Linkdown: 5/22/19

Charlotte Magazine has released their barbecue issue. Several of the stories are below but consider buying a physical copy at one of their newstand locations

Oh Lordy:

The Improper Pig is relocating from its orignal Cotswold location to south Charlotte

A brief history of barbecue, according to Chowhound

A guide to Carolina barbecue sauces, also according to Chowhound

Barbecue and mountain biking: when you want some ‘cue after hitting the trails

LOL from Kathleen Purvis:

Midwood Smokehouse’s Barbecue Month special while it’s available:

Linkdown: 4/17/19

The True ‘Cue Newsletter is no more for a variety of reasons, but we are happy to announce that we will help spread any future True ‘Cue news from them received via press releases.

In the final issue of the newsletter, John Shelton Reed did have some nice news to share:
In parting, there is some Campaign news to report. Our latest branch, joining those in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Kentucky, will cover Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. It is in the capable hands of John Tanner. We wish him well and look forward to hearing where one can get Real Barbecue in and near our nation’s capital.

An update on Bryan Furman’s plans for the Atlanta B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque

Mr. Barbecue in Winston-Salem had a pit fire last week, caused by embers, but they vow to return

Midwood Smokehouse has them some new fancy sandwiches

Stephen Colbert is at it again: “I love everything about North Carolina other than that damn vinegar stuff that y’all put on the barbecue.”

As usual, Kathleen Purvis puts it all in perspective:

Old Hushpuppy Ave: I want to go to there:

Linkdown: 11/1/17

– Photos from last weekend’s Barbecue Festival in Lexington, where almost 200,000 people made the trip

– More whole hog is coming to Texas in the form of Feges BBQ in Houston

– Meanwhile, in Austin:

– Barbecue vs chili (?): who ya got?

– Bare Bones in Raleigh served their last barbecue this past Sunday

– Truth:

 

Linkdown: 9/21/16

– Pulled pork v brisket: who you got? John Lewis of Lewis Barbecue and Aaron Siegel of Home Team BBQ weigh in

AM: Which is better, beef brisket or pulled pork?  

Siegel: There is no argument there, really. It’s just a matter of preference, which seems to vary regionally. But even now, regional lines are getting blurred. We’re supposedly a pork town. But we’ve been doing beef brisket with salt and pepper and it’s one of our best selling products. So at the end of the day, it’s a fun argument. But it’s not valid.

Lewis: I think there are things about both that make them stand out. Beef has a stronger flavor than pork. But what pork has is marveling, which gives it a juicier taste. In Texas, there’s an order called the “Holy Trinity,” which includes sausage, beef and pork on the same plate. So I’m really just a fan of it all. It’s all about personal preference.

– The Charleston Post and Courier likes what they eat from  Lewis Barbecue

– Buxton Hall recipes online (presumably from the upcoming cookbook): hush puppies at Bon Appétit and chicken bog at Garden & Gun

– The North State Journal previews next month’s Barbecue Revival (paywall)

“Barbecue is sacred to the people of North Carolina,” says Dickson. “If you’re going to do this, you have an obligation to be a good steward of our state cuisine. I can’t think of a better way to do it than this.”

– I may have missed this, but The Pit is servicing barbecue sandwiches at NC State’s Carter-Finley Stadium this football season

– Grant makes an unplanned stop at Countryboy Cafe in Pennington, VA

– Texas Pete is getting a new look

– Finally, I  spotted an appearance by NC barbecue on last week’s episode of “Mr. Robot”

Linkdown: 6/17/15

– Of course barbecue gets a prominent mention in this Eater feature “Destination North Carolina: A Southern Food Road Trip Extravaganza”

“From Brunswick Stew to Barbecue” is a new cookbook exhibit at UNC’s Wilson Library

– Dispelling some myths around the name and origin, here’s the real history of hush puppies

– Who won at the NC Barbecue Championships this past weekend in Tryon? Also, the big economic impact of the festival on the small mountain town of Tryon

