Shepard Barbecue on “Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives” S42 E34

Link to Shepard Barbecue website, Instagram

Monk: Guy Fieri was on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina earlier this year and checked out relative newcomer Shepard Barbecue in Emerald Isle. Episode 34 of season 42 (!!) actually kicks off with Chef Brandon Shepard, who with his wife Elizabeth started a barbecue joint that draws inspiration from not only eastern NC but of course all over (i.e. Texas).

Brandon, Guy, and his son Hunter kick things off by putting together the Boss Hog sandwich. They start with the prep of jalapeno cheddar sausage made from trimmings of both brisket as well as pork. After a couple of grinds, the sausages are cold smoked for two-and-a-half hours before another 3 at a higher temp. Brandon does all his smoking on a custom offset stick burner using a mixture of hickory, post oak, and pecan.

For his pork butts, he keeps it simple with just a salt and pepper rub and smoked 10 hours. He mixes in his Carolina Vinegar sauce and puts a tray of that away for service.

Back to the Boss Hog, Brandon walks through the making of his Carolina Gold mustard sauce with yellow and Dijon mustards plus his Carolina Vinegar sauce, white vinegar, Worcestershire and a bunch of spices.

For the sandwich, the bun is brushed with beef tallow (!!) and garlic before starting the stack of slaw, sausage, pulled pork, Carolina Gold sauce, pickled red onions to create a behemoth of a sandwich.

Next, onto the “Spicy Heifer,” another big boy of a sandwich made with prime brisket.

The brisket is doused with a mixture of Carolina Gold sauce and pickle juice before covering in salt, pepper, seasoning salt, and granulated garlic. It is then smoked at 225F for 12-16 hours.

Shepard’s red barbecue sauce is a vinegar-based sauce with ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Carolina Vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, and other spices before taking a smoke bath.

Shepard then assembles the Spicy Heifer starting with pickles then sausage then brisket then Carolina red sauce and finally topped with pickled jalapenos and white onion. Behold:

Among the house made sides mentioned are Helen’s collards (inspired by his grandmother), pit beans, and street corn salad. Congrats on a great showing by Shepard Barbecue to Brandon and his wife Elizabeth!

Friday Find: Brandon and Elizabeth Shepard of Shepard Barbecue on The NC F&B Podcast

Monk: From what I’m seeing on Instagram, Shepard’s Barbecue looks to serve destination-worthy barbecue on Emerald Isle. And based on this podcast with the NC F&B Podcast from last month, he seems to be a thoughtful guy about where he fits in the current barbecue landscape and how he might be able to affect some change for future barbecue entrepreneurs. And it sounds like they are finding success in Emerald Isle, with a move to a bigger space in the near future as of the recording of this conversation along with a new concept in their current, smaller space once they move out.

Description: Brandon Bnice Shepard has discovered his culinary identity and its lucky for the citizens of the Emerald Isle, NC! Despite the grind of making world class BBQ, Brandon partners with his wife Elizabeth to run the front of the house and they stay close to their little girl by bringing her to work to stoke the fire! 

Listen in to hear Brandon talk about what it means to him to connect with his cultural roots to make BBQ. Also, learn about some of Shepard’s culinary heroes like, Helen TurnerSteve Grady and more. It’s a tasty episode!