Linkdown: 10/25/17

– The 88th annual Mallard Creek Barbecue is tomorrow and the chefs are very busy right about now

Event organizers expect to cook 15,000 pounds of pork barbecue, prepare 2,500 gallons of Brunswick stew, shred two tons of coleslaw, brew 400 gallons of coffee and entertain close to 20,000 people.

– Preparations are underway for this weekend’s Barbecue Festival in Lexington

– The SC BBQ Association has sanctioned the fifth annual Speed and Feed Barbecue Cook-Off this weekend at Darlington Raceway

– The origins of the Alabama white sauce (if you’re into that sort of thing)

– The Triangle Business Journal is getting into the  barbecue game; their definitive guide to the best barbecue restaurants in the Triad

– A short profile on EDIA Maps, the creators of The Great NC BBQ Map

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Photo Gallery: Hot Dogs and Smoked Pastrami from Noble Smoke

Monk: For the second year in a row, Jim Noble of the forthcoming Noble Smoke partnered with local menswear store Tabor for their Bungalow Social block party, While last year he smoked NC-style barbecue, this year he brought house made hot dogs grilled out of one of his mobile rigs, Flossie. So while I have still yet to try Noble’s barbecue, the hot dogs ground and made in-house at his uptown Rooster’s location more than hit the spot on a sunny fall day. I went Carolina style with chili, slaw, and mustard before topping it off with Texas Pete. Additionally, in an off-menu item, Jim had also smoked a pastrami and when I asked for a small taste he graciously offered a full sandwich. I’m no pastrami connoisseur but it was just fantastic.

I enjoyed introducing myself to Jim (who, by the way, like me is also from High Point, also went to High Point Central, and also went to NC State) through friend of the blog Susong and together we pestered him about Noble Smoke, which was been my most anticipated barbecue restaurant since it was first announced back in August 2015.

In maybe a tiny little bit of a scoop, according to him Noble Smoke will be coming in 2018 in a location off Freedom Drive in a space that is currently a warehouse. That certainly seems to fit the stated intention in the article linked above, where it mentions:

First, he needs to secure a Charlotte site that’s close to Interstate 77 with easy access. Most importantly, the restaurant needs to be in a space that allows the barbecue to be slow-cooked over wood, Noble adds.

From the little bit I recall from a brief discussion (free beers and cocktails for the win), he will be partnering with a local brewery (no word on which) and the space will also have an outdoor beer garden. I can’t wait to hear more details as they become available. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next opportunity to finally try the barbecue from Noble Smoke.

Friday Find: The Charlotte Podcast Explores “Is Charlotte a BBQ Town?”

Monk: Our State Magazine senior editor, podcaster, and writer (and former Charlottean) Jeremy Markovich joins Miller of The Charlotte Podcast to discuss NC barbecue in general before discussing specifically whether Charlotte is a barbecue town.

After a short intro, the barbecue talk starts at 5:17 with some open-ended questions about NC barbecue. Before shifting the conversation to Charlotte later in the episode, the conversation is a little unfocused (admittedly, Miller says he didn’t prep Jeremy for these questions) but covers the difference between east and west and what Jeremy’s idea of barbecue and a barbecue restaurant is.

Here’s a link to Jeremy’s fantastic story in Our State on spending 17 hours (he had planned to be there 24) at B’s Barbecue in Greenville that he begins mentioning at 14:15 when he starts discussing his top 5 barbecue places in NC; Red Bridges in Shelby, 12 Bones in Asheville (I do disagree with this pick), Skylight Inn, and Lexington Barbecue (aka the Honeymonk) all make his list as well.

While mentioning Skylight Inn (16:34), Miller discusses the idea of “porky goodness”. While I’m familiar with (and have tasted) their technique of chopping the crispy skin back into the pork, I must admit that I have never heard this term before. Granted, I have spent only a little time out east so I’m not discounting that it’s a real thing. Only that I’ve yet to come across it in my travels.

Kyle Fletcher’s in Gastonia gets a mention at 18:34. This place deserves a second chance for me, but I was somewhat unimpressed when I went a few years ago.

The Charlotte conversation begins at 21:25. I do disagree with Miller’s assertion that Midwood Smokehouse is a solid B in everything though (21:39) because I think their brisket and burnt ends are A’s and their pork and sausage is at least a B+ (I still need to try the whole hog on the new smoker at Park Road). So I think he may be undervaluing them just a little bit.

Miller brings up the idea of Charlotte as a “barbecue hub” as opposed to a “barbecue city” (22:36) due to its proximity to good barbecue in Lexington (agree), Shelby (agree), and Gastonia (huh?).  Jeremy comes back to Midwood Smokehouse at 25:26 (here’s the article he wrote for Our State) and how restaurateur Frank Scibelli has a habit of introducing foods to Charlotte. First with Mama Ricotta’s and authentic italian (including fresh mozzarella) in the early 2000’s and then Midwood Smokehouse and barbecue other than pork more recently in 2012.

While I couldn’t agree more with Jeremy’s assertion that you need to spell out “barbecue” (as opposed to say, “bbq” like they do in the podcast title) at 28:51, I can’t help but think naming a theoretical barbecue restaurant “Barbecue” is either insanely brilliant or just plain lazy. I still can’t decide.

Overall, I agree with both Jeremy and Miller that no, Charlotte is not a barbecue town but that you can find good barbecue here (I’ve certainly tried to do my homework). When I think on the question of whether Charlotte is a barbecue town, I inevitably go to a quote from Tom Hanchett, the former historian at Charlotte’s Levine Museum of the New South:

Charlotte is not really in either part of North Carolina, it’s a city of newcomers and we have other people’s barbecue.

Until Charlotte is no longer a city of “other people’s barbecue”, in my opinion it will never truly be a barbecue town.

Linkdown: 10/18/17

– The Barbecue Festival is next weekend and here are the deets

 

– The updated Thrillist list of best barbecue in America contains 4 joints from NC, including a newer joint that only opened in the past couple of years

– The Eastern Carolina BBQ Throwdown threw down in Rocky Mount last weekend

– The Tour De Pig, a precursor event to the Barbecue Festival in Lexington later this month, was also this past weekend

– Next time you are in Houston:

– Missed this a few weeks back, but a fire at Swig & Swine West Ashley in Charleston caused it to close for a few weeks; as of this post it was scheduled to open by now but no word on whether it has yet

– Archibald’s in Northport, AL recently had a fire as well but is fine

– Heading to the NC State Fair this month? For the first time you can try beer and wine, including Birdsong

Potbelly BBQ (food truck) (mini-review)

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Name
: Potbelly BBQ
Date: 10/7/17
Order: Chopped pork sandwich (link to menu)
Price: $5.95

Monk: Each fall, the Anne Springs Close Greenway in nearby Fort Mill hosts a Fall Frolic on weekends in October. Tractor rides, pumpkin picking, horseback riding, barrel rides. hay jumping.

Potbelly BBQ was one of a few food vendors set up on a misty Saturday morning and since I hadn’t had any breakfast by mid-morning I went for a sandwich but only a sandwich so as not to spoil my appetite for lunch with the rest of the family.

I stepped up to the window right as a fresh butt was being chopped and ordered a chopped sandwich, adding slaw. The pork was nicely smoked (and obviously fresh), but came with a thicker barbecue sauce on top, which wouldn’t have been my preference. Still, a very satisfying sandwich from Potbelly BBQ. Next time I see them around I’ll try their brisket.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – N/A
Pork – 3 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs

Guest Photo Gallery: Papa Turney’s Old Fashion BBQ – Hermitage, TN

Mrs. Monk recently took a weekend trip away to Nashville with some friends and while she was able to escape me for the weekend, she wasn’t so fortunate when it came to barbecue. Mind you, this wasn’t intentional and the only reason she ended up here was because her and her friends happened upon Papa Turney’s Old Fashion BBQ after making a wrong turn on the way to a ropes course outside of Nashville.

