Linkdown: 1/5/22

ICYMI, Kevin’s BBQ Joints rounded up from over 120 barbecue personalities what made barbecue so special to them. We were honored that Kevin asked us to be a part of this fantastic project. While some folks focused on their earliest barbecue memories, both Rudy and I focused our answers on bites that broadened our barbecue horizons from more than just the chopped pork they grew up on in NC. Definitely worth a read.

Native News

Ayden, NC (home to Skylight Inn and Bum’s) unveils new marketing campaign: “‘Que Marks the Spot”

Noble Smoke is the only barbecue restaurant on Charlotte Magazine’s annual list of the 50 best restaurants in Charlotte

Grady’s is closed until late January for their well-deserved “winter rest”

Lawrence Barbecue as well as Lewis Barbecue in Charleston gets some love from Eater Carolinas contributors on this “Best Restaurant Meal of 2021” post

Thankfully, Pik-N-Pig’s closure will only be temporary and they aim to reopen ths year

Huli Sue’s BBQ and Grill in Asheville serves a “Hawaiian influenced take on Texas barbecue along with some other island-esque plates”

ICYMI, the Jon G’s Barbecue x Salud Beer Shop/Salud Cerveceria pizza collaboration is happening now

Non-Native News

Barbecue options in Birmingham

Blake’s BBQ photo progress update from late December

From Lifehacker: “With my Weber, I smoked a little, grilled a lot, and learned even more—and I’d like to share my favorite dishes (and lessons) with you now, in no particular order. This is what my grill taught me over the past year.”

From last month, RIP John Mueller

Linkdown: 10/26/21

Featured

Not to be outdone by the recent introduction of the BBQ Bowl between Campbell College and Gardner-Webb University in NC, The Battle of the Bones rivalry between Memphis and UAB and the spectacular ribs trophy you see below is coming back!

As a result of the latest rounds of conference alignment, the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) will be joining the University of Memphis in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) as a part of a massive expansion with 5 other schools that will expand the conference to 14 teams. Of course, this is just the latest domino to fall after Texas and Oklahoma announced its move to the SEC which led to Cincinnati, Central Florida, and Houston leaving the AAC to join the Big 12.

Regardless of all that, clearly the main takeaway here is that The Battle for the Bones is back, baby! Or kind of…there might be a chance that the original trophy (which reportedly weighs almost a 100 pounds) is lost somehow? That appears to be the rumor according to some tweets I’ve seen on the internet. Surely the internet wouldn’t lead me astray, would it?

Regardless, let’s either find that ribs trophy or create a near-facsimile and get this rivalry back on track. AAC fever, baby!

Native News

A lucky reporter is going to get to experience some Peachland Saturdays at Jon G’s

While Pik N Pig rebuilds its restaurant in Carthage damaged by fire, they were at the NC State Fair in Raleigh serving barbecue out of their log cabin booth as they have done since 2006

Potential new NC flag?

Non-Native News

Must read thread from Evan LeRoy in the wake of being named #5 in Texas Monthly’s Top 50

Bobby’s BBQ in Fountain Inn, SC celebrated 3 years open last weekend

Denver-based Smōk recently opened its 3rd location (and first outside of Denver) in Fort Collins, CO

Rusty’s Bar-B-Q in Leeds, AL was recently revisited by John Tanner

Pig Beach has opened a Queens location in Astoria

Linkdown: 3/17/21

Featured

Mr. Barbecue has finally re-opened for takeout in Winston-Salem as of this past Monday, nearly 2 years after it closed due to a pit fire. As I wrote in the February 3 linkdown, this is definitely a win for classic, wood-smoked NC barbecue joints. I do have to admit, I was a little worried after they didn’t open by the end of February as they had initially announced but a few weeks delay can be excused. Mr. Barbecue is now open Mondays to Saturdays from 10:30am to 9:30pm.

Native News

Reminder: Jon G’s Barbecue food truck will be at Waxhaw Taphouse today for St. Patty’s Day starting at 5pm

Backyard BBQ Pit in Durham makes this list from Southern Living’s Robert Moss

For Moss’s iconic dish for NC, he selects the humble barbecue tray from the Piedmont region

More coverage of the inaugural Pinehurst Barbecue Festival which will take place on Labor Day Weekend of this year; Chef Joe Lumbrazo of Backyard Bistro restaurant and Ashley Sheppard of the historic Pik N Pig Restaurant in Carthage have joined Ed Mitchell as pitmasters for the event

Barvecue, producers of wood-smoked, plant-based barbecue, has broken ground on the world’s largest plant-based smokehouse in Cornelius; dubbed the “Carolina Smokehouse” the 10,000 square foot facility plans to open in July of 2021

Mac’s Speed Shop and Noble Smoke have two of the best patios in Charlotte

Non-Native News

Evan LeRoy reflects on a year of pandemic barbecue

Rodney Scott’s recipe for leftover barbecue and grits is featured in Parade Magazine

Matt Horn is adding burgers to his budding barbecue empire

Adrian Miller featured in Stanford Magazine as the “bard of “barbecue”

My body is ready:

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