Barbecue Bros Book Club: “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries” by D.G. Martin

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: For whatever reason, several of the books I’ve been checking out during quarantine are of a similar ilk. That is, books compiling profiles of different classic eateries – some North Carolina and some not, some barbecue and some not – accompanied by personal anecdotes from the author. These books can serve as guidebooks for older places that should be celebrated and visited and are usually pretty quick and interesting reads.

Which leads me to “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries: A Traveler’s Guide to Local Restaurants, Diners, and Barbecue Joints” by North Carolina author D.G. Martin. During his travels as a lawyer and politician, he had the good fortune to visit many a classic restaurant across the state of North Carolina. Originally published in 2016, an update has been put on hold due to the coronavirus calling into questions the status of many of the restaurants featured in the book. Regardless, its still a good document of the times even if it grows more and more outdated by the day.

Smartly, Martin organizes his chapters by the interstate highways that crisscross North Carolina (i.e. Interstates 26, 40, 85, 77, etc.). From there, he profiles restaurants that are easy stops off the highway and that he has personally visited, oftentimes name dropping politicians and friends along the way.

Of the 120 or so restaurants profiled, roughly 50 are barbecue joints. Predictably the chapter on Interstate 85 is heavy on barbecue, followed by 40 and 95. The usual suspects are there, but Martin covers the undercelebrated ones such as Backyard BBQ Pit in Durham, Hursey’s Bar-B-Q in Alamance County, the recently shuttered Hill’s Lexington Barbecue in Winston-Salem, and Fuller’s Old Fashion Bar-B-Q in Lumberton and Fayetteville.

After this book from D.G. Martin and similar ones from Bob Garner, the Tar Heel Traveler Scott Mason, and John T. Edge (in a future book club entry), I am looking forward to a different perspective from “Soul Food Scholar” Adrian Miller in his forthcoming book “Black Smoke.” That book will focus on the contributions of black pitmasters and is scheduled to come out next year from UNC Press, the same publisher as this book. Regardless, “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries” is worth checking out and even sticking in your glovebox for future roadtrips.

Linkdown: 11/6/19

D.G. Martin is tired of adding “the late” to his favorite NC eateries, including several barbecue joints

Some of the founders and mainstays of my favorite barbecue restaurants and comfort food eateries died recently. So I have to insert “the late” beside their names when I describe their lifetimes’ great accomplishments, the eateries they made into an icons.

Say it ain’t so, Subway (it is so)

Fox Bros BBQ is finally opening a second location in Atlanta

James Beard Award-winning author Adrian Miller is in Cleveland for his forthcoming book “Black Smoke” if you can help with his research:

More on Miller and his forthcoming book

Add this to your DVR…err, Hulu Watch List

Charlotte’s Midwood Smokehouse got inspired by Valentina’s Tex Mex on a recent research and development trip to Texas; here’s hoping this becomes a more regular thing

Linkdown: 5/30/18

– A quick hit on a few NC food books

– Where to eat barbecue in Atlanta, according to Eater

– The Coach 4 A Day blog visits a classic NC barbecue joint I’ve never heard of, E.H. Bar-B-Q Hut in Rennert

– The Texas BBQ Posse on the choice of fatty, lean, or both brisket

– Gear Patrol’s list of 12 Tools the Best Pitmaster Can’t Live Without includes a few selections from Sam Jones

– The makers of The Great NC BBQ Map are looking for interns

– A reminder that South Carolina’s official picnic cuisine is barbecue

– A review of The Bar-B-Que House in Surfside Beach, whose original location is in Oak Island across the border in NC

– Rodney Scott is on the cover of the latest issue of The Local Palate

Linkdown: 12/21/16

– Daniel Vaughn on “big city barbecue” (don’t call it “craft barbecue”)

The foundation of big city barbecue is a focus on premium quality meats, such as prime grade beef from boutique brands like Creekstone and 44 Farms. There’s a reverence toward slices of fatty brisket served without sauce. A big city meat cutter might cringe at the idea of chopping their beautiful briskets, looking down on the staple of Texas barbecue that is the chopped beef sandwich. The ribs and pulled pork (and trust me, there will be pulled pork) will likely be identified by breeds like Duroc or Berkshire. Its hard to make a decent profit, even when charging $20 per pound for that prime—or in some cases Akaushi (also known as Texas Wagyu)—brisket, so the menus are diversified with cheaper items like pork shoulder and turkey breast. You won’t find big city barbecue joint that’s a single meat specialist.

– A Pakistani website has the NC Historic Barbecue Trail on its list of best trips for foodies around the world

– A review of D.G. Martin’s book released earlier this year, North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries

– Includes brisket from Franklin Barbecue at #1

– Grant and Marie give Hillbilly Willy’s Bar-B-Que in Chattanooga another try, a place that uses Memphis-style dry rub on their ribs

– Mighty Quinn’s opens its latest outpost in…Manilla, Philippines?

– BBQ Hub has a list of whole hog barbecue restaurants across the southeast and even in Brooklyn

– The more you know