Hunting for ‘Cue in Chile

We BBQ Jews are not ones for idleness.  While Porky was on his Canadian billboard photo safari, I headed to Chile to research meat consumption. As with my Turkey letdown, there’s bad culinary news for visitors to the South American nation: they’re not particularly fond of chili.

But, Chileans do love their lamb. In fact, they prefer it to pork, which may explain why it’s such a skinny country (Hey now!)

While in Chile, I was lucky enough to get invited to a catered barbecue cookout attached to a farm tour. Since I was traveling with a group of chefs, the organizers stepped up their culinary game.

And so…this was what we saw upon arrival:

Damn! (in a good way)

Now…after the initial twinge of regret that these weren’t hogs cooking “a la parilla,” I took a step back and thanked my lucky carnivorous star. Yet, when I ventured over to the open fire to gawk at the lamb, I saw something that really made me think of you ‘cue hounds:


I had to laugh at the juxtaposition (and I swear I didn’t move the bottle to set up the above photo). On the one hand, they were cooking lamb (for about 6 hours) in that arduous, time-consuming, legit way familiar to anyone who’s made or maybe even eaten NC ‘cue. And then they were grilling pork ribs smothered in the corniest, corn syrup-iest of sauces.

Upon seeing that bottle, I made up my mind to forego the ribs altogether. But who was I kidding. I mean…have you seen my nom de blog?

P.S. — Give $ to Chile! Help earthquake victims get back to eating lamb like this.

Roast Hashanah

We’re at the beginning of the High Holidays–no, not the Lexington Barbecue Festival–the holiest days in the Jewish year. Saturday is Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the new year in the Jewish calendar.

Litterally translated, Rosh Hashanah means ‘Head of the Year.’ Yet few know that the Hebrew word ‘Rosh’ actually derives from the English ‘Roast.’ Hence Roast Hashanah, or Roast of the Year.

In my make believe world, that equates to a divine order to eat barbecue on this day. But not just any barbecue will do. It has to be the roast of the year!

Apples dipped in honey or barbecue? What does your conscience tell you?

Apples dipped in honey vs. barbecue? What does your conscience tell you?

So sound the shofar, hop in the car and head to your finest local pork purveyor (As if you needed another excuse to eat barbecue). We’ll see you there.

I can think of a few better ways to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (apples with honey or a kugel, perhaps). But I can think of no better way to observe Roast Hashanah than tucking into a nice barbecue plate.

Now That’s a Hog

When I say barbecue bike, this event might come to mind. You might even think of something tame, like this. But what you should be thinking about is this motorcycle that doubles as a smoker,

The bike is the creation of Andrew Fischel, one of the owners of posh Manhattan ‘cue slingers RUB BBQ, or Righteous Urban Barbeque. Now I’m no rabbi As a completely unordained rabbi, I’d wager a few pork skins that he’s a BBQ Jew.

Insert your own joke here

Insert your own joke here

According to the article, Fischel had the bike created for the opening of RUB’s Vegas restaurant in 2007. But BBQ Jew was just a t-shirt in-the-waiting back then. So I’m writing about it now. That and because it’s totally bitchin.

Apparently, the RUB guys don’t cook and ride, because, well, they don’t ride. The vehicle isn’t street legal.

Well, I can guarantee that Fischel wouldn’t get a ticket in the great state of North Carolina. Were he ever to get pulled over, his main problem would be a tired pen hand from signing too many autographs. That and finding polite ways to turn down invites to appear at every police function and cop bar from Asheville to the Outer Banks.

Monday Inspiration

I don’t know anyone in this photo, nor do I really know what’s happening, other than the obvious. What I do know is that ribs + grill + yarmulke = BBQ Jew.

And now for the blessing over the ribs... (photo by slushpup via creative commons)

And now for the blessing over the ribs... (photo by slushpup via creative commons)

Plus, that’s one sweet yarmulke!

South of the Border

While many of you barbecue purists don’t consider ‘cue from south of the border or news from north of it, this New York Times piece on S.C. ‘cue combines the two. More specifically, it’s about Scott’s Variety Store and Bar-B-Q in Hemingway, S.C.

Now I know what some of you are thinking: Oy! But before you click away, know that John T. Edge, author of the fabulous Southern Belly and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, wrote the article. In my book, that alone makes it worth reading.  

Might decent cue follow this sign?  (photo by Diamondduste)

Might decent 'cue follow this sign? (photo by Diamondduste)

The piece and the awesome, accompanying audio slide show really capture the atmosphere and color of slow-cooking swine. While there’s no mention of that palmetto state sacrilege–mustard in the dip–there is some MSG, unfortunately. But did you see that wood pile?!

My favorite passage from the article: 

Locals knew that if they dawdled until the serving table ran low, Jackie Gordon, Rodney Scott’s aunt, would break down another pig on the bone table. They knew that, with a little luck, they might score a rack of spareribs, wrenched hot from a carcass.

