An interesting article on the long talked about and now finally happening move of the venerable Clyde Cooper’s BBQ of downtown Raleigh: http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2013/07/31/clyde-coopers-barbecue-to-relocate.html?page=2
It is with considerable sadness that I report the recent closing of the venerable Blue Mist Bar-B-Q, which I would hazard a guess was one of North Carolina’s most visited and loved barbecue joints over the years. Blue Mist was established in 1948 and for as long as I can remember occupied a modest piece of real estate on the eastern edge of Asheboro, just off of Highway 64, which for many years was (along with Hwy 70) one of two key east-west highways in the state. Highway 64 stretches from the far western corner of the state to the Outer Banks, following a meandering path through much of the state’s tobacco, textile, furniture and BBQ belts. Blue Mist was my family’s go to spot on trips to the North Carolina Zoo, and it was on a trip to the zoo this past weekend that I discovered it had closed. At least for now, the small white pig statue still stands sentinel the front door, but he is looking a little more nervous than usual, perhaps wondering if he will soon join his Zoo-dwelling friends in a cage.
According to Asheboro’s Courier-Tribune, Blue Mist closed its doors for the last time on July 7th due to no more exotic reason than a decline in customers. (Read the article here.) Blue Mist was not among the best BBQ joints in the state but it was plenty good and had maintained its traditional wood-fired cooking methods, which put it in increasingly elite company over the years. If we are to believe that all good things must come to an end, then we can be happy that Blue Mist was good for as long as it was. Still, it will be missed.
I realized awhile back that I’ve been to a couple dozen places that I’ve not found the time or energy to review fully, so at long last I’ve started the task of updating The Joints page to include more mini-reviews (a couple sentences and a letter grade). Going forward I’ll keep adding these brief summaries on The Joints page, and eventually I’ll at least post some pictures of each of the places, in lieu of full reviews. As always, drop me a line or leave a comment if there is a place I’ve yet to visit that you believe I should.
Highway 70 West of the Wal-Mart, Goldsboro, NC
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C+
Porky Says: “Hold the sauce!”
Drive By Barbecue
I had high hopes for Adam’s Roadside Bar-B-Q, in part because of the phrase “hickory smoked” on the sign outside and in part because there is another barbecue joint on Highway 70 in Goldsboro by the name of Wilber’s. I figured Adam’s must be doing something right to compete in Wilber’s country. Unfortunately, my sense is that what Adam’s is doing to compete is not to serve superior barbecue. While Wilber’s focuses on the fundamentalist wood-fired, whole hog barbecue native to Eastern NC, Adam’s has gone whole hog into the new age of barbecue. Need some “Texas-style” brisket? Adam’s has it. Pork ribs? Sure. Chicken? Why not? Turkey? Yes! NC-style chopped pork BBQ? Oh yeah, that too.
As frequent visitors of this site know, when I review a barbecue joint I focus primarily on the Holy Trinity of North Carolina barbecue, namely chopped pork, slaw, and hush puppies/corn bread/corn sticks. The rest of the menu, with some exceptions, is just noise. Sometimes it’s delicious noise, sometimes it’s not, but it is not how I judge a North Carolina BBQ joint.
My experience at Adam’s was less than perfect from the start. The folks who work there were nice but communication between the kitchen and the front counter was poor. Below is what came out the 2nd time around after I tried to get my order of barbecue and brisket with sides of BBQ potatoes and slaw corrected. (They got the brisket right but struck out on the other three both times.)
Such things happen from time to time, and the owner resolved it to my satisfaction by apologizing and throwing in a free BBQ & slaw tray. I appreciated that, though I still am curious how those BBQ boiled potatoes taste…
Less pleasant was the outdoor dining area, where I tried not to be bothered by the swarms of flies that hovered around my plate; honestly the most flies I’ve ever witnessed except on the Discovery Channel. The flies combined with the distinct smell of sewage to send me running for my car after a few minutes. (For the record, it had been pouring down rain and I suspect a septic system at the restaurant or nearby was struggling … sh*t happens!)
Neither the flies nor the distinct odor were appealing, but it was the pool of sticky, sweet sauce that drenched the ribs Continue reading
It seems like North Carolina barbecue legends are dying almost every week, and I suppose this is the natural course of events given the age of many of NC barbecue’s founding fathers. As reported by the Associated Press and run in the San Francisco Chronicle (which shows just how far and wide barbecue culture has spread), Ralph Parker passed away last week. Mr. Parker had been the lone surviving founder of the venerable Parker’s Barbecue in Wilson.
Although Parker’s Barbecue committed the original sin of switching away from wood cooking in recent years, the restaurant spent many decades since its founding in 1946 as one of the state’s true old school barbecue purveyors. Plus, the old time atmosphere at Parker’s still makes it worth a visit even today. There is no doubt we will always remember Mr. Parker’s contribution to North Carolina barbecue history. May he rest in peace.
In the old days (you know, a little more than 5 years ago) one could reasonably fantasize about driving down country roads to discover BBQ gems that were known only to the locals. The modern day equivalent in this age of social media is to stumble onto a hidden gem on Twitter, Google, or some idiot’s (ahem) blog.
And sure enough, this idiot has stumbled into a possible gem. Honey Bee’s BBQ is a mobile operation based in Durham but selling throughout the Triad and Triangle and towing a nice, wood-fired rig. I’ve yet to taste Honey Bee’s barbecue but because they cook over wood, I can at least vouch that they do actually sell barbecue and not gassy roast pork. Follow them on Twitter, if you are so inclined, and leave a comment if you find them in “real reality” (opposite of virtual) before I do.
If the food is half as good as the name, Pork in the Road will earn many loyal customers in the years ahead. Now how in the world didn’t I think of this myself?!
The idea is simple and the name is inspired, as we learn from their website: “The concept behind Pork in the Road is fairly self-explanatory, and there’s no better place for a pork-inspired menu than the second highest pork-producing state in the nation. There will be a few pork substitutes for our kosher friends out there, but rest assured, bacon, and other wonderful parts of the pig, will find its way into most every recipe. Stay tuned for more updates!”
Good luck, Christian, and may the pork be with you!