While she didn’t offer a full review, here were her ratings:

Atmosphere/ambiance – 2 hogs (they told us to sit but its really counter service)
Pork – 3 hogs
Chopped Brisket – 3 hogs
Sausage – 1 hog (really just a fat hot dog)
Sides – 3 hogs (they were out of collards and the mac and cheese portion was tiny)
Overall – 2.5 hogs

Linkdown: 10/11/17

More on fair food at the NC State Fair (which starts tomorrow) and whoops:

Only one of the dishes I tried was outright bad, and that was the barbecue-and-coleslaw waffle sandwich. It was somehow extraordinarily greasy, even by fair food standards, and the barbecue mostly just tasted like smoke.

– The Polar Pig Cook-Off, formerly held in Mount Pleasant (NC), will be held at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center on November 10 and 11; the event will feature vendor tents, a Kids Zone, a beer garden, live music, and the barbecue competition (including a people’s choice award)

– People Food and Zagat have named Skylight Inn the most popular restaurant in NC

– Filing away for future potential use:

– Daniel Vaughn of TMBBQ explores west Tennessee whole hog and discovers Ramey’s Whole Hog Bar-B-Q in Parsons, about 90 minutes outside of Nashville

– 45 years ago Monday:

Barbecue on Netflix Streaming (Updated October 2017)

NOTE: This is an updated version of a post that was last updated in March 2016.

By no means is this an exhaustive list but here are the barbecue shows and episodes that I’ve found on Netflix streaming. What have we missed? Feel free to comment below and I will update the post.

NEW

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“Barbecue” directed by Matthew Saleh
I recently reviewed this for the first post in the Barbecue Bros Film club. Link to that full review here.

The Layover
The Layover with Anthony Bourdain S8E5 – “Houston” (23 mins)
Bourdain meets with rapper Slim Thug at Burns BBQ in Houston and dines on brisket, pork and beef ribs, sausage, and meat-stuffed baked potatoes the “size of a human head”.

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Anthony Bourdain: A Cook’s Tour S2E7 – “The BBQ Triangle
This was Bourdain’s first food travelogue show from the early 2000’s, and you and from the quality of the video. Before this series was available on Netflix, I featured this episode on a Friday Find post. Here’s the rundown of the part of the episode where he’s in NC:

The NC section (starts at 18:35) visits with Ed Mitchell at his old joint in Wilson to explore eastern NC barbecue and then with Bill Eason (vice president of the NC BBQ Society) and Jim Tabb (founder of the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival) in Marshville to learn about Lexington-style barbecue. Of all the barbecue he tastes that episode, he seems to come away most impressed by Mitchell’s eastern NC whole hog.

OLD


Cooked S1E1 – “Fire” (52 mins)

What’s the closest thing to kind of primordial, fire cooking that we have? In America its barbecue, southern barbecue.

In this episode from the new miniseries on food, food author Michael Pollan goes in search of primordial cooking and finds it in eastern North Carolina and Ed Mitchell. The episode follows Ed and his son Ryan as they pick out a pig from the butcher shop, get the coals started, and then proceed to smoke a whole hog for a small gathering at the end of the episode. Michael and a couple of buddies even try to emulate it on their own in a small, backyard pit in California. Ed also tells a story of how he learned to cook pigs from his grandfather, a former slave. The barbecue section starts at approximately 26:00.

I’ve only watched this episode, but Cooked looks to be a fascinating documentary series that I will continue to watch past the first episode.

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The Mind of a Chef S2E7 – “Lowcountry BBQ” (23 mins)
Whereas season 1 followed David Chang on his culinary adventures (see below), season 2 of The Mind of a Chef follows noted Charleston Chef Sean Brock. In the seventh episode, he smokes a whole hog with friend Rodney Scott in South Carolina’s lowcountry for a small gathering despite less than optimal conditions. Sean also prepares a couple of lowcountry sides with guest chefs. Anthony Bourdain narrates.

