Friday Find: Rien Fertel on his “feud” with Ed Mitchell

I recently finished the excellent “The One True Barbecue” by Rien Fertel, where he travels the Carolinas and Tennessee and profiles the men, families, and towns behind whole hog barbecue. Part of the chapter “Will Success Spoil Rodney Scott?” covers Ed Mitchell and his previous two restaurants in Wilson and in Durham, though not in a very flattering light. Some of the controversy comes from the fact that Fertel didn’t actually interview Mitchell for the book and instead relied on his 2012 interview of the man plus additional research. Per the News & Observer:

He presents a rocky picture, and Mitchell comes across as an image-crafting marketing pro and a barbecue rogue who cooks his hogs hot and fast. Fertel compares the way Mitchell presents himself, with his bushy white beard and well-worn overalls, as the sort of hyper-Southern gimmick one would find in a Cracker Barrel dining room.

Here’s some footage taken by the excellent Gene Galin (who also does some great work for the Chatham Journal photographing NC State, UNC Chapel Hill, and Duke football) at a book reading at Flyleaf Book Store in Chapel Hill last year where he defends his portrayal of Mitchell and hopes he can speak with him at the then-upcoming Big Apple Barbecue last summer. No word if anything ever came of it.

Linkdown: 11/9/16

– Ed Mitchell is no longer opening a stall at the upcoming Morgan Street Food Hall & Market in Raleigh but the News Observer has more information on his food truck which can be booked for holiday events

– A list of Charlotte barbecue joints from Charlotte’s Got A Lot; I think ours is  a little more comprehensive

– Grant visits Smokin’ J’s BBQ, another no-frills joint in Knoxville

– The When Pigs Fly BBQ Festival is this weekend in Fayetteville and features a whole hog competition

– Summerville, SC is getting a new whole hog barbecue joint in the second location of Swig & Swine

– Elliott Moss is going on a book tour for Buxton Hall Barbecue’s Book of Smoke: Wood-Smoked Meat, Sides and More, and is making a stop in Charleston

– Buxton Hall gets a nice write up in this month’s Our State Magazine

Linkdown: 10/12/16

– Hurricane Matthew causes some supply chain issues for the whole hog barbecue at Buxton Hall Barbecue

– Once again, the train will stop in Lexington for The Barbecue Festival on October 22

– Grant’s latest barbecue stops: Dead End BBQ in Knoxville and The Hickory Pit in Chattanooga

– Thrillist on John Lewis: This Man Spent 10 Years Perfecting America’s Best Brisket

Lewis figured out the exact thickness and material to insulate the walls to keep the heat in too. And because the long, round tanks and smooth edges on Lewis’ smokers are the perfect shape to keep heat and smoke circling consistently through, there’s no need to get up and move product around. Smoke stacks are rolled to a specific diameter. When I asked Lewis what that diameter was, he demurred. These specs are top secret.

– Lewis Barbecue makes the list of Eater’s Heat Map for Charleston for October

– Next year’s Cuegrass will be April 5 in front of The Pit

– Speaking of downtown Raleigh, will they be getting more Ed Mitchell soon?

Linkdown: 6/22/16

– In response to this infamous Eater post last week, Robert Moss reluctantly defends brisket as “barbecue”

Such manifestos are nothing new. Barbecue scribblers have been making inflammatory statements about one regional style or another for as long as we’ve had barbecue scribblers. These days, I imagine, they do wonders for web traffic, but do they do much for the larger cause of barbecue?

– Part 2 of the I-26 guide to SC barbecue

– As part of the deluge of content from Eater’s Barbecue Week, here’s a guide to regional barbecue sauces

– A coarse chopped tray from Lexington #1 and a large whole hog tray from Skylight Inn makes Eater’s 23 Essential Barbecue Dishes in America

– More from Eater: Grady’s Bar-B-Q in Dudley from contributor Robert Donovan

– Available for pre-order now

– The winners from the Blue Ridge Barbecue and Music Festival from earlier in June

– No new information here, but more confirmation about Ed Mitchell’s new barbecue venture in Raleigh’s Brier Creek neighborhood as well as his food truck

– As he moves from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Grant weighs in on the greatness of Georgia barbecue

Linkdown: 6/15/16

– Is Athens, GA one of the great barbecue capitals in the US? Grant sure thinks so

– Daniel Vaughn heads back to Ohio in search of “Cleveland-style” barbecue

– Speaking of which, Robert Moss recently traveled down to Miami (tough job) in search of South Florida-style barbecue

Congrats to Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro for winning 10Best’s Best BBQ Pork Sandwich in NC contest (B’s Barbecue in Greenville took the runner up spot); also thanks to 10Best for allowing us to masquerade as experts for a few weeks

