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

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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

Linkdown: 8/17/16

– WOW: Picnic is hosting a three-day “bbq revival” and bringing in Elliot Moss of Buxton Hall, Sam Jones of Skylight Inn and Sam Jones BBQ, Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin BBQ, Tyson Ho of Arrogant Swine, John Lewis of Lewis BBQ plus a lot more

– Speaking of Buxton Hall Barbecue, they have been named the #9 best new restaurant in America 2016

– Grant visits Zombie Pig BBQ in Columbus, his last new Georgia barbecue restaurant for awhile

– First We Feast gets another esteemed panel of experts to discuss “The Most Influential BBQ in America”; Barbecue Bros faves Stamey’s and Scott’s makes the list from the Carolinas

– Daniel Vaughn revisits Fox Bros Bar-B-Q after a few years and comes away impressed

– Question #1: Why are there two styles of NC Barbecue?

– Question #2: How would you describe SC barbecue?

Adding one more layer of complexity, he said that a third (or fifth, depending on who’s counting) sauce should be included: “rust gravy,” a ketchup-and-mustard blend found statewide, especially at the Dukes Bar-B-Que restaurants.

– Charlotte Agenda reports that Mac’s Speed Shop is opening a downtown Matthews location, just around the corner from Moe’s Barbeque

– Tim Kaine spent his Monday night eating barbecue at Buxton Hall and jamming with a bluegrass band nextdoor at Catawba Brewery

– So you can eat barbecue and lose weight; The Smoking Ho offers proof

Linkdown: 8/3/16

– Congratulations to Buxton Hall on being named one of Bon Appétit’s 50 Best New Restaurants (full list here)

– Washington Post critic Jim Shahin visits the barbecue scene in Charleston and calls it “the future of barbecue”

– Extra Crispy has a new bacon critic and he leans on two folks for advice heading into the job: Texas Monthly’s barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn and the Denver Post’s cannabis critic Jake Browne

– The Raleigh News & Observer is doing a “Best-Kept Secrets” series of articles and has one on barbecue

– The story of a “cowboy barbecue” at the Fortuna Cowboy Rodeo in California

– While Grant and his family moved to Chattanooga a few weeks back, his impressive backlog of stories about Atlanta-area restaurants is just now winding down; as he now shifts his focus to his new home, he looks back on his favorite Atlanta restaurants, including two barbecue joints: Old Brick Pit and Heirloom Market

– The Smoking Ho joined the Chicago-based Man Meat BBQ podcast for a conversation recently

– City Barbeque is opening their first Charlotte-area restaurant later this month; check out Speedy’s review of the Cary location here

– Beer and barbecue, pt 1

– Beer and barbecue, pt 2

– A Toronto Star travel writer visits Picnic in Durham and calls it a “bellwether for social change”

House Bill 2 (a.k.a. HB2, a.k.a. “the bathroom law”) exploded out of nowhere in March. Dickson promptly ordered new bathroom signage showing Picnic’s disdain for the state government edict that people must go to washrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate.

Thing is, the law only applies to public buildings and schools, not private businesses. North Carolina, he says, has a “proud tradition of being a progressive Southern state,” and HB2 is not a true reflection of it.

Friday Find: Bon Appétit Magazine Podcast with Sam Jones and Wyatt Dickson

Ahead of this weekend’s July Fourth festivities, Bon Appétit Magazine talks with Sam Jones of Sam Jones BBQ (duh) and Wyatt Dickson of Picnic to discuss the changing landscape of American barbecue.

The two reminisce about being raised in households where everything down to the greens had pork fat in it. Says Jones: “My grandfather was one of those people who was like, ‘This is the way we cook BBQ, and if you don’t cook it this way you’re going to hell.” Meanwhile, Dickson has been “getting hell” about how his hush puppies are, apparently, “wrong.” And if you believe beer with your BBQ is par for the course, the people of eastern North Carolina have a few words for you—not many of which are nice.

-Monk

Friday Find: Rien Fertel and Wyatt Dickson on The State of Things Podcast

“The One True Barbecue” author Rien Fertel and Picnic’s Wyatt Dickson stopped by WUNC’s The State of Things radio show last week to discuss Fertel’s book and all things whole hog barbecue. After listening to this 17 minute podcast, I realized that Wyatt Dickson and I went to elementary school in Fayetteville way back when. Small world.

Link

Monk

Linkdown: 6/1/16

Take a tour of Central Texas Barbecue with Chef Mark Ladner

– Couple more barbecue stops from Grant: Hawg Heaven BBQ in Hogansville, GA and Mac’s BBQ in Warm Springs, GA

How to identify a good BBQ joint, from Garden & Gun

Barbecue, though, is democratic. If you have a hankering for chopped pork and a few hours to kill, you can find a platter. But how do you know before you order if you’re getting real-deal, barbecue or a slow-cooker surprise? The experts say to look for wood and smoke, of course, but there’s more to the best joints than that.

– The NC Aquarium in Kure Beach is having a Father’s Day barbecue catered by A&G Barbecue down the road

– Bon Appetit weighs in on American barbecue, with bits from Buxton Hall, Sam Jones BBQ, and Picnic

Linkdown: 3/30/16

Voting ends tomorrow for Thrillist’s America’s Best BBQ Bracket (vote for Red Bridges!)

– The fast casual concept of Midwood Smokehouse, named Midwood Smokeshack, will open its first location in Matthews

– Charlotte Observer food writer Kathleen Purvis has 5 styles of brisket to try around Charlotte, including the smoked version at Sauceman’s

– Purvis also explores the black/white cornbread divide; loyal readers will know which side I fall on

– Yet another NC barbecue roadtrip list

-The Indy Week out of NC’s triangle has a feature on Picnic:

– Speaking of which, Picnic is now open on Sundays

– Fox Bros. in Atlanta is expanding with a barbecue kiosk at the up-and-coming Armour Yards

– Robert Moss takes a quick trip to Houston and focuses on the boudin sausage

– Red Clay Soul has a Georgia Mild BBQ Sauce Bracket

– The origin story of Heirloom Market’s spicy korean barbecue sandwich

 

Linkdown: 3/2/16

– This article on barbecue treats from Robert Moss considers the misleading names of Texas Pete, Cheerwine, and burnt ends

– Sam Jones has partnered with Heinz to create a “Carolina Vinegar Style” barbecue sauce

– John Shelton Reed has a new barbecue cookbook coming – appropriately titled “Barbecue”

– He’s also having an event at the new Durham barbecue restaurant Picnic to celebrate the release of his book

– Midwood Smokehouse is havin a ‘cue and wine pairing at their Ballantyne location on March 16

– Only In Your State has 10 More Restaurants That Serve The Best Barbecue in North Carolina and well, it certainly is a list

– Interview with our friend Johnny Fugitt

– Midwood Smokehouse is asking for votes for Charlotte Magazine’s Best of the Best Awards 2016