Sadly, for the second year in a row the Mallard Creek Barbecue has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. The Mallard Creek Barbecue is by far the oldest barbecue tradition in Charlotte, so its a shame that the 91st edition of it will have to wait another year. Assuming that’s the case, I’ll be there but will be missing their slightly controversial version of Brunswick stew come the 4th Thursday of October.
Jon G’s gets the Axios Charlotte bump
“On Barbecue” by John Shelton Reedgets reviewed by Star News Online
Smokeshow BBQ will be smoking Guatemalan Churrasco this Friday at Salty Parrot Brewing in Charlotte
Secondhand Smoke is continuing the Pete’s BBQ tradition in Rock Hill and will be open this Labor Day Weekend; Pete’s BBQ served every Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day weekend for 55 years before closing in 2018
John T Edge explores the vernacular of Fresh Air Bar-B-Que’s architecture
In Houston, barbecue pop-ups are all the rage
Scott’s Bar-B-Q is featured in the first episode of “Backroad Bites” from South Carolina Education TV, which is back for a third season
The BBQ Review checks out The Southern Belly in Columbia, SC
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.
Monk: If John Shelton Reed writes a book on barbecue, I’m reading it. Because he writes about the subject so intelligently and (not to mention wittily) from both a historical as well as a cultural viewpoint, his insights always make me think and often chuckle.
“Holy Smoke: The Big Book of NC Barbecue” was co-written by Reed, his since-passed wife Dale Volberg Reed, and William McKinney and is likely my favorite book on the subject (certainly the case when it comes to North Carolina barbecue). His “Barbecue” book for UNC Press’ Savor the South Series is more than just a barbecue recipe book. And any freelance work from him that comes across my Google Alerts I read immediately.
In addition to being an accomplished author, John Shelton Reed is the co-founder (along with Dan Levine) and “Eminence Grease” of The Campaign for Real Barbecue, also known as True ‘Cue. There, he advocates for wood-smoked barbecue (sometimes ruffling the feathers of folks like Carey Bringle of Peg Leg Porker). Again, I’m a huge fan.
With that buildup, “On Barbecue” is his latest book and is a collection of his barbecue writings over the years (by far is his most written-about subject), which includes book reviews, freelance articles, some True ‘Cue newsletter writings, and an excerpt from “Holy Smoke.” Our friend John Tanner wrote up the book nicely over on his blog but I’ll add to the praise chorus as well.
In it, Reed is able to connect his previous works into a cohesive narrative across a fairly quick read. From the true origins of barbecue (both the practice and the word itself) to the current state of it to the invasion of gassers into barbecue restaurants to the nuances of barbecue in the state of North Carolina, I read the 157 pages in a couple of sittings but could have easily read in just one. And what a great cover.
I was graciously provided a copy of the book by Reed in exchange for an honest review (which you’ve just read) but the honest truth is that I would have purchased it with my own money no matter what. I urge you barbecue fans out there to purchase it at your nearest independent bookstore and give it a read.
Kevin’s BBQ Joints out here again doing yeoman’s work. This time, he reached out to 158 restaurants (4 were added since this Tweet) across the country to get what a best first order would look like. From North Carolina, Black Powder Smokehouse in Jamestown, Lawrence Barbecue in Raleigh, Longleaf Swine in Raleigh, Noble Smoke in Charlotte, Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby, Southern Smoke in Garland. Naturally, Texas represents a large portion of the list and a separate “Texas-only” list is located here.
Wilber Shirley is celebrated on the UNC Press Blog by reposting his interview with John Shelton Reed and his late wife Dale Volberg Reed from “Holy Smoke: The Big Book of NC Barbecue”
The co-founder of True Cue joins the Kevin’s BBQ Joints podcast to give a “city guide” for the entire state of NC.
John Shelton Reed, sociologist and essayist, author or editor of twenty books, most of them dealing with the contemporary American South, guides us through North Carolina for BBQ spots in the major cities as well as way off the beaten path for incredible finds.