Linkdown: 11/20/19

Robert Jacob Lerma to the rescue: You may have heard that Ryan Cooper (co-founder of The Smoke Sheet aka @BBQTourist) has fallen ill recently, and Lerma is coordinating donations to help pay for medical bills if you are so inclined.

Wyatt’s Barbecue is bringing more whole hog barbecue to downtown Raleigh from the barbecue man behind Picnic, Wyatt Dickson

Chef Jake Wood of Plates Neighborhood Kitchen is also opening a new barbecue restaurant in Raleigh next year, Lawrence BBQ

The best barbecue in DC

Breakfast at barbecue joints in the Carolinas is a little different than the newer Texas trend of barbecue for breakfast

Hometown Bar-B-Que is doing a pretty dang good pastrami, apparently

Some details on Dr. Howard Conyers’ forthcoming barbecue book

10 years on the Texas barbecue trail: The Texas BBQ Posse looks back

Friday Find: Wyatt Dickson of Picnic on Kevin’s BBQ Joints

Kevin’s BBQ Joints sits down with “barbecue man” Wyatt Dickson of Picnic in Durham. I actually went to elementary school with Wyatt back in Fayetteville, NC but haven’t spoken to him in probably 26 years. I’d like to make it back to Picnic again (my only visit was a bit of a mixed bag) but who knows if he’d remember me or not. In any case, another interesting conversation worth your time.

Linkdown: 5/8/19

North Carolina does not have a third barbecue style, despite Carolina Treet being a perfectly good sauce

Burnt ends in Paris, courtesy of a Kansas City pitmaster

Jim Auchmutey has his book, “Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America,” coming out next month

The 10 best barbecue joints in the Triangle, according to Indy Week

The Red Dirt BBQ and Music Festival was last weekend in Tyler, TX and The Smoking Ho has some great photos

A look back at Jiggy with the Piggy Festival which took place last weekend in Kannapolis

The TerraVita Food and Drink Festival turns 10 this year and has a barbecue event with Sam Jones and Wyatt Dickson of Picnic

The Buccaneers and Barbecue Festival is a NC Pork Council Whole Hog Barbecue series and taking place in Bath Memorial Day weekend

A new amateur bbq pitmaster competition show for a streaming service is now casting; more information here

Linkdown: 6/6/18

– 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

The 10 best NC barbecue joints in Western NC – Honorable Mentions

Monk: Last week I posted my list of the 10 best joints in western North Carolina. Here’s my list of honorable mentions.

Please note: For the purposes of this list, I’m defining “western NC” as west of, but not including, Raleigh. In essence, I am dividing the state geographically by the two styles of barbecue but not limiting this list to purely Lexington-style/Piedmont-style/western-style barbecue joints. Make sense?

Johnson Family Barbecue – Durham (review)

Outside of my usual digging for barbecue joints I had never heard of Johnson Family Barbecue, so it was a pleasant surprise that the barbecue was as good as it was. The makeshift smokehouse shed around back only adds to the charm of the joint, which is connected to a gas station on Wake Forest Highway between Durham and Raleigh/Wake Forest. 5021 Wake Forest Hwy, Durham, NC 27703 johnsonfamilybbq.com

Midwood Smokehouse – Charlotte (review)

As the story goes, if Frank Scibelli can’t get a certain food in Charlotte, he tends to open a restaurant to fill that gap. With Midwood Smokehouse, that gap was wood-smoked barbecue; primarily central Texas brisket and sausage but also but also pan-regional smoked meats such as eastern NC pulled-pork, burnt ends, and ribs. With the latest Park Road location in Charlotte, Midwood Smokehouse is now looking to fill in the gap for wood-smoked whole hog barbecue in Charlotte. various locations midwoodsmokehouse.com

Picnic – Durham (review)

As with Buxton Hall and Old Etowah Smokehouse, Picnic was part of a trend of new whole hog joints outside of eastern NC a few years back. While I found it to be a little on the pricey side, the whole hog was still quite good and worth a return visit whenever I get another chance. 1647 Cole Mill Rd, Durham, NC 27705 picnicdurham.com

The Smoke Pit – Concord, Monroe, Salisbury (review)

What began as a combination butcher shop and barbecue joint has developed into a small chain with locations in Salisbury and as of earlier this year, Monroe. The Smoke Pit does serve pulled pork but is a good bet for the some of the best brisket from a restaurant in the Charlotte-area. various locations thesmokepitnc.com

Smokey Joe’s Barbecue – Lexington (review)

Speedy Lohr’s BBQ – Lexington (review)

Someday, I hope to be able to properly assess all of the 18 or so Lexington barbecue joints and create a comprehensive list. In the meantime, I will say that Smokey Joe’s Barbecue and Speedy Lohr’s BBQ are quite good and in my current top 5 for the small town of approximately 20,000. Smokey Joe’s Barbecue: 1101 S Main St, Lexington, NC 27292 smokeyjoesbbqlexington.com; Speedy Lohr’s: 3664 NC-8, Lexington, NC 27292

Well, what do you think? What joints have I missed the mark on or left off on either this list or the 10 best list entirely? Let me know in the comments below.

