition and chosen convenience and cost over tradition and quality.  I hate to say it, but Texas is starting to look more appealing every day…

Advertisements