Linkdown: 1/17/18

– As good as the man’s barbecue is, at some point you have to wonder if Ed Mitchell’s business sense doesn’t match up; his Raleigh restaurant and food truck are both currently on hold and don’t look to be moving forward anytime soon

– Due to the fire at the old Lexington Home Brands Plant No. 1 and the expected clean-up time, Uptown Lexington has decided to cancel the annual BBQ Capital Cook-off in April

– A new all wood barbecue joint named Meating Street BBQ has opened in Roswell, GA; it was opened by a SC native

– The team behind General Muir in Atlanta are opening a wood-fired barbecue joint called Wood’s Chapel in the Summerhill neighborhood that will smoke whole hog among other meats

– An eastern NC native is now smoking whole hogs in central Virginia as part of a Carolina Q Pig Pickers catering operation

– The Smoking Ho starts 2018 off with a review:

– Fuller’s Old Fashioned Bar-B-Que gets a mention on this post on where to eat in Fayetteville, NC

– In another travel guide (this time from the Chicago Tribune via The Washington Post), both Henry’s Smokehouse and Bucky’s BBQ are mentioned as “100-mile barbeque”

– When there’s a threat of 1-3″ in the forecast in NC:

 

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Product Review: Maverick Industries Bluetooth Thermometer and BBQ Tool Set

In early December, Maverick Industries were kind enough to send me some products for review just in time for my annual Christmas smoke. This year, I was doing a small 5lb brisket that my brother had mailed in from Mount Pleasant Meats in Texas as well as a bone-in turkey breast.

Here was the final results of the meats, and while they didn’t turn out quite as I was hoping – I had some temperature issues which led to not being able to rest as long as I wanted – the tools were certainly not at fault and more than held their own.

-Monk

ET-735 Bluetooth Thermometer (link)

On my own dime, I’ve used previous models of the wireless meat thermometer from Maverick, but the bluetooth version is pretty slick. It has the same unit that connects to the probes that attach to the grill surface and meat. But instead of a separate unit that reads out the temperatures and sets alarms if the temps start to fall out of range, I downloaded the Redi Check app from Maverick which accomplishes the same thing. Instead of having to keep up with the other unit to monitor temperatures, I was able to just keep my phone on me as I normally do.

The package comes with two probes but it can accommodate up to 2 more for a total of four- I could have used one more myself for the turkey breast since one of them was dedicated to the grill temperature. In the app, you can set a range for your grill and meat and get notifications if either fall out of range. I set my smoker temp to stay between 225 and 275 and the get notified when the brisket flat hit 165 so I could then wrap it in foil to finish it out. I was then easily able to monitor the smoker temp using the app and could tell when it was time for more charcoal if it started dipping, All in all, the app set up is pretty intuitive and I can’t stress how nice it is not to have to carry around or keep up with another piece of equipment during the multiple hour smoking session.

Official description:
The weather-resistant ET-735 connects to your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth. No need to stand over the grill or smoker while cooking – you can enjoy your company and monitor the temperature of your food and oven from up to 160 feet away. The ET-735 allows you to connect up to four waterproof probes (ideal when cooking with sticky sauces! – comes with 2) and will alert you via its accompanying app once the desired temperature is reached. The app includes 15 preset temperatures for all types of meat, or you can input a custom temperature.

BBQ Tool Set with Instant Read Thermometer

A complaint in some Weber Style grill tools I got years ago was the fact that it didn’t come with a carrying case and the individual tools in the set could easily get separated from one another. This BBQ tool set from Maverick does have a carrying case, and its a nice heavy duty bag at that. The stainless steel fork, spatula, and tongs included in this set are all high quality and handled the rigors of moving the brisket and turkey breast on and off the smoker and onto the tray and cutting board with ease. And bonus! It also comes with a digital instant thermometer in the vein of the Thermapen that gets a temp reading within a few seconds. A very nice set.
Official description:
Set Includes
  • PT-75 Digital Instant – Read BBQ Thermometer, Stainless Steel Fork, Stainless Steel Spatula, Stainless Steel Tongs, and a Convenient Heavy-Duty Tool Bag
  • Ergonomic Handle and Holes for Hanging
  • Tool Bag Includes Customized Pocket to Hold Thermometer

Linkdown: 1/10/18

– A small smoker has been stolen from the Durham restaurant It’s a Southern Thing

– Jelly: 52 weeks of barbecue in 2018 for the San Antonio Express News

– The recent cold snap in NC (as well as the rest of the eastern seaboard) is no thing for hogs and their modern climate controlled barns

– A new restaurant from the folks at Stiles Switch

– Fort Worth Magazine has the quintessential guide to Fort Worth barbecue

– Sadly, about a 100 employees were affected

 

