Monk: Southern Living readers pick their favorite barbecue in each state in the South for the annual “Best in the South” issue. While Robert Moss provides a foreword, please remember that this is a reader chosen list and not his South’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints list. So address your ire at the masses and not Moss’ inbox.
Moss does note that half of the 14 are repeat, with the other half being new to the list. For North Carolina, the reader’s pick this year was Lexington Barbecue but it was not a repeat winner as last year’s choice was Buxton Hall Barbecue.
Check out the Southern Living reader’s pick at the link below.
Steve and Gerri Grady get profiled in the local paper, the Mount Olive Tribune
Name: Longleaf Swine Date: 1/21/23 Address: 300 E Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27601 Order: Whole hog, brisket, pimento mac and cheese, esquites, slaw, cornbread (link) Pricing: $$
Monk: Of the 2020 Raleigh Barbecue Boom, while not all announced restaurants have actually opened as of this writing (notably Ed Mitchell’s Preserve and Wyatt’s Barbecue), Longleaf Swine joined the land of the living last fall after years of construction delays and even a location change. And in my mind, it’s a top tier barbecue restaurant not only in Raleigh but possibly in all of NC.
After years of playing Instagram tag, I finally made it to Longleaf Swine earlier this year on a sunny but brisk winter afternoon. While the restaurant itself is on the small side, Longleaf Swine has plenty of outdoor patio space and heaters to spare. The building formerly hosted a Cuban restaurant in the Oakwood neighborhood just outside of downtown Raleigh, not far from the location of the Transfer Co food hall where they initially planned to open before this location became available. After years of construction delays due to supply chain issues, they finally opened this past November. On weekends, order on your phone via a table QR and the foot is brought out in no time.
In particular, the meat that I was most interested was their whole hog barbecue, which turned out to be fantastic. A simple mound of barbecue chopped with both lean and fatty cuts of the pig mixed in together. By far the star of the show, and in this city, its right up there with Sam Jones Barbecue.
The brisket was above average with a nice peppery crust but could have used perhaps a little more trimming of the fat cap. Also – you can’t specify fatty versus lean on the online ordering system, so you might not have an option unless you do counter service during the week. I would have liked to try the fatty end of the meat but still, very flavorful.
My sides were the pimiento mac and cheese topped with pork cracklins, esquites (a Mexican corn salad), and a mayo-based eastern NC-style slaw. There are no hush puppies so I went with cornbread. All sides were well executed and in particular I liked the esquites.
For the non-meat eaters, Mrs. Monk swears by the collard green melt sandwich, which is a grilled muenster cheese sandwich with apple slices, collards, and crispy tobacco onions on slices of locally made sourdough.
After my meal, I got a tour from Adam, who along with his business partner Marc are both co-owners (and NC State graduates to boot). At Longleaf, they are a True Cue joint smoking over wood on an Oyler rotisserie smoker, which seems to be the popular smoker for restaurants these days. Longleaf Swine sees themselves as a barbecue joint during the day before switching over to more of a neighborhood sandwich and burger joint at night (though you can still get barbecue while it’s available).
But you don’t have to take just my word for it. For more on Longleaf Swine, John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog has recently posted not one but two reviews and was also a big fan. Longleaf Swine is open five days a week (closed Monday and Tuesday) and is a fantastic addition to the Raleigh barbecue scene.
Monk: Rene “Ray” Ramirez’s family – his wife Anabell and two sons Sebastian and Raul – is keeping the fire going at Ray’s Texas BBQ in Huntington Park, CA after his sad passing in early 2022. This is their story of how they picked things up and continue to carry on his legacy.
Description: Ray’s BBQ has brought residents a taste of Texas-style BBQ to the LA area since 2014. From the mouth-watering, slow-cooked brisket to the tender ribs and succulent sausage, the place has something for everyone to enjoy. Watch as we learn why the Ramirez family continues to carry on Rene “Ray” Ramirez’s legacy after his untimely passing and get a behind-the-scenes view of the passion put into every dish.
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