Monk: Catching up on old podcasts I missed from last year, I finally listened to this discussion between Christopher Prieto and the Tales from the Pits guys at Prime BBQ in Knightdale. It covers some similar ground to Prieto’s appearance on Kevin’s BBQ Pits in 2021 but is still a good conversation on his barbecue origin story as well as Prime’s menu nonetheless.
Description: Christopher Prieto, aka The Barbecue Nerd, has had one of the more unique journeys through the barbecue world that you’re likely to find. From his storied competition cooking career to his work with veterans and opening his first restaurant, Christopher’s story of faith, determination and service is an inspiring one.
If you’re anywhere near the Raleigh, North Carolina area, Prime BBQ is a must stop for Christopher’s menu of inspired barbecue meats and sides.
Name: Prime Barbecue Date: 7/28/22 Address: 900 Park Offices Dr Suite 120, Durham, NC 27703 Order: 3 meat sampler with pork, brisket, and ribs, deviled egg potato salad (link to menu) Pricing: $$
Speedy: A quick work trip afforded me an opportunity I’d been looking forward to for a long time – a visit to Prime Barbecue. Monk first clued me in to Prime Barbecue in early 2020, when he was invited to tour the not yet open facility and sample some of the planned menu. Reading his description of Texas style ‘cue in NC got me interested, and pitmaster Christopher Prieto’s time on “BBQ Brawl” season 2 only made me that much more determined to make it out to Knightdale to sample the goods. However, due to various scheduling challenges and a bit of a pandemic, it took me over two years to make it happen. Let me tell you, dear readers, it was worth the wait.
Monk: I haven’t yet made it back out to Knightdale for an official review, but was thrilled to see Speedy was going to check it out for himself while back in NC recently.
Speedy: Walking up on this hot Thursday around 12:30 in the afternoon, I saw a large outdoor space, complete with a play area for kids and covered picnic style seating. On this day, the outdoor area was pretty sparse (did I mention it was hot?), but walking in, the space was buzzing. The large dining room was nearly full, and there was a line of about a dozen customers ahead of me. The line moved quickly until it was time for me to place my order.
The main reason I like dining with Monk is not the company he provides…
Monk: …hey, wait a minute…
Speedy: …but rather the addition of another eater that allows me to order everything on the menu. Alas, on this day, I was dining solo, so I had to make some tough choices.
Monk: Longtime readers know that I feel your pain here.
Speedy: Of course I opted for the three meat platter – selecting brisket, ribs, and turkey (along with sides of barbecue rice and green beans). The pulled pork and sausage will have to wait for my next trip (and there will be a next trip).
Let’s start from the top – the brisket. Generally, I order a mix of fatty/lean, but today it all looked very moist, so I stuck with the lean. I didn’t sample the fatty, but the lean was nearly perfect. Great bark, moist, peppery, and flavorful with just the right amount of tug. Prime Barbecue struck a perfect balance of enough seasoning to penetrate the meat fully without over-seasoning the outside. That kept every bite flavorful. This was a top ten brisket-gasm of my life.
Next up – the ribs. Prime serves pork spare ribs, that to my taste were perfectly seasoned and cooked. I was able to get a good, clean bite, but also pull meat from the bone easily. The ribs were glazed enough to add some sweetness without being too sticky. I have no improvements to offer here either.
Monk: While the brisket was really good during the aforementioned media preview in 2020, the ribs were the star of the show for me. Seems like that is still the case here.
Speedy: I’m on record lately as to really enjoying smoked turkey, so I was excited to try my final meat – the sliced turkey breast. For me, this was the only meat I didn’t love. While cooked perfectly and not at all dry (the usual culprit for imperfect turkey), I found the turkey to be a bit on the buttery side. My presumption is the turkey is wrapped in foil with butter at some point in the smoke process, and while it definitely kept the meat moist, I felt like the turkey and smoke flavors got overpowered. If you are a fan of buttery meat, I still think you will love this dish, but it wasn’t for me.
I was pretty full from the feast above, but did still have room for a couple of bites of each ordered side. The green beans were solid, and worth ordering. The barbecue rice (complete with bits of sausage) was like no other rice I’d had before and will be something I’ll order again. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I washed it all down with Cheerwine from the soda fountain – just an extra cherry on top of a great meal.
Since we started our blogging over ten (!) years ago, the Barbecue Bros have seen the proliferation of Texas-style barbecue all over the country. I’m happy to say that Prime Barbecue takes this style (along with a few twists) and not only does justice, but serves up one of the best meals you can find anywhere. Five hogs.
