Congrats to Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque for his James Beard Award semifinal nomination!
Veteran Charlotte restaurateur Pierre Bader closes City Smoke, cites that he doesn’t “see any growth in the barbecue business in Charlotte.” I would argue that he might have seen growth had his restaurant’s barbecue been better (they were 40 out of 42 on our list before their close)
Local Charlotte barbecue guy Jack Arnold recently had his Instagram hacked but thankfully has since recovered it
A new barbecue cookbook is coming from photographer Ken Goodman:
Wilson gets a new barbecue restaurant in New South BBQ, which takes an “international house of barbecue” approach
Longleaf Swine (nice name), a food truck caterer in Raleigh, is going brick and mortar in the Transfer Co. Food Hall
The Free Times in Columbia breaks down barbecue restaurants both local and within a few hours drive
Food and Wine is loving Columbia, SC and thinks you should try to the hash: “Don’t fill up on grits, because you must also try the barbecue, which will be pork, served along with that could-stop-traffic yellow sauce, and a side of that curiously delicious regional specialty, hash, which is nearly always served over rice. Essentially a stew of all the animal parts you probably wouldn’t eat separately, hash might come off a tad musky for some, but this is nose-to-tail cooking at its finest.”
I wonder how the folks in Texas are reacting to this:
For Kathleen Purvis’s last story as Charlotte Observer food writer, she takes a look at the fried pork skins at Sweet Lew’s BBQ as well as the fried chicken skin from Yolk. I love her writing and look forward to seeing what she does next.
– 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
– READ THIS NOW: This doozy of an article in this week’s New Yorker from James Beard-nominated writer Lauren Collins explores America’s most political food; it was based on a Charlotte Observer article from the awesome Kathleen Purvis on Maurice’s Piggy Park from last December
In 1964, Maurice Bessinger was the president of the National Association for the Preservation of White People. On August 12th of that year, Anne Newman and a friend drove to the West Columbia Piggie Park. They stopped outside the lot for curbside service. A waitress emerged and, seeing that they were black, returned to the building without speaking to them. Then a man with a pad approached the car but refused to take their order, even though white customers were being served. In Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc., the district court asserted that “the fact that Piggie Park at all six of its eating places denies full and equal service to Negroes because of their race is uncontested and completely established by evidence,” but it concluded that the restaurants, because they were principally drive-ins, weren’t subject to the public-accommodation provision of the Civil Rights Act. When a higher court reversed the ruling, Bessinger appealed to the Supreme Court, claiming that being forced to serve black people violated his religious principles. He lost, in a unanimous decision.
– The Atlanta Journal Constitution reviews Texas-style Das BBQ; our review to come in a couple of weeks
– A sneak peek at the Juan Luis menu from John Lewis; the Tex-Mex spinoff will open in downtown Charleston later this spring
– A McRib-style sandwich made with actual smoked rib meat
– Grant tries some decent chopped beef at Hwy 58 BBQ in Ooltewah, TN
– Eater: 17 Essential Dallas-Fort Worth Barbecue Destinations
– Chef Vivian Howard’s favorite barbecue restaurants include B’s Barbecue and Skylight Inn
– Confirmation that Chef Jim Noble’s barbecue restaurant has gone mobile
– Fuller’s Old Fashioned Barbecue has reopened in Fayetteville after the original Lumberton location closed due to damage from Hurricane Matthew
– EDIA Maps is selling a NC BBQ and Beer Map combo pack
Name: Palmetto Pig Barbecue Restaurant
Address: 530 Devine St, Columbia, SC 29201
Order: Barbecue sandwich with sweet tea (link to menu)
Monk: After a stop at True BBQ, I researched and decided what the second and last stop of my quick SC sojourn would be while partaking at The Flying Saucer in downtown Columbia. There may have been a better option for barbecue (Little Pigs remains on my list), but Palmetto Pig Barbecue Restaurant was very convenient to the Saucer’s downtown location, mere blocks away, so in the end that won the day.
Had I been spending more than two hours in Columbia, I would have been a little hungrier by the time I got to Palmetto Pig but after a small plate at True BBQ and my requisite three beers at the Saucer, I skipped the buffet and opted for just a sammie. I also skipped the mustard this time around and went for the spicy vinegar sauce.
And what a huge sammie it was. In my haste I didn’t notice how well the pork was smoked or whether I could taste any wood smoke but my hunch is that the pork, though tender as it was, is heavily dependent on whichever sauce you choose. The spicy vinegar was indeed spicy; gotta say, I didn’t look twice at the Texas Pete on the table. And did I mention how big it was? It was a good sandwich overall, albeit a little on the pricey side.
