In one of the latest signs of a return to normalcy, 60 teams participated in last weekend’s 40th Annual BBQ on the Neuse Festival, the world’s largest whole hog competition. Attendance was larger than expected, with upwards of 15,000 attendees (vs an estimated 5,000) coming to downtown Kinston to enjoy barbecue, music, and a little rainy weather (at least on Friday night).
In terms of winners, contestant Amy Bell had a good year, winning first overall in product quality and sauce. The rest of the winners here:
Next year’s event will be held on May 6-7.
Indy Week reviews the Raleigh location of Sam Jones BBQ, which doesn’t even have a freezer on site
Daniel Vaughn spent a little over a week in NC and ended his tour at Jon G’s Barbecue this past Saturday where I was fortunate enough to meet up with him
Congrats to Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ on their new space in Buda, about 15 minutes south of their current location in South Austin
Juan Luis from John Lewis of Lewis Barbecue makes this list
A few shows with barbecue-focused episodes – Ugly Delicious, Cooked, Taco Chronicles, The Chef Show – are on this list from The Manual
Bon Appetit has an essay from Black Smoke
It’s not everyday that a barbecue restaurant gets featured in Architect Magazine; in this case its Black Hog BBQ in Ashburn, VA
John Lewis gives some insight into his process for his brand that he’s brought to the lowcountry of South Carolina. From his famous hot guts smoked in a vertical smoker to his pastrami brisket, ribeyes, and oxtails smoked in his custom offset. He then uses those meats in inventive sandwiches like their version of an Arby’s beef and cheddar or a pastrami brisket reuben as well as his smoked prime rib special and a Tex-mex inspired oxtail dish. Lewis even gets into his love of hatch green chiles and how they are incorporated into a lot of his dishes as well as how makes his own tortillas because there are not tortillerias in SC that meet his standards. Recently, Lewis announced that his Juan Luis concept is taking over the entire food hall space formerly occupied by Workshop.
Description: Pitmaster John Lewis is known not only for his mouthwatering South Carolina brisket, sausages, and ribs, but also for his dedication to “perfecting” the art of barbecue by customizing his own smokers. He’s also known for getting creative with brining, rubbing, and smoking techniques.
Eater Atlanta’s Mike Jordan speaks to a number of Atlanta-area pitmasters to get their take on “Georgia-style” barbecue, with the consensus that there is a style, but that you have to get out of Atlanta to try it and its not quite up there with the other “major” styles of barbecue.
The question of “what even is Georgia barbecue” seems to come up every few years and while I’m far from an expert when it comes the Peach State, I follow the lead of people who know more than me. Robert Moss notes in his latest issue of The Cue Sheet that Jordan didn’t quite venture far enough outside of Atlanta to get a true sense of Georgia-style barbecue. That is, chopped barbecue sandwiches, Brunswick stew, cole slaw, and sometimes a regional dish called chicken mull from the Athens area.
Finally, to get an even more impassioned defense of Georgia barbecue, I highly recommend you read our friend Grant’s missive from a few years back over at Marie, Let’s Eat. Grant knows more about Georgia barbecue than just about anyone out there, having done the legwork to travel to the farthest corners of the state in search of true barbecue. When it comes to Georgia barbecue, heed his word. In particular, he urges you to explore the Athens area:
What you might want to do is start in Athens, because some of the best barbecue in the country can be found here. Not too many people pish-poshed this notion, but a couple did, so let me be very clear: I think that Memphis is one of this country’s best barbecue cities. It’s home to Payne’s, Leonard’s, and the Bar-B-Q Shop, and they’re all amazing, and there are at least a dozen other darn good places there. I agree that Lexington NC is certainly one as well. I have only been here three very short times, but I’ve had four downright excellent meals and would love to return for a very long trip. I’m perfectly prepared to accept that Lockhart TX is one. It is unlikely that I will visit anytime soon, but I can believe the hype I hear. Its advocates are reliable correspondents. Kansas City, quite probably. Calvin Trillin believes in Arthur Bryant’s, and if you haven’t figured out how much debt I owe Trillin, you’re not paying attention.
So I’m not dismissing any other city when I say that the Athens area deserves to be given the same accolades. There’s room for it as well. I’ll say that the triangle formed by Zeb’s in Danielsville, Paul’s in Lexington, and Hot Thomas in Watkinsville is the region that I mean, and those three remarkably good restaurants are all in my top twenty somewhere. (They’re actually not in my top ten, about which more in a moment.) The photos accompanying this story come from our last weekend in Georgia before the move. We revisited Paul’s and Hot Thomas, along with Bill’s, which is just across the Clarke County line, outside of Hull, and Scott’s & BJ’s, the only one of these four with an actual Athens address.
(Not so) coincidentally, here’s Eater Atlanta’s list of best barbecue restaurants in the area they rolled out along with the “What is Georgia Barbecue?” article.
Adding Perry’s Pig Pickin’ BBQ in Mint Hill to my list
…same with The Smokehouse at Steve’s in Graham, courtesy of John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog
New merch from Stamey’s
Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ has opened its first location outside of Connecticut in Asheville’s South Slope by permanently parking a food truck on Coxe Ave
Monk: You may recall we previously featured a video from The Adventures of A+K on their east vs west NC barbecue tour, and in this video they visit Lewis Barbecue as part of their Charleston vlog and try a Texas tray of brisket, hot guts, and ribs with a side of the awesome green chili corn pudding. That starts at 4:54.
Description: We ventured 2 hours up the road from Savannah, GA to Charleston, SC, another beautiful and charming southern city. We spent our first time in Charleston exploring the city a bit, but more importantly, eating tons of Southern food.