Friday Find: Jim Noble Q&A from Cheshire Pork

In the video above, we also get to meet head pitmaster of Noble Smoke, Kelly O’Bryan. He’s a new face (for me at least) for Noble Smoke that I haven’t gotten a chance to meet yet but I hope to soon.

In addition to the video above, a separate Q&A with Noble is at the following link, which contains a tidbit about Noble Smoke starting to use skin-on pork butts from Cheshire Pork because “[t]he skin helps retain moisture and the size of them allows us to provide an even, smoky flavor.”

Description: We’re pretty excited about this Q&A blog post with none-other than Jim Noble of Noble Smoke in Charlotte, NC. Noble Smoke proudly serves #CheshirePork and as their Head Pitmaster, Kelly O’Bryan, says in the video below, “Cheshire Pork is the Rolls Royce of pork.“ Check out the video our team captured of what distinguishes Noble Smoke from other barbecue restaurants in the South East and then read about Jim’s barbecue style and why he chooses Cheshire Pork in the Q&A below.

Photo Gallery: Smoking a pork butt Lexington-style

Monk: For this year’s annual Super Bowl smoke, I knew a few things going in:

  1. I was going to use a Big Green Egg to smoke a pork butt for the first time (the BGE was my neighbor’s)
  2. I wanted to try to smoke it and serve it a little more authentically Lexington-style, particularly the rub

The NC BBQ Society’s website has been my go-to page for a Lexington-style dip recipe (that is, a thin barbecue sauce for those of you not in the know) the past few years (recipe here) while using a rub of my own (or Speedy’s) concoction. All these years, they’ve had a recipe for “Cooking Pork Shoulders Lexington Style” just a little further down the page that I’ve been ignoring. Turns out this is actually a transcription of a recipe from the book “The Best Tarheel Barbecue: From Manteo to Murphy” by NC BBQ Society founder Jim Early, which I just so happen to own. So I’ve really had no excuse not to try this technique before now.

On that page, in terms of rub it states “Rub the exposed side of the meat (not skin side) with a fair amount of salt. Set aside at room temperature.” And that’s it. I had to re-read a few times just to be sure I wasn’t missing something. No other spices, no overnight rub – this really was going to be a different technique than I was used to.

Doing a quick Google search, I found some corroborating evidence that salt only is indeed the way that the Lexington Barbecue rubs its pork butts (a second source here also somewhat verified it). So my mind was made up – I just hope it wouldn’t be a bust for our annual Super Bowl Party but it seemed so simple so what could go wrong?  At least we had 100 takeout wings as backup.

Speedy: Just to interject here, Monk, but I’m not sure I buy it. Maybe it’s been in the dip all these years, but I feel like I get some peppery goodness in all the Lexington ‘cue. I’ll reserve judgment until I try it for myself, but it just doesn’t feel right.

Monk: I was skeptical too, but I’m confident you will recognize Lexington in this technique. Next time we get a chance, we should do a side by side with just salt versus a more peppery rub.

The morning of, I rubbed about a ¼ cup of Morton’s coarse kosher salt on the smaller 5 lb pork butt and set aside at room temperature while I got the Big Green Egg lit – though admitedly this took a little longer seeing as this was my first time and I was starting solo.

Outside of that, everything else went about the same as a normal smoke. About 8.5 hours later, I pulled the butt off and let it rest for about an hour before chopping it and adding the Lexington dip.

I must say, I do believe this was the closest I’ve come to recreating Lexington-style pork butts at home. A slider with this chopped pork, a red slaw that Mrs. Monk prepared, and some Texas Pete tasted pretty darn close to what you might find in Lexington. I’m not saying its going to replace a trip to Lexington #1 anytime soon, but its not bad for a backyard smoke.

Linkdown: 8/13/14

– This is my nightmare: the Lone Star Tick (named for Texas) can make you allergic to barbecue as well as burgers

– The 2014 NC Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship will be October 3/4 in Downtown Raleigh

This year, the State Championship will return to Downtown Raleigh as part of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival. After the judging is complete, the mouth-watering barbecue will be chopped and sold in sandwiches to festival attendees on Saturday, October 4.

Another article from the Mooresville Tribune on The Great NC BBQ Map; it was also listed this week as one of the 5 things you need to know in the South right now from Southern Living

– Barbecue on other lists, pt. 1: Garden and Gun named their top breakfast joints in the South and Southern Soul Barbeque in St. Simons Island, GA made the list

– Barbecue on other lists, pt. 2: in addition to legendary barbecue, Skylight Inn in Ayden apparently has one of the NC’s best burgers

– Thrillist’s list of The 15 Best New BBQ Joints in America

A letter to the president regarding NC barbecue, plus a pork butt recipe

Dear President Obama,

It seems you like barbecue. You broke in line at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, but I guess the headaches of being president allow you some leeway. You had a cold Bud Light when you hit Arthur Bryant’s in Kansas City, even if they had run out of slaw, but you stood in line there, so between the beer and waiting your turn, you showed your humanity and touch with the common man.

I know you’ve been to North Carolina many times, but I’ve yet to hear about you stopping at one of our well-smoked, traditional barbecue joints. They really are your kind of places. I’m not talking about the newfangled ones, where the emphasis is on selling you a liquor drink. No, we have some time-honored places where wood smoke meets the meat.

– 12 Bones Smokehouse makes this list of places to eat from The Telegraph’s (UK) guide to Asheville as well as Culture Trip’s 10 “must-try” local restaurants in Asheville

How I Built A Barbecue Restaurant in Brookyln: A Lease Safari, from Tyson Ho of Arrogant Swine – you remember, Arrogant Swine is the Carolina style whole hog joint who is using Heritage Cheshire hogs that I want to go to next time I’m in NYC (via)

– A shot of the space where Buxton Hall will be housed

– Pat Martin, pitmaster of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, cooked the annual barbecue dinner at the James Beard House last Thursday and here was the draft menu