While I can’t say that I got a complete feeling for all of the barbecue offerings at Palmetto Pig Barbecue Restaurant, I did get a nice sandwich that did the trick.
Atmosphere – 3 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs
– Now open as of this past Monday:
– Some jerk stole Ashley Christensen’s smoker (a gift from Nick Pihakis) and here’s how to spot it if you happen to come across one similar
This one has bright red, heavy steel latches on the front that my uncle Marty fabricated and installed after the cooker arrived and we discovered that the existing latches were a little light duty for the hard-core nature of the cooker.
It has a large handle on one side that allows a single person to flip a 200-pound pig (which comes in handy in the middle of the night when all of your whiskey-drinking “assisting” pals have passed out in lawn chairs by the fire barrel). It also has a wood compartment on the trailer, sick-shiny chrome rims, and three chimneys.
– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits Peak Brothers Bar-B-Q in Waverly, KY and has his favorite meal of his Kentucky trip
– In praise of barbecue chicken, the so-called “second fiddle of the barbecue world”, by Robert Moss
– The Panthers are selling a 15-1 burger topped with 15 oz of pulled pork for $15.01 at this weekend’s game (h/t)
– You can earn $1000 and help Home Team BBQ of Charleston by finding and turning in a missing notebook with key information on their upcoming location
– Congrats to Sam Jones on the opening of his new barbecue joint in Greenville, NC last week and continuing the tradition of wood-cooked barbecue
A decade back, those of us who make a living writing about and documenting barbecue were worried. Honest, wood-cooked barbecue was imperiled, we said. Pitmasters who dedicated their lives to firing pits and flipping hogs were atavistic, we worried, wheezing their way toward foregone retirement.
I’m pleased to report that we seers of ‘cue were wrong. We lacked vision. We lacked heart. Evidence of our errors of belief is seemingly everywhere. Traditional barbecue is now in renaissance.
– More on Sam Jones and his role as fire chief in Ayden from the Southern Foodways Alliance and Chicago Tribune writer Kevin Pang
– Food Republic has a guide on where to eat in Columbia, SC that includes a couple of barbecue joints including Hite’s BBQ, True BBQ, and Big Boy’s Original Smokehouse
– Pork ribs in Mississippi changed Adam Perry Lang’s life
– Charlotte Agenda thinks Midwood Smokehouse has one of the best non-traditional tacos in the city
– On so-called “nouveau ‘cue” and the supersizing of barbecue
– Thanksgiving is coming, so here’s a homemade mac and cheese recipe from Midwood Smokehouse
– Rodney Scott has influenced Sean Brock. Here’s how:
– The history of smoking with mesquite wood
– Marie, Let’s Eat! makes a quick sojourn to SC and visits Hite’s and Little Pigs in the Columbia area, as well as Dennis’ Bar-B-Q on the way back home
– Washington Post’s glossary of NC barbecue terms and where to eat in NC
– Washington Post’s Jim Shahin: Why North Carolina’s Barbecue Scene is Still Smoldering
North Carolina barbecue is certainly at a crossroads, one that gets to the heart of questions about identity and authenticity, and the survival of pit-smoked pork establishments that eschew the everything-for-everybody approach once seemed unlikely. But Skylight Inn and Lexington Barbecue are on track to maybe prove that prediction wrong. And new places such as Picnic and Buxton Hall are helping spark a resurgence in creativity and respect for heritage that may help revive the scene. North Carolina barbecue might someday be removed from the endangered-species list, after all. I’ll hold off on that autopsy for now.
– Robert Moss examines the different types of pits you might encounter in the southeastern US
– For the home smoker, here are the best smokers under $500
– The Raleigh News & Observer likes The Blistered Pig in Apex
– Johnny Fugitt profiles Smoke House in Newport, RI for Opportunity Lives
– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits Chicken Comer in Columbus, GA
– Burger Mary explains the peach paper that is all the rage for brisket smokers
– Laura Maniec has expanded her Corkbuzz wine studio/restaurant concept to Charlotte (of all places), and even has some wine pairing suggestions for NC barbecue
Okay, last question. What would you pair with classic Southern dishes like pimento cheese and Carolina barbecue — vinegar-based, of course?
Vinegar is typically hard to pair. For a vinegar-based barbecue I would choose something with the acidity to match. A wine from someplace cold, like the Willamette Valley. I think the sweetness and tart flavors of a Pinot Noir and its silkiness would match the fat of the pork. Or something like a really good German Riesling that has sweetness balanced with acidity. It would almost become a glaze to the barbecue.
