Grohl: I’m an East Coast guy. I grew up in Virginia, so my favorite barbecue is North Carolina barbecue. It is whole-hog pork, salted, over hickory wood and when it comes off you pull it, chop it and put a North Carolina vinegar sauce on it which is vinegar, black pepper and hot sauce and that’s it, really. You put that on a white bun with coleslaw and that’s my favorite.
Name: Johnny Roger’s BBQ & Burgers Location: 3709 Concord Parkway South, Concord, NC 28027 Order: Small BBQ Sandwich with red slaw and fries (link to menu) Pricing: $$
Monk: Johnny Rogers BBQ & Burgers opened in May 2018 in a Concord strip mall a few miles north of the speedway. Their menu does a little bit of everything from barbecue to hot dogs to fried chicken sandwiches to burgers to salads. So while “BBQ” is in the name, it seems far from being the sole focus.
…And my barbecue sandwich would indicate as much. I didn’t get any smoke on the coarsely chopped pork, which may have well been from a crock pot. The red slaw topping was fine, but the sandwich absolutely cried out for their Eastern NC barbecue sauce in order to get any semblance of taste.
Johnny Rogers advertises that they are a scratch kitchen and perhaps that’s the case for their bbq beans or mac and cheese or onion rings but if my fries weren’t frozen, I’d be very surprised.
For folks in the area just north of the Concord Motor Speedway, at Johnny Rogers BBQ & Burgers I’d go with the burgers or one of the many other items on the menu.
Despite the incendiary words against Lexington-style barbecue (as well as a few mis-truths about beef and mustard), “More Than a Flavor” is well-produced 25-minute documentary that details the history of eastern NC barbecue (from the Wayne County Government nonetheless!). It even has a nice breakdown of the barbecue family tree for eastern style starting with Arnold Sasser, something which I hadn’t personally seen detailed out before – unlike the Lexington-style tree starting from Sid Weaver and Jess Swicegood I’m so familiar with.
The documentary also details the pork industry that is so big in Wayne County, and which nicely lends to the barbecue history in the area.
Description: Learn about the history of BBQ in Wayne County and across Eastern North Carolina in this documentary, More Than A Flavor!
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.
Whole Hog BBQ: The Gospel of Carolina Barbecue with Recipes from Skylight Inn and Sam Jones BBQ arrived on the same day as several other notable barbecue books – Matthew Register’s Southern Smoke, Ed Randolph’s Smoked, and Myron Mixon’s BBQ&A with Myron Mixon – but had to be the most anticipated for a large portion of the barbecue crowd due to Sam Jones as well as the involvement of Texas Monthly BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn. That was certainly the case for me, and the book delivered in spades.
This book is more than a typical cookbook, with chapters covering the history of his family and Skylight Inn, the story of starting Sam Jones BBQ with his best friend and business partner Michael Letchworth, and the resurrection of a family pit that had been sitting undiscovered for 70+ years. I don’t know how much Jones had written before or how much coaching or editing he got from Daniel Vaughn, but his writing is personal and engaging, particularly for a first-time author.
The other chapter covers in exhaustive detail how to host a whole hog party. In fact, I used it as my guide for the whole hog party Speedy and I hosted last month. In 40 or so pages, it walks the reader step-by-step through the process, from how much wood you need to how to construct the burn barrel and the cinder block pit to a detailed timeline of smoking the whole hog. For any first timer smoking a whole hog, I would point them to this book (and maybe our blog post). It gives you all you need.
Outside of the whole hog chapter, there are several recipes for eastern North Carolina dishes, sides, and desserts.
Whole Hog BBQ is full of beautiful photography and wonderfully personal writing from Sam Jones. It is a must-read not only for barbecue books released on May 7, but for any barbecue book released ever.