The Pedalin’ Pig – Banner Elk, NC

IMG_1547Name: The Pedalin’ Pig
Date: 12/28/17
Address: 4235 Hwy 105 South, Banner Elk, NC 28604
Order: Half pound brisket plate with brunswick stew and BBQ slaw (link to menu)
Price: $14.95

Monk: Usually, I try to close out my year by taking a short trip to a barbecue joint an hour or two away but this year our family took a short, two night trip to the mountains immediately after Christmas. While the mountains wouldn’t be my first choice destination for barbecue, on our way back from the Boone area we passed by The Pedalin’ Pig in Banner Elk (sadly, our first choice Old Hampton Store and Barbeque, a wood-smoked barbecue joint in Linville, was closed until February) as we took a Grandfather Mountain detour on our way back to Charlotte so I was able to get in one last review in 2017. 

A couple days after Christmas, The Pedalin’ Pig was hopping with with folks stopping before or after skiing at  nearby Sugar Mountain on a bitterly cold day. Each of the dining rooms were more or less packed and there was a line out the door. The wait for larger parties went upwards of 45 minutes by the time we left but our party of 4 was able to be seated in less than 5 minutes.

Mrs. Monk ordered the half pound pulled pork plate while I ordered the brisket plate, allowing us to combine our powers into a 2-meat combo plate (which isn’t an option on the menu). According to my handy dandy NC BBQ Map, they use a wood-assisted gasser (my guess would be a Southern Pride) but they were able to get some decent bark on the pork. Mrs. Monk’s half-pound portion had plenty of it mixed in and the meat had a nice smokey taste. The gasser was able to get a somewhat decent bark on my brisket, but the slices were all taken from the flat and as a result were pretty dried out. Still, some decent flavor from those slices of meat.

The bbq slaw was a good rendition of a Lexington-style red slaw while the brunswick stew hit the spot on a cold day. Mrs. Monk’s sides of collards and cheddar grits were equally successful. 

And as loyal readers know, outside of a couple of outliers mountain barbecue is at best considered hit or miss. The Pedalin’ Pig is more on the hit side of the spectrum while not quite essential. 

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Brisket – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs
Pedalin' Pig Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday Find: Cuban Lechon in Miami

Before this video, I wasn’t aware that Cuba had a lechon tradition somewhat similar to the Philippines. Now La Esquina Del Lechon in Miami doesn’t cook over a wood fire, but even though this isn’t technically barbecue they look to achieve the roasted whole pig with crispy skin not too dissimilar to Filipino lechon and some places like Skylight Inn that chop the crispy skin into the whole hog.

In the first episode of Dining on a Dime Miami, Lucas heads to La Esquina Del Lechon to check out a whole-roast pig that is a local favorite, and always starts a party.

Linkdown: 1/3/18

– Sadly, a man was shot to death in the parking lot of BBQ Joe’s in Trinity outside of High Point, NC shortly before Christmas

– Adam Perry Lang’s APL will be more steakhouse than barbecue restaurant

Barbecue fans will want to come by for grab-and-go lunch.

APL’s dining room won’t be open for lunch, but Lang will offer to-go barbecue sandwiches out of a 70-square-foot space that used to be a one-chair barbershop.

“It’s going to be almost like a New York-style pizza window,” Lang says of his grab-and-go lunch set-up.

– The Shanghai (not China) Volunteer Fire Department held its annual Christmas fundraiser to supplement their budget

– Seasoned Review continues on the NC BBQ Trail at Stephenson’s Bar-B-Q in Willow Spring and finds it to be well worth the trek

– I’m on board!

 

Friday Find: Can NYC BBQ hold it’s own in the national BBQ scene?

Sean Evans of Hot Ones fame explores NYC’s barbecue scene

Once mocked for its lack of quality smoked meats, NYC has finally become a serious contender on the national BBQ scene. But does it have the chops to appease two Texas locals? In the hopes of gaining some perspective, Sean Evans enlists the help of Barbara Dunkelman and Burnie Burns—two of the visionaries behind Austin-based production company Rooster Teeth. At Fletcher’s in Brooklyn, chef Matt Fisher is busy combining Southern cooking techniques with international flavors, creating a barbecue style that’s distinctly New York. Will the pork char siu be enough to convert Barbara and Burnie to the church of NYC BBQ? Watch an all new episode of SITW and find out.

Linkdown: 12/20/17

– Newsday has a solid list of good barbecue in cities across North Carolina worth a “barbecue pilgrimage”

Although there’s fantastic barbecue found throughout the state, you don’t have to leave the state’s biggest cities for an unforgettable down-home barbecue meal. Instead, loosen your belt at any of these must-visit restaurants for a quintessential North Carolina experience.

– On their list of best Charlotte barbecue restaurants, Charlotte Agenda predictably got some feedback

– ICMYI

– Speaking of Texas barbecue…

– Food and Wine explores the Atlanta barbecue scene including some Barbecue Bros faves

– Greenville, NC native Bob Garner began a regular column for the Greenville Daily Reflector on Sunday in which he might occasionally touch on barbecue

I love to listen as people get downright misty-eyed about food. For me, it’s about rural landscape and seasons, community sense, celebration of finished tasks and observing solemn events.

Monk’s 10 Favorite Barbecue Meals of 2017

Trying something new: a year-end list for my favorite barbecue meals of the year. I used to do this for music, film, and tv but in recent years that has fallen off. Perhaps this will stoke the coals of my list-making motivation in other areas, but at the very least its worth documenting the hobby which has taken up so much of my (and my poor wife’s) free time for the past 5.5 years. Come to think of it, the timeline of this blog lines up almost perfectly with my drop off in listmaking…

In any case, hope you enjoy. This will conclude our reviews and original for 2017, but we will be back in 2018.

Monk

10. Swig & Swine – 4 hogs (review)

The Summerville location of Swig & Swine included a whole hog smoker (whereas their West Ashley location does not have enough space for one), following the popular trend of the past few years. The whole hog was quite good but their brisket and hash and rice wasn’t too bad either, 1990 Old Trolley Rd, Summerville, SC 29485 swigandswinebbq.com

9. Hill’s Lexington Barbecue – 4 hogs (review)

Hill’s claims to be the original “Lexington Barbecue” in name (but definitely not first to serve in that style). They may be a notch below the better places in Lexington, but they are certainly not doing the style any disservice. 4005 Patterson Ave, Winston-Salem, NC 27105 

8. Barbee’s Barbecue – 4 hogs (review)

This was truly a surprise for me. I kinda-sorta knew of this place and had passed by it many times , but I had no idea it would be (as I referred to it in my review) “the platonic ideal of the NC roadside barbecue shack”. A must visit, if only to step back in time a bit. Glenn Falls St, Peachland, NC 28133

7. Bill Spoon’s Barbecue – 4 hogs (review)

In 2017, I am happy to say that I rediscovered Bill Spoon’s after a few years away. It’s about as close as we have to a barbecue institution in Charlotte (54 years and counting), and though they are an eastern NC joint and I’m a Lexington-style fanboy, I simply believe that I need to go more often. 5524 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28217 spoonsbarbecue.com

6. Rodney Scott’s BBQ – 4 hogs (review)

While my expectations of the brand new Rodney Scott’s BBQ were sky high, I must say that the whole hog didn’t quite match the perfection of Scott’s BBQ back in Hemingway. Nevertheless, taking it for what it’s worth, we should all be glad that Rodney Scott has made his pork accessible without having to drive in the middle of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. 1011 King St, Charleston, SC 29403 rodneyscottsbbq.com

5. Bar-B-Q King – 4.5 hogs (review)

Bar-B-Q King is another NC barbecue institution, though I only discovered it in early 2017. They do seem to be a little underrated on the NC barbecue scene despite smoking over wood for the past 46 years. Hopefully this will change. 2613 E Main St, Lincolnton, NC 28092 barbqkingnc.com

4. B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque – 4.5 hogs (review)

B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque was just named best restaurant in Atlanta by Eater (note no “barbecue” modifier), and for good reason. Bryan Furman is another one of the torch bearers of whole hog barbecue, but don’t sleep on his brisket or hash and rice. 2061 Main St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318 bscracklinbbq.com

3. Jon G’s BBQ – 4.5 hogs (review)

It appears that Jon G’s has taken a well-deserved break due to the birth of Garren and his wife Kelly’s first child, but I can’t wait until they are back out there slinging some legit Texas-style brisket out of their recently-purchased food truck. Marshville, NC facebook.com/JonGsBBQ

2. Lewis Barbecue – 4.5 hogs (review)

Unlike Rudy and Speedy, I hadn’t really had a taste of true Central Texas barbecue since I sadly haven’t made it out there since the start of the blog. That recently changed earlier this year because John Lewis (formerly of La Barbecue) brought central Texas to Charleston and I tasted is sublime brisket. All hail the king, apparently. 464 N Nassau St, Charleston, SC 29403 lewisbarbecue.com

1. Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge – 5 hogs (review)

In a year where I did not have a meal at Lexington Barbecue (my ride or die) Red Bridges is going to easily take the #1 spot on this list. Sadly, it had been nearly 4 years since my last visit but rest assured, it won’t be that long before my next. After 70+ years, they’ve still got it. 2000 E Dixon Blvd, Shelby, NC 28152 bridgesbbq.com

Honorable Mentions: The Smoke Pit – Salisbury, NC (review), DAS BBQ – Atlanta, GA (review)