The Southern Foodways Alliance presents a barbecue sides bracket for their contribution to this year’s March Madness. Vote now as we’re already in the Final Four, with the Championship tomorrow and the winner announced Friday.
If true, not a good look for Noble Smoke
D.G. Martin seeks input from readers on NC eateries off interstate highways for the next edition of “North Carolina Roadside Eateries”
BBQ Fest on the Neuse wants to know: are you team slaw or not?
Archibald’s BBQ is celebrating 60 years open this year
Adrian Miller on the dearly departed Boney’s Smokehouse in Denver
“Order anything but brisket”; Arthur Bryant’s pleads customers to not order their most popular cut due to rising beef prices
Franklin Barbecue’s new sauce is Spicy
J.C. Reid on Roegels Barbecue in Katy
...but I gotta say, it reminds me of the infamous “Brooklyn BBQ” meme
As a result of the latest rounds of conference alignment, the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) will be joining the University of Memphis in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) as a part of a massive expansion with 5 other schools that will expand the conference to 14 teams. Of course, this is just the latest domino to fall after Texas and Oklahoma announced its move to the SEC which led to Cincinnati, Central Florida, and Houston leaving the AAC to join the Big 12.
Regardless of all that, clearly the main takeaway here is that The Battle for the Bones is back, baby! Or kind of…there might be a chance that the original trophy (which reportedly weighs almost a 100 pounds) is lost somehow? That appears to be the rumor according to some tweets I’ve seen on the internet. Surely the internet wouldn’t lead me astray, would it?
Regardless, let’s either find that ribs trophy or create a near-facsimile and get this rivalry back on track. AAC fever, baby!
A lucky reporter is going to get to experience some Peachland Saturdays at Jon G’s
Rodney Scott’s barbecue book came out earlier this month and this week he spoke with Steve Inskeep of NPR’s Morning Edition, and in the feature he opens up more on the current state of the relationship with his dad than I’ve previously read. Sadly, it’s not in a great spot.
“His objection was, you didn’t start this. You’re not the barbecue guy … and he said, you know what, just go open your own place, get away from here,” he says. … “Sometimes I would pass him in certain areas and he would kind of turn his head,” he says. “He wouldn’t even wave if he saw me wave at him.”
However, Rodney Scott is at peace with his decision to strike out on his own, first by opening a restaurant in Charleston and then a second location in Birmingham, AL (with an Atlanta location planned for this summer).
“I want to take over the world with barbecue,” he says. “You could put a whole hog in front of some people and you’re going to get at least 50 to 100 people that’s going to come together and eat. So, in my mind, why not everybody around the world fire up a hog. And I bet you, it’ll be some joy, a whole lot of partying, a lot of smiles. And the world would be a better place.”
Several NC barbecue restaurants are featured in this handy guide of restaurants along I-95 worth a stop
“The heart and soul of the craft barbecue movement [in Kansas City] is located in central Texas”
Monk: I never got those “best of the year” lists that publish in early December, whether it’s barbecue, music, or film (yes, I understand deadlines but stay with me here). What, do they think they aren’t going to potentially eat a great barbecue meal (or discover a new album or film) sometime in the last three weeks of the year? Not me; I’m always going to give myself every opportunity to eat a meal which could possibly make the list. And then I’m going to post that list in January.
That being said, with no signs of the barbecue boom slowing down any time soon, some of the best meals I’ve had yet in the history of this blog happened in 2019. Here were the best of those, and here’s hoping 2020 is full of even more great barbecue.
Honorable Mentions: Brisket and pork from Farmhouse BBQ (review), Whole hog sandwich from Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint (review)
10 (tie). Chopped sandwich with hush puppies and Cheerwine from Mr. Barbecue (review)
Sadly, shortly after my visit in March Mr. Barbecue experienced a fire in their stick burning brick pits that has temporarily closed the restaurant but hopefully they will reopen soon and continue slinging their Lexington-style barbecue to the lucky citizens of Winston-Salem.
Hubba Hubba Smokehouse has been quietly churning out great barbecue from their massive brick pits in the mountains of NC since the early 2000s. They had been on my list for years and I finally got a chance to check them out this year and also spend a little time with pitmaster Spencer Purcell. They are closed for the winter but any serious barbecue fan should check them out once they reopen in the Spring.
9. Bryan Furman’s whole hog and brisket at Sweet Lew’s BBQ (post)
Revenge BBQ is one of two places on this list from an unexpected barbecue location, with Revenge being in the scenic Hudson Valley town of Irvington, about 45 minutes north of New York City. And as is the case with just about any restaurant in an unexpected location, they adhere to the Texas tradition pretty closely and with good results. The brisket shone that day and the Kreuz Market-imported sausages were properly smoked, proving that disciples of Texas barbecue are continuing to spread the message far and wide.
This meal from late December is exactly why I waited to publish my list until January. My previous stop at BBQ King was nearly 3 years before this visit but this simple tray of fresh barbecue on a Friday at 3pm on December 27 reminded me that I need to make it a point to stop by there more often. As should all barbecue fans in western NC.
6. Pork, ribs, and brisket from Apple City BBQ (review)
While Apple City BBQ had been on my radar for some time, my visit this year was completely unplanned and only happened as a result of several detours on the way from Charlotte to the Wilkesboro area for a weekend getaway with the oldest Monkette. As soon as I passed Apple City in Taylorsville right at dinner time on that Friday, I turned the car around and made the stop. Thankfully I did, as it was a fantastic meal of pork, ribs, and brisket. Plus, those deep fried corn nuggets were a unique and noteworthy side.
While the brisket, pulled pork, and ribs were on point each and every time I had Jon G’s Barbecue this year, the Cheerwine hot link represented a cool and exciting development for owners Garren and Kelly. From what I am hearing, 2020 is going to be a big year for them and I can’t wait for more folks in the Charlotte area to be able to try their barbecue. It is our #1 on the Charlotte Big Board, after all.
4. Brisket, pork belly, ribs, and pulled pork from Owlbear Barbecue (review)
I certainly didn’t expect one of the best barbecue meals I had in 2019 to be in Denver, CO. While in the past I would have considered Denver to be a bit of a barbecue wasteland (from a local circa 2013: “Head to Texas if you want good barbecue”), that appears to be changing as part of the nationwide barbecue boom. Owlbear Barbecue owner and pitmaster Karl Fallenius is originally from Texas and previously worked at Franklin Barbecue and has brought that approach to Denver. The brisket rivaled some of the best I’ve had in or out of Texas and the pork belly was the best meat on the platter that day and one of the best meats I tasted in 2019.
3. Whole hog barbecue sandwich and hash and rice from Sweatman’s Bar-B-Que (review)
The simplicity of the whole hog sandwich from Sweatman’s reminded me that, when done right, mustard-based barbecue isn’t some unholy union of sauce and pork. Plus, that hash and rice was life-changingly good.
2. The Miss Mary Platter (Lexington-style barbecue, brisket, turkey, ribs plus eastern and red slaw) and smoked wings from Noble Smoke (review)
In July, Noble Smoke gave Charlotte a true destination barbecue joint and based on several recent visits, locals and out-of-towners alike have shown up for it. I can only hope that with the recent additions of Noble Smoke and Sweet Lew’s BBQ, both in our top 3, Charlotte’s barbecue scene continues the momentum into 2020.
2019 certainly was the year of whole hog barbecue, and that looks to be continuing into 2020 (Particularly in Raleigh, who is getting no less than 4 whole hog joints – Sam Jones BBQ, Wyatt’s Barbecue, Ed Mitchell’s new place The Preserve, and Lawrence BBQ). 2019 was also the year that I finally achieved what I had been hoping to do for several years – smoke a whole hog on a cinder block pit in my backyard. Speedy made the trip into town and the two of us took shifts manning the pit overnight. I was extremely pleased with how (relatively) easy it was and how good the barbecue turned out. For my first whole hog, I couldn’t have been happier (or more tired).
So that’s it. What were some of your favorite barbecue meals this year?
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