Linkdown: 3/22/17

– Will Bigham and Christopher Soto of The Improper Pig in Charlotte are doing great work feeding 400 homeless while The Salvation Army’s kitchen undergoes renovations

– Congrats to Luella’s  Bar-B-Que in Asheville for 10 years of being open

Luella’s has teamed with Asheville’s Hi-Wire Brewing Co. to create Pig on a Wire Anniversary Ale, an amber honey-wheat ale that goes well with barbecue.

– Elliott Moss is one of Zagat’s 9 southern chefs to watch this year

– Speaking of Buxton Hall, they make the list of Garden & Gun’s fried chicken bucket list for NC

– TMBBQ on Barbecue (the film)

– John Lewis joined CBS This Morning and brought some recipes for his upcoming Tex-Mex restaurant in Charleston, Juan Luis

– Great sign at Chubby’s Bar-B-Q in Chattanooga. The barbecue? According to Marie, Let’s Eat!: ehhhhh

– A short video on Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro from The Southern Weekend

– If you don’t know, now you know:

Barbecue Bros Book Club: Buxton Hall BBQ Book of Smoke by Elliott Moss

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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.

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“Buxton Hall BBQ Book of Smoke” is a book of recipes from Chef Elliott Moss, the head chef and pitmaster of, you guessed it, Buxton Hall Barbecue. It also functions as a coffee table book of sorts with its beautiful color photography. Finally, it also contains narrative from Moss; among other things, he explains the history of how Buxton Hall came to be, his own family history of barbecue, inspiration for the restaurant, and his philosophy when it comes to barbecue and food.

In terms of the recipes, Moss divides the book between pit smoking techniques and meats, favorite foods found at Buxton Hall, sides, and desserts. While this section of the book is heavy on the recipes themselves, Moss still gives a couple paragraphs introduction on each dish so his voice continues throughout the book past those initial pages.

This was a quick read but I enjoyed reading Elliott Moss’s writing on barbecue (his passion is quite evident) and particularly the food porn-y full color photography (something I wish more barbecue books would have). “Buxton Hall BBQ Book of Smoke” will sit on my shelf as a beautifully laid out reference book that I will go back to try some of the recipes and techniques in the future (hello, cinder block pit and burn barrel).

Monk

The Best Barbecue We Ate in 2016

Whole hog pulled pork plate

Whole hog pulled pork plate from Buxton Hall Barbecue

Q: What was the best barbecue (new or old) that you ate in 2016?

Monk: 

  • Whole hog barbecue from Buxton Hall Barbecue, Asheville – It’s simply a revelation that you can find true eastern NC/Pee Dee whole hog in the mountains of NC. I can’t wait to get back to Buxton Hall.
  • Lamb belly from Hometown Bar-B-Que, New York – I didn’t quite know what to expect with lamb belly. It was pulled similar to their pork but had completely different flavor profile. I don’t know where else I might be able to try it again that’s a little closer to home but I want to in 2017.
  • Hash and rice from True BBQ, West Columbia, SC – Grant of Marie Let’s Eat! said it best about the hash and rice from this West Columbia joint which opened in 2011: “It’s two-hundred mile hash.”

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Speedy:

  • Brisket from B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque, Atlanta – From review: “The seasoning was amazing, and the meat was tender and juicy. Overall, this was in the upper echelon of briskets that I’ve tasted.”
  • Beef rib from Hometown Bar-B-Qu, New York (above) – From review: “It was seasoned well, providing some bark on the outside, and was cooked to perfection – tender but not overly so.”
  • Chopped pork from Lexington Barbecue – Every year.

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Rudy:

  • Brisket and sausage sandwich from Black’s Barbecue, Austin (above) –   From review: “And it was amazing, because the fat from the brisket was soaked up by the bun, giving it a rich moist taste. The spice from the jalapenos also gave the sandwich some great flavor.  The brisket was the same great brisket you are accustomed to getting from Black’s, as was the sausage. “

What was the best barbecue you ate in 2016?

Linkdown: 12/7/16

– J.C. Reid of the Houston Chronicle: “The death of North Carolina barbecue has been greatly exaggerated”

– The Matthews location of Mac’s Speed Shop is set to open just after New Year’s

– Charlotte’s Got A Lot has 19 side dishes to order at Charlotte-area barbecue restaurants in this Charlotte Agenda post

– Buxton Hall Barbecue is of course on Atlanta Magazine’s list of places to go in Asheville

– Asheville also nabs Lonely Planet’s best places to visit in the US in 2017 list, and Buxton Hall gets a mention there as well

The South Slope area is quickly emerging as a gastronomic hotspot. Housed in a former skating rink, Buxton Hall (buxtonhall.com) offers a modern take on traditional barbecue in this throwback space. Enjoy plates of impossibly tender pork with vegetables cooked in the meat drippings, surrounded by the faded images of decades-old skating figures still visible on the walls. It also benefits from an in-house pastry chef who turns out superb sweet treats such as banana pudding pie to finish off a hearty, hog-based meal.

