Tom and Jerry in “Barbecue Brawl”

Okay, admittedly there is a pretty tenuous connection between this vintage Tom & Jerry cartoon and North Carolina barbecue.  And though the short is called “Barbecue Brawl,” “Cook Out Brawl” would be more appropriate.  There is no pig and certainly no slow cooking taking place.  Still, what’s not to love about Tom & Jerry?  Plus, it’s a relief to see Tom & Jerry cooking with charcoal instead of using a gas grill…

Capitol Q

Damn you, Joe York. The Leni Reifenstahl of the Southern Foodways Alliance has an entire catalog of short films that do nothing but make you hungry.

OK, fine, they also make you appreciate the cuisine, cooks and culture of the South. York recently turned his lens to barbecue. The result, Capitol Q, profiles our beloved Skylig Inn. Folks, this is 16 minutes of riveting swine celluloid:

The film does a nice job documenting the multi-generational excellence of the Jones family. Having enjoyed the Jones’s ‘cue, I can attest to the fullness of their brilliance and the flatness of their corn bread.

York captured a few great lines from the co-owners. On how they go through two cutting boads per year and whether any of that makes it into the ‘cue, co-owner Bruce Jones unleashed this one: “Our wood tastes better than most people’s barbecue.”

Co-owner Jeff Jones described the menu’s simplicity:

“We don’t have, like, a long menu of different things. all we do here is barbecue cornbread and slaw. When you walk in the door, all we need to know is, like, how much you need.

On the topic of amounts, the menu lists a 6-pound to-go bucket of barbecue as one of the options. Sign me up.

The film even featured our pals John Shelton Reed and Dale Reed lending their wisdom on North Carolina ‘cue. Although it’s too bad that Dale doesn’t get a word in and that John has a South Carolina flag on his jacket. (…kidding)

The only objection I had with the film was its end, when Bruce Jones compared the Skylight Inn to the King James Bible. Hey, guys, let’s not mix barbecue and religion. I mean, come on!

Documuttonary Film School

As you, dear readers, are well aware this website has a narrow-minded myopic laser-like focus on North Carolina’s pork barbecue culture.  Still, we cannot refrain from putting a plug in for a documentary film on another of America’s underappreciated forms of barbecue–Kentucky mutton.  Mutton is one of just a handful of distinct barbecue styles in the U.S., and without a doubt it is the most obscure of the styles.  A new (to us) documentary helps bring mutton the attention it deserves. (Disclaimer: I have not actually eaten mutton, so perhaps the film is bringing mutton attention it does not deserve.) 


Um, no...

According to its websiteMutton: The Movie “takes you on a magical journey to the northwestern corner of Kentucky (Owensboro to be exact) where the descendants of the Welsh who settled the banks of the Ohio River don’t count sheep, they barbecue them.”  Well put.   Mutton is an informative, entertaining documentary and clocks in under 20 minutes long, so you really have no excuse to not watch it.  Of course, we respectfully disagree with Owensboro, Kentucky’s claim to the title of “Bar-B-Q Capital of the World.”  Heck, the people of Owensboro can’t even spell barbecue right!  Still, in the interest of fostering good will among the barbecue-loving people of the world, we present this in-depth analysis of the common ground between mutton and NC pork barbecue:

  • Both mutton and NC barbecue are traditionally cooked over Hickory wood.
  • Both are sources of local pride and the products of hard work, sweat and tears beers.
  • Mutton is often cooked by Catholic churches as a fundraiser, while NC barbecue is a common part of fire department fundraisers.  Catholics and firefighters fear hellfire and fire, respectively, yet have no qualms about Continue reading