Ooh…That Smell!

image by obswhatsinstore.blogspot.com

While Triangle residents have battled against digital billboards, the Charlotte-area now has a slighly more interactive kind of roadside sign: A scented one. 

Drivers in Mooresville, near Charlotte, are currently getting a whiff of hickory and steak, thanks to a Bloom supermarket billboard promoting a new kind of beef. With fans wafting its aromas 30 to 50 yards down to the roadside, sign maker ScentAir Technologies just might be onto something.

The news has even gone national and international. Of course, they have the wrong kind of meat.  

We here at BBQ Jew can’t help wondering what it would look like if this technology were applied to the sacred swine. For instance, as cars approached the hypothetical NC Barbecue Museum, a scented sign could signal your arrival.  

Then again, we’re prone to think that real wood-smoked barbecue needs no aromatic assistance. But, I’d enjoy having a ‘cue scent piped into my home (you can keep the billboard). And I’d even settle for barbecue poutpourri.

And yes, this post’s title is our first, but hopefully not last, Skynyrd reference.

Solving a Problem

I’ve been pondering ethical eating a bit, as rabbis are wont to do. Translation: I’ve been reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

In an otherwise innocuous section on the loss of local food culture and food miles, Kingsolver shoots off this salvo:

Certainly, we still have regional specialties, but the Carolina barbecue will almost certainly have California tomatoes in its sauce (maybe also Nebraska fattened feedlot hogs).

With a stroke of the keyboard, Kingsolver attempts to end North Carolina’s whole East vs. West feud. Of course, by mentioning  tomatoes in the sauce–anathema to those closer to sea than mountain–she’s calling western ‘cue the real deal. She’s also alienating all of Eastern Carolina (let’s assume she’s not talking about South Carolina, because we’re provincial like that).

We tend to go heavier on the animal than the vegetable (image by Lloyd Crew)

Of course, more likely, Kingsolver just isn’t up-to-speed on the specifics. And she’s only a state away, in rural Virginia. But it’s much more fun to pretend otherwise.

And as for her parenthetical add-on, what a kick in the Smithfield! They may be feedlot hogs, but they’re our feedlot hogs! (Sigh)

Finally, if we ever write a book, we may have pilfer accordingly: Animal,Vinegar, Miracle.

(Don’t) Pass Over That Pork

Happy Passover, y’all. 

Because I follow the dietary rules of Passover, every year I struggle to answer the ‘what’s for dinner?’question. It recently dawned on me that a barbecue plate is the near perfect answer. 

I say ‘near’ for two reasons. First, the hush puppies are problematic. But these can usually be swapped for something else–perhaps collards, to serve as the greens to symbolize the coming spring (yes, the karpas!). It’s important that the hush puppies not end up on your plate, as studies have found that it humanly impossible to resist their siren song.* 

Might the symbolic shank bone come from a pig?

Second, pork isn’t exactly kosher. 

Of course, I am writing this on a site called BBQ Jew. And it would be logical to deduce that I don’t keep kosher. In that light, why not contemplate a plate of barbecue as the ideal Passover meal? 

If you’re not kosher are you supposed to pretend you are for the 8 days of Passover? Is a Passover barbecue plate just not cool?  

Please do tell us your thoughts on the topic. I reckon we won’t find any rabbinical ruminations on the subject, so we need all the lay musings we can get.  

While I’ll avoid bread and most wheat-based products (I have made a deal with the devil on Grape Nuts), I know I’ll eat pork a few times during the week. It’s just a question of how guilty I should feel.

Finally, for you gentiles out there–be sure you really savor that next barbecue sandwich. I’ll be right there with you next week.


*This is blatantly made up. But it’s probably pretty close to being true!

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!