True to my name, I’d dawdle as long as it took to get some piping hot ribs.

Anyway, have a great weekend. And if you’re driving down to Hemingway, holler.

Rabbi’s Rant: Barbecuing?!

With the watermelon and ketchup/mustard/relish displays popping up in the supermarket, it must be summer. And that means time to barbecue some meat, right? Nope.

Because as many of you know, barbecue is a noun. Let us proclaim it from atop Mount Sinai.  

Wrong for so many reasons

Wrong for so many reasons. Photo by Curtis Gregory Perry

If you’re looking for a verb to communicate cooking burgers and dogs, etc., we suggest ‘grilling.’  Or even ‘cooking out’ or having a cook out.

As I reformed barbecuer, I can see both sides of this divide. And what I see is the folly of using barbecue as a verb.

If you insist on saying you’re having a barbecue, we’ll look the other way on this incorrect usage. But please, oh please, just don’t say you’re barbecuing anything. 

As for the sign to the right, there’s so many things wrong here. Obviously, there’s the verb thing. But equally important–what kind of park doesn’t allow cook outs? Why do parks exist if not to serve as venues for cooking and consuming meat? Finally, wouldn’t it read better if ‘allowed’ came before ‘in park?’

On a mostly-unrelated tangent, I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. But the photo below rocked me to the core. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do some serious soul-searching.


Now *that* is not kosher. Photo by Rahel Sharon

Rabbi’s Raves: Barbecue Rhymes

Check out this classic sign from Austin, Texas:

photo by cheryl via creative commons

photo by cheryl via creative commons

Seeing this sign scared the hush puppies out of me. What if I couldn’t eat barbecue one day due to dental issues? I know, I know–it’s too dark a fate to even contemplate. Nevertheless, my next thought was: who’s the closest dentist to Allen & Son?

Mostly, though, this sign warms my heart. As you might suspect, we BBQ Jews enjoy a good rhyme. I grew up patronizing the Yankee Smokehouse, whose owners vowed to “serve no swine before it’s time” (with that apostrophe making a real difference there.)

In our fine state, I can’t think of any barbecue joints pursuing anything approaching porcine poetry. Sure, there’s a few Brew and ‘Cue places. But nothing great out there, even with ‘pork’ lending itself to a rhyme or four. Surely someone has rhymed that with ‘fork,’ and hopefully even ‘spork.’

Yet, after doing a little Web searching, all I could find was this all-too-slick place in California–with its smoked asparagus–“where the fork meets the pork.” But even that’s a touch boring.

So I’m throwing it out there: Can you think of anyone in N.C. Barbecuedom who employs a clever rhyme?

Rabbi’s Rant: Danny’s

Dannys...Interesting Logo

Danny's...interesting logo

There’s plenty to say about this sign from Danny’s Bar-B-Que, but not much to like. Hence, some good natured ribbing:

First off, claiming to have the “Best BBQ in Cary” might just be the most backhanded compliment in the history of mankind. For those not in the know or the state, Cary is our much-maligned center of yuppydom. To be fair, it looks like they have three locations, so they aren’t just in Cary. (It’s OK, we still love you, Cary).

Plus, it’s a little odd that this pig, who we’ll call Danny, is squirting himself with sauce. He’s basically basting himself. What kind of death wish does Danny have? Although I do appreciate that it’s that oh-so-Carolina of squirt bottles.

Also, yeah right–like a pig could hold a squirt bottle. Hello?? We see that he has hooves on three legs, but then–oh, how convenient–Danny has one magical thumb hoof.

Now I’m all for anthropomorphic pigs, but Danny looks almost human. Is there any kind of mythical centaur-like creature that’s a pig with one human thumb?And why do we have to see this mythical pig/man thing’s butt?

Because nothing makes me hungry like the sight of a pigman’s butt. Pass the sauce, you crazy, mythical thumbhoof pigman.

— —

Note: I have not eaten at Danny’s and, hence, can’t comment on their barbecue. I just wish they’d get a new sign.

Rabbi’s Rave: Pig Ear Dog Treat

Sign found in Raleighs Clyde Coopers Barbeque

Sign found in Raleigh's Clyde Cooper's Barbeque

I love this photo for the following reasons:

1. Mike Tyson ear biting jokes are always appreciated, mostly because it’s the strangest event I’ve ever watched live on TV (although the O.J. Bronco chase is a close second).

2. I didn’t know pig ears were such a source of pride, but knowing that they are makes me “Proud to be an American.”

3. Hmm…I think my dog would find a pig’s ear to be a treat. Unfortunately, she keeps kosher.

4. Glad to see that nothing goes to waste in BBQ Land. Plus, $1 ain’t much gelt these days.

5. This makes me more confident that the chopped barbecue I usually eat doesn’t contain pig ears.

6. Pig Ear Dog Treat = Dog Ear Pig Treat???