– Midwood Smokehouse is expected to begin construction this fall on their latest location in Columbia, SC
– If you want to work at the upcoming whole hog Asheville joint Buxton Hall (opening in August), you can apply here; also, the last pop up before the restaurant opening is this Saturday
– Esquire has an excerpt at how to order at a barbecue restaurant from Aaron Franklin’s book
– Last call:
– Et tu, Scott Avett?
Where is your favorite place in North Carolina? And where is your favorite place to eat North Carolina ‘cue?
Scott Avett: We travel so much, but North Carolina is a great place to come home to. It’s all terrific from the mountains to the coast. I was raised on Lexington barbecue, but I would have to say Skylight Inn in Eastern N.C. is the best on the planet after the experience I had a few weeks ago.
– Queen City Q will be serving their barbecue at the upcoming Wells Fargo Championship
– USA Today’s 10Best has a reader’s choice vote for best southern barbecue; vote once per day here until May 25 although they left off some crucial ones
– A barbecue round table on the state of American barbecue with several prominent barbecue writers and minds
– Elon University’s student paper review Stokely’s BBQ in Burlington
– The last Memphis-area barbecue joint for Marie, Let’s Eat! is Germantown Commissary
– One man’s thoughts on barbecue snobbery
In conclusion, let’s just all agree to eat more barbecue. Tell the barbecue snobs to take a hike and chill out. You can compete against someone if you enjoy that kind of thing. It won’t bother me (as long as I get to eat some of it). In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the kind of barbecue sauce I like and you can enjoy the kind of barbecue sauce you like — mustard, mayonnaise, tomato — it makes no difference to me. Everyone will be happy, and as John Steinbeck once wrote, “Once again the world was spinning in greased grooves.”
– At Midway BBQ in Buffalo, SC (south east of Spartanburg), Amy and Jay Allen are keeping the barbecue tradition of her father alive and hash is the best seller on the menu
– Brisket prices are headed back down
– A burger chain that was owned by the same restaurant group as Midwood Smokehouse was sold yesterday but in other news a Columbia, SC location is coming!
Owner Frank Scibelli and his team will now focus on new concepts and growing Midwood Smokehouse, which will expand to Columbia, S.C., where they’re currently working out a lease. And there’s no need to worry Midwood Smokehouse will be sold anytime soon, he says. For the near future, at least, it will stay a Charlotte restaurant.
– For those that will be in Asheville this weekend
– How Do You Spell Barbecue? Personally, I go with “barbecue”
Back in the 18th century, there were almost as many ways to spell barbecue as there were people cooking it: barbacue, barbicu, borbecue. In his diary entry for September 18, 1773, George Washington recorded that he attended, “a Barbicue of my own giving at Accotink.”
He may have been the Father of our Country, but Washington’s spelling didn’t stick. By the time of the Civil War, Americans had settled on two primary versions—barbecue and barbeque—and that’s as close as we’ve come to consensus. The North Carolina Barbecue Society has come down on the side of the “c”, but their neighbors in the Palmetto State, home of the South Carolina Barbeque Association, are more prone to go with the “q,” as are the folks out in Missouri in the Kansas City Barbeque Society.
– Southport has a new barbecue restaurant in Terry’s North Carolina Bar-B-Que & Ribs
– Zagat: Arrogant Swine brings Carolina ‘Cue to Brooklyn
– Speaking of Arrogant Swine, I haven’t linked to a Tyson Ho blog entry on SeriousEats in a few weeks, but here’s a link to his latest, on changing his menu and taking feedback; if you haven’t read the whole series, do yourself a favor and catch up asap
We’ve already cut two items from the menu: turkey legs and corn pone. There’s a certain amount of market efficiency when it comes to a barbecue menu. Certain items appear everywhere because they’re guaranteed hits: brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and chicken are time-tested and reliable. Sometimes you win big when you go against the grain, but for the most part one would do well to heed the wisdom of crowds.
– The SC Barbecue Trail marketing campaign (specifically the web series) wins some accolades by highlighting the state’s barbecue tradition
– An Army veteran has opened a NC barbecue restaurant in Tampa, Three Brothers BBQ Smokehouse
– Austin writer Matthew Odam picks apart a recent WSJ article on Austin barbecue that just plain got some things wrong
– Marie, Let’s Eat! begins their 12 chapter (!!) circumnavigation of barbecue restaurants in South Carolina and eastern North Carolina with Maurice’s in Columbia, some less than great places around Florence, and Parker’s in Wilson