Linkdown: 10/6/20

Featured

The Barbecue Center is often overlooked in the shadow of Lexington Barbecue but those who are in the know believe that it’s every bit as good as its more popular counterpart (perhaps better?).

The late Sonny Conrad started out as a carhop before purchasing the restaurant in 1967 (it originally opened in 1955) and his family has run it ever since, with sons Cecil and Michael taking over day to day activities since their father passed in 2013. More on their family story at the link below.

Next time you are passing through Lexington on Business 85, consider stopping at The Barbecue Center which is just two miles away from Lexington Barbecue off N. Main St.

Native News

More from Lexington: a profile of the city’s history with barbecue with some quotes from the Conrads and the Monks of Lexington Barbecue

Barbecue-gate for Democratic candidate for NC Senate Cal Cunningham, born and raised in Lexington of all places (yes, I’m aware of the more recent scandal)

Parker’s Barbecue in Wilson found itself in the news this week after a customer complained about employees not wearing masks.

I’m going to file this in the “Native News” section even though its from Texas writer J.C. Reid

Non-Native News

Robert Moss finds a mention of pork steaks in Charleston from a menu from 1851

That very same Robert Moss has an updated version of his book out now, and he spoke with The Smoke Sheet last week

Doveshack BBQ is well worth a stop-off from I-95 during the eventual back-up, writes John Tanner’s BBQ Blog

Kevin Bludso of Bludso’s Bar & Que and “The American Barbecue Showdown” talks to the Washington Post about the neglected contributions of black pitmasters among other topics

John Brown Smokehouse’s original location closed this past week, but it will be reopening in a new location this Thursday

Another hard lesson learned in the form of Prause’s Meat Market: don’t take your favorite classic barbecue joints for granted

Barbecue Bros Book Club: “Tar Heel Traveler Eats” by Scott Mason

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: “Tar Heel Traveler Eats” by Scott Mason is equal parts travelogue, memoir, and in-depth description of the journalistic process for a local feature newscaster. Mason has been doing “Tar Heel Traveler” segments for WRAL in Raleigh since the early 2000’s after working his way up through local news stations around the country. Mason has a folksy tone to his writing that is easy to read and the book goes by pretty quickly. While Mason’s writing is easy to read, all photos in the book are stills from the WRAL telecasts of his “Tar Heel Traveler” segment. I certainly get the practical reasons why, but it seems like such a missed opportunity given the number and breadth of the places he visited.

Subtitled “Food Journeys Across North Carolina,” his journey starts with profiles of hot dog restaurants before moving on to hamburgers then barbecue and finally ending with sweets and desserts. Along the way, he visits many of the iconic North Carolina institutions that should be on everyone’s list – barbecue or otherwise. But of course, what I was most interested in were the chapters on barbecue.

After a chapter where he acknowledges how much of a no-win situation writing about barbecue is in North Carolina (what with the east vs west/Lexington rivalry), Mason nevertheless delved into barbecue restaurants after getting his fill of the hot dog and hamburger joints. Despite being born in North Carolina he is apparently not a huge fan of barbecue and would almost always prefer a juicy cheeseburger or two mustard dogs over it. I’ll just assume that’s because he moved to Massachusetts shortly after he was born.

In any case, the barbecue restaurants he writes about his visits to are Bill’s Barbecue (Wilson), Parker’s (Wilson), B’s Barbecue (Greenville), Pik N Pig (Carthage), Wilber’s Barbecue (Goldsboro), and Clyde Cooper’s (Raleigh). Certainly not a comprehensive list, and more a list of easy-to-drive-to places from Raleigh. Each chapter deals with the circumstances that led him to that town or restaurant from his newscaster perspective and how he obtained the footage for the feature story, whether it was interviewing the owner of the restaurant or by going table to table to get sound bites from willing customers. Mason usually has an interesting anecdote or two before reflecting on his experience at the restaurant and closing out the chapter. It’s certainly a different reading experience from other books that might offer more of a profile of each barbecue restaurant, but not an unwelcome one.

If you’re interested in not only North Carolina barbecue restaurants, but classic southern ones, read “Tarheel Traveler Eats” and keep a pen and paper handy so you can jot down all the places you should visit across the state.

Available at Amazon or wherever you buy books

Mail Order Barbecue Options in North and South Carolina

Monk: Previously on the blog, I’ve featured how to order takeout from our favorite places in Charlotte, the western part of the state, and the eastern part of the state. But perhaps you don’t live in NC and can’t easily get to any place I featured in those lists. Here’s a list of the barbecue places in North Carolina (and South Carolina for reasons that will become obvious) that will mail order barbecue to you. Unfortunately, it is not a big list, and I can’t personally vouch for any of the NC restaurants. So take that for what you will.

Have I missed any place out there? Email us at barbecuebros@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

North Carolina

Kings BBQ (Kinston)
Link to order online
Our review

Morris Barbeque (Hookerton)
Link to order online

Parker’s Barbecue (Greenville, not Wilson)
Link to order online

White Swan BBQ (various locations in Eastern NC)
Link to order online

South Carolina

Caroline’s BBQ (Spartanburg)
Link to order online

Lewis Barbecue (Charleston)
Link to order online
Our reviews: Monk, Speedy

Maurice’s Piggie Park (Various locations around Columbia)
Link to order online
Our review
Bonus: Here’s an excellent article from Kathleen Purvis entitled “Can a S.C. barbecue family rise above ther father’s history of racism?”

Have I missed any place out there? Email us at barbecuebros@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Linkdown: 1/15/20

Lawrence BBQ from Chef Jake Wood is a go in Raleigh this summer and the menu will include whole hog, brisket, ribs, sausage, poultry, and broiled oysters

Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Crafts Drafts & Barbecue will bring barbecue to Disney’s Epcot Center

Parker’s Barbecue in Wilson has been open almost 74 years

Rodney Scott BBQ’s Atlanta location to open in April

Miguel Vidal from Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ was in Charlotte last week spending some time with the pitmasters from Midwood Smokehouse

…which they turned some of those learnings into a Friday special