I will write up more from my Memphis in May Barbecue Fest experience with the Cotton Pickin’ Porkers competition team once I get some rest but for now here’s a few photos I captured from the festival. More to come…
Ugly Delicious is a new Netflix series brought to us by Chef David Chang of Momofuku and food writer Peter Meehan. Like many shows of this ilk, each episode explores a different food or concept – from tacos to fried chicken to pizza and more. Though technically titled “BBQ”, this episode does explore the food-over-flame customs of other cultures – Korean BBQ in Los Angeles, greens over flame in Noma in Copenhagen (huh?), Peking Duck in Beijing, and yakitori chicken from Tokyo. Those are nice and all (and well worth watching the entire episode) but I’ll focus on the barbecue I’m used to in this write-up.
The episode kicks off with Adam Perry Lang prepping and starting a beef rib smoke at 4am in the morning in Los Angeles. 10 hours later, he pulls the beef rib out of the smoker and serves it up to David, Peter, and novelist Amelia Gray. The conversation over the meat that ensues discusses traditional vs. new and whether barbecue is uniquely American, setting the table for later segments in the episode.
Choice quote from Adam Perry Lang:
“I think the traditional barbecue is freaking unbelievable and I don’t want to change that…but I really look at it as live fire cooking. Beef and pork with fire creates a super flavor.”
The episode then moves to the Whole Hog Extravaganza, a pitmaster convention at the famed 17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro, IL with some serious talent in attendance from Asheville (Buxton Hall Barbecue), Nashville (Martin’s Bar-B-Q Joint, Peg Leg Porker), and Austin (Micklethwait Craft Meats).
At 8:50, they go back to the discussion in Los Angeles on the regionalization of barbecue but I honestly don’t understand the point that David Chang is making here:
“That’s what bothers me is that it became regional because someone decided to take a chance to do something a little bit different. And I hate when things become an institution”.
Huh? Is he saying that he wishes barbecue was somehow more homogeneous throughout the South? How does “things becoming an institution” fit into that at all? And what’s wrong with something becoming an institution? This is not a coherent argument to me.
The episode then takes a detour to Koreatown and Copenhagen from 9:55 until 16:21 before returning back to the Whole Hog Extravaganza in Murphysboro.
You may recall that Carey Bringle railed against the True ‘Cue pledge in 2015, rejecting their claim that true barbecue is only smoked over wood only because he himself uses both wood-assisted gas smoker as well as wood-fired pits in his restaurants. Well, it seems as if he is still at it in 2017:
People get caught up in pits and people get caught up in fuels. And they get really passionate about it. I’m passionate about telling people: “Don’t tell me how to cook my shit.” It’s about what ends up on your plate.
Next, we get an extended scene of Elliot Moss breaking down a pig and explaining his story behind Buxton Hall and why he does what he does (“it’s always been in my heart”). He mentions that being in Asheville means people care about where their food comes from so he uses pasture-raised hogs which are quite expensive. Which for Moss, just means that he uses every part of the animal.
For the amount of labor and love and how many people’s hands touch it, it should be one of the most expensive things you can buy for food.
– From Joe Haynes, the author who brought us Virginia Barbecue, comes Brunswick Stew: A Virginia Tradition out in October:
— Joe Haynes (@OCBarbecue) July 17, 2017
– Grant finds some decent cue but some great fries at Love That BBQ in Knoxville
– Elliott Moss’s favorite spots for hash in his home state of SC
— The Local Palate (@TheLocalPalate) July 17, 2017
– The supposed golden age of Texas barbecue means “waiting is the price you pay for transcendence”
– In search of great barbecue at last weekend’s Windy City Smokeout
– Aaron Franklin with tips to improve your backyard smoker in Esquire
– Stubb’s (the restaurant) will be changing names after settling a lawsuit with Stubb’s (the sauce)
– From the G&G archives
— Garden & Gun (@gardenandgun) July 17, 2017
– Rodney Scott surprisingly smoked ribs instead of whole hog at this year’s Big Apple
— TMBBQ (@tmbbq) June 19, 2017
– The Washington Post’s Jim Shahin has a list of favorite barbecue books this season, and it includes Elliott Moss’s “Buxton Hall BBQ Book of Smoke”
– I couldn’t disagree more but Charlotte Agenda refers to Bubba’s Barbecue as a “hidden gem”
– Whole hog in the most unlikeliest of places? Gravy’s got the scoop
— Southern Foodways (@potlikker) June 15, 2017
– NC barbecue in Virginia at Willard’s BBQ in Reston
– The Houston Chronicle has an article on barbecue camps, focusing on the one at Texas A&M but with a passing mention of a few in NC (though it mistakenly mentions that the NC State Barbecue Camp only started this year; this was its
second third year)
– The Smoking Ho has some nice barbecue photos from his quick trip to LA
– What else would you expect from an Alabaman?
I’m from Alabama. I’ve tried white sauce on EVERYTHING https://t.co/lBpSdDzar6
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) June 15, 2017
– A great article by Keia Mastrianni in the June/July edition of The Local Palate; the print edition is out now
Read about the barbecue men breathing new life into a nearly lost Southern tradition in our June/July issue available on newsstands May 30. pic.twitter.com/2mx7hSHnLS
— The Local Palate (@TheLocalPalate) May 26, 2017
– The Raleigh News & Observer has a new series called “Good ‘Eatin” that takes a weekly visit to local eateries in North Carolina, and it will continue through Labor Day; this week it visits Pattan’s Downtown Grille in downtown Rockingham that has a franken-sauce of east, west, and SC but cooks over wood
– See if you can find Midwood Smokehouse in this cool Charlotte 8-bit art:
— Joey Ellis (@joeyellis) June 2, 2017
– Frank Scibelli – the restaurateur behind Midwood Smokehouse, Midwood Smokeshack, Yafo, and more – has been named a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in the Southeast
– The Daily Reflector out of Greenville, NC has a profile on Parker’s Barbecue in Wilson
– Congrats to Mac’s for winning second in whole hog at this year’s Memphis in May; here’s the deets on the rig they smoked on
— Charlotte magazine (@CharlotteMag) June 6, 2017
– 12 Bones and Buxton Hall Barbecue are on Kathleen Purvis’ list of things to do in Asheville
– TMBBQ on how Texas got a legit Texas barbecue joint
– Some photos from last week’s Cape Fear BBQ Festival in Wilmington
– The story behind Texas Pete, the perfect hot sauce for NC barbecue
— Our State Magazine (@ourstatemag) June 5, 2017
– Grant tries a “catfish” sandwich from Scott’s-Parker’s BBQ, which is not a fish sandwich as you might expect based on the name
— Grant Goggans (@MarieLetsEat) May 5, 2017
– Not a good look, pt 2: An update on the Smithfield’s v Raleigh PD story, which may have been greatly embellished
– Good news from our new-ish Charlotte #1: Jon G’s BBQ is getting a food trailer
– One of the things you may not have known about Cheerwine (but probably did if you grew up in NC): Cheerwine is often the number one or two brands sold at BBQ restaurants
– Three Wilson men were honored by the Chamber of Commerce last week
While the trio don’t date back to Parker Barbecue’s opening in 1946, they have been a part of the iconic restaurant on U.S. 301 for more than a century collectively. Williams joined the staff in 1963 as a waiter before heading into the kitchen to cook ‘cue alongside one of the original owners, Ralph Parker. He stepped into an ownership role in 1987, eventually bringing Lamm and Lippard along for the ride. Lippard started working in the kitchen in his twenties while Lamm started in 1985.
– Speaking of Parker’s, Our State Magazine tweeted out their profile of them back in 2013
— Our State Magazine (@ourstatemag) May 9, 2017
– Could barbecue be why Seymour Johnson Air Force Base near Goldsboro came to be? That’s apparently how the story goes, according to writer Julian Pleasants
And, Pleasants writes with a smile, the Seymour Johnson air base came about when “the War Department, in search of delicious eastern North Carolina barbecue,” designated the municipal airport near Goldsboro “as essential to national defense.”
– Some of our favorite pitmasters – Sam Jones, Elliott Moss, John Lewis, among others – will be in Greenville, SC in September for a barbecue brunch as part of Euphoria Greenville
– The new Whole Foods store in south Charlotte is having a barbecue and bluegrass opening on May 20; no word on where the barbecue is from
– The latest location of Midwood Smokehouse opens Thursday, May 18
– Charlotte Agenda includes dishes from Bar-B-Q King, Bill Spoon’s, and Art’s Barbecue & Deli on this list of 50 must-try Charlotte cheap eats under $10
— Charlotte Agenda (@charlotteagenda) May 8, 2017
– Will Bigham and Christopher Soto of The Improper Pig in Charlotte are doing great work feeding 400 homeless while The Salvation Army’s kitchen undergoes renovations
– Congrats to Luella’s Bar-B-Que in Asheville for 10 years of being open
Luella’s has teamed with Asheville’s Hi-Wire Brewing Co. to create Pig on a Wire Anniversary Ale, an amber honey-wheat ale that goes well with barbecue.
