In his heart of hearts, a BBQ Jew believes that Moses led his people through the desert precisely to enjoy chopped pork. And that the Promised Land is not flowing with milk and honey, but barbecue and hush puppies.

This site is the brain(step)child of two Jews who do “dig on swine,” thank you very much Jules Winnfield.

Porky LeSwine is a North Carolinian born and bred.  He grew up in the hinterlands of Unincorporated Orange County.  Porky’s parents hail from New York yet he disparagingly refers to all Northern transplants (and vegetarians) as Yankees.  He’s been eating BBQ for 20+ years with only minimal damage to his arteries, and is blessed to have a job that takes him to the heart of Eastern and Lexington-style territory.

The Rib Rabbi is a Northern transplant, but dislikes that phrase because it evokes bad hair surgery. He shuns the term Yankee, too, as a native Bostonian. North Carolina’s life-affirming barbecue, what The Rib Rabbi once called “pulled pork,” played no small part in luring him south to North Carolina. Five years later, you *might could* find this Rabbi “blessing” BBQ plates in and around Durham, N.C.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When you say BBQ, what do you mean?
A: Living in North Carolina and being strict constructionists, we believe that barbecue is a noun. More specifically, it means pork cooked slow and low over wood coals (but, alas, many of even the most famous barbecue joints have switched to gas or electric cooking).

Q: Just what is a BBQ Jew?
A: A person of Jewish descent who partakes of the pork barbecue.

Q: Who are these BBQ Jews?
A: Two 30-somethings who believe juicy pork barbecue and Judaism can coexist. That’s what the Day of Atonement is for, right?

Q: Why should we trust your barbecue reviews?
A: Blind faith.

Q: Is barbecue kosher?
A: Next question. (Don’t Ask. Don’t tell.)

Q: No seriously, what’s the deal?
A: Neither of us keep kosher. But…we believe that if the fellas who wrote the dietary restrictions lived in North Carolina, they’d not only allow Jews to eat swine, but command it!

Q: So you guys prefer to spell it with a ‘c’ rather than a ‘q’?
A: As long as you’re paying, we’re flexible.

Q: Do you prefer Eastern or Lexington style?
A: Nice try.

Q: Do you think bbqjew.com is a blog or a website?
A:  We think bbqjew.com combines the self-importance of having our own website with the self-absorption of having our own blog (or maybe it’s the other way around).
Press Clippings
Needless to say, it’s much more fun to write when you know someone is reading.  Thus, we are thankful that bbqjew.com has received attention from several fine media and meatia sources.  Check out the articles here:

Road Food Digest

Tablet Magazine

Durham Herald-Sun

Lexington Dispatch

Raleigh News & Observer Mouthful Blog

Winston-Salem Journal

The Independent Weekly

50 Best BBQ Blogs – Guide to Culinary Schools

Eat at Joe’s

NC Barbecue Musings

New Jersey Jewish News (for a less than positive but interesting perspective on our humble site, and likely the only time we’ll ever be mentioned alongside Jon Stewart)

32 Responses

  1. Shalom and L’Chaim! What would be the blessing over the pork?

  2. Hmm, a good question. I may have to seek some Rabbinical advice to answer that one.

  3. As the resident rabbi here, allow me to call on my pretend rabbinical training. I believe the blessing over pork would go something like this: Forgive me Father, for I am about to sin…

    Just kidding, it’s totally this: Baruch attah Adonai eloheinu melech ha-olam,
    ha-motzi traif min ha-aretz.

    The key here is substituting “traif” (i.e. unkosher) for “lechem” (bread). Then again, as the great Rabbi Hillel advised, you could conveniently ignore the swine element and say the traditional blessing over the bread while holding a hushpuppy. The choice is yours.

  4. Good to know the next I’m out with Jewish friends and we decide to hit up our favorite Q-topolis. Just to note, I too am in the Durham/CH area. I’ve only had Allen and Son’s via catering (i.e. we bring the cooker and pig to you) but it was good nonetheless. I miss an actual pickin’ though.

  5. I just found this site and am in love with it at first glance. I grew up in that great “jewdom” known as the 5 towns on Long Island. BBQ was something unknown back then…have since re-located to the Albany, NY area where thank god…ha’shem..we have a couple of decent places (even my NC born non-jewish husband agrees). I have even given a go at making pulled pork myself…on my weber charcoal…and smoked/grilled many a rack of ribs…yes…those ancestors that were rabbis or kosher would shudder…but that’s because they never knew what they were missing.

  6. oh…and to the blessing that Rib Rabbi just intoned…all I can say is Amen. L’Chaim

  7. My cousin is in Albany, land of the Egg performance center, you’ll have to tell me what the bbq places are so I know where to eat when I’m up for his wedding.