– Destination BBQ’s latest roadtrip covers the first 100 exits of I-26

– Charlotte Business Journal has an interview with Amanda and Paul from EDIA Maps, who you may remember created maps for NC barbecue as well as beer

– Relevant for the newly relocated Speedy: 18 Must-Try OTP Barbecue Spots in Atlanta

Get to know your regional styles of barbecue, according to JC Reid of the Houston Chronicle, though I might nitpick that Lexington-style barbecue is what NC is best known for; my experience has been most folks know about eastern-style whole hog more

– CAUTION, HOT TAKES ABOUND: Although, according to this, anything from a cow shouldn’t be called “barbecue”

– Where to find barbecue in 21 Eater cities

– Ed Mitchell’s upcoming barbecue restaurant (winter 2016) and food truck (!) has a new website

 

Linkdown: 6/8/16

– Destination BBQ has put together a list of barbecue joints along the I-95 corridor in South Carolina

– Where to find barbecue in Cabarrus County (just north of Charlotte), including Barbecue Bros fave The Smoke Pit (our review here)

– For a short time last week, there was a Facebook page for Ed Mitchell’s Que at Brier Creek but it has since been taken down

– Grant’s latest stops: Owen’s Bar-B-Que in Tallapoosa and Adams Bar-B-Q in Cartersville

– Eater’s Complete Guide to the 2016 NY Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

– The Smoking Ho visits FullHouse BBQ in Georgetown, TX

– The Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival is this weekend in Tryon

– Morris Barbeque in Hookerton is 85 years young

 

Linkdown: 5/18/16

– Per Raleigh Eats, Ed Mitchell’s Que is returning, this time to the Brier Creek neighborhood in Raleigh

– Southern Smoke BBQ in Garland is one of 6 Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Eastern NC to Try This Summer

Matthew and Jessica work with farms in their area and around the state to source the best and freshest seasonal ingredients for their businesses. Matthew works with a young farmer named Caleb Johnson, a graduate of North Carolina State University, and his farm: AJ Family Farms. He will check in with Caleb regularly to see what’s in season, and come up with dishes based on the weather. “I buy whatever he’s got,” Matthew says of Caleb’s farm. “Last week he had beautiful green tomatoes, so we did a corn and green tomato succotash over grits. That’s kind of my approach.”

– John Shelton Reed thinks NC needs a new holiday commemorating the Wilmington Barbecue of 1766

– Mac’s Speed Shop in Charlotte may be expanding its original South End location

– Brisket +Tacos = Crazy Delicious

An excerpt from Rien Fertel’s new book “The One True Barbecue” on Ricky Scott

– Speaking of Fertel’s new book, Rodney Scott is bringing his whole hog to Charleston’s Butcher & Bee for a book signing

– However, not all reactions to “The One True Barbecue” have been positive; Ed Mitchell and Wilber Shirley each took exception to how there were portrayed negatively in the book but not interviewed for it

– Buxton Hall Barbecue is throwing a 5 course dinner with whiskey, beer, and barbecue:

Linkdown: 5/5/16

– Interesting from Anthony Bourdain, who had previously declared love for both Eastern NC and Kansas City barbecue

Where to find regional styles of barbecue in NYC, including North Carolina-style from Arrogant Swine

– Robert Moss on “early airport barbecue”

The period between 1930 and 1960 saw a great flourishing of barbecue enterprises throughout the South, as one resourceful cook after another threw up a canvas tent or wooden stand and started selling slow-smoked meat wherever they saw potential customers.

– Ed Mitchell is having a pig pickin’ for Raleigh Homeless next Thursday

– Here’s an example 3 day Lexington Barbecue itinerary

– Midwood Smokehouse once again lands on the Voters Choice for Best Barbecue in Charlotte

– Charlotte Magazine profiles the newly opened Seoul Food Meat Co.

Linkdown: 4/27/16

– NC State University is holding a barbecue camp in June

– Sam Jones and Ed Mitchell are once again part of The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

– Grant visits Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, AL – home of the white sauce and “perfectly fine, middle-of-the-pack barbecue”

– TMBBQ interviews Laura Loomis, the 28 year old female pitmaster of Two Bros BBQ in San Antonio

– A roundup of barbecue cookbooks out this spring

– Bullock’s Bar-B-Que in Durham will be closed for a few weeks after a fire

– The Barbecue Festival in Lexington is a food festival within driving distance from Charlotte that defines NC cuisine, according to Charlotte Five

– Speaking of Lexington, this blog considers it one of the 14 best places in the world for barbecue and we fully agree (although it mistakenly attributes Stamey’s in Greensboro to Lexington)

– Houston Chronicle BBQ writer JC Reid on the pitfalls of defining true ‘cue

Needless to say, a few pitmasters took umbrage with this definition and compliance method. Pitmaster Carey Bringle of the popular Peg Leg Porker barbecue restaurant in Nashville responded on his Facebook page: “I can assure you that (the True ‘Cue folks) are not experts. First off, they are writers, not pitmasters.”

