Linkdown: 3/2/22

North Carolina has lost another classic barbecue joint; Smiley’s Lexington BBQ officially closed this past weekend as a result of the NC DOT widening of Winston Road. Restaurant owner Steve Yountz and his wife, Tena, have no official plans to relocate the restaurant as of now but are not ruling it out either, depending on how much money they get from the state. For now, they are going to take some time to evaluate their options.

The building housing Smiley’s has been a barbecue restaurant for over 70 years and according to Yountz, ““It’s the oldest pit-cooking restaurant in Lexington. We’re still using the original pits.” Before Yountz opened Smiley’s in 2002, it operated as Southern Barbecue from 1963 to 1998 and started as Dan’s in the 1950’s.

This NC DOT project, first announced in 2018 and not set to begin until July 2023, actually has two victims as Speedy’s Barbecue the next block over is also closing due to the road widening.

Native News

Through the Preserve the Pit fellowship, Ron Simmons of Master Blend Farms in Kenansville was able to add 56 acres to his family farm and add barbecue catering as a side gig

Big Belly Que in Chapel Hill is pivoting to Italian for the time being

Lechon Latin BBQ is a new-ish, Latin-focused barbecue restaurant at Raleigh’s Triangle Town Center

Noble Smoke’s second location at Optimist Hall opens this Sunday

Congrats to Garren and Kelly from Jon G’s, who 2 years ago on Sunday closed on the former Barbee’s Barbecue location, which they would open in June 2020 just a few months into the pandemic

Non-Native News

Texas barbecue James Beard semifinalists

Robert Sietsema’s latest barbecue guide for Eater NY

Juicy Lucia and Di Fara Pizzeria will be located in the former Corner House BBQ on Staten Island

Virgie’s is back

Lewis Barbecue is set to open their Greenville location this summer

Snow’s Barbecue by Robert Jacob Lerma for Huckberry

According to Dave Grohl, salt and pepper is all the rub you need for a great brisket

Aaron Franklin’s Hot Luck Festival is back and has added NC band Superchunk to its music lineup

Here’s a list of the chefs that will be at Hot Luck

Should we call this the Memphis Airport Barbecue Challenge?

Linkdown: 10/26/21

Featured

Not to be outdone by the recent introduction of the BBQ Bowl between Campbell College and Gardner-Webb University in NC, The Battle of the Bones rivalry between Memphis and UAB and the spectacular ribs trophy you see below is coming back!

As a result of the latest rounds of conference alignment, the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) will be joining the University of Memphis in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) as a part of a massive expansion with 5 other schools that will expand the conference to 14 teams. Of course, this is just the latest domino to fall after Texas and Oklahoma announced its move to the SEC which led to Cincinnati, Central Florida, and Houston leaving the AAC to join the Big 12.

Regardless of all that, clearly the main takeaway here is that The Battle for the Bones is back, baby! Or kind of…there might be a chance that the original trophy (which reportedly weighs almost a 100 pounds) is lost somehow? That appears to be the rumor according to some tweets I’ve seen on the internet. Surely the internet wouldn’t lead me astray, would it?

Regardless, let’s either find that ribs trophy or create a near-facsimile and get this rivalry back on track. AAC fever, baby!

Native News

A lucky reporter is going to get to experience some Peachland Saturdays at Jon G’s

While Pik N Pig rebuilds its restaurant in Carthage damaged by fire, they were at the NC State Fair in Raleigh serving barbecue out of their log cabin booth as they have done since 2006

Potential new NC flag?

Non-Native News

Must read thread from Evan LeRoy in the wake of being named #5 in Texas Monthly’s Top 50

Bobby’s BBQ in Fountain Inn, SC celebrated 3 years open last weekend

Denver-based Smōk recently opened its 3rd location (and first outside of Denver) in Fort Collins, CO

Rusty’s Bar-B-Q in Leeds, AL was recently revisited by John Tanner

Pig Beach has opened a Queens location in Astoria

Linkdown: 4/28/21

Featured

Mr. Barbecue re-opened last month after two years of closure due to a fire, but thankfully owner Jimmy Carros never considered either a) closing or b) not rebuilding the wood-burning smoke pits. To quote him from the Eater story below:

“The thought never really entered my mind,” Carros said.

