Kevin Pang, formerly of the Chicago Tribune and now of the AV Club’s food blog The Takeout, took a barbecue road trip from Chicago to the Carolinas and back in 2010 and documented it on the BBQ Roadtrip Tumblr. Here, he interviews Keith Allen of the recently departed Allen and Son Barbecue in Chapel Hill to discuss his philosophy on barbecue.
Side note: I remember devouring this roadtrip blog in on sitting back when we first started our blog. What a cool trip, and I could only wish for someone to pay the Barbecue Bros to take a similar trip.
In 1971, when Keith was 19, he quit his butchering job at the A&P, sold his landscaping equipment, and borrowed $3,000 to open a restaurant. He gave it the same name as the one his father owned in Chatham County, where Keith worked the barbecue pit from the age of 10. Ever since, he’s gotten to his Allen & Son at 2:30 a.m. five days a week — splitting every piece of hickory, roasting every shoulder, chopping and seasoning every serving. “Nobody’s hands but mine touch my barbecue,” he likes to boast, “until the customer’s do.”
A recipe for collard chowder from Matthew Register of Southern Smoke BBQ in Garland; his cookbook comes out in May but is available for preorder now
The latest from J.C. Reid explores the barbecue explosion in Houston from a geographic standpoint: