Monk: After Rodney Scott and Adrian Miller made some long overdue contributions to black barbecue books last year, we have a couple of new entries in 2022. Matt Horn of the acclaimed Horn Barbecue in Oakland released his new barbecue book (with Adrian Miller giving the foreword) on April 12. In addition to the recipes of what he calls “West Coast Barbecue,” Horn recounts his barbecue journey and how it echoes “the glorious lineage of African American barbecue in the US.”
Coincidentally, Kevin Bludso also released his barbecue book on April 12. Bludso similarly recaps his journey, which has taken him from Compton, CA to the small Texas town of Corsicana.
Rodney Scott’s cookbook last year was the first in decades from a black pitmaster, and we have two more this year from an old veteran and an up-and-coming Michelin-starred chef. Let’s keep it going.
The Kings of Q Barbecue Festival, named in honor of Latham “Bum” Dennis of Bum’s Restaurant and the late Pete Jones of Skylight Inn, returns next month to Ayden after 2 years off
Name: The Pedalin’ Pig Date: 12/28/17 Address: 4235 Hwy 105 South, Banner Elk, NC 28604 Order: Half pound brisket plate with brunswick stew and BBQ slaw (link to menu) Price: $14.95
Monk: Usually, I try to close out my year by taking a short trip to a barbecue joint an hour or two away but this year our family took a short, two night trip to the mountains immediately after Christmas. While the mountains wouldn’t be my first choice destination for barbecue, on our way back from the Boone area we passed by The Pedalin’ Pig in Banner Elk (sadly, our first choice Old Hampton Store and Barbeque, a wood-smoked barbecue joint in Linville, was closed until February) as we took a Grandfather Mountain detour on our way back to Charlotte so I was able to get in one last review in 2017.
A couple days after Christmas, The Pedalin’ Pig was hopping with with folks stopping before or after skiing at nearby Sugar Mountain on a bitterly cold day. Each of the dining rooms were more or less packed and there was a line out the door. The wait for larger parties went upwards of 45 minutes by the time we left but our party of 4 was able to be seated in less than 5 minutes.
Mrs. Monk ordered the half pound pulled pork plate while I ordered the brisket plate, allowing us to combine our powers into a 2-meat combo plate (which isn’t an option on the menu). According to my handy dandy NC BBQ Map, they use a wood-assisted gasser (my guess would be a Southern Pride) but they were able to get some decent bark on the pork. Mrs. Monk’s half-pound portion had plenty of it mixed in and the meat had a nice smokey taste. The gasser was able to get a somewhat decent bark on my brisket, but the slices were all taken from the flat and as a result were pretty dried out. Still, some decent flavor from those slices of meat.
The bbq slaw was a good rendition of a Lexington-style red slaw while the brunswick stew hit the spot on a cold day. Mrs. Monk’s sides of collards and cheddar grits were equally successful.
And as loyal readers know, outside of a couple of outliers mountain barbecue is at best considered hit or miss. The Pedalin’ Pig is more on the hit side of the spectrum while not quite essential.
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