Linkdown: 6/21/17

– Rodney Scott surprisingly smoked ribs instead of whole hog at this year’s Big Apple

– The Washington Post’s Jim Shahin has a list of favorite barbecue books this season, and it includes Elliott Moss’s “Buxton Hall BBQ Book of Smoke”

– I couldn’t disagree more but Charlotte Agenda refers to Bubba’s Barbecue as a “hidden gem”

– Whole hog in the most unlikeliest of places? Gravy’s got the scoop

– NC barbecue in Virginia at Willard’s BBQ in Reston

– The Houston Chronicle has an article on barbecue camps, focusing on the one at Texas A&M but with a passing mention of a few in NC (though it mistakenly mentions that the NC State Barbecue Camp only started this year; this was its second third year)

– The Smoking Ho has some nice barbecue photos from his quick trip to LA

– What else would you expect from an Alabaman?

Linkdown: 11/12/14

– The Guardian: “Pulled Pork: why we’re pigging out on US barbecue food”

As punters went wild for barbecue in general, and pulled pork in particular, restaurant chains and supermarkets jumped on the porcine bandwagon. There has been a 35% increase in the amount of US barbecue dishes served in UK restaurants since 2010, according to thefoodpeople, and a rash of smokehouses and diner pastiches have opened in London, Manchester, Leeds, Brighton and beyond. “We are in the midst of a meat-centric tsunami,” says Richard Turner, the director at Pitt Cue Co and the co-founder of rare-breed butchers Turner and George.

– A NC-born chef in Seattle is converting Western Washingtoners to vinegar-based pulled pork at his restaurant Bourbon and Bones

– Marie, Let’s Eat! finds some pork ladled in a “thick, mildly sweet sauce” at Hwy 58 BBQ in Chattanooga

– Speaking of whom, Grant took a badass barbecue roadtrip through SC and eastern NC last weekend, which will no doubt lead to a multi-week series of posts on his blog that I can’t wait to check out

– And finally, a “blogger spotlight” on Grant by Urbanspoon where he answered a question on his favorite barbecue

6. Barbecue seems to be one of your favorite cuisines, considering you have a very detailed section reserved for it on your blog. What are your favorite barbecue dishes and where do you go to get them?

That’s a big, fun question! We’ve written about more than 300 barbecue joints and really enjoyed a big majority of them. I like the burnt ends at Southern Soul on St Simons Island a lot, and the mustard slaw at Brooks Barbeque in Muscle Shoals AL, and the chopped pork and red slaw tray at Bar-B-Q Center in Lexington NC. I like the Brunswick stew at Turn-Around in Tallapoosa GA, and the chicken mull at Butt Hutt in Athens. Overall, my favorite barbecue is either at Old Clinton in Gray GA, or Scott’s in Hemingway SC, but that could change around the next corner.

– “North Carolina” makes Steve Raichlen’s Top 10 Meat Cities in the US (via)

North Carolina: OK—it’s not one city, but a whole state gone hog wild for pulled pork at such landmark barbecue joints as Lexington Barbecue in Lexington, Wilber’s in Goldsboro, the Skylight Inn in Ayden, the Pit in Raleigh, and the new Ed Mitchell’s in Durham.

– Mark Avalos of SLAB (Slow, Low, and Bangin’) describes his barbecue as “Memphis meets Carolina meets Texas.” (via)

– A short blog and photos about Arrogant Swine

Elwood’s BBQ is hosting a beer dinner with new-ish Charlotte brewery Sugar Creek Brewing on November 19

– Well damn, this looks like it was amazing:

Linkdown: 8/20/14

– Wayne Monk, Sam Jones, and other “old-school pitmasters” weigh in on how the barbecue industry is changing

“To cook pork shoulders the way we do it, it’s a 10-hour process. It’s hard these days to find young men to learn a trade like this that they’re proud of, that have 10-hour days. People take shortcuts, like gas cookers. But the more gas cookers there are, the better my business gets.” – Rick Monk, Lexington Barbecue (Lexington, NC)

– You may remember this bill from a few months back due to its dubious claim to South Carolina being “birthplace of barbecue,” but in any case its finally official: barbecue is South Carolina’s “southern picnic cuisine”

– Speaking of South Carolina, would the Senator Frank Underwood from House of Cards really be eating ribs instead of pulled pork?

