Barbecue Bros Film Club: Barbecue

Similar to books, we’re not anywhere close to being qualified enough to evaluate films but as a public service we will periodically discuss barbecue-related films.

Monk: Barbecue is a documentary film that explores the meat-over-fire customs of thirteen countries around the world and premiered earlier this year at SXSW in Austin (an apt location if their ever was one). It was promptly was snatched up by Netflix and released a few weeks ago back in August.

The images are presented simply (in stunning 4K video if you have a compatible set) and accompanied by the native language of the country where each segment is filmed with an orchestral backing that flourishes appropriately and beautifully. My favorite segments were Mongolia (24:05) and its “boodog” tradition of stuffing scorching hot rocks down animal carcasses to internally cook the meat of marmots and goats, the Philippines (40:20) and their traditions of whole hog lechon (that in many ways resembles eastern NC whole hog), and of course the lone US segment on Texas barbecue (1:08:45). The Texas segment featured many heavy hitters that have been around for a while – Smitty’s, Louie Mueller, Snow’s, Black’s – as well as lesser known joints such as Patillo’s and Prine’s.

Barbecue is clearly an astonishing feat in terms of scope and size. While the focus of the film is the ritual of putting meat over fire and how it varies from country to country, it ultimately comes to much more than simply exploring food customs. Barbecue explores race, class, life, and death in a beautiful peace of documentary film making.

Director: Matthew Saleh
Available: Netflix
Runtime: 102 minutes 

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Linkdown: 9/20/17

– The Port City Ribfest moves from Wilmington to Carolina Beach this November

– It’s no surprise that barbecue is North Carolina’s iconic dish according to Flavored Nation; Missouri is the only other state they list with barbecue as its iconic dish

– Charleston is one of the best food towns in the south, in part because of their barbecue restaurants

– A Washington Post travelogue to Chapel Hill includes a visit to The Pig for lunch

Gail goes with a nifty riff on North Carolina-style barbecue, a salad topped with tender chunks of Vietnamese pork cheek and crispy, dried shrimp. Ewan has a more traditional heaping plate of Eastern Carolina-style pulled pork with cider-vinegar sauce. On counsel of the affable guy behind the counter, I order a fried Bologna sandwich, which has about as much in common with my childhood memories of this luncheon meat as Spam does with chateaubriand.

– A review of Daddy Bob’s Barbeque, a promising-sounding truck in Raleigh that smokes shoulders over a mix of hickory, apple, and pecan and serves with an eastern vinegar sauce

– A group of Sampsonians will be trying to save Lewis Barbecue, which closed Labor Day weekend

Art’s Barbecue & Deli gets a short profile in Charlotte Five

– Just a reminder:

 

Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que – Gatlinburg, TN

IMG_0224
Name
: Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que
Date: 9/3/17
Address: 714 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Order: Bar-B-Que Combo (chopped pork, brisket, and sausage) with jalapeno mac and cheese and coleslaw (link to menu)
Price: $14.99

Monk: While our last barbecue stop on the Monk family vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee was a bit of a bust for reasons other than barbecue we got another opportunity a couple days later while we were playing tourist in downtown Gatlinburg. Across the street from the aerial tram Ober Gatlinburg (our main plans for the day), just happened to be Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que and made the decision easy for us.

I know from the review of the Pigeon Forge store from Marie, Let’s Eat! that I was to expect fine-but-not-exceptional barbecue and guess what? Grant was right. The pork was perfectly acceptable but Bennett’s seemed to be very proud of their four sauces found on the table. None of them made a huge difference in the again, perfectly acceptable pork.

The brisket was dry and below average while the best of the three meats that day was the sliced sausage. A little of the table mustard sauce accentuated it nicely. This was the favorite meat of both myself and Mrs. Monk.

Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que is part of the locally-owned Johnson Family chain of restaurants that includes pizza, southern, and ice cream with locations in nearby Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. To their credit, they could serve below-average barbecue to tourists simply because they know that they’ll continue to make money regardless but thankfully that’s not the case. While they are a tourist destination that happens to serve halfway decent barbecue, it won’t blow your mind.

For more reviews, check out:
Marie, Let’s Eat

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 2 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Beef – 2 hogs
Sausage – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs
Bennett's Pit Bar-B-Que Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday Find: Hawaii’s Best BBQ is Hidden in the Mountains of Oahu

Barbecue and free beer on top of a mountain in Hawaii? That definitely sounds like paradise. Eater’s Dining on an Dime makes the trek.

In this episode of Dining on a Dime, host Lucas Peterson heads to Hi-BBQ, food truck on top of a remote wind farm in Kahuku, Hawaii. This couple-owned truck is serves up brisket, pulled pork, and smoked pineapple sausage, and free beer. It also comes with quite the view.

Linkdown: 9/13/17

RIP to the original Riverside location of 12 Bones; it is survived by the Arden location and a new Riverside location down the street coming in January 2018

Operation BBQ Relief has been helping out for weeks for Harvey and is now live for Irma

– I’ve never been here but its unfortunate when a joint open this long closes: Lewis’ Barbecue (not to be confused with the Texas joint in Charleston by John Lewis), a 70 year old barbecue restaurant in Clinton has closed

Shots fired at NC barbecue from a San Antonio journalist

Several years ago, a free afternoon during a work-related trip to North Carolina called for an obvious mission: Seek out the finest examples of the barbecue the locals hailed as the world’s best, and gorge accordingly.

But upon completion of this task, which unfortunately involved the ingestion of sad piles of shredded pork doused in a sauce consisting primarily of vinegar, one question lingered over the entire experience.

How can a state love something so much and yet still be so bad at it?

– Per Stacy Franklin, Franklin Barbecue is “hoping to open in the next two weeks” from a Texas BBQ Posse post from 9/7

– More Texas: Goode Co. BBQ in Houston (a joint that helped influence the Charlotte restaurant Midwood Smokehouse) celebrated 40 years of being open recently

– Matthew Odam recently unearthed a series of barbecue reviews from 1978 from recently passed Austin columnist John Kelso

– Always good to refresh the ol’ knowledge tank

Okie Dokies Smokehouse – Swannanoa, NC

Name: Okie Dokies Smokehouse
Date: 9/1/17
Address: 2375 US Hwy 70, Swannanoa, NC 28778
Order: Big Combo (chopped pork, chopped beef, and ribs) with collards and red slaw (link to menu)
Price: $14.99

Monk: In the Asheville area, there had been still a couple of places in the surrounding towns that have caught my eye to check out when I’m in the area. I thought a much needed dinner break on the way to Gatlinburg, Tennessee would be a great opportunity to knock one off my list – Okie Dokies Smokehouse in Swannanoa . In the end, we made the stop but it turned out to be an abbreviated one to the small joint off US-70 15 minutes east of Asheville.

As Mrs. Monk and the Monkette got some air, I took the liberty of ordering a Big Combo with three of the meats and two sides to share with the missus. Little did I know, we would eventually be taking that order to go and the meal would be evaluated in the car 30 minutes down the road.

The chopped pork was moist and had some decent wood smoke but didn’t knock my socks off. I will say that I do appreciate that Okie Dokies cooks over wood and that you can taste it in the meat.

Chopped beef is not something you see much in NC – I can think of maybe two other places I’ve been to that serve that style – and let me be clear that we definitely aren’t talking chopped brisket like they do in Central and East Texas. This beef was served pulled and chopped in a similar manner to the pork. While moist enough, I think this meat illustrated why you don’t see it more often in these parts – it just doesn’t do anything exciting for the eater.

The ribs were a bit overdone, pulling away from the bone really easily. The rub and sauce had some decent taste to it though.

There’s not too much to say about the sides except that the hush puppies were freaking excellent.

I wish could say more about the atmosphere and the building itself or even had more photos to share but sometimes life (and in this case, the Monkette) intervenes. If it is any indication, next time through, I would stop in again at Okie Dokies Smokehouse on my way to or from Asheville without hesitation though. I liked what I saw for the most part.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – N/A
Pork – 3 hogs
Beef – 2.5 hogs
Ribs – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs
Okie Dokies Smokehouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

Linkdown: 9/6/17

– Per their Instagram, Midwood Smokehouse is donating $1 from each pulled pork sandwich sold this week to Hurricane Harvey relief

– This past week New Bern hosted the first Piggin’ and Grinnin’ Festival for folks to enjoy barbecue and bluegrass

– Currituck BBQ Company is a recommended stop on NC 158

– The latest accolades for Lexington Barbecue are from food and travel site Rave, which compiles data from Eater, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, and The Daily Meal

– They are doing some inventive things with barbecue at LeRoy & Lewis Barbecue in Austin

– An oldie from last summer

Barbee’s Bar-B-Que – Peachland, NC

IMG_0054 (3)Name: Barbee’s Bar-B-Que
Date: 8/18/17
Address: 116 Glenn Falls St, Peachland, NC 28133
Order: Small chopped pork plate with red slaw, baked beans, hush puppies, and sweet tea
Price: $10

Monk: With the advent of the interstate highways, the roadside barbecue shack has become mostly a thing of the past. In NC, they can be few and far between if you spend most of your time in cities or on highways between cities. Thankfully, the only real way to southern NC beaches from Charlotte is Highway 74 East and a half hour outside of Monroe you’ll find the platonic ideal of the NC roadside barbecue shack, Barbee’s Bar-B-Que in Peachland, NC.

There’s not much to the shack that is right off of 74 with what appears to be a little-used smoker out in front gathering dust and cobwebs. The shack itself has two small dining rooms right off a kitchen and a smoker out back with cords of split hickory logs next to it.

Barbee’s has a fairly extensive menu of barbecue and non-barbecue options. For me though , the small barbecue plate turned out to be plenty big enough for lunch and the chopped pork was perfectly smoky and moist. Even though Barbee’s looks the part, I figured it was 50/50 whether the barbecue itself would be any good. Gotta say – I was pleasantly surprised.

Other than the obvious choice in barbecue plates, there is a barbecue hot dog on the menu which sadly I did not get on this trip – perhaps next time. The hush puppies were nearly perfect orbs served with honey butter while the red slaw was fine and the beans tasted right out of the can. I’ll be getting more of the hush puppies next time. Also worth mentioning is the ridiculous banana pudding, which was the dessert special that day.

Barbee’s Bar-B-Que is open 11-8:30 Tuesdays through Saturdays and I’d recommend checking it out if you are on that stretch of 74.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 4 hogs
Pork – 4 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

BarBee's Bar-B-Que Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Friday Find: House of Carbs – “Barbecue for the Forces of Good”

A barbecue-focused episode this week. In the first segment, I would describe fellow Ringer colleagues David Shoemaker and Bryan Curtis as two guys who grew up in Texas but I would classify as more like dabblers into the world of barbecue. Nonetheless, they talk brisket and Texas barbecue with House, who’s experienced La Barbecue

The second segment, Food News, isn’t barbecue-related so skip ahead to 42:25 if you want to hear Danny Chau discuss his excellent article about a recent trip to Charleston to visit Rodney Scott BBQ and Lewis Barbecue and discover the future of barbecue. Danny seems to know what he’s talking about a little bit more when it comes to the world of barbecue.

The Ringer’s Joe House is joined by colleagues and fellow podcasters David Shoemaker and Bryan Curtis to talk Texas barbecue, its growth, and expansion to New York City (3:35). Then House is joined by Juliet Litman for this week’s Food News (23:00). Lastly House sits down with Danny Chau to discuss his recent trip to Charleston and his thesis on South Carolina barbecue (42:25).