Linkdown: 10/6/21

Featured

Recently, friend of the blog John Tanner (of John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog) ate his way across the piedmont of North Carolina while making stops on the NC Historic Barbecue Trail in honor of the late Jim Early. Early was the founder of the North Carolina Barbecue Society and driving force behind the NC Historic Barbecue Trail.

Notably, he makes a stop at our friends at Bar-B-Q King in Lincolnton where he delights in the “hollerin’ orders” system and has a great meal. Follow John’s journey below.

Native News

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s BBQ Bowl Week

Non-Native News

Has Texas Brisket Peaked?

Speaking of brisket, Tales from the Pits unveils their top 5 barbecue spots in Texas

The 38th Annual Collard & BBQ Festival was held this past weekend in Gaston, SC

Husk Barbeque in Greenville, SC closed earlier this week

What you can expect at Virgil’s Real Barbecue in Las Vegas

The legend of Joe Burney

Black Smoke cookout and book signing next Sunday in Denver

Southern Soul’s Firebox BBQ Festival was held this past weekend; notice anything about the photo?

Barbecue Bros Book Club: “Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue” by Adrian Miller

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: Of the barbecue books we’ve covered over the past few years, “Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue” by James Beard Award-winning author and self-proclaimed “Soul Food Scholar” Adrian Miller may just be the most important of them all. In Miller’s approachable writing style, he looks to correct the decades of whitewashing the Black (and even Native American) contribution to the revered American institution of barbecue in a very detailed and heavily researched fashion.

In the first half of his book, Miller corrects the historical narrative starting with Native Americans who laid the foundations of the process of smoking as well as the apparatus to perform it on. Whereas Native Americans were not widely enslaved, that is unfortunately where the Black contribution begins. Miller traces from the slave origins to the rise of the Black barbecue specialists who sometimes did the work without the credit of white barbecue men all the way to the modern black restaurant entrepreneurs like Henry Perry, the “Barbecue King” of Kansas City, Walter Jones of Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna, AR, and Jack Patillo of Beaumont, TX.

While the first half deals with the past, the second half explores the current climate as it relates to where African Americans sit in regards to restaurants, sauces, competitions and also looks ahead to the future of black barbecue. Rodney Scott, former Top Chef contestant Kenny Gilbert, and Ed and Ryan Mitchell are profiled in depth while Miller takes a pulse of barbecue recognition today through the efforts of other historians and writers such as Michael Twitty and Howard Conyers. Ultimately, he ends in a hopeful place.

Speaking of in-depth profiles, a minor complaint is that they oftentimes come mid-chapter (some times even mid-sentence) without warning or color coding. Once I became accustomed to how they were used, I found that I usually just skipped past and then came back after I finished the chapter. They are important and oftentimes covered newly discovered Black barbecue figures (such as Marie Jean of Arkansas or John “Doc” Hamilton of Seattle) but I wish they were utilized a little differently.

Bravo to Adrian Miller on writing a comprehensive history of the Black contribution to American barbecue. “Black Smoke” is a must read for not only those interested in barbecue history but also American history.

Linkdown: 6/9/21

Featured

Southern Living Magazine, their barbecue editor Robert Moss, Home Team BBQ, and Swig & Swine recently announced the Holy Smokes barbecue festival in Charleston this November. The pitmasters are still to be announced, but expect folks from South Carolina, California, Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Texas are expected to be in attendance. Here’s hoping it becomes a fixture for years to come.

Native News

Congrats to Lyttle Bridges Cabiness of Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby for her induction into the Barbecue Hall of Fame

Mac’s Hospitality Group, parent company of Mac’s Speed Shop, adds Rare Roots alum Jay Spungin as Director of Operations

Ayden, NC, home to Skylight Inn and Bum’s Restaurant, chooses barbecue over collards for its future marketing campaign

Lawrence Barbecue finally opened at Boxyard RTP this past Saturday

Help name the new Sweet Lew’s Barbeque food truck

Non-Native News

Franklin Barbecue is reopening on 9/1

Eater: “Why Barbecue Sauce is Essential to Black Barbecue”

Barbecue Bible on “Black Smoke”

Matt Horn is on a roll in Oakland

Barbecue Bros Book Club: “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ” by Rodney Scott and Lolis Eric Elie

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: Two of the most highly anticipated barbecue books of the year came out within a few weeks of each other, with “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ” by Rodney Scott and Lolis Eric Elie coming out first on March 16 followed by Adrian Miller’s “Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue” on April 27.

The first half of Rodney’s book is all memoir, recounting his origins in tiny Hemingway, SC working at Scott’s Bar-B-Que the family barbecue restaurant and convenience store. The story of how he got from there to co-owning Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ in Charleston, Birmingham, and Atlanta (with two more Alabama locations planned just this year) is fairly well worn territory if you’ve heard an interview or watched Netflix’s “Chef’s Table: BBQ.” What’s not as familiar or well-known is Scott’s current family dynamic, particularly with his father Roosevelt “Rosie” Scott.

In sometimes painful detail, Scott and Elie describe how the breakdown of their relationship started with some mistrust as a result of Scott’s budding barbecue celebrity. Even though all of his work and travel was on behalf of the family business, false accusations and rumors began to circulate in their small town. And that ultimately led to a severing of his relationship with his father and Scott departing for Charleston and starting his budding barbecue restaurant empire. His current relationship with both his father and mother is nonexistent as of the writing of this book and the press tours he’s done this spring.

The book is written in Scott’s voice, which can surely be attributed to Elie’s help. Scott’s mantra is “Every Day is a Good Day” and that blue skies philosophy is clear when reading his writing. A cookbook written by Scott himself was surely a draw, but adding in an accomplished writer such as Elie only added to the appeal. Lolis wrote a seminal text in “Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country” back in 2005, a book that has been on my radar for quite some time.

The second half of the book is all recipes, starting with how to set up and smoke a whole hog on a cinder block pit in great detail (similar to what Sam Jones and Elliot Moss described in their respective books). From there, it’s all Scott’s menu and point of view, informed by his Pee Dee South Carolina origins.

While Adrian Miller’s “Black Smoke” traced the history and contributions of African Americans to barbecue’s history, Scott’s book actually makes some history of its own, being the first barbecue book by a black pitmaster/chef ever (think about that). “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ” is a must read barbecue book that gives you just as much insight into the man behind the barbecue empire as well as his food.