Linkdown: 4/26/17

– Congrats to The Smoke Pit and Midwood Smokehouse for winning Charlotte Magazine BOB Awards for best brisket and pork respectively

– A nice article from Marie, Let’s Eat! on Ten Underrated Georgia Barbecue Joints; we even get a nice little mention

– A locals guide to Lexington, KY contains Blue Door Smokehouse, which was unfortunately sold out by the time we made it last fall (after reading this article we were probably several hours too late)

– An oldie but goodie from Our State Magazine

– Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin BBQ, Jeff Miller of Luella’s Bar-B-Que and Wyatt Dickson of Picnic Durham, will serve whole-hog barbecue at a charity event this weekend in Asheville

– Can’t wait for the remix: an audio review of Rodney Scott’s Barbecue in Charleston by Hanna Raskin

– Uptown Charleston: so hot right now

Rodney Scott’s BBQ

Expect a line for chicken, spareribs and pulled pork slow-smoked overnight then drenched in Carolina whole-hog ambassador Rodney Scott’s signature vinegar sauce.

– It me:

Linkdown: 10/26/16

– The Mallard Creek BBQ is tomorrow and Rachel Rollar of NBC Charlotte has a preview; she also reports that some of the proceeds will go to help victims of Hurricane Matthews

– The NC Barbecue Revival is this coming weekend, and the Raleigh News & Observer’s Mouthful blog has a post on the origin of the festival

– They also get a write up in Durham Magazine

When Sunday arrives, prepare yourself for the weekend’s culminating event by attending the BBQ Church, a service that pays tribute to the “Barbecue Man,” through debate and discussion of the whole hog. Next up is to what all you barbecue connoisseurs should look forward to: the pig pickin’ and picnic. Hosted by Picnic, join local chefs as the community comes together to share in this time-honored meal that includes delicious sides and desserts. Bring a picnic blanket and enjoy the sounds of bluegrass music, take part in a pie auction and pick a spot on the trailer for a hay ride. With wines and a beer garden provided by local vendors, the event will also feature a wide variety sips to delight in along with all that delectable barbecue.

– …and Food and Wine

– Speaking of Picnic, here’s barbecue man Wyatt Dickson’s love letter to barbecue

– Grant takes a drive not too close and not too far to Sequatchie Valley BBQ in Dunlap, TN

– This November, vote your conscience:

Linkdown: 10/19/16

– 6 years ago, locals saved this BBQ joint. It returned the favor after Hurricane Matthew.

Provenzano credits Southern Soul, along with a number of other local restaurants that stayed open, for helping the recovery effort run smoothly and allowing emergency workers to stay on the island through mealtimes, instead of having to travel to a staging area on the mainland.

– A bbq and slaw egg roll is one of the crazy foods to try at this year’s NC State Fair

– Bill Spoon’s BBQ makes Charlotte Stories’ list of Top 10 Best Comfort Food Restaurants in Charlotte

– Charleston Paper cheekily writes up Arby’s new Smoke Mountain  sandwich: Finally, Charleston has a place for good barbecue

– Tickets for the train to the Barbecue Festival are still on sale:

– Picnic makes the list of Durham stops in this article from Departures

– Also from Departures, the best mail-order barbecue

– Atlanta Magazine: Meet Atlanta’s next great pitmaster  – Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue

– More on Furman

– Grant’s latest stops: Sportsman’s BBQ in Chattanooga and Peg Leg Porker in Nashville, their 400th barbecue writeup

– Congrats to Grant and Marie!

Picnic – Durham, NC

img_6320
Name
: Picnic
Date: 9/5/16
Address: 1647 Cole Mill Rd, Durham, NC 27705
Order: Pulled pork plate with pimento mac & cheese, bacon braised collards (link to menu)
Price: $13.95

Monk: In the recent (and very welcome) trend of new whole hog barbecue joints opening in North Carolina in the past year, Picnic is one of the newest alongside Old Etowah Smokehouse (opened June 2016), Sam Jones BBQ (November 2015), and Buxton Hall Barbecue (August 2015), having opened earlier this year in February. Despite being at the end of a long weekend, I convinced the Mrs. Monk to stop at Picnic in Durham for lunch on our way back from Atlantic Beach over Labor Day weekend.

Picnic is located in a fairly picturesque setting amongst tall pine trees in a Durham neighborhood not far off of I-85. The building itself has an average sized dining room with a bar as well as 5-6 outdoor tables. An open kitchen overlooks the new south decor dining area, and the rattle of food preparation is audible but not distracting.

My pulled pork was overall moist and smokey and served unsauced, choosing to let the smoke shine in each silky pork strand. Each table does have a very tasty mixed eastern and western-style Pig Whistle sauce (named for barbecue man Wyatt Dickson’s original pig catering outfit) on the table. I’ve read that the whole hog pork at Picnic can sometimes be on the dry side but that was not my experience. In any case, I alternated between using sauce and not. While I didn’t buy sauce this time, I would consider it next time around .

I generally liked the sides less than the pork. We were fairly hungry from the 3+ hour drive, so we ordered fried green tomatoes as a starter that were more breading than tomato. Each plate comes with hush puppies and slaw in addition to 2 sides. The house-made hush puppies were a little disappointing and not as sweet as I prefer though clearly not frozen as they were of various sizes and shapes. The slaw was not too noteworthy. Of my other two sides, the pimento mac and cheese had good flavor but was very rich (to the point where I decided not to finish it) and the collards were a little bland and needed salt or ideally more vinegar.

Overall, the whole hog pork at Picnic was great but I found the sides to be more of a mixed bag. I also thought it was a bit pricey for what it was – a common complaint from other friends who had previously eaten there. For lunch with Mrs Monk and the Monkette, our tab ran $50 before tip with two plates, a kid’s meal, an appetizer, and a beer. If I do make it back (and I would definitely go again), next time I’ll probably go for their version of a tray with just pork, slaw, and hush puppies.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 4 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs
Picnic Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato