– Shots fired from Alton Brown at unnamed southern barbecue restaurants
“It’s funny with barbecue, because the most beloved barbecue places in the South, by and large, serve the shittiest barbecue. I will stand by that. Places that people will drive hours to get to, barbecue’s not that great, but it’s still there. It’s been there. My mom brought me here. My grandparents are from here.?
You’re calling the food at Mabel’s “Cleveland-style barbecue.” What does that mean, exactly?
We’re inspired more by Eastern Europe than the South in our flavor profile. Cleveland is a big Eastern European melting pot, so I wanted to offer a menu that reflected the cuisine. For instance, instead of hot links, we serve kielbasa. Our spice blends, our sides… they’re very reminiscent of what you’d find in Cleveland, like smoked beets with horseradish, sauerkraut and Cleveland brown mustard. We’re also smoking with apple and cherry woods, which are native to the region.
Hursey’s Bar-B-Q in Burlington has a tale like this to tell. In the mid-’40s, patriarch Sylvester Hursey and a good friend were engaged in a night of bacchanalian revelry — they had a little party that got out of hand — and at some point it seemed like a good idea to find a pig and cook it, so that’s what they did. I imagine them in the still heat of a Carolina summer’s night, climbing over a splintered wooden fence and into the pigpen. The moonlight broke through the limbs of the giant oak and shone on the chosen pig, as big as any pig there ever was, and the two of them wrestled with it into the night, coming this close to losing their own lives in the process, but finally emerging victorious. They had their pig, and then they dragged it halfway across Alamance County and fired up the pit and cooked it.
Rodney Scott we love you and your pulled pork, but we must concede the star of yesterday’s SC-TX BBQ Invitational was clearly John Lewis of Austin, Texas’ La Barbecue. The man’s beef brisket was O-face-inducingly good (I saw more than one pair of eyes roll back into eaters’ heads). And the pit master’s presence was all thanks to the members of Charleston Brown Water Society (CBWS), whose Holy City Brewing hoedown came off smokingly well, despite intermittent rain threats.
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