– Elliott Moss is one of Zagat’s 9 southern chefs to watch this year
– Speaking of Buxton Hall, they make the list of Garden & Gun’s fried chicken bucket list for NC
– TMBBQ on Barbecue (the film)
— TMBBQ (@tmbbq) March 20, 2017
– John Lewis joined CBS This Morning and brought some recipes for his upcoming Tex-Mex restaurant in Charleston, Juan Luis
– Great sign at Chubby’s Bar-B-Q in Chattanooga. The barbecue? According to Marie, Let’s Eat!: ehhhhh
— Grant Goggans (@MarieLetsEat) March 20, 2017
– A short video on Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro from The Southern Weekend
– If you don’t know, now you know:
— Grub Street (@grubstreet) March 20, 2017
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.
“Buxton Hall BBQ Book of Smoke” is a book of recipes from Chef Elliott Moss, the head chef and pitmaster of, you guessed it, Buxton Hall Barbecue. It also functions as a coffee table book of sorts with its beautiful color photography. Finally, it also contains narrative from Moss; among other things, he explains the history of how Buxton Hall came to be, his own family history of barbecue, inspiration for the restaurant, and his philosophy when it comes to barbecue and food.
In terms of the recipes, Moss divides the book between pit smoking techniques and meats, favorite foods found at Buxton Hall, sides, and desserts. While this section of the book is heavy on the recipes themselves, Moss still gives a couple paragraphs introduction on each dish so his voice continues throughout the book past those initial pages.
This was a quick read but I enjoyed reading Elliott Moss’s writing on barbecue (his passion is quite evident) and particularly the food porn-y full color photography (something I wish more barbecue books would have). “Buxton Hall BBQ Book of Smoke” will sit on my shelf as a beautifully laid out reference book that I will go back to try some of the recipes and techniques in the future (hello, cinder block pit and burn barrel).
– As part of its Project 543 (named for the 543 miles between Manteo on the coast and Murphy in the mountains), Visit NC has a short profile on Lexington though it curiously says you can “go whole hog” in a city where they smoke pork shoulders
— Visit North Carolina (@VisitNC) March 6, 2017
– Pitt County (around Greenville, NC) is working on lining up barbecue joints for a beer and barbecue trail
– Mississippi barbecue isn’t just Memphis’s lesser cousin
“Gas station barbecue is a phenomenon in the South and especially Mississippi,” Hatten said. “It’s servicing a population of the state that otherwise probably wouldn’t have lunch because they have to get back to work … a family-run joint is the archetype in the state.”
– The News & Observer editorial board: Bill Ellis was an inspiration to employees, all
Now here’s a story every North Carolina school child should learn. It is that of a kid who grew up on a Wayne County tobacco farm in the Great Depression, dropped out of school in the eighth grade to help support his family, worked at a variety of jobs and at 29, bought himself a hot dog stand.
– Marie, Let’s Eat! tries the brisket at potentially the best barbecue joint in Chattanooga’s, Shuford’s Smokehouse
– Daniel Vaughn on smoking barbecue in west Texas, where there are no trees
– Euphoria Greenville’s launch event in April will feature Elliott Moss
– Well this looks dang good
— Jimmy Ho (@TheSmokingHo) March 6, 2017
– More on Wofford College’s barbecue course held last January
– Barbecue is worth seeing at SXSW; also here’s an interview with director Matthew Salleh
We’re proud to be amongst such good company. ‘Barbecue’ makes the Star Telegram’s SXSW list alongside some superb… https://t.co/SmVcrQsOqO
— Barbecue (@barbecuefilm) March 6, 2017
-From an News and Observer sports writer at this week’s ACC Tournament in Brooklyn:
Which way is Stamey’s? pic.twitter.com/ZAvwTBO4Qc
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) March 7, 2017
Here’s some gift ideas for the barbecue lover in your life. The bolded items are the ones I can personally recommend. Feel free to add or suggest any other gift ideas in the comments below and I’ll update the post through the holidays.