Friday Find: Dr. Howard Conyers on The Trip Podcast

The Trip interviews Dr. Howard Conyers, a SC native who received an undergraduate degree at North Carolina A&T followed by a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and materials science from Duke. Thusly, he is a rocket scientist by day and a whole hog barbecue man by night and weekend in his home of New Orleans. Spurred on by some fingers of whiskey, he and podcast host Nathan Thornburg discuss a number of topics, including Conyers’ future plans for a book and documentary on the history of barbecue.  The status of his web series Nourish is still up in the air, from what I gather.

The Trip is a podcast from Roads & Kingdoms, a food, travel, and politics publication which won a James Beard award for publication of the year in 2017. The late Anthony Bourdain was the first and only investor in Roads & Kingdoms, and they partnered on Explore Parts Unknown, the digital home for the Parts Unknown TV show, for which they won a 2018 Primetime Emmy.

Description:

Rocket scientist and barbecue pitmaster Dr. Howard Conyers talks aeroelastic engineering, whole-hog roasting, and how black pitmasters have been written out of the history of barbecue.

Barbecue Bros Book Club: “The Prophets of Smoked Meat” by Daniel Vaughn

Not that we’re anywhere close to being qualified enough to evaluate books but more so as a public service announcement we will periodically discuss barbecue and barbecue-related books.

Monk: Before Daniel Vaughn was BBQ Editor of Texas Monthly (but not before he was the BBQ Snob), he took a series of long range barbecue roadtrips across Texas spiraling out from his homebase of Dallas. Those trips, along with some profiles of notable pitmasters, form the narrative structure of this book, The Prophets of Smoked Meat, which was released in 2013 on Anthony Bourdain’s Ecco imprint.

Vaughn had been writing on his old Blogspot blog, Full Custom Gospel BBQ, going back to 2008 so was well versed in many of the great and not-so-great joints across Texas. Oddly enough, for a book that celebrates the best in Texas barbecue, for several long stretches of this book (particularly the Panhandle and East Texas trips) Vaughn experienced some quite severe barbecue droughts accompanied by photographer and friend Nicholas McWhirter and a rotating cast of friends and family. Based on this book alone, one might even come away with the impression that outside of a few truly transcendent joints (Snow’s, Franklin Barbecue, Louie Mueller, etc), there’s quite a lot of bad or mediocre barbecue in Texas. I can’t speak from personal experience, but it was interesting to this Texas barbecue novice nonetheless.

Vaughn’s writing has improved from years of full-time barbecue writing but his style here is informal and easy to read – about what you’d expect from a blogger-turned-author. I get a bit of a Hunter S. Thompson vibe in reading Vaughn’s pursuit of vices – in this case the Texas trinity – brisket, sausage, and pork ribs – as well as alcohol (but definitely not mescaline).

In addition to the barbecue roadtrips, there are 20 or so short profiles with recipes of notable pitmasters such as Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s BBQ, Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller, Roy Perez of Kreuz Market, Greg Gatlin of Gatlin’s BBQ, and of course Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue.

An unexpected (for me, anyways) side effect of the book was the descriptions of the vast landscape and terrain of Texas, from the vastness of western plains to the Llano Estacado to the Hill Country to the bayou of east Texas. My Texas experience is limited primarily to the big cities, but this makes me want to spend a week driving in the remote areas of Texas.

The Prophets of Smoked Meat is essential reading for anyone interested in barbecue in 2019, not only because of Vaughn’s position as a BBQ Editor (perhaps still the only such full-time position in the US) but because of the dominance of Texas in American barbecue. As a NC barbecue fanboy, similar to how I felt after reading “Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown,” there needs to be one of these books for NC barbecue. Again, I’d happily volunteer my services for such a gig.

Available anywhere you buy books. Official description:

The debut title in the Anthony Bourdain Books line, The Prophets of Smoked Meat by “Barbecue Snob” Daniel Vaughn, author of the enormously popular blog Full Custom Gospel BBQ, is a rollicking journey through the heart of Texas Barbecue.

From brisket to ribs, beef to pork, mesquite to oak, this fully illustrated, comprehensive guide to Texas barbecue includes pit masters’ recipes, tales of the road—from country meat markets to roadside stands, sumptuous photography, and a panoramic look at the Lone Star State, where smoked meat is sacred.

Linkdown: 6/20/18

– The pilot for Daniel Vaughn’s barbecue tv show “Smokelandia” will air on Cooking Channel on Wednesday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m. Central Standard Time; Sam Jones BBQ is one of the three joints featured in the pilot which hopes to be picked up for a full season

– The story behind the longtime Stamey’s Barbecue which has been in Tyro for 45 years; owner Dan Stamey is the son of the original owner of Smiley’s and may be a distant relative of Warner Stamey of the Stamey’s in Greensboro

The idea for the restaurant came when Dan Stamey picked up a newspaper and saw a building available for rent at $250 per month. At the time, he was working part time at another barbecue restaurant and working other odd jobs. His father, Herman “Smiley” Stamey, was the original owner of Smiley’s Barbecue on N.C. Highway 8.

– Almond Farm in Millingsport will host its first Blackberry Festival and will also sell barbecue as a benefit for 4-year old Tate Whitley, who has leukemia

– You never hear much about Sam’s but it needs Austin’s help

– Anthony Bourdain never visited the Piedmont Triad, but Triad City Beat imagines a “Bourdain Trail” in Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem that includes Mr. Barbecue

– Photographer Wyatt McSpadden has taken some great shots of Franklin Barbecue through the years, from its early years in 2009 through the 2015 cookbook and the 2017 fire and the resultant reopening

– Buxton Hall’s Elliott Moss on 3 barbecue rules that were meant to be broken

– (Carolina BBQ-flavored) Utz is better than nuts:

Linkdown: 6/13/18

– I think this is a pretty big deal. I may be mistaken, but I can’t recall in my 6 years of paying attention Stamey’s advertising their longtime Degar (from central Vietnam) pitmaster Chhanuon Ponn so prominently (though I know they have his photo up in the restaurant).

– Bob Garner’s latest is on Skylight Inn, Bum’s Restaurant, Sam Jones BBQ, and six generations of barbecue in Pitt County:

The owners of The Skylight Inn, Bum’s Restaurant and Sam Jones BBQ all trace their beginnings to common ancestor Skilten Dennis, who began selling barbecue to camp meeting groups around Ayden from the back of a covered wagon sometime in the mid-1800s.

– Huckberry has a short profile on Rodney Scott as well as his banana pudding recipe in their latest catalog

– Garden & Gun writes up Texas A&M’s Barbecue University but they gotta give NC State’s BBQ Camp some love!

– Food writer Peter Meehan (recently of “Ugly Delicious” fame): “Entering a National Barbecue Competition Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time”

I became a guy who was “into barbecue,” which, for as true as it is, is still somewhat painful to type. Talking Heads had told us that day was coming, when you wake up and ask yourself, Well, how did I get here?

(It me)

– Food & Wine on how Jess Pryles became a hardcore carnivore

– Food & Wine also features several other women of barbecue in their latest issue: Pat Mares of Ruby’s BBQ in Austin and Laura Loomis of Two Bros BBQ in San Antonio

– Food Republic: “Do yourself a favor this summer and learn to properly barbecue tofu”
Me: “I’m good”

– Daniel Vaughn remembers Anthony Bourdain

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.

51cOIV4+zUL._SX940_
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

image
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.

image
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: Anthony Bourdain’s “A Cook’s Tour” – The BBQ Triangle

Before “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown”, Anthony Bourdan’s first food travelogue show was “A Cook’s Tour” on the Food Network. In the second season, he visited Texas, Kansas City, and NC – which he refers to as “the barbecue triangle” – and explored barbecue culture for what may have been his first time (at least on recorded camera).

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.

This episode first aired in 2003 on the Food Network. Bourdain has subsequently learned a lot more through his other shows, but it’s interesting to see where he started from. In any case, it’s all a bit quaint.

Linkdown: 5/5/16

– Interesting from Anthony Bourdain, who had previously declared love for both Eastern NC and Kansas City barbecue

Where to find regional styles of barbecue in NYC, including North Carolina-style from Arrogant Swine

– Robert Moss on “early airport barbecue”

The period between 1930 and 1960 saw a great flourishing of barbecue enterprises throughout the South, as one resourceful cook after another threw up a canvas tent or wooden stand and started selling slow-smoked meat wherever they saw potential customers.

– Ed Mitchell is having a pig pickin’ for Raleigh Homeless next Thursday

– Here’s an example 3 day Lexington Barbecue itinerary

– Midwood Smokehouse once again lands on the Voters Choice for Best Barbecue in Charlotte

– Charlotte Magazine profiles the newly opened Seoul Food Meat Co.

Barbecue on Netflix Streaming (Updated)

NOTE: This is an updated version of a post from May 2014. 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


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.

51cOIV4+zUL._SX940_
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.

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.”

OLD

image
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).

image
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

image
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.

image
BBQ Pitmasters – 3 seasons (42 mins)

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.