Monk: WRAL’s Out and About has been visiting barbecue joints this summer, and in this video they sit down with Christopher Prieto of Prime Barbecue in Knightdale, who runs through his menu and approach to barbecue.
Description: Christopher Prieto has been studying barbecue all his life. The Texas native opened his first restaurant, Prime BBQ, in Knightdale Station in 2020. Full story here.
Monk: In a bit of a change of pace, I’m going to try my hand at TV recapping for the second season of BBQ Brawl, which airs for *checks notes* 10 episodes *gulp* on Monday nights at 9pm ET on Food Network. 10 episodes? Well let’s see how this goes…
Well barbe-cuties, this episode kicks off the second half of the season and each team has lost at least one member with Team Eddie having lost two. Having done “hot and fast” barbecue so far this season, this week the episode jumps right in with a four meat “low and slow competition ‘cue” team challenge.
That means over the next seven hours each team am have to prepare four meats and two sides; the meats are Texas brisket, Carolina pork, Memphis ribs, and Kansas City…chicken(?). Kind of shoe-horning that KC-style with the chicken there, aren’t we? Maybe go Alabama-style even if that’s not one of the major four styles.
Right away, Christopher is visibly excited at this challenge due to his and Lu’s competition background, and his excitedness gets him into a little spat with his captain Eddie when they have a difference of opinion on the second side.
On Team Bobby, Taylor and Terry waste no time to start their bickering and Erica clutches her crucifix and says a quick prayer. Ara on Team Michael is a little concerned with just 7 hours for brisket, but thinks he can make it happen during that time.
After the longer cooks get going, we finally get to the advantage challenge which Bobby gets to pick after suffering his first defeat last week. With the contestants busy with their meats, Bobby challenges the captains to a 20 minute mac and cheese challenge. Twenty minutes isn’t the ideal time for mac and cheese, but in the end Michael’s homemade spaetzle beats out Bobby’s chorizo mac with okra crust and Eddie’s green chile mac and cheese. The advantage ends up being: the ability to use a captain from the other teams for 30 minutes which could either be used for grunt work or even used strategically to keep him from helping his team at a crucial time.
Team Bobby’s energy is visibly off, even from the judges porch, so Bobby brings the team together and helps them hash it out. Terry admits he started the trash talking, and the team elbow bumps into hopefully a better headspace. We’ll see if that can help Terry’s struggle-pork that had no rub, was cooking at a very low temp for a bit, and is getting the marinade a couple hours in. I’m not seeing how this could possibly be a winner for him.
Michael uses his advantage to get Bobby to shred some cheese and…not much else. He dismisses him early, so not much of an advantage.
Brittani’s chicken and collards are hits with three judges but Ara’s brisket is a little dry but has a good bark. David’s pork needs vinegar and his ribs are out of balance but mac and cheese ends up a winner after he smartly abandoned Michael’s waffle idea halfway through.
Terry’s open faced NC pulled pork is greasy and an affront to any NC barbecue fan. Erica’s brisket that was separated prior to cook and injected with Worcestershire sauce (“wooster) is well received, and her cuban beans are as well. Taylor’s chicken has a rubbery skin and her Memphis-style dry rub ribs are just that – a little dry. Once again, her dessert ends up saving her as the banana pudding is a hit.
Lu’s chicken pillows has one of her great sauces, a honey barbecue. Then comes the Christopher show: his pulled pork has no major dings, his brisket is smoked well but doesn’t quite have the bark, and his ribs aren’t as life-changing as he assumed they would be. Eddie focused on the sides and his collards and barbecue beans seem standard.
In the end, the 2+1 contestant Team Eddie gets the W and Team Michael is also safe. As may have been foreshadowed by all the earlier infighting, Team Bobby is on the chopping block. All the proteins had their issues, but Terry goes home for his greasy pork. Could have probably seen this coming, as he is the lone remaining non-competition contestant.
Bells for Terry, the trash talker-in-chief.
Christopher Prieto Watch: Christopher handles the bulk of the meats for the team with seemingly mixed results during judging, but helps get them to safety with the overall win. He continues to rub some folks the wrong way, and this week that includes his captain Eddie. In the end, he is a big part of his teams W despite the misstep on his bbq beans that Eddie had to step in and fix. He moves on to next week, though I do wonder if Lu will soon tire of his (over) confidence.
What was your favorite part of episode 5 of BBQ Brawl season 2? Leave your response in the comments and be sure to check back next week for a recap of episode 6.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.