 

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The Mind of a Chef S1E15 – “Smoke” (23 mins)
This series’ first season follows chef David Chang and his culinary experiences around the globe. This particular episode deals with the idea of “smoke” and in addition to short segments on barbecue styles, this episode includes ones on Allen Benton’s bacon, as well as a visit by David Chang and Sean Brock to the Louisville Slugger factory to get personalized bats made.

The North Carolina barbecue segment visited Raleigh’s The Pit back when pit master Ed Mitchell was still there and showcases whole hog barbecue. The Texas segment interviews Joe Capello, the pitmaster from City Market in Luling while in Kansas City they talk with the Doug Worgul, the marketing director of Oklahoma Joe’s. Pretty basic stuff, but well shot and produced by ZPZ Productions (who works with Anthony Bourdain among others).

The Layover
The Layover with Anthony Bourdain S2E7 – “Atlanta” (23 mins)
Bourdain stops at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack while in Atlanta to take down some ribs. While some may object to ribs not being barbecue, Bourdain compares it to being “married to a Harvard graduate supermodel, but every once in a while you just want a really nasty girl in cheap heels with a trashy Queens accent who chews gum – I’m saying you want that, not me.”

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Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown S1E4 – “Libya” (42 mins)
While there would be several better episodes from Bourdain’s previous show No Reservations, unfortunately that series is not currently available on Netflix streaming. This episode doesn’t deal directly with barbecue but ends with a poignant scene on a beach on Libya’s coast with the following voiceover quote from Bourdain:

“I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”

NO LONGER ON NETFLIX

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Best Food Ever S1E5 – “Buzzworthy BBQ” (42 mins)
Narrated by John Goodman, this episode counts down the 10 most “buzzworthy” barbecue joints in the US (whatever that means), although the list itself is a bit questionable. Most joints featured aren’t the traditional southern ones you might think of and they seem to want to feature joints with unique dishes like smoked salmon from a place in Washington state and BBQ nachos from a joint in Memphis. At most there are 2 legit joints on the overall list, and I suspect that the other ones may have simply had a good publicist to land on the show.

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BBQ Pitmasters – 3 seasons (42 mins each)
This is clearly the most well known barbecue reality/competition show and has gone through a couple of different formats. It’s first season was filmed documentary style, following several competitors over the course of a barbecue competition season at various events. Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone were two of the competitors followed during the course of this format and would go on to be full-time judges starting in season 3. The less said about the guest judge format of season 2 the better. I’ve tried to watch it but can’t get through a single episode.

Friday Find: David Dawei NC BBQ Tour: B’s BBQ

One man’s video journey through NC barbecue starts at B’s in Greenville.

This is my first stop in North Carolina to start the BBQ Tour.
B’s BBQ is located in Greenville. If you are in the vicinity, the pork is definitely worth tasting

The Pork (as served) was fantastic – 9/10
The Vinegar BBQ Sauce was Awesome- 10/10
The Cole Slaw was too sweet for my taste- 7/10
The Potatoes were OK, but I don’t care for Boiled potatoes- 6/10
The Corn Sticks – I did not care for these – 4/10
Overall Value = 8.5/10

Music: This Time is Forever by The Outfield Back in the Groove by The Outfield

 

Linkdown: 10/4/17

The menu for this year’s 88th Annual Mallard Creek Barbecue, to be held on October 26

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– Cheerwine funnel cake, Thanksgiving egg roll, and turkey bbq are some of the crazy food items at this year’s NC State Fair

– Seasoned Review has a few recent barbecue reviews: Dreamland Barbecue in Tuscaloosa and Hillsborough BBQ Company

– A Kannapolis barbecue restaurant was recently forced to change their name due to a lawsuit from The Varsity in Atlanta; they are now Field House BBQ

Details on the concerts and fireworks shows as part of the 34th Barbecue Festival later this month

– The more you know: history on the “barbecue oven”

– This past weekend’s Whole Hog Barbecue Championship in Raleigh was a family affair

– More from this past weekend: