Friday Find: Testing NC Barbecue Techniques on a Whole Lamb

Arrogant Swine in Bushwick demonstrates a Carolina whole hog technique on a whole lamb.

On today’s fresh episode of Prime Time, Ben Turley and Brent Young head to a barbecue restaurant called Arrogant Swine, to meet up with Tyson Ho, an expert in North Carolina barbecue. The guys talk whole animal barbecue, and why cooking whole lambs makes so much sense.

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Linkdown: 4/18/18

– So Aaron Franklin doesn’t actually eat Texas barbecue and might actually prefer Carolina barbecue?

“I don’t really know. I don’t eat barbecue,” he says. I laugh nervously, but Franklin doesn’t waver. “I don’t eat that stuff, but I love to cook it. If I’m in a special place like up in the Carolinas hanging out with Sam Jones (whose family has been in the BBQ biz for more than 70 years), I’m absolutely going to get a pork sandwich. If I’m hanging out with Rodney Scott (a world-renowned BBQ chef from Charleston), I’m absolutely going to get some of that pulled pork. Time and place, but as far as scenes and stuff, I don’t really keep up with it. My concentration is right here.”

– Austin 360’s response: On Carolina Barbecue and Aaron Franklin’s Texas cred

– The Houston BBQ Festival was last weekend and The Smoking Ho has photos

– WNCT continues their Hidden Gems Barbecue series with Hardison’s Carolina Barbecue in Jamesville

– High Point gets an Indian barbecue restaurant, BBQ Nation

– Travel Noire’s 19 Great Black Owned Barbecue Joints Across America includes a few Barbecue Bros faves

– Tarheel Q gets a write up in the Lexington Dispatch after changing owners last December

Leon said there is some pressure with running a barbecue restaurant in Davidson County due to the county’s barbecue reputation. He added that if the restaurant does a poor job, it not only reflects on the restaurant but the other restaurants as well, because Lexington barbecue is a style and one restaurant’s success means success for the others in the county.

– OH NO

Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster Barbeque – Alexandria, VA

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Name
: Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster Barbeque
Date: 3/31/18
Address: 220 N Lee St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Order: Speedy: 3 meat plate (brisket, pork, sausage, fried, collards); the Bro: 2 meat plate (pork, pork belly, collards, baked beans) (link to menu)
Price: $24 (3 meat) / $19 (2 meat)

Speedy: Recently, I was in DC visiting my (literal) Bro, and while his wife and kids were out running errands we snuck away for a meal. As the Bro and S-I-L are changing their diet to eat less meat, naturally, I suggested to the Bro that we find a local ‘cue joint. A quick Google search pulled up a name I recognized – Myron Mixon. Well, after great experiences at Aaron Franklin’s and Tuffy Stone’s joints, it was time to round out the BBQ Pitmasters trifecta and check it out.

Monk: Congratulations, Speedy! Turn in your punch card on your next visit and the next meal’s on us. But for real, I’m curious to see how his place actually stacks up.

Speedy: Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster Barbeque is a little different than the other two, as it’s a sit down joint with a wait staff, but it still had a nice, rustic feel and a great (but expensive – this is DC) beer list. The Bro and I were seated immediately and wasted no time ordering – pulled pork and pork belly for him, and pulled pork, brisket, and sausage links for me.

The food arrived fairly quickly, and the portions were quite large. Frankly, we could have split a three meat place between the two of us, but that’s not the Barbecue Bro way. The meats all looked great, and I could tell I was in for a treat.

Monk: Not the Barbecue Bro way…unless one of those bros happens to include Monk and his tiny stomach.

Speedy: I first dug in to the brisket. Not living in Texas, I am used to very mediocre brisket and nothing I’ve had outside of Texas has even come close to what I’ve had in the state. However, this was pretty good. I definitely got the fatty part of the brisket, and could have used a little more bark, but it was not overdone and had good flavor. A solid effort.

While I was trying the brisket, the Bro dug into his pork belly. Upon the first bite, his eyes rolled back into his head and it was clearly an out-of-body experience. I think he could’ve died right there and been OK. Naturally I reached my fork across the table to see what the fuss was about, and oh my – that pork belly was really, really good. Perfectly smoky with a little crispiness, it’s salty flavor was perfect. Definitely the highlight of the meal.