– Shortly after being named to Southern Living’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints, B’s Cracklin Barbecue in Savannah burned to the ground; thankfully neighbors have pitched in to help rebuild

– John Lewis of La Barbecue gets profiled in Garden & Gun Magazine as well as four other “keepers of the flame” – the Monk family (of Lexington Barbecue) and Tyson Ho are also profiled

– La Barbecue, meanwhile, is no longer moving to a permanent space on South Congress in Austin and is instead expanding to dinner

– More coverage from Southern Living’s Top 50 BBQ Joints list from Greenville Online

– Apparently few places in Fayetteville serve chopped barbecue

– A short article on the 12 Bones Smokehouse cookbook

– A couple of barbecue-related gifts for dad on this coming Father’s Day

– Speaking of which, last day to order to get a Great NC BBQ Map in time

Wink’s King of Barbeque – Salisbury, NC

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Name: Wink’s King of Barbeque
Date: 3/2/2013
Location: 509 Faith Rd, Salisbury, NC 28146
Order: Chopped barbecue tray (with coleslaw, hush puppies, and barbecue bread), Diet Cheerwine
Bill: ~$9

This past Saturday, I met my parents in Salisbury to trade cars for a week or two (long story short my father has this genius mechanic to which he wanted to take my car in for a tune-up), so I thought it would be a good excuse to try out a barbecue joint that was both on the NC Historic Barbecue Trail and in the city that claims to be the original birthplace of Piedmont or Lexington-style barbecue. Because of it’s proximity just a half mile off the highway, Wink’s was the place for us.

Because it is included the NC Barbecue Trail, it should be no surprise that Wink’s does indeed cook their barbecue low and slow over a stick burner and I confirmed that by the glorious wood pile and burner out back. Wink’s not only does barbecue but also has seafood, breakfast, and regional items such as livermush or chuckwagon (a favorite of my wife’s) on their menu. In that respect, they are more akin to a local diner. However, inside it definitely looks the part of a barbecue restaurant with light colored wood paneled walls adorned with old Cheerwine and Sundrop signs (two more wonderful Salisbury creations).

I ordered the small chopped barbecue tray (sliced was also an option, but screw that noise), which came with white slaw (boo), hush puppies, and a side of “barbeque bread.” As per yoosh, the food came out shortly after our order. The first thing I tried was the spherical hush puppies and they were pretty much perfect. Nice and fluffy, not too dense, with a nice sweetness to them. Some of the best I’ve had in quite a while as a matter of fact. The barbeque bread was essentially Texas toast and once I tried a half piece of it I decided I didn’t need any more.

As I stated above, the coleslaw was mayonnaise-based and while I am not necessarily against it *COUGHSPEEDYCOUGH* it was a little disappointing considering Salisbury’s proximity to Lexington. This is atypical of the region, and it is curious that Wink’s serves it as opposed to red slaw.

The chopped pork was tender, had nice pieces of bark mixed in, and had good smokiness. The sauce was a bit sweeter than I’d have preferred (or have had from a Piedmont-style barbecue spot) but for the most part I had no real complaints. My parents, also big fans of Lexington #1, liked their food but my dad happened upon a chunk of unchewable gristle in his sandwich. He simply removed it and trucked along.

So would I eat at Wink’s again? Well, if I have ever left Charlotte, am ever driving north on 85, and our upcoming firstborn absolutely cannot make it another 15-20 minutes to get to Lexington #1, sure. But that scenario just seems unlikely to me, and chances are I would just go ahead and make drive into Lexington in this hypothetical scenario. Still, it’s good to know that Wink’s is still doing their old school thing and is conveniently located off the highway if I am ever in a pinch.