– The Daily Meal has the best sandwich in every state and for NC it is a chopped bbq sandwich from Lexington Barbecue

– Grant had a great sandwich Duke’s Bar-B-Que in Orangeburg, SC and found a solid spot in August, GA in Cleve Edmunds Bar-B-Que

– Does Georgia have the most bbq joints per capita? BBQ Hub explores that claim but finds that based on some quick and dirty spreadsheets Lexington, NC probably has the strongest claim to that title 

– NC joints get a shout out from Daniel Vaughn in this piece

Despite the difference in preferred protein, I think the closest style to Texas barbecue is in North Carolina. They cook primarily pork, but they still value cooking with wood just as much as we do in Texas.

Linkdown: 11/16/16

– Kings BBQ in Kinston has reopened for the first time since Hurricane Matthew

– A trip to Raleigh should include a visit to The Pit, says this writer for the Columbus Dispatch

– Dallas News documents a roadtrip to Lexington for The Barbecue Festival and then to Asheville for Buxton Hall Barbecue

– Daniel Vaughn with a little shade for David Chang’s ssäm

– Grant visits Nooga-Q Smokehouse in Chattanooga and likes the chicken a lot more than everything else he tried

– Poogan’s Smokehouse has been open for one year in Charleston’s East Bay

– How John Lewis made his way from Texas to Charleston

Linkdown: 11/9/16

– Ed Mitchell is no longer opening a stall at the upcoming Morgan Street Food Hall & Market in Raleigh but the News Observer has more information on his food truck which can be booked for holiday events

– A list of Charlotte barbecue joints from Charlotte’s Got A Lot; I think ours is  a little more comprehensive

– Grant visits Smokin’ J’s BBQ, another no-frills joint in Knoxville

– The When Pigs Fly BBQ Festival is this weekend in Fayetteville and features a whole hog competition

– Summerville, SC is getting a new whole hog barbecue joint in the second location of Swig & Swine

– Elliott Moss is going on a book tour for Buxton Hall Barbecue’s Book of Smoke: Wood-Smoked Meat, Sides and More, and is making a stop in Charleston

– Buxton Hall gets a nice write up in this month’s Our State Magazine

Friday Find: Bon Apetit’s Best New BBQ Joint in America

If you recall, back in the late summer Bon Appétit named Buxton Hall Barbecue one of America’s 10 best new restaurants. As a result of that, they also created a short film on Elliott Moss and his journey to open his whole hog barbecue restaurant.

Buxton Hall’s chef and pitmaster Elliott Moss will be the first to tell you he’s not classically trained. In fact, he got his start in the kitchen of a South Carolina Chick-fil-A. After years of chasing his dream of opening up a BBQ restaurant, Moss opened Buxton Hall in Asheville, NC.

Monk

 

 

 

Linkdown: 10/12/16

– Hurricane Matthew causes some supply chain issues for the whole hog barbecue at Buxton Hall Barbecue

– Once again, the train will stop in Lexington for The Barbecue Festival on October 22

– Grant’s latest barbecue stops: Dead End BBQ in Knoxville and The Hickory Pit in Chattanooga

– Thrillist on John Lewis: This Man Spent 10 Years Perfecting America’s Best Brisket

Lewis figured out the exact thickness and material to insulate the walls to keep the heat in too. And because the long, round tanks and smooth edges on Lewis’ smokers are the perfect shape to keep heat and smoke circling consistently through, there’s no need to get up and move product around. Smoke stacks are rolled to a specific diameter. When I asked Lewis what that diameter was, he demurred. These specs are top secret.

– Lewis Barbecue makes the list of Eater’s Heat Map for Charleston for October

– Next year’s Cuegrass will be April 5 in front of The Pit

– Speaking of downtown Raleigh, will they be getting more Ed Mitchell soon?

Roadtrip: Western NC Barbecue and Brewery Tour


Autumn in North Carolina usually means heading to the mountains to see the leaves turn, go apple picking, or just feel true fall weather (especially when it can occasionally stay in the 90’s until late October in the Piedmont). From Charlotte, its but a short 2-hour drive to Asheville via US-74/I-26. While it may not be physically possible to hit all of the spots below, if one were to pick and choose from the list below I’m pretty confident he or she could have a pretty great time.

Monk

Heading West (Shelby)

Heading west, Shelby is a town about 45 minutes from Charlotte and home to two competing barbecue restaurants under the name “Bridges” – Alston Bridges Barbecue and my pick, which has been and always will be Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge (website) right off 74. This joint, a recent winner of both the Thrillist and Garden & Gun March Madness Barbecue Brackets in back-to-back years, is a pretty true representation of Lexington-style barbecue smoked over handchopped wood logs (check the enourmous wood pile out back).

In historic downtown Shelby, Newgrass Brewing (website) has burst onto the scene to be the first brewery in Cleveland County. While there is small plates available at the brewpub, the beer is the main attraction and they have a little bit of everything from your standard hoppy wheat or IPA to Fall seasonals to the occasional sour or gose.

Alternate – A little further down the road towards Asheville, Green River Barbeque (website) is just a half mile away from the main strip in downtown Saluda, a charming little mountain town just off the (you guessed it) Green River. Their beer list is a little on the smaller side but they keep it pretty local. If you’re lucky, snag a table on their small-ish patio and enjoy the crisp fall mountain air.

South of Asheville (Etowah/Mills River/Brevard)

Many of the apple orchards are just outside of Hendersonville, NC and in nearby Etowah the Old Etowah Smokehouse (website) recently opened in a location formerly occupied by The Barbecue Shack. While I never made it to there, the new tenants (led by Mike Moore, co-founder of Blind Pig Supper Club and former owner of Seven Sows) are the latest NC joint to smoke whole hogs the old fashioned way.

A mile or so past the Asheville Airport in the small town of Mills River, is Sierra Nevada‘s beautiful, sprawling campus (website). If you haven’t planned ahead and gotten a reservation weeks in advance, you wont be able to go on the guided tour (the shorter, unguided tour is still an option, however). But there’s still plenty to do – dine at the brewpub, play cornhole or bocce out back on the patio, walk the grounds, or sit by a firepit and listen to live music if the weather is cool enough.

Alternate – At the foot of the Pisgah National Forest, you reach the Oskar Blues Brewery’s east coast operation in Brevard (Facebook page). Here, you can try the beers from  the brewery that started the beer-in-a-can craze back in 2002 (albeit from their original Lyons, CO location).

Asheville

Buxton Hall Barbecue (website) was the first of the new wave of NC whole hog joints, opening in August 2015. Pitmaster Elliot Moss originally hails from the Pee Dee region of SC (specifically Florence) and he brings that style of barbecue to the bustling South Slope neighborhood of Asheville. Other Pee Dee influences on the menu are barbecue hash and rice and chicken bog (a gumbo-like rice dish). However, be warned that with Buxton Hall being named one of Bon Appetit’s 10 best new restaurants in America, you may find yourself waiting.

Burial Beer Co. (website) is just a block away from Buxton Hall, but there is no lack of options in South Slope. Catawba Brewing Co. (website) is literally next door and Twin Leaf Brewery (website), Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium (website), and Green Man Brewery (website) are all within a two-block radius so take your pick.

Alternate – I personally can’t  speak to the quality, but Speedy really dug Luella’s Bar-B-Que (website)

 

Linkdown: 8/24/16

– Buxton Hall is going to NYC in September as part of the Bon Appetit Hot 10 (believe thats their fried chicken sandwich in the photo)

– More coverage of the NC BBQ Revival from tv station WRAL and Eater

– The North Carolina 100 (which posts 100 word “stories”, but thats for another day) list of their favorite barbecue joints

– Barbecue man Evan LeRoy is leaving Freedmen’s Bar to start his own place

– Where to eat barbecue in Austin when you don’t want to endure the line at Franklin

– Also from Eater (I may have missed this from June, can’t remember), an Austin barbecue primer that includes a brief and incomplete history of barbecue in Austin

A seismic shift in Central Texas barbecue lore began in the early aughts with John Mueller’s spot on Manor Road 2001 (yes, related to the Taylor Muellers). He opened the restaurant with little fanfare, but drew loyal crowds and acclaim for five years despite battles with personal issues and middling profits. Mueller also famously employed Aaron Franklin at the register (not on the pit) and the prep station, leading to Franklin’s $1,000 purchase of Mueller’s old pit for what would become the Franklin Barbecue trailer.

– The new Midwood SmokeShack opened out of the blue last Thursday