Monk: Aaron Franklin takes Huckberry on a trip down memory lane at his salvage yard before he turns his attention towards welding an old Schwinn to a rotisserie smoker for this year’s Hot Luck Festival, which took place earlier this year in Austin.
Description: Who do you call when you need a rotisserie made from an old bicycle? Apparently, Aaron Franklin…
We caught up with the BBQ Chef and self-proclaimed “tinker-er” a week ahead of Hot Luck, a food festival he founded, while in the middle of a project for the festival: a peddle-powered rotisserie, fashioned from an old Schwinn Bicycle.
Along the way Aaron gives a tour of his workshop and personal salvage yard where he works on welding projects for Hot Luck and beyond. In Aaron’s words: he started welding “out of necessity” because to make a good cooker you “have to be someone who cooks.”
The Southern Foodways Alliance presents a barbecue sides bracket for their contribution to this year’s March Madness. Vote now as we’re already in the Final Four, with the Championship tomorrow and the winner announced Friday.
If true, not a good look for Noble Smoke
D.G. Martin seeks input from readers on NC eateries off interstate highways for the next edition of “North Carolina Roadside Eateries”
BBQ Fest on the Neuse wants to know: are you team slaw or not?
Archibald’s BBQ is celebrating 60 years open this year
Adrian Miller on the dearly departed Boney’s Smokehouse in Denver
“Order anything but brisket”; Arthur Bryant’s pleads customers to not order their most popular cut due to rising beef prices
Franklin Barbecue’s new sauce is Spicy
J.C. Reid on Roegels Barbecue in Katy
...but I gotta say, it reminds me of the infamous “Brooklyn BBQ” meme
North Carolina has lost another classic barbecue joint; Smiley’s Lexington BBQ officially closed this past weekend as a result of the NC DOT widening of Winston Road. Restaurant owner Steve Yountz and his wife, Tena, have no official plans to relocate the restaurant as of now but are not ruling it out either, depending on how much money they get from the state. For now, they are going to take some time to evaluate their options.
The building housing Smiley’s has been a barbecue restaurant for over 70 years and according to Yountz, ““It’s the oldest pit-cooking restaurant in Lexington. We’re still using the original pits.” Before Yountz opened Smiley’s in 2002, it operated as Southern Barbecue from 1963 to 1998 and started as Dan’s in the 1950’s.
This NC DOT project, first announced in 2018 and not set to begin until July 2023, actually has two victims as Speedy’s Barbecue the next block over is also closing due to the road widening.
Through the Preserve the Pit fellowship, Ron Simmons of Master Blend Farms in Kenansville was able to add 56 acres to his family farm and add barbecue catering as a side gig
Big Belly Que in Chapel Hill is pivoting to Italian for the time being
Lechon Latin BBQ is a new-ish, Latin-focused barbecue restaurant at Raleigh’s Triangle Town Center
Noble Smoke’s second location at Optimist Hall opens this Sunday
Congrats to Garren and Kelly from Jon G’s, who 2 years ago on Sunday closed on the former Barbee’s Barbecue location, which they would open in June 2020 just a few months into the pandemic
Texas barbecue James Beard semifinalists
Robert Sietsema’s latest barbecue guide for Eater NY
Juicy Lucia and Di Fara Pizzeria will be located in the former Corner House BBQ on Staten Island
Virgie’s is back
Lewis Barbecue is set to open their Greenville location this summer
Snow’s Barbecue by Robert Jacob Lerma for Huckberry
According to Dave Grohl, salt and pepper is all the rub you need for a great brisket
Aaron Franklin’s Hot Luck Festival is back and has added NC band Superchunk to its music lineup
Here’s a list of the chefs that will be at Hot Luck
Should we call this the Memphis Airport Barbecue Challenge?
I covered this on the Facebook page briefly a few weeks back, but Smiley’s Lexington BBQ has officially announced its closing due to the NCDOT widening of Winston Road in Lexington. This widening was first announced in 2018 with a start date in summer 2020 but had likely been delayed due to the pandemic.
While owner Steve Yountz is not ready to retire just yet, per him “right now there is no definite plans on relocating as far as availably and affordability.” Patrons will have until February 26 to dine at the current location of Smiley’s before it closes its doors for good.
Nearby barbecue restaurant Speedy’s is also expected to close as a result of the road widening, however they are more optimistic about reopening in a new location and plan to rebuild and relocate, depending on the compensation they receive from DOT.
While the optimist in me hopes that both restaurants are able to relocate and continue business in due time, I worry that by next month we will be down two more classic NC barbecue joints.
A helpful post from Grady’s
Applications for the Preserve the Pit fellowship are due March 1st
Tim Carman of The Washington Post comes out with his annual barbecue list, with the wrinkle of releasing it in the winter time when some joints are closed
Carman also mourns the loss of pitmaster Corries Hardy
Rodney Scott and Eric Church getting into the honkey tonk game, and bringing whole hog to Broadway at Chief’s
Loro’s second location opens in Houston later this month
J.C. Reid on the evolution of the “Texas Trinity”
Roegels Barbecue opened their Katy location last week
Eater NY critic Robert Sietsema finds Myron Mixon’s Hoboken restaurant to be mixed in quality
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