– Potential “Pitmaster General”?

Barbecue on Netflix Streaming (Updated)

NOTE: This is an updated version of a post from May 2014. By no means is this an exhaustive list but here are the barbecue shows and episodes that I’ve found on Netflix streaming. What have we missed? Feel free to comment below and I will update the post.

NEW


Cooked S1E1 – “Fire” (52 mins)

What’s the closest thing to kind of primordial, fire cooking that we have? In America its barbecue, southern barbecue.

In this episode from the new miniseries on food, food author Michael Pollan goes in search of primordial cooking and finds it in eastern North Carolina and Ed Mitchell. The episode follows Ed and his son Ryan as they pick out a pig from the butcher shop, get the coals started, and then proceed to smoke a whole hog for a small gathering at the end of the episode. Michael and a couple of buddies even try to emulate it on their own in a small, backyard pit in California. Ed also tells a story of how he learned to cook pigs from his grandfather, a former slave. The barbecue section starts at approximately 26:00.

I’ve only watched this episode, but Cooked looks to be a fascinating documentary series that I will continue to watch past the first episode.

51cOIV4+zUL._SX940_
The Mind of a Chef S2E7 – “Lowcountry BBQ” (23 mins)

Whereas season 1 followed David Chang on his culinary adventures (see below), season 2 of The Mind of a Chef follows noted Charleston Chef Sean Brock. In the seventh episode, he smokes a whole hog with friend Rodney Scott in South Carolina’s lowcountry for a small gathering despite less than optimal conditions. Sean also prepares a couple of lowcountry sides with guest chefs. Anthony Bourdain narrates.

The Layover
The Layover with Anthony Bourdain S2E7 – “Atlanta” (23 mins)

Bourdain stops at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack while in Atlanta to take down some ribs. While some may object to ribs not being barbecue, Bourdain compares it to being “married to a Harvard graduate supermodel, but every once in a while you just want a really nasty girl in cheap heels with a trashy Queens accent who chews gum – I’m saying you want that, not me.”

OLD

image
The Mind of a Chef S1E15 – “Smoke” (23 mins)
This series’ first season follows chef David Chang and his culinary experiences around the globe. This particular episode deals with the idea of “smoke” and in addition to short segments on barbecue styles, this episode includes ones on Allen Benton’s bacon, as well as a visit by David Chang and Sean Brock to the Louisville Slugger factory to get personalized bats made.

The North Carolina barbecue segment visited Raleigh’s The Pit back when pit master Ed Mitchell was still there and showcases whole hog barbecue. The Texas segment interviews Joe Capello, the pitmaster from City Market in Luling while in Kansas City they talk with the Doug Worgul, the marketing director of Oklahoma Joe’s. Pretty basic stuff, but well shot and produced by ZPZ Productions (who works with Anthony Bourdain among others).

image
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown S1E4 – “Libya” (42 mins)
While there would be several better episodes from Bourdain’s previous show No Reservations, unfortunately that series is not currently available on Netflix streaming. This episode doesn’t deal directly with barbecue but ends with a poignant scene on a beach on Libya’s coast with the following voiceover quote from Bourdain:

“I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”

NO LONGER ON NETFLIX

image
Best Food Ever S1E5 – “Buzzworthy BBQ” (42 mins)

Narrated by John Goodman, this episode counts down the 10 most “buzzworthy” barbecue joints in the US (whatever that means), although the list itself is a bit questionable. Most joints featured aren’t the traditional southern ones you might think of and they seem to want to feature joints with unique dishes like smoked salmon from a place in Washington state and BBQ nachos from a joint in Memphis. At most there are 2 legit joints on the overall list, and I suspect that the other ones may have simply had a good publicist to land on the show.

image
BBQ Pitmasters – 3 seasons (42 mins)

This is clearly the most well known barbecue reality/competition show and has gone through a couple of different formats. It’s first season was filmed documentary style, following several competitors over the course of a barbecue competition season at various events. Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone were two of the competitors followed during the course of this format and would go on to be full-time judges starting in season 3. The less said about the guest judge format of season 2 the better. I’ve tried to watch it but can’t get through a single episode.