Shortly after my first visit to Mr. Barbecue in Winston-Salem in March of 2019 (which I greatly enjoyed), a spark caught fire in the pit house and nearly burned the entire restaurant down. Last I had heard, it was on track for a May 2020 opening and brick was being laid in the smokehouse but clearly that didn’t happen as scheduled (which can be excused during a pandemic, of course). Thankfully, the silence was not a bad omen as WXII is reporting that Mr. Barbecue will reopen later this month.
This will be one in the win column for classic, wood-fired NC barbecue joints, a sometimes rare occurrence these days. Of course, Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro came back from the dead last year under new ownership and there are a host of new or announced restaurants that are smoking barbecue the old fashioned way (most of which seem to be in the greater Raleigh area). But more often than not, these older joints are closing (see Allen & Son, Bill Spoon’s, Bill Ellis Barbecue, The Original Q Shack, among others). But not today, Satan. Not today.
Now, just cross your fingers and toes until late February…
Sam Jones BBQ has finally opened in Raleigh and is currently in a “soft open” mode
Lawrence Barbecue is hosting a Mardi Gras Party on February 16
More on Lagoon, the sister “leisure bar” to Lawrence Barbecue
Kingsford Charcoal has announced the “Preserve the Pit” Fellowship to celebrate the Black contribution to barbecue and help aspiring pitmasters through a monetary grant and a hands-on mentorship. That mentorship will be provided by several notable barbecue personalities and pitmasters: Kevin Bludso of Bludso’s BBQ in Compton as well as Netflix’s American Barbecue Showdown, Rashad Jones of Big Lee’s BBQ, Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque, Devita Davison of the non-profit FoodLab, Amy Mills of 17th Street Barbecue, and Dr. Howard Conyers of PBS’s Nourish.
It’s fantastic to see Kingsford celebrate Black barbecue and put their money where their mouth is with this fellowship investing in the future of it. I look forward to seeing who makes the class of 2021 and what they do with this great opportunity. Applications are due by March 1 and the inaugural class of fellows will be announced in April.
A sneak peak of Lawrence Barbecue’s setup in Boxyard RTP
Ed Mitchell will be appearing on this panel alongside Dr. Howard Conyers and “Black Smoke” Adrian Miller on February 10
Stay with me here: Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall will offer “Chucktown-style” barbecue in South Jersey; the owner Charles Soreth was inspired by his trip to Charleston for his Chucktown BBQ pop-up, but no word on what exactly “Chucktown” style is
Brooklyn barbecue restaurants taking part in NYC’s Restaurant Week To Go
How craft barbecue and craft chocolate intersect at Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue
Lewis Donald’s goal for Sweet Lew’s BBQ has always been more than just crafting great barbecue. He is wanting to give back to the community, whether that’s hiring workers from the Belmont neighborhood where his restaurant is located, hosting back-to-school carnivals with free haircuts at the restaurant, and now hiring a barbecue apprentice from the local culinary school at Central Piedmont Community College. Watch the video at the link below to learn more about Keywon and how he was introduced to Lewis. I’m looking forward to seeing big things from Keywon in the future.
While the Ed Mitchell’s The Preserve restaurant is still delayed, starting this Friday they will be offering a takeout/pickup service running out of the Carolina Ale House off Falls of Neuse
Steven Raichlen of Barbecue Bible links to his piece from last summer on the contributions of Black pitmasters to the world of barbecue
The American BBQ Showdown is more “Great British Bakeoff” than “Chopped” or “Top Chef,” with 8 amateur or competition barbecue pitmaster competing against each other in different meat competitions. Filmed outside of Atlanta in pre-pandemic times, it provided a welcome distraction for barbecue fans this past fall.
Hollywood mega writer/director/producer/actor Jon Favreau and LA Food Truck godfather Roy Choi spend two episodes with Aaron Franklin at Franklin Barbecue, first learning about his approach to brisket (S1E7) before participating in Franklin’s inaugural Hot Luck Festival in 2017 (S1E8). Check out our AV Club recap here and here)
This barbecue and live-fire cooking edition of the Chef’s Table series profiles 4 pitmasters or live-fire cooking chefs, with the Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s Barbecue and Rodney Scott episodes being the highlight for American barbecue fans.
In this first episode of the 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.
This episode of Queer Eye helped make the Jones Bar-B-Q sisters – Little and Shorty – international barbecue celebrities when it aired earlier in 2019, but they have been doing barbecue in Kansas City for decades. Their sauce with the redesigned label courtesy of the Queer Eye crew is now a huge seller, with the website prominently displaying a banner reading “Please allow a 7-10 day delay in shipping as we have been overwhelmed at the response and will send your order as soon as we can.” From the looks of the episode, it appears that the newly found fame is well-deserved.
In the Philippines lechon, or whole roasted pig, is the preferred form of barbecue in this nation of over 7,000 islands. In this food custom, a smaller suckling pig is tied around a pole and rotated over a live fire for hours. This episode covers lechon in addition to a few other food customs from the city of Cebu in southern Philippines.
The Taco Chronicles is a Spanish-language food series where each episode focuses on a different type of taco. The “Barbacoa” episode focuses on the lamb/goat form of barbecue primarily located in Mexico and the southern border of Texas, which I’ve never tasted myself but is described on the episode as being “softer than the tortilla it is served on.”
Across two four-episode seasons of the travel show co-produced by the Texas Beef Council, host and native Texan Kelsey Pribilski criss-crosses Texas to meet with some of the best pitmasters in the state. She’s in search of the state’s best barbecue as well as secret barbecue menu items. The first season gets the large cities (Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth) out of the way, while season two is able to tackle more remote locales. Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn even makes an appearance as Kelsey’s guide for the Big Bend episode (S2E1).