  8. Heard the joint on Hwy 55 in Durham is suppose to be good (used to be AW or A&W’s).

  9. The Backyard BBQ Pit? It’s pretty darn good. Nothing amazing, but it’s solid. And I’ve seen the wood out back. We’ll get you a full review soon…

  10. That is the one. Thankfully a Q-Shack opened a new location so the poor folks in downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro can get a decent fix without going too far.

  11. Just found your blog and I love to find someone who’s moved to NC and fallen in love with our BBQ. I have to recommend Cape Fear BBQ in Fayetteville, I knew it before Obama stopped there but I was totally impressed that he hit the best local BBQ in F-ville. I used to eat there once a week when I worked downtown. If you get there early enough in the morning Biscuit Kitchen is down the street, on a non-BBQ note. But you can’t go wrong with either place to eat.
    I look forward to more posts!

  12. An inquiry. I live in Los Angeles, am passionate about North Carolina bbq (from the brief time I lived there), and would like to have the name of the best spot that mail orders (knowing that shipping invariably affects quality). I want to cheer up a good friend–a North Carolinian—who’s been ill. Recommendations?

    Many thanks.

  13. I know King’s BBQ in Kinston mail orders. Back in the day they had sent some to David Letterman. I wouldn’t call it the best in East NC though, but it isn’t bad.

  14. Kit, sorry your friend is ill, good idea for cheering him/her up!

    Burgeoningfoodie beat me to the punch. King’s has the best mail order reputation I am aware of, so they might be the safest bet for getting ‘cue all the way to the left coast. See their mail order menu at http://www.kingsbbq.com/orderNow.html

    I have heard stories of other restaurants doing special requests like this, but you’d just have to call your favorite place and ask (and make sure they pack the stuff in a cooler with plenty of dry ice or whatever). Let us know what you get!

  15. http://www.smokeysshack.com/ – I don’t see a review for Smokey’s…it is technically outside of RTP, but close enough. Not as “down home” as the much beloved Davis BBQ, now closed.

  16. Nice blog, funny and informative stuff. Going to be covering ribfest this weekend for my blog so I saw whats up if you dont chock on a bone while judging

  17. Again… love your site!!

  18. […] leswine, whole hog | Leave a Comment  This weekend we’re featuring a guest author, Porky LeSwine.  Mr. LeSwine is my favorite barbecue critic.  You can sample his fine reviews and barbecue […]

  19. I’m a native North Carolinian, who grew up on Stamey’s, now transplanted to Denver. I make the best kosher Carolina-style barbecue west of…well, anywhere. I smoke and sauce beef in true Carolina style, and while not as soft and fabulously textured as pork, it’ll have to do for me and all my kosher-keeping friends. When I put it on a soft white bun, top it with some fine Carolina coleslaw, and serve it with some oniony-sweet hushpuppies (yep, we go whole hog!) I almost think I’m home.

  20. Porky, and the Rib Rabbi. I think this will soon turn into my new favorite site. Blogging about it right now!

  21. Thanks for the love!

  22. Hi, for Search engine optimisation solid contents are genuinely necessary, if you simply make a copy and paste then you can not ranked in search engines.

  23. We just moved to Hendersonville NC from Albany NY, and until I came upon this site I thought I was the only BBQ crazy Jew in North Carolina. Oy, I’m not unique! Now all we have to do is adjust with our South Carolina Q mentality to North Carolina Q. Is this possible? Can we give up the mustard?

  24. No disrespect but as a Christian I am not allowed to eat pork or any unclean meat as in Jewish Law I also try to keep Jewish Laws, for All True Christians are Christ Following Jews. For All Christians came from The Jewish Faith and Proclaim Christ as The Messiah. Jesus said 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. I can not drink strong drink nor smoke or anything that might harm my body. I’m just thinking how can a follower of The Creator eat unclean food?

  25. P.S I’m opening a Kosher BBQ Restaurant in Round Rock Texas.

  26. is this site still active?

  27. Great site!

  28. What the hell kind of website is this? You guys have no idea of what it means to be a Jew and go on with your stupid jokes which just further prove that you have no idea what youre talking about. Why dont you go and do some (some and not too much) research into what a Jew is and maybe you’ll have some type of understanding in your life. Theres good things in life, but if you believe that there is a Higher Power than yourself who created the world and down to your puny brain which is so punkish and immature, maybe you could give your Judaism a spark and find out what life is really about. You can thank me later when you look back at this post in 2 years and say “my life was pathetic and revolved around food and pork until some random guy happened upon my website and gave a little light in a dark room”

    or you could just ignore this message and continue living a life of nothingness and no meaning…

    good luck. (p.s. you can visit http://www.aish.com to learn more- that is, if you arent scared of the truth, if you can handle the truth…)

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