Monk: In a truly terrible news, the general manager of the Raleigh location of Midwood Smokehouse passed away after being assaulted a few weeks back. Police said David “Davey” Millette, Jr. died Friday, Sept. 1. According to police, Millette was assaulted at 2 a.m. on Aug. 26 in the 500 block of Glenwood Avenue.
Sadly, Millete was just 27 years old and leaves behind his parents, sister, nephews, girlfriend, and an unborn child.
If you’d like to donate, a GoFundMe link has been set up here.
Our State on The Redneck BBQ Lab in Johnston County
Shepard Barbecue recently raised $7,000 for Hawaii
For the 39th Annual Lexington Barbecue Festival on Oct. 28, NC By Train will make 10 stops, unloading passengers one block from the festival.
Brisket burger x ramen bun
A San Antonio barbecue list
An update to the pitmaster lineup at the BBQ World’s Fair as part of the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest
The Tennessean’s list of best barbecue in Nashville
The Buc-ee’s pitmaster is a 50 year old Texas named Randy Pauly, and he lives for new store openings
I can only imagine the heat in a barbecue room in the Texas summer
Speedy: It was Super Bowl Sunday, 2023. I had been up a good portion of the night smoking a brisket on the Big Green Egg, and my MEATER thermometer (highly recommended!) told me it was time to pull my brisket, so I did. I let it rest in a cooler for a couple of hours, and when it was time to slice – disaster. My flat was overcooked and dry, the fat in my point was not rendered down enough, and I just didn’t have a good brisket. I decided it was time to do something about it. So I did.
Backyard Pitmasters is a Texas company that started BrisketU – a three hour class offered at various cities around the United States teaching backyard cooks how to smoke a central Texas style brisket. In Nashville, these classes are offered a few times a month at various breweries at a price of $119 – a price I was happy to pay if it would keep me from wasting another brisket. I signed up for a March class at Mill Creek Brewing in Nolensville, TN.
When the day came, I arrived around 15 minutes ahead of the noon class start time, and saw a large trailer offset smoker running – a good sign, and a great smell. I walked into the brewery, grabbed a beer, signed in at the registration table, and sat down at an empty seat. I was one of about 20 enthusiastic backyard cooks that day, and the class started just a few minutes after noon.
Our teacher was Pitmaster John, a Houston native who had transplanted to Nashville. It was pretty clear from the get-go that John knew his stuff. The class started talking about different pit types, fuel types, and wood. Questions were welcomed as we navigated these topics (and throughout the day), and talked a little bit about the different pits the individuals in the class used. John mentioned that the techniques taught in the class are pit agnostic, which I think is mostly true, but he used (and mostly talked about) offset smokers.
I found the three hour class to be incredibly interactive and informative. Several times throughout the three hours, the whole class got up and went outside to the pit to talk about various topics and to look at the brisket that was on the pit for us to enjoy later. Over the course of the class, we talked about equipment (pits and accessories), fuel/wood, different cuts of meat, how to select a brisket, trimming techniques, rubs, timing of the cook, wrapping, resting, and slicing the brisket.
This was A LOT to take in over three hours, but BrisketU provided a small book outlining most of what was talked about. John also did a nice job talking about where he personally deviated from the prepared materials when he cooked his own briskets. We were also fed twice throughout the class – brisket tacos halfway through, which were really good, and of course, the brisket at the end. We were given slices of both fatty brisket, lean brisket, and burnt ends.
So, what was the verdict? Overall, I had a great experience. This class is fast-paced, so it’s definitely not for someone who has zero experience around a barbecue pit, but you don’t need a ton of experience to keep up. I also don’t think it’s for competition barbecuers, though competition teams may learn some new tricks. Pitmaster John was clear that this was a backyard barbecue class, so we didn’t talk about what competition judges look for (in appearance or taste) or touch on building a competition box. But if you’re someone who has some level of familiarity with a smoker and wants to improve your briskets, this class is perfect for you. (Hint: the class also makes for a great gift for the aspiring pitmaster in your life.) I was quickly able to identify about a dozen things I’m going to do differently next time I cook a brisket – especially in the trimming and wrapping processes. I also left the class with a list of about $200 accessories I’m going to buy – everything from butcher paper to different slicing knives, but for barbecuers, this is the way.
Oh! You want to know how the brisket was! In short, it was great. The brisket was cooked perfectly, with great flavor and moistness – even on the flat (we learned a trick for this!). Backyard Pitmasters make (and sell in the class) their own rubs, which I think needed more pepper, as the bark was the only deduction I would have when scoring the brisket. But still, if I can cook a brisket even 90% as good as the one in this class, I will have gotten my money’s worth.
Ratings: Atmosphere – 4 hogs Knowledge of Pitmaster John – 5 hogs Materials – 4 hogs Brisket – 4.5 hogs Overall class score – 4.5 hogs (highly recommended!)
Monk: 2022 marked the ten year anniversary of the blog and its gone by in a flash. We’re going to take the rest of the year off in order to come out strong in 2023, but before we do we want to 1) wish you all a happy holidays and 2) spotlight one last time some of our favorite original content from 2022.
Without further ado…
My summer kicked off with a weekly recap of all 8 episodes of the third season of “BBQ Brawl.” While I was happy to get through those two months mostly unscathed, I also checked out a few other barbecue streaming shows throughout the year featuring notable barbecue personalities like Michael Symon’s “BBQ USA,”“World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason,” and the third season of “BBQuest” which added Hardcore Carnivore’s Jess Pryles as a co-host.
We’ve done some updating of our Lexington rankings sadly due to closures but I already know I need to get back to Lexington to try Cafe 71 Smoke House BBQ, which opened this fall in the old Rick’s Smokehouse space.
I also am trying a new post format with the “best barbecue within an hour of [insert major city here].” I’ve started with Charlotte but will work on posts for both Raleigh as well as the eastern part of the state.
We also went to a few festivals this year! May was a busy month in Charlotte with both the Smoke & Grapes event at the Charlotte Wine & Food Festival as well as the successful first annual Carolina BBQ Festival hosted by Lewis Donald of Sweet Lew’s BBQ.
In November, I went to Charleston for the second annual Holy Smokes Barbecue Festival and had a grand time in the lowcountry.
I can’t wait to see what festivals I’ll make it to in 2023.
We’re up to 327 reviews on the site now, and in 2022 we added 23 more. Not quite our most productive year, but still an average of nearly 2 per month.
Rudy got to finally try Noble Smoke in Charlotte in February, and left pretty impressed with a 4.5 hog review.
Speedy loved pretty much everything about the relatively new Bringle’s Smoking Oasis in Nashville, from the space to the bar to of course the food (in particular the beef rib and the brisket). Another 4.5 hog meal.
But from the looks of it, Speedy’s favorite meal of the year was at Prime Barbecue in Knightdale when he was back in North Carolina this summer. He gave it our prestigious 5 hog rating, the first since our most recent Jon G’s Barbecue review from 2021.
I got in on the 4.5 hog action with a couple of joints in the Carolinas: Lawrence Barbecue in Durham and Palmira BBQ in Charleston. At Lawrence, in addition to the fun atmosphere at Boxyard RTP and the Lawrence Barbecue-inspired beer from Trophy Brewing, the pork and brisket were highlights of the meal. At Palmira, I got to chat with owner and pitmaster Hector Garate and both the whole hog barbecue and hash and rice shone through.
And last but not least, I can’t forget my mini whole hog barbecue tour in eastern North Carolina in the spring, where I visited B’s Barbecue, Skylight Inn, and the original location of Sam Jones BBQ.
I did a brief writeup for The Smoke Sheet, which a version of showed up on the site as well.
With that, the 2022 posts are done for the year. But we’ll be back in January with all new content.
Monk: Country music star (and NC native) Eric Church has shared the first digital renderings of Chief’s, his upcoming venture with Rodney Scott. Not content to have just a honky tonk joint with great whole hog barbecue, the building will also house a studio for live broadcasts (such as Church’s SiriusXM show).
Chief’s will open in downtown Nashville in 2023.
More pink barbecue merchandise now available at Clyde Cooper’s in Raleigh
A short profile on Buxton Hall Barbecue‘s executive chef Nick
The Cheef will be at Oskar Blues Brevard’s 10th anniversary party this coming weekend serving tacos and sandwiches
Midwood Smokehouse, Mac’s Speed Shop, and Noble Smoke are options in Charlotte to bypass Christmas cooking
Midwood Smokehouse‘s upcoming Raleigh location will be more Tex-Mex
Hogs for the Cause announces its 2023 lineup
Barbecue historian Joe Haynes has a new barbecue book out, just in time for the holidays
John Turner’s been making the rounds at your favorite places in Texas:
City Market in Luling
Smitty’s Market in Lockhart
Terry Black’s in Austin
Valentina’s in Austin
Pinkerton’s in Houston
And finally, Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que in Brownsville
Defining east vs central Texas barbecue, Open AI chat bot style
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