Friday Find: “It’s Alive with Brad” joins Rodney Scott to make whole hog barbecue

This is definitely one of the better videos on the entire whole hog process I’ve seen. Brad Leone does it all here, from chopping wood to loading the firebox to loading the pig to shoveling the coals to creating the sauce to mopping. He does it all here, Vinny.

Bon Appétit Test Kitchen Manager Brad Leone is back for Episode 31 of “It’s Alive.” Brad learns the art of whole hog barbecue with legendary pitmaster Rodney Scott in Charleston, South Carolina. Join Brad as he chops and mops his way to a delicious plate of barbecue.

Linkdown: 7/11/18

– Adrian Miller, James Beard Award Winner: It’s time to diversity the BBQ Hall of Fame

Of the 27 inductees chosen thus far, only one African American is in the Hall. This is an absurdity that needs to be rectified given the significant contributions that African Americans have made to American barbecue culture.

– What’s the best beer pairing for barbecue? 12 pitmasters weigh in, including Sam Jones

– No surprise here

– Heirloom Market BBQ, B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque, and Fox Bros BBQ continue to be on Eater Atlanta’s refreshed 38 essential restaurants

– Midwood Smokehouse Park Road and Unknown Brewing have collaborated on a smoked malt Helles beer called Heaven and Helles and are debuting it this Saturday at their Hop, Chop, and Sauce It party

– TMBBQ’s best pitmaster pit stops in Texas

– Conyers also earned a PhD in 09 from Duke

– City Limits Q in Columbia (who I still really need to try) is serving smashburgers this Friday at Craft and Draft

– Jon G’s Barbecue will be at the Union County Farmer’s Market in Monroe this Saturday at 10:30

– Not sure if there will be any left at the time of posting, but here’s your PSA

Pecan Lodge – Dallas, TX (Speedy’s Take)

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Name
: Pecan Lodge
Date: 7/21/18
Address: 2702 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226
Order: The Trough (1 beef rib, 1lb of pork ribs, 1lb brisket, 1/2 lb of pulled pork & 3 sausage links), ½ pound burnt ends, fried okra, collard greens (link to menu)
Price: $120-ish (for 3)

Speedy: On a recent work trip to Dallas, I experienced Divine Intervention. In town for only two days with full calendars both days, I was resigned to having to miss Pecan Lodge once again, and based on Rudy’s review, it’s a joint not to miss. I must have done something right over the past week, because a cancelled meeting left me a block of time between 10 and 2, enough time to head to Deep Ellum to try the ‘cue. I brought two co-workers in tow, which turned out to be a great decision.

Monk: The barbecue gods certainly work in mysterious ways…

Speedy: We arrived right at 11, which is right when Pecan Lodge opens. The line was already out the door, which is when coming with friends comes in handy. We went straight to the bulk order counter (minimum 5 pounds), which had no line (hence the great decision to bring back-ups), and we were on our way.

Our number was called after a short wait, and it was time to dig in. Obviously, we had more food than the three of us could eat, and everything looked and smelled incredible. I have a hard time knowing where to begin with this meal, so let’s just jump right in.

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The brisket was heavenly. Rich, flavorful, moist, peppery, and perfectly cooked. It is easily in the top 4 briskets I’ve ever had, joining La Barbecue, Franklin, and Killen’s, and frankly, nothing else even comes close. The brisket seemed to melt in your mouth.

Personally, my other top meat was the beef rib. It was incredibly tender, had an amazing bark, and pulled, but didn’t fall, right off the bone. Honestly, I’d take these two cuts of beef over even the finest steaks. Beef like this just doesn’t come around often.

The other beef dish we had was the burnt ends, which was a special of the day. My two co-workers rated this as their favorite meat, and I agree it was very good, but I thought it could have been slightly more tender and could have used a little heat on the sauce. This is nit-picking to the extreme, but it was a tier below the brisket and beef rib for me.

The pork was also a pleasant surprise. I have had very hit or miss experiences with pork in Texas, but you could have told me the Pecan Lodge pork was from Tennessee or North Carolina and I would have believed you and demanded to know where from. It was tender and had nice bark, and overall was really great.

Monk: Funny you should mention that. I recalled hearing at one point at there was a connection between Pecan Lodge and NC and lo and behold, Justin and Diane Fourton (the couple behind Pecan Lodge) both used to live in Charlotte and met at Selwyn Pub in 2000. So while they both are originally from Texas, they may have gotten some pork knowledge through osmosis during their time in NC.

Speedy: On Rudy’s trip to Pecan Lodge, he raved about the ribs. This was my least favorite meat by a wide margin. The ribs were still good, but I felt like they could have been a little meatier and the outside got a little charred to me. I’m not sure if it was just a sub-standard batch, but the ribs were forgettable, especially when compared to the rest of the meal.

Rudy: Maybe you got a bad batch or I got an overly great batch. You may have also had the benefit of having several different meat to compare it to, and I only had the brisket. I’m sorry that I missed out on the beef rib.

Speedy: Generally, I don’t pay too much attention to the sides when I have five pounds of barbecue in front of me, but it was a different story here. The fried okra was really, really good. Perfectly seasoned and fried. The collards were also amazing and very unique. While I’m used to having bacon bits or pieces or pulled pork (or at least chicken stock) in the collards, these were very sweet – my guess is brown sugar. The collards are not to be missed.

The next paragraph is going to be a little hard to write. As a North Carolinian, I will go to my grave saying that Lexington barbecue is the best single food item that one can eat and that it was bestowed upon man by God himself. All that said, the top four all around barbecue meals of my life all happened in Texas, and this was in that group. It’s just that good. If you get a chance to visit Pecan Lodge – just do it.

Monk: Who in the? What in the? How in the?

Rudy: I have always said that the ceiling on Texas barbecue is higher but so is the floor.  When it is done well, it is great, but it can also be done poorly. North Carolina barbecue is more consistent. I agree that Pecan Lodge is a must visit and if you have to order from the bulk window to avoid the lines, you will never be disappointed.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4 hogs
Brisket – 5 hogs
Beef rib – 5 hogs
Burnt Ends – 4.5 hogs
Pork – 4 hogs
Ribs – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 4.5 hogs
Overall – 5 hogs
Pecan Lodge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday Find: Georgia’s New King of Barbecue

I linked to a great profile of Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque in Wednesday’s Linkdown, and here is the accompanying video from Bon Appétit. I met him at Memphis in May and he was gracious enough to speak with me for a few minutes in the hot Memphis sun and couldn’t be nicer. Bryan is already a star on the rise when it comes to barbecue and this makes me think it’s only going to get bigger from here on out. Keep an eye on Bryan Furman for sure.

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Linkdown: 6/27/18

– The origin story of the great Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque, the next great pitmaster (who’s already here)

Though he’s been a restaurant owner and full-time pitmaster for just four years, Furman, 37, already sits among the greats. Maybe it’s because he swaps out typical commodity pork for whole heritage-breed hogs he raised himself. (“Nobody else was doing that,” Furman says, “Not in a barbecue restaurant.”) Maybe it’s his unique Carolina-meets-Georgia style sauce, a sweet and tangy blend of mustard and fresh peaches. (“He does everything different,” says Nikki Furman, his wife and business partner.)

– B’s Cracklin Barbeque and a few other Barbecue Bro faves are on this Eater list of best Atlanta barbecue

– Eater’s got a list of barbecue in New York City, too

– Meet the Executive Pitmaster for Midwood Smokehouse’s 4 locations, Matt Berry

– Noble Smoke is one of Charlotte Agenda’s 9 most-anticipated restaurants and bars opening in Charlotte by the end of 2018 (wow that’s not a brief title)

– The Takeout has a crash course on Chinese barbecue, which isn’t wood-smoked like American barbecue

– Houston foodwriter J.C. Reid on the expanding role of the pitmaster

Another responsibility is that of barbecue ambassador. Pitmasters are asked to travel to distant locations to cook for an event or speak on a panel. In this case, the pitmaster isn’t just drawn away from working the pits — he’s often absent from his barbecue joint for days at a time.

– 8 Austin barbecue sandwiches that break the mold

– This Travel + Leisure list of the 25 best places for barbecue in the U.S. is based on Yelp and is…certainly a list

– Reminder: Daniel Vaughn’s Smokelandia airs its pilot episode tonight

– Registration is now open for October’s Tour de Pig in Lexington

OooWee BBQ (food truck) – Charlotte, NC (RE-REVIEW)

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Name: OooWee BBQ
Date: 6/15/18
Address: N/A
Order: Chopped BBQ plate with slaw and mac and cheese (link to menu)
Price: $11

Monk: I’ll admit it, the last time we reviewed OooWee BBQ was not under the most favorable conditions and I was probably a bit harsh. It was a a chilly October Saturday at a somewhat sparsely attended music festival in Charlotte. But still – what they served was dry, nearly inedible chopped pork and I reviewed them accordingly. Though I did state in that review that I’d be interested in trying them again under better circumstances.

In the past five years, OooWee BBQ has gone on to open a brick and mortar sore in Pineville but they are still kicking around the food truck circuit in Charlotte. They are regulars at events at my neighborhood pool and they stopped by on a Saturday in June for a day of music at the pool (“music festival” would be a bit overstating it).

In a bit of serendipity, I made the exact same order that I did last time around which allowed me to provide a direct comparison between then and now. The pork came pre-sauced with a tangy red sauce and was much better than what I had tried from them before. Not the smokiest, but at least moist and more flavorful. The mayo-based slaw and mac and cheese were also better than before, although I will say that I ended up mixing the three together, creating a makeshift barbecue sundae on my plate.

IMG_0569Speaking of the barbecue sundae, Mrs. Monk ordered one and in case it wasn’t obvious, it includes all of what I ordered plus baked beans mixed together to make a 4-layer “sundae” into a single cup . And I’m a big fan, though I think it’s kind of hard to mess it up. If every component is as it should be then no problem. But if the pork is dry, then the other sides can help cover it up. Regardless, I think this is the best dish that I’ve had from them and will likely be my order next time.

So OooWee BBQ were much better this time than last while still not reaching the upper tier of Charlotte barbecue. If you do encounter their bright yellow truck around town, I would recommend going for the barbecue sundae.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – N/A
Pork – 2.5 Hogs
Sides – 2.5 Hogs
Overall – 2.5 Hogs

Friday Find: Rodney Scott joins Eater’s Upsell Podcast

Fresh off his James Beard Award win, Rodney Scott was in town earlier this month for the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party and stopped by Eater’s NY office for a quick chat about barbecue and a potential expansion to NYC.

Link to podcast in above link or here

…the only reason he hasn’t opened up in NYC already is that he hasn’t found the right building yet. “The space is very important as well as the people around it,” he says. “You want the residents and the neighbors to be comfortable with what you’re bringing.”

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:

Germantown Commissary – Germantown, TN

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Name
: Germantown Commissary
Date: 6/10/18
Address: 2290 S Germantown Rd, Germantown, TN 38138
Order: Speedy: 3 meat plate (pork, ribs, sausage, fries, green beans) (link to menu)
Price: $23

Speedy: Earlier in my career, I did quite a bit of travelling, which caused me to eat out a lot and eat barbecue all over the country. That has slowed down quite a bit over the past 2-3 years, but I recently started hitting the road a bit again, starting with a client in Memphis. Expect several reviews over the next few months from this neck of the woods, but the first place I stopped was Germantown Commissary.

Monk: Those miles in the car won’t be ideal from a Speedy’s work/life perspective but on the other hand, it should be great for the blog!

Speedy: Germantown Commissary is not really a commissary at all – it’s really just a barbecue joint. It apparently started that way, but after selling some ‘cue he had been smoking in his parking lot for a party, owner Walker Taylor decided to continue selling pork shoulder. It’s got the look and feel of an old timey barbecue joint and my guess is that things have not changed there a whole lot over the years. I was seated immediately and approached by a waiter, who enthusiastically took my order.

In true Barbecue Bros fashion, I ordered a combo plate, with pork, ribs, and sausage. The Commissary was out of brisket (it was late in the day), so I’ll have to wait for the next trip to try that. The food came out quickly and I was ready to dig in.

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As expected, the three meat combo was easily enough food for two people. I started my meal with the pulled pork, which came with large pulled chunks with a sweet sauce already applied. Overall, the pork was tender and I could taste the smoke, but the sauce lacked the tang that I normally enjoy. I also wish it had been pulled a little better, as the chunks were a little hard to navigate. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed it, but i think this pork would suit better a sandwich than eating alone.

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I next went to the sausage, which I thought was quite good. It had a nice snap and a good, slightly spicy flavor. I could taste the smoke, but was not overpowered with it. The sausage also came with sweet barbecue sauce on it (the same sauce as the pork), but it worked better with the sausage than the pork, in my opinion. The plate came with two full links, so there was plenty of sausage. I would certainly order this again.

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Monk: Next time, would you order either the pork or sausage with the sauce on the side?

Speedy: I’d probably stay away from the pork altogether, unless I just wanted a sammie. The sausage I thought was very good with the sauce on.

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The star of the show, however, was the ribs. A full slab of spare ribs was delivered, topped by only dry rub (I was not asked wet or dry). I understand why no sauce was applied – none was needed. The ribs were cooked perfectly, offering a clean bite without falling off the bone. The flavor was great – able to taste a mixture of the pork, the smoke, and the seasoning, which had a hint of spice and a hint of sweetness. My only complaint is that i thought the slab could have been a little meatier, and it was a little awkward to handle, as the meat was not trimmed at all. Overall, the ribs are a must order at Germantown Commissary.

Monk: I predict that Speedy will become a Memphis ribs expert over the next few months. Hmm, perhaps a power rankings of them will be in order…

Speedy: As with all barbecue in Memphis, I entered into this meal with high expectations. While I was slightly let down by the pork, the sausage and ribs more than made up for it. I also want to mention that the service I received at Germantown Commissary was top notch – everyone could not have been nicer. All this means I will definitely be back.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4 hogs
Pulled Pork – 3 hogs
Sausage – 4 hogs
Ribs – 4.5 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs
Germantown Commissary Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Friday Find: House of Carbs interviews Adam Perry Lang

There isn’t much barbecue-specific discussion on this interview with Adam Perry Lang since its more focused on dry-aged beef and the recent opening of his new steakhouse/smokehouse/brasserie APL in Los Angeles, but its still good nonetheless. APL does have a walk-up window with housemade hot dogs and beef rib tacos.

The Ringer’s Joe House talks to bona fide BBQ expert Adam Perry Lang about opening his new steakhouse in Los Angeles, forging his own knives, his state-of-the-art dry-age room, what makes a dry-aging process unique, some grilling tips, and more (3:50). Then House links up with Juliet Litman for a classic ‘House of Carbs’ Food News (51:30).