-Monk

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs

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Wink's King Barbeque & Seafood on Urbanspoon

Bill Spoon’s Barbecue – Charlotte, NC

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Name: Bill Spoon’s Barbecue
Date: 7/28/12
Location: 5524 South Boulevard  Charlotte, NC 28217
Order: Monk: Daily Special – small barbecue plate with hush puppies, mustard slaw, mac and cheese, sweet tea; Speedy: Large BBQ special – hush puppies, mustard slaw, onion rings (link to menu)
Bill: Monk – $10; Speedy – $11.50 

Monk: In terms of Charlotte, Bill Spoon’s Barbecue is pretty much the closest thing we have to a well-respected, old school barbecue joint. Since 1963, first Bill Spoon himself and now his grandson Steve Jr. has been cooking whole hog, eastern-style NC barbecue on South Blvd. Which in itself is a bit odd considering Charlotte is much closer to Lexington than it is to the eastern part of the state. Nevertheless, despite having lived in Charlotte since 2005 and being well aware of this place, this past weekend was my first visit to Bill Spoon’s. Inside, it definitely looks the part of a proper barbecue joint with wood-paneled walls, white and yellow checked table cloths, and zero frills.

Speedy: Bill Spoon’s has several things on the menu – chicken tenders, fried flounder, etc, but the only real barbecue items are the pulled pork (the signature dish) and the chicken. The restaurant is well respected in Charlotte, with people mentioning it frequently when barbecue comes up in conversation. Like Monk, I had not been despite living in the city for six years, even though it was always on my list of places to try. This sweltering Saturday seemed like as good a time as any.

Monk: Mrs. Monk and I were a few minutes late but before we had arrived so the table could order, Speedy and our other friends had already gotten the first of several baskets of hush puppies (many times fresh out of the deep fryer). That’s right, bottomless made-from-scratch hush puppies – just say the word and they will bring you baskets on baskets on baskets. And that is definitely a beautiful thing – especially when they are as good as the ones here.

Rudy: Whenever a place does this I first get excited…then I start to think they want me to fill up on these and distract me from the barbecue. Hopefully you were able to stay on track and get your fill on the meat.

Monk: *pfft* Please, we aren’t amateurs here.

Speedy: Bill Spoon’s cooks whole hog, which is different than my preferred shoulder-only sampling. However, it’s hard to find too much to complain about when talking about the pork I was served at Bill Spoon’s. It had good flavor, was tender, and had a nice hint of smoke. Overall, I was pleased, though I’m not sure it lived up to some of the accolades I’ve heard from people in Charlotte (who obviously have not been to Lexington).

Monk: The barbecue at Bill Spoon’s doesn’t necessarily need the eastern NC vinegar sauce found on each table, but as a good sauce should, it enhances the pork nicely. I agree that it had good smoke, no doubt attributable to the smokehouse out back.

Speedy: Agreed. I also added some Texas Pete to mine to get a little bit of a kick. None of the sides got me too excited, unless you count the hushpuppies. But Monk, tell them about the slaw…

Monk: Bill Spoon’s is unique in that it actually serves a mustard-based slaw (with some vinegar), as opposed to the typical red vinegar slaw or white mayonnaise slaw. Our disdain for mustard sauce is well documented here, but this was the first time I had seen or even heard of a mustard slaw. I probably liked it a little more than Speedy, but we both agreed that it was better than mayonnaise slaw but not nearly as good as red slaw.

Rudy: I don’t get why places feel they need to put their spin on something as basic as slaw. Just do it the way it’s always made and do it well.

Speedy: The slaw confused me more than anything else. I thought it was OK, but I didn’t feel the need to finish it, like I do with a good red slaw. I wasn’t disappointed in the meal at all, but I feel if you focus your smoking on one item, you should do it really, really well. I don’t think that was the case here, even though the pork was good. If definitely does not supplant Midwood Smokehouse as my favorite ‘cue joint in Charlotte.

Monk: For whatever reason, it took me over 7 years to make my first trip to Bill Spoon’s. Though I will always prefer Lexington style, with its solid, eastern NC barbecue I expect that it will be much, much sooner than 7 years for me to make a return trip.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Chopped Pork – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs

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Bill Spoon's Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Bill Spoon's Barbecue on Foodio54