Monk: A few months back, I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate on a barbecue roundtable at the NC State BBQ Camp by Dana Snow, professor of Food Science at NC State. Considering I am both a NC State grad and a barbecue aficionado, I could think of no greater honor and accepted immediately.
The camp itself was early last month, and on day 2 I arrived shortly before the roundtable during a break in the camp. And to my surprise, they had beer! It had been at least 15 years since I had drank a beer on campus at State (not counting football games of course), so I was in a great frame of mind ahead of the roundtable discussion underneath the big tent.
The roundtable was moderated by the great Bob Garner and joining me on the panel was Joe Beasley of Haywood Smokehouse in the Asheville/Waynesville area as well as Tripp Hursey, the great grandson of the Hursey family that runs the Hursey’s Bar-B-Que restaurants in Alamance Count. While those guys could provide the perspective of owning and running a barbecue restaurant, I was on there to give a different perspective as a barbecue blogger.
Bob kicked off the panel by prompting each of the panelists question or two about our experiences before opening it up to the campers. I recounted the story of how Speedy, Rudy, and I got the idea for the blog in 2012 and also told stories of how Mrs. Monk puts up with my barbecue obsession. I may look a bit pensive and anxious in the photos that Mrs. Monk captured from the discussion, but once I got going I felt more and more comfortable (the couple of beers also helped). Unfortunately, after about 40 minutes a downpour came and made it extremely hard to hear any discussion under the tent so Bob made the executive decision to call it in favor of a happy hour before the pig pickin’. More beer!
And to my surprise, the two beers on tap were both beers made on campus. And a sour at that! Predictably, the sour was not for everyone and most campers went for the Wolfpack Pilsner. Oh well – more sour for me. Soon enough, it was time for the pig pickin’ and a huge 200 lb porker that had been smoked offsite more than ably fed all of the 30 or so campers plus the 10-15 or so guests. Being in this part of the state, it was of course served eastern style with a vinegar sauce and white slaw. And it tasted amazing. Finally, for dessert peach cobbler with Howling Cow (the ice cream made on campus) capped off the meal perfectly.
It truly was an honor to participate in this year’s NC State BBQ Camp. Big thanks to Dana Snow for the invite and hopefully I can participate again next year.
– I was honored to participate in a barbecue roundtable at the NC State BBQ Camp last weekend (more on that in the coming weeks); here’s a writeup from the alumni magazine from last year’s edition of the camp
– Chapel Hill author D.G. Martin knows his NC eateries (including barbecue), and Southern Smoke BBQ in Garland is his current favorite NC restaurant
– Forbes says that Bulleit Rye is the best pairing with eastern NC vinegar sauce; check out the other bourbon/whiskey pairings here
– Always save room for dessert
– Buxton Hall and Picnic have two of the best fried chicken sandwiches in NC
– Robert Moss with a nice primer on barbecue styles
It’s confirmed: Monk will be a guest panelist in a round table discussion at the NC BBQ Camp at NC State’s campus in June. As an alumni, he couldn’t be more pumped to be invited to take part. The discussion on barbecue will be led by Bob Garner and feature other (to be announced) guest barbecue panelists.
Here’s a short video from last year’s edition of the camp. Can’t wait to get back to Raleigh in just a few months!
Why is barbecue delicious? NC State’s annual BBQ Camp answers this question and more, giving an education in the science of low ’n’ slow.
– 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”