“The flavor that you get from the wood-burning pits is not easily matched,” he explained. “I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I’m not sure I can do it.”

As a classic NC barbecue fan and one who enjoyed his visit to Mr. Barbecue a few months before the fire, I heap the highest of praise to Carros for that thinking. And others appreciate it too, as Mr. Barbecue was recently recognized in the Eater’s Carolinas list of best restaurants in Winston-Salem.

Mr. Barbecue is currently open for drive-thru orders only.

Native News

Thank goodness Grady’s made it out of the pandemic; now I just need to get there

In what was (somewhat embarrassingly) one of the oldest barbecue restaurant’s in Charlotte, the Tyvola Rd. outpost of the Sonny’s BBQ chain closes this Friday

K&N BBQ makes Axios Charlotte’s list of best food trucks; and they recommend you try the pork and brisket

Picnic and Bullock’s Bar-B-Cue make Eater’s list for Durham

Adam Richman (of Man vs Food fame) visited Midwood Smokehouse last week

Non-Native News

Black Smoke is now out, and this in except from the book; the story of Marie Jean of Pine Bluff, AR and her role in barbecue history is uncovered

John Tanner’s Barbecue Page has a fascinating story about barbecue and the law in the landmark case of Katzenbach v. McClung and Ollie’s in Birmingham

Robert Sietsema releases his latest barbecue list for NYC for Eater

Sietsema’s also got the deets on where to get a Frito Pie in NYC, including Mable’s Smokehouse in Williamsburg

I’m seeing the house made sausage trend in NC more too

Congrats to Eliana Gutierrez for one year as a pitmaster at Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

Linkdown: 3/24/21

Featured

In the latest sign that we’re slowly coming out of this pandemic, the BBQ Fest on the Neuse, “home to the largest whole hog cook-off in the world”, returns this May to Kinston, NC. This is on top of Governor Cooper announcing yesterday that as of this Friday restaurants can open at 75% capacity indoors and 100% outdoors. While this doesn’t mean that everything going’s to snap right back to how it was, things are definitely trending upward.

As for the BBQ Fest on the Neuse, the event hopes to be back in downtown Kinston but if they aren’t able to procure that permit they will go to the Lenoir County Fairgrounds. The barbecue competition will have less competitors, there will be less vendors, and the amount of bands and stages will also be smaller. Despite all this, hopes are high for “Kinston-Lenoir County’s signature event.

Says Joe Hargitt, Visit Kinston Chairman: “We want the overall feel to be a coming out party, after COVID, for the city of Kinston.”

Native News

Charlotte-based Mac’s Speed Shop eyes growth across the Southeast in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Florida

Jon G’s has a new convert

Non-Native News

Houston-based Blood Brothers BBQ, which fuses Asian flavors with central Texas barbecue, will open a location at the upcoming Resorts World casino on the Las Vegas strip in May

Ahead of his upcoming book Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue (out April 27 on UNC Press), Adrian Miller shares a few insights with Daniel Vaughn on his barbecue travels

Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ is on Eater’s list of noteworthy new cookbooks

More on that beer collab between La Barbecue and Zilker Brewing

Get brisket tips from Evan LeRoy; a video is available for Patreon members

Steve Raichlen has some brisket tips of his own over at Barbecue Bible

…and so does Jess Pryles. Must be something in the water.

Tips on fire maintenance

Sounds like my kind of place:

Robert Sietsema tries the brisket sandwich at four new NYC-area barbecue joints: Virgil’s Real Barbecue, John Brown BBQ, Izzy’s BBQ Smokehouse, and Hudson Smokehouse

Rest In Peace to Dorothy King of Everett & Jones Barbeque in Oakland