Pesach Special: A Matzoh ‘Cue Sandwich from New England

A buddy of mine, let’s call him The Jewish Gentile, sent me an email a couple of days ago that was too good not to share on this website.  TJG wrote, “I’m keeping Passover this year, but I really wanted a pulled pork sandwich. So I went to Blue Ribbon BBQ in Arlington, MA and got the North Carolina Pulled Pork Platter. Then I made myself this sandwich (see attached photo). And it was delicious.” 

Far be it from me, a much less observant Jew than TJG despite my bloodlines, to question whether he was abiding by the letter but not the spirit of Passover laws when he indulged in this multi-cultural treat (I’ll leave that discussion to him and his wife).  And let’s leave aside that the barbecue in between the matzoh was purchased in Massachusetts (I’ll leave that discussion to him and G-d).  The important thing is that TJG was inspired by the divine, acted on that inspiration, and documented his work the old fashioned way–with the digital photograph shown below.

A Passover delight.

A Passover delight.

“BBQ” Chicken

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night
No, really, it was.  It was a cold, rainy night in mid-March when I found myself in a predicament.  I was craving ‘cue, my wife was 900 miles away, my daughter was asleep for the night in her crib, and I had some near-expired boneless, skinless chicken breast in the fridge.  What was a BBQ Jew to do? 

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures
I opened the fridge and took out the chicken.  Next, I opened the pantry where by fate (or mispent divine intervention?) I spotted a half-empty bottle of Eastern-style BBQ sauce.   Problem solved.  And then one more pantry discovery: canned collards waiting patiently but hopelessly to be eaten by my vegetable-averse daughter.  A pseudo-BBQ plate was emerging (alas, sans hush puppies).  I doused the chicken in the BBQ sauce and baked it in the oven; no need to wood cook faux ‘cue, after all.  Once cooked, I chopped the sad-looking bird meat up to resemble barbecue as best it could and drenched it with more sauce.  There was no turning back now.

Moral of the Story
There may be a reason chopped chicken breast with barbecue sauce is not a staple of menus across North Carolina.  Most likely because it has no flavor.  (Interestingly, turkey barbecue is served at some NC restaurants, or so I’ve been told.)  Oh well, at least the chickens of North Carolina can sleep a little easier knowing they are no replacement for hog…

The End.

Tastes as good as it looks, but that's not saying much

Tastes as good as it looks, but that's not saying much

Porky’s Pulpit: If You Don’t Like Barbecue, Then Faux ‘Cue

We have addressed the topic of yuppicue on this site before, and today’s post draws attention to a related and equally dangerous form of swine crime. I call this particular bastardization of barbecue “faux ‘cue.” Faux ‘cue includes just about any carelessly loose interpretation of NC style barbecue, but of particular concern are menu items offered at non-BBQ chain restaurants. Imagine the damage done to NC’s culinary reputation when an out of state visitor thinks he is sampling some of our prized local cuisine when he orders this abomination: the Pulled Pork Panini

Imagine a world where this becomes our local 'cue. [photo from Panini Happy website]

Imagine a world where this is our "local" delicacy. Note: this is not the Cafe Carolina panini, just a similarly scary sandwich at paninihappy.com.

I first came across Cafe Carolina’s Pulled Pork Panini–at a safe distance, rest assured–when going to one of the chain’s locations near my house for buy one get one free sandwiches. (Cafe Carolina is only worth a visit with such a coupon in hand.) I reviewed the menu board and, as would be the case for any attentive BBQ Jew, the word “pork” grabbed my attention. I read further and saw the full name of the sandwich, priced at nearly $8, which was described as “carolina style pulled pork with bbq sauce and coleslaw.” Now it’s bad enough for a place like Cafe Carolina to offer a barbecue sandwich, but its adding insult to injury to serve it as a panini. Barbecue has no more business as an ingredient for a panini than a hush puppy has being drizzled with a red wine reduction sauce. Continue reading