BBQ Jew’s View: Smokey’s BBQ Shack

 
10800 Chapel Hill Road, Morrisville, NC
919.469.1724
Website
Hours: Mon-Wed 11-2, Thu-Fri 11-7:30, Sat 11-7
BBQ Jew’s Grade: C
Porky Says: “Smokey’s is just okie dokie.”

Authentically Inauthentic (or Vice Versa)
Smokey’s feels like what people who didn’t grow up in barbecue country expect a barbecue joint to feel like.  From the joking “Entrance Only – Do Not Enter” sign on the front door to the joint’s a bit too cutesy motto (“The BBQ Rocks and So Do Most of the Tables!”), it has a tongue-in-cheek hillbilly vibe that is both endearing and a little bit grating.  (Judging from the large lunchtime crowd, which was diverse but leaned toward white collar RTPers easily identified by their ID badges, most people find the hillbilly vibe more endearing than I do.)  Similarly, the joint looks like it has occupied the modest white cinder block building on a still-rural stretch of Highway 54 for many years.  Of course, it hasn’t, as The Deli Box occupied the spot just a few years ago.  Still, it’s impossible to deny that the look of the building and location are perfect for a barbecue joint–close enough to RTP to pack in the customers but rural enough to look the part of a 50-year old BBQ joint.

Careful What You Promise
On their website, Smokey’s says it is “the best North Carolina ‘Q’ in Raleigh.”  That is a dubious claim for a couple of Continue reading

A Shot Across the Bow: Dickey’s Moving Onto Sacred Land

The news out of Raleigh is not good, ladies and gentlemen.  Not since the days of British colonial rule has our state witnessed such a threat to our way of life.  According to the New Raleigh blog, mediocre Texas-based barbecue chain (my words, not their’s) Dickey’s Barbecue Pit will be opening up a store in the Progress Energy Building this fall. 

The Progress Energy Building just so happens to be directly across the street from a certain 70-plus year old local BBQ institution–Clyde Cooper’s.  Shouldn’t the North Carolina Utilities Commission, charged with overseeing companies like Progress Energy, regulate this affront on our state’s values?!  For all we know, Progress Energy is using power customers’ fees to subsidize Dickey’s rent in some sort of Halliburtonesque scheme.* 

Now, in my humble opinion, Clyde Cooper’s ranks squarely in the middle of the pack of NC barbecue joints, but I’m still willing to go to bat for them against the evil forces of mass produced corporate Texas ‘cue.  Let’s make a stand, draw a line in the sand/Davie Street asphalt, and send as many people to eat at Cooper’s during Dickey’s opening weeks as possible. And if you have a “Mess with Texas” t-shirt then this is as good a time as any to wear it.

*Note to Progress Energy’s legal staff: this allegation has no basis in the truth and is presumably patently false. However, the BBQ Jew Legal Department is fully prepared to defend my freedom of speech and dares you to find any court in NC that would take a stand against the state’s barbecue tradition in favor of Texas-sympathizers like yourselves.

BBQ Events This Weekend

If you’re in the Triangle area this weekend you could do worse than checking out one of these two BBQ-themed events.  First, in Cary (yes, that Cary) on Friday and Saturday is the traveling road show called the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival.  Or, if you are looking for something with a little more of a downhome sophisticate flair, swing by The Flying Saucer in Raleigh on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. for a pairing of Hogwash beer with barbecue.  Twenty bucks gets you five 5-oz pours of Fullsteam Brewery beers and a heaping plate o’ ‘cue.  (A tip of the snout to BBQ Dave for pointing this event out.)

Parties at the Pits

An easy to read post for Friday morning: four belated pictures from Spring barbecue celebrations, the first two from the Cuegrass event at The Pit in Raleigh and the second set at customer appreciation day at the Backyard BBQ Pit #1 in Durham.