The sausage was my second favorite meat. It had great smoke and snap, and just a really solid flavor. I did use a little of the provided mustard sauce fo the sausage, and it was a great compliment. This is another meat I would order again.

Monk: Any idea if its made in house or imported from somewhere in Texas?

Speedy: I don’t know, Monk, and I didn’t ask. My (hot) gut would say it was imported, only because the casing was so perfect.

Monk: I see what you did there…

Speedy: The pulled pork was also solid. It had good bark and was nice and tender. I did feel the need to add a little vinegar sauce to it, but it was still enjoyable.

The sides were above average – particularly the collards, but with so much meat, I honestly didn’t eat too many of them there.

Overall, this was a very solid barbecue meal. The Bro says it’s the best ‘cue he’s had in the DC area (though I don’t think that’s a high bar), and I was not disappointed at all. In terms of the BBQ Pitmasters trifecta – I think Aaron Franklin’s and Tuffy Stone’s places are a little better, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3.5 hogs
Brisket – 3.5 hogs
Pork Belly – 4.5 hogs
Sausage – 4 hogs
Pulled Pork – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs
Myron Mixon's Pitmaster Barbecue  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Linkdown: 4/11/18

– The brisket bandits in St. Louis have been caught

– Texas Pete, a NC barbecue staple, gets a mention in this Eat Sip Trip article on the origins of hot sauce

Garner Foods of North Carolina was seeking to augment their barbecue sauce line and introduced a red pepper Louisiana-style hot sauce in 1929, which they named Texas Pete, to capitalize on the popularity of cowboy movies at the time. The product is a Carolina staple. According to food author Robert Moss, at the legendary Skylight Inn Barbecue in Ayden, NC, “They douse the pork with vinegar and Texas Pete while it’s still being chopped.”

– The Hub City Hog Fest took place in Spartanburg last weekend, where more than 40 teams from the Carolinas and Georgia participated in the two-day competition

– I checked this place out on a layover to Austin from Charlotte and I will have similarly good things to say when the review posts in a few weeks

– Luella’s Bar-B-Que in Asheville gets featured on Cooking Channel’s “Cheap Eats” episode on Asheville which first airs tonight at 11pm

– WNCT in eastern NC profiles Morris Barbecue, which has only opened on Saturdays in Greene County since the 1950’s, in their latest People and Places segment

– Sam Jones, Ed and Ryan Mitchell, and Rodney Scott (among others) will be back at this year’s Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

– Oof:

 

Kyle Fletcher’s Barbeque & Catering – Gastonia, NC (RE-REVIEW)

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Name
: Kyle Fletcher’s Barbeque and Catering
Date: 3/30/18
Address: 4507 Wilkinson Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28056
Order: Large chopped sandwich with hush puppies and a sweet tea (link to menu)
Price: $8.41

Monk: In the nearly 4 years since Mrs. Monk surprised me with a Father’s Day mini-barbecue tour of Gastonia, I’ve been wanting to revisit Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering to see if I caught them on an off day. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.

Re-reading my review from 2014 gave me a sense of deja vu. Smokers going full blast as I pull into the parking lot? Check. Smokey but dry pork? Check. Hush puppies being slightly above average? Check. Nauseating Carolina decor? Check and check.

The only difference this time was that opted for a large chopped sandwich instead of a tray since I would be taking my order to go and eating in the car on the way back to Charlotte. The slaw that came on this sandwich had an orange-ish tinge to it where I suspect that it may have been a thousand island dressing slaw. In fact, it reminded me of the slaw from R.O.’s Bar-B-Que, which is currently dead last in our Charlotte big board. Must be a Gastonia thing. Oddly, even with this slaw and some sauce, the sandwich was still inexplicably quite dry.

The hush puppies were again the best part of the meal, as they were on that day 4+ years ago.

Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering is fine. And the locals certainly seem to love it as it’s packed the crowds both times I have been, both on a Saturday during lunch as well as a Friday for a later lunch. I can’t fault them for their seeming success with the local crowd, but I just wouldn’t necessarily suggest going out of your way for it.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 1 hog (still)
Pork – 3 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs

Friday Find: Kids Try BBQ From 10 States

Aka Kids Say the Darndest Things (About Barbecue)

In this episode of “Kids Try Food”, the kids try barbecue by region. Kids eat and react to hill country brisket and hot gut (beef sausage) from Texas, pulled pork and barbecue hash from South Carolina, hush puppies from North Carolina, dry rub Memphis ribs, burnt ends (brisket) from Kansas City, white sauce from Alabama, mutton, burgoo, and pickled eggs from Kentucky, smoked bologna and tabbouleh from Oklahoma, St. Louis style ribs and snoots, plus Virginia smoked ham and brunswick stew.

Linkdown: 4/4/18

– A quick primer on NC state symbols, including that the Barbecue Festival in Lexington is the official food festival of the state

– Speaking of festivals, there are a few barbecue festivals coming up in NC over the next few months including BBQ Festival on the Neuse in Kinston, Jiggy with the Piggy Fest in Kannapolis, and the Eastern BBQ Festival in Rocky Mount

– Asian Smokehouse? I’m in!

– Charlotte Agenda’s city guide for Asheville includes Buxton Hall Barbecue and 12 Bones

– Marie, Let’s Eat! tries Martins’ Bar-B-Que Joint in Nolensville and pleads for them to open a store in Chattanooga

– Midwood Smokehouse gets some recognition as TripExpert Expert’s Choice Award 2018 and was named Best of Charlotte

Based on 1M+ reviews from 85 different publications, the award recognizes the best restaurants around the world. TripExpert takes a new approach to ratings by using only professional reviews from travel guides, magazines, newspapers and other respected sources.

– A few barbecue joints gets covered in this Alabama tourism video – BBQ on the Blvd in Florence and Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur

– How did I miss this a few weeks back?

 

Photo Gallery: Noble Smoke at Hyde Brewing for St. Patty’s Day

Monk: In advance of the forthcoming brewery/smokehouse/beer garden concept, Jim Noble and Noble Smoke set up at Hyde Brewing to serve chopped pork sandwiches on a beautiful St. Patrick’s Day in Charlotte.

Noble Smoke was set up in the side lot next to Hyde Brewing’s back patio where none other than Jim Noble himself was chopping up pork shoulders on a block in front of his smoker Beulah. On this day, they kept it simple with only sandwiches for sale for $7.

Each hefty sandwich was pre-topped with slaw and dip and while you could add more, I didn’t find it necessary. Noble Smoke certainly wasn’t skimping on chopped pork in each sandwich. The chopped pork was moist and the sandwiches were really good – a lot better than some of the dry barbecue sandwiches I’ve had since. Had I not had dinner plans, I certainly would have gone for a second sandwich and perhaps a third (the other one pictured in my hand was for my dad).

If this service is any indication of what’s to come, I will no longer have to drive an hour to Lexington for a true Lexington-style chopped pork sandwich, something I’ve been looking for as long as I’ve lived in Charlotte. Simply put, I cannot wait for Noble Smoke to open later this year.

Check out more from Noble Smoke on their website

Linkdown: 3/28/18

– Southern Living’s best barbecue joint of 2018 is…a tie between Lexington Barbecue and Southern Soul BBQ.

– I’m sorry, what? A recipe for “NC vegan barbecue”

– Happy Birthday on Monday to Grady’s pitmaster Steve Grady

– Speaking of eastern NC barbecue, Scotty McCreery will definitely be serving some at his wedding in the mountains of NC this summer

“I can tell you barbecue is definitely going to be part of the wedding,” he said. “One of my loves about North Carolina is Eastern North Carolina barbecue, so that will be in the wedding.”

– RIP Joe Swicegood, owner of Little Pigs BBQ in Asheville

– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits the legendary Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous in Memphis and finds that he prefers “Rendezvous style” (dry ribs and mustard slaw) to “Memphis style” (wet ribs and may slaw)

– Thanks to Nobly for including us in their list of 121 Ultimate Food Blogs for 2018!
The Noblys 121 ultimate food blogs for 2018