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.
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
– 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
— NC State Provost (@NCStateProvost) May 2, 2018
– 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
We could always use some banana caramel cake, or a rich chocolate slice with chocolate icing—or carrot cake, if we need some extra vegetables after a heaping platter of barbecue. https://t.co/f1cElwkBKf
— Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) May 30, 2018
– Buxton Hall and Picnic have two of the best fried chicken sandwiches in NC
– Robert Moss with a nice primer on barbecue styles
— Robert Moss (@mossr) May 17, 2018
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.
Earlier this year, Bob Garner visited Picnic ahead of their one year anniversary for UNC-TV’s NC Weekend.
– 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
— Grant Goggans (@MarieLetsEat) April 24, 2017
– 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
— Our State Magazine (@ourstatemag) April 21, 2017
– 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:
This ump stopped mid-game to smell a food wrapper.
An SB Nation investigation confirms it was indeed barbecue.https://t.co/TPIGqgnQXR
— SB Nation (@SBNation) April 19, 2017
– 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
— Rachel Rollar (@RachelRollar) October 20, 2016
– 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
— Food & Wine (@foodandwine) October 25, 2016
– 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:
I said it before and I will say it again “BBQ for president “
— Rodney Scott (@rodneyscottbbq) October 20, 2016
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
— Jeremy Markovich (@deftlyinane) October 18, 2016
– 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:
— NC By Train (@NC_By_Train) September 29, 2016
– 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
— CL ATL Food & Drink (@cl_atlantafood) October 17, 2016
– Congrats to Grant and Marie!
— Grant Goggans (@MarieLetsEat) October 13, 2016
Address: 1647 Cole Mill Rd, Durham, NC 27705
Order: Pulled pork plate with pimento mac & cheese, bacon braised collards (link to menu)
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.
– 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
— NC BBQ Revival (@NCBBQRevival) August 15, 2016
– 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?
— Our State Magazine (@ourstatemag) August 15, 2016
– 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
— Jimmy Ho (@TheSmokingHo) August 9, 2016