Notes from the Underground (aka Unhinged Ramblings from a Real New Yorker)

I recently received an email from a reader, Aaron Weiss of… ahem, cough, cough… New York.  As you might have guessed from his name, Aaron is a fellow BBQ Jew.  He visited North Carolina recently and gave me a full run down on the rather substantial BBQ-related portion of his itinerary.  Check out Aaron’s reviews of The Pit and Allen & Son’s below.  Note that I edited his report slightly just to remove some non-BBQ commentary that diluted from the pig-centric focus of this website.  Once you’re done reading Aaron’s interesting report, check out his other writings here.

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As I prepare to head back to NY in the morning after being here in the Durham area this week, I wanted to share my experiences. In a perfect world, I would have eaten at a dozen bbq places and be able to write a comparative tome.  [Editor’s note: In a perfect world pig grease would heal the sick and give sight to the blind.  And maybe it does.]  But unfortunately I can’t eat like that anymore.

Last year we’d been here on our first trip to the area and had eaten at the Barbecue Joint in Chapel Hill and also Allen & Son. At that time we really liked the Barbecue Joint. I know you gave it a lackluster review, and I certainly would not pretend to disagree with your wisdom [Editor: They don’t have sarcasm in New York, right?]. I do think their pork was quite good on our particular visit (in fact, we went there twice on that trip). When we hit Allen & Son that time, I think we were a little porked out. I remember liking it, but didn’t remember coming away from it wowed (although I did remember being wowed by the pecan pie).

This year, things worked out a little differently. First of all, the Barbecue Joint is now closed. Apparently this just happened recently. Upon arriving in the area, we made our first stop at Allen & Son. Guess what? This time, we were wowed. Really, really wowed. I’m not saying the food was any different — maybe it was just as good last year and we Continue reading

Weekend Double Feature: Cuegrass & Fire

Looking for something pork-related to do this weekend?  You have at least two good options.

1) The 14th annual Kings Mountain Firehouse Barbeque Cookoff.  There are 35 teams confirmed to compete in the KCBS-sanctioned cookoff and more than twice that many confirmed judges… hmmm.

2) The 2nd annual North Carolina Cuegrass Festival at The Pit in downtown Raleigh.   The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features music, Ed Mitchell’s BBQ and local beers.  Now that’s a tasty combination plate.  

The headliner musical act is the (in)famous Southern Culture on the Skids.  SCOTS are known for throwing fried chicken into the crowd at their shows.  Since it’s pretty hard to throw chopped barbecue (trust me on this), maybe they’ll toss the fans some hushpuppies.  No word on how much the event costs but it’s a fundraiser for an interesting organization that supports family farms, and I am sure you’ll get your money’s worth in ‘cue and brew too.  Hat tip to burgeoningfoodie and Eryk Pruitt for letting me know about the Cuegrass event.

Guest Post: Brookwood Farms Carolina Pit BBQ

[BBQ Jew’s note: Today’s post was written by Holy Smoke author and intrepid airplane passenger/swine taster John Shelton Reed.]

Yes. I know that both Porky LeSwine and H. Kent Craig have knocked Brookwood Farms grocery store barbecue, but when Dale and I found ourselves in the Delta terminal at RDU, waiting for a noon flight that served no lunch, we weighed the options and went for the stand that says “Brookwood Farms Carolina Pit BBQ,” and I’m here to tell you about it. (By the way, I gather that they’re also in the Charlotte airport.)

First, let me say that, to my mind, Brookwood is missing a great opportunity to educate outlanders, the way the Salt Lick outpost in the Austin airport introduces folks to the Texas product. I guess they’ve done the numbers, though, and decided that catering to travelers whose ideas of barbecue vary wildly requires them to take what I’ve come to think of as the “International House of Barbecue” approach: some of this, some of that, something for everyone, none of it great, but all of it, I guess, OK. For our part, we passed up the “Santa Maria tri-tip,” the barbecued chicken, and barbecued turkey, and went for the barbecue – that is, for the pork. Here the choice comes down to a $7.00 sandwich or a $10.00 plate. (Yes, those prices are steep, but this is airport food, after all.)

We decided to split a plate, which comes with hushpuppies and a choice of two side dishes. Since slaw and Brunswick stew were on offer, naturally those had to be the sides. Continue reading