Monk: Pitt County, NC is home to several classic NC barbecue joints including B’s Barbecue in Greenville as well as Skylight Inn and Bum’s Restaurant in Ayden plus newer ones like Sam Jones BBQ in Winterville. Throw a few breweries in the mix and baby, you got a stew goin’. NC Weekend checked it out 2 years ago when it started and reported back.
Description: Lovers of barbecue and beer can have a field day in Pitt County where you can follow a brew and ‘cue trail, get your tickets stamped, and have a whole lot of fun.
Instead of this year’s Barbecue Festival the 4th weekend in October in Lexington, the organizers behind the festival are instead holding a food and blood drive to benefit the community. The Barbecue Center, Smiley’s Barbecue, Smokey Joe’s BBQ, and Stamey’s Barbecue (the one in Tyro) are all participating by setting up donation tents where non-perishable items or blood can be exchanged for barbecue sandwiches. “Lift Up Lexington” is a positive spin on a barbecue festival cancellation.
From the press release:
On Saturday, October 24th, when more than 125,000 people were expected to gather in Uptown Lexington for the 37th Annual Barbecue Festival, local businesses and organizations will join the festival organizers in utilizing “festival day” to uplift the community.
With an emphasis on giving back and the city’s world-famous barbecue heritage, Lift Up Lexington (#liftUPlex) will include two components: a food drive and blood drive. Event organizers will have seven drop off locations for the food drive which will benefit Pastor’s Pantry. Those who wish to contribute are asked to bring a minimum of five new, unexpired non-perishable items. Requested items include can goods, cereal, pasta & crackers.Read more here
Clyde Cooper’s Back starting today
Southern Smoke BBQ‘s collards chowder is featured in Saveur magazine
Midwood Smokehouse, Stamey’s Barbecue, and several other barbecue restaurants appear on this list of places where presidents and presidential candidates have eaten in North Carolina
B’s Barbecue makes this list of things to do in Greenville, NC
Reminder: you can order Picnic by 3pm today and pick it up in front of the future Wyatt’s Barbecue in Raleigh on Thursday
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: “Tar Heel Traveler Eats” by Scott Mason is equal parts travelogue, memoir, and in-depth description of the journalistic process for a local feature newscaster. Mason has been doing “Tar Heel Traveler” segments for WRAL in Raleigh since the early 2000’s after working his way up through local news stations around the country. Mason has a folksy tone to his writing that is easy to read and the book goes by pretty quickly. While Mason’s writing is easy to read, all photos in the book are stills from the WRAL telecasts of his “Tar Heel Traveler” segment. I certainly get the practical reasons why, but it seems like such a missed opportunity given the number and breadth of the places he visited.
Subtitled “Food Journeys Across North Carolina,” his journey starts with profiles of hot dog restaurants before moving on to hamburgers then barbecue and finally ending with sweets and desserts. Along the way, he visits many of the iconic North Carolina institutions that should be on everyone’s list – barbecue or otherwise. But of course, what I was most interested in were the chapters on barbecue.
After a chapter where he acknowledges how much of a no-win situation writing about barbecue is in North Carolina (what with the east vs west/Lexington rivalry), Mason nevertheless delved into barbecue restaurants after getting his fill of the hot dog and hamburger joints. Despite being born in North Carolina he is apparently not a huge fan of barbecue and would almost always prefer a juicy cheeseburger or two mustard dogs over it. I’ll just assume that’s because he moved to Massachusetts shortly after he was born.
In any case, the barbecue restaurants he writes about his visits to are Bill’s Barbecue (Wilson), Parker’s (Wilson), B’s Barbecue (Greenville), Pik N Pig (Carthage), Wilber’s Barbecue (Goldsboro), and Clyde Cooper’s (Raleigh). Certainly not a comprehensive list, and more a list of easy-to-drive-to places from Raleigh. Each chapter deals with the circumstances that led him to that town or restaurant from his newscaster perspective and how he obtained the footage for the feature story, whether it was interviewing the owner of the restaurant or by going table to table to get sound bites from willing customers. Mason usually has an interesting anecdote or two before reflecting on his experience at the restaurant and closing out the chapter. It’s certainly a different reading experience from other books that might offer more of a profile of each barbecue restaurant, but not an unwelcome one.
If you’re interested in not only North Carolina barbecue restaurants, but classic southern ones, read “Tarheel Traveler Eats” and keep a pen and paper handy so you can jot down all the places you should visit across the state.