– Registration for the 2014 Q City Charlotte BBQ Championship is now live until slots fill up; also, it is now a NC BBQ Association event rather than a Memphis BBQ Network one as it had been in years past

– According to Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor of Texas Monthly, “[t]he brisket I’ve had in New York lately is better than a lot of places in Texas”

– Vote for best barbecue (as well as other cuisines) in Creative Loafing Charlotte’s Best of 2014 survey

– On September 7, five Louisville chefs will compete in a whole hog challenge to determine who will be crowned the “BBQ King or Queen” (via)

At the stand-up tasting reception, they’ll serve six dishes that illustrate entire animal usage, scored on utilization, presentation, barbecue influences and flavor. The perfect plate spotlights the whole pig and can ultimately inspire restaurant owners to greater support of local agriculture, according to event founder Brady Lowe.

– This Eater guide to the best pulled pork in Austin features a couple of the usual suspects plus a few I hadn’t heard of before (via)

– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits Papa Joe’s BBQ Pit and Cook Out in a review from last week

– This month’s Carolina ‘Cue feature from Our State is Big Mike’s Barbecue, a food truck out of the Raleigh area

At this writing, there is but one place you can find Big Mike’s Barbecue: It’s indeterminate, location at present unknown, its setting determined by demand, a roving outlet for the conveyance of pork in its various guises. Big Mike calls it the Red Barn. You would, too, if you saw it, because that’s exactly what it appears to be. No room for towering bales of hay or horse stalls or tractors, though, just big enough for a sink and a counter and a little smoker toward the back, on what looks like a screened-in porch, and small enough to be pulled behind a GMC Sierra 2500HD. You order through one of the barn windows. On the window is a drawing of a pig holding a fork and knife, a pig with a big smile on his face, as if he’s happy to be eating himself. And, on any given day, the Red Barn could be in the parking lot of the building where you work, near a bar you frequent, or at a party where you’re the guest of honor.

– Brooks Sandwich House, home of Charlotte’s best burger, has barbecue available seasonally and it is back; I’m not sure what to expect from it but when I try it I’ll at least get a burger as well

– A preview of things to come from Buxton Hall?

Linkdown: 3/27/14

Bonus linkdown? Bonus linkdown!

You have until Friday to eat at the original Clyde Cooper’s location in Raleigh before it moves a few blocks away onto Wilmington Street the second week in April (via bbqboard)

Colbert Pulled Pork Rant Pulled Too Hard, says Esquire’s Eat Like a Man Blog:

This seems a bit much. On the one hand, I applaud Colbert for taking on a sacred cow, or rather a sacred pig. They can’t say the guy doesn’t have balls. And he’s right in a way. It’s true that a lot of Carolina barbecue, not just in North Carolina but also in Colbert’s home state of South Carolina, is mediocre at best, and sometimes almost as bad as he makes it out to be. But the best of it is transporting, unique, and irreplaceable. No barbecue tradition in America varies so much from good to bad. I just came back from Raleigh and Durham and experienced both. At Cooper’s, I had a finely chopped barbecue sandwich that was simultaneously soft and somehow also firm, tightly packed but giving up every bite without resistance. It was porky, and a little smoky, and its vinegar just set off its fat. It was basically perfect. Later in the day I went to The Pit, one of the state’s best barbecue restaurants, and it was even better. The barbecue was fresher, and even when coarsely chopped, was still tender. Moreover, the vinegar was judiciously spiked with hot pepper, so you got three things on your palate at once: fat, acid, and heat — a kind of holy trinity of American meat.

– By the looks of this tweet, it appears Our State Magazine has hired a new barbecue writer

– As of 9:24am this morning, The Great NC BBQ Map Kickstarter has been fully funded! Congrats to them!

North Carolina
Pulled pork
Like Missouri’s barbecue ribs, pulled pork is cooked slowly on a grill. Like New Mexico’s carne adovada, pulled pork is fork-tender pork shoulder. Unlike either of those, North Carolina pulled pork is shredded by hand, doused with a vinegary sauce, and served with coleslaw. Pulled pork barbecue is an American treasure.

Now, I am aware that South Carolina also serves pulled pork. But South Carolina’s pulled pork is a mustard-based concoction, which pales in a side-by-side comparison with tangy, bracing North Carolina barbecue sauce.

You know I love a good barbecue/meat-themed map. Find the interactive version of the map on Slate.

-Monk

JJR’s BBQ Shack – Charlotte, NC

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Name: JJR’s BBQ Shack
Date: 12/22/13
Address: Bank of America Stadium, 800 S Mint St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Order: Pulled pork sandwich
Price: $8

Monk: Speedy and I are in the second year of being Carolina Panthers season ticket holders, so I figured we should at least check out the lone barbecue option at the stadium even if expectations weren’t very high going in. So for the last home game of the regular season, we decided to finally check out JJR’s BBQ Shack, named in honor of Jerry Richardson, founder/owner of the Carolina Panthers. And it came out about as expected. The pork, while it did have a good texture to it, lacked moisture and smoke, even in the bark. It absolutely required additional sauce from the condiments area of the concourse, which I neglected to add before heading to my seat. Speedy, I know you don’t have much more to add, but what say you?

Speedy: For my order, I initially asked what the “double stack” was, assuming it was a combo brisket-pork sandwich. I was told by the guy up front just to order it, only to find out that it was really just a pulled pork sandwich with extra pork, bacon, and nacho cheese. Due to my intolerance of dairy, my desire to avoid cardiac arrest, and the fact that it looked disgusting, I quickly backtracked from the order and switched to the normal pulled pork sandwich. Monk’s description above is spot on – there’s not much more to say about it. I did have a bite of Papa Speedy’s brisket sandwich, which I thought was slightly better. It came sliced and lightly sauced, which I think was the difference. Still though, I won’t be rushing back to try it again.

In fact, I think for the PLAYOFFS…

Monk: PLAYOFFS?!?!

Speedy: …Monk and I might just have to make our own ‘cue. Until then, keep pounding!

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – N/A
Pork – 2 hogs
Sides – N/A
Overall – 2 Hogs

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Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que – Matthews, NC

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Name: Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que
Date: 6/19/13
Location: 111 Matthews Station St., Matthews, NC 28105
Order: Pulled pork platter with a drink, cornbread, collard greens, and mac and cheese (link to menu)
Bill: $10.25 (beer not included)

In a sense, it was to be expected. Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que is an Alabama-style barbecue chain restaurant based out of Colorado (not exactly a barbecue capital), and the Barbecue Bros don’t usually have high hopes for chains for a reason. Still, I was going to give it a shot since it had just opened last week and my current client is down the street. So this past week a few folks from my company decided to have a small work happy hour there.

Moe’s moved into a building vacated by Pure Taqueria earlier this year and took a few months to fit it to their needs (more taps, smoker, etc). The building is modeled after an historic Matthews gas station and has garage doors that can be opened to give it an open air feel – oddly they weren’t open on this warm late spring night. As you walk in, you order your food and drink at the bar and take a number before they eventually bring it out to you which I have to say is kind of a weird set up, especially if you plan on having a couple of beers and have to keep going back to the bar to order. Speaking of beers, Moe’s does do a great job of keeping local beers on draft (I had a Olde Hickory Jade IPA and a Birdsong Red House Wheat and I believe NoDa Brewing, Triple C, and Old Meck were all represented) but charges $5 a beer with no beer specials anywhere to be found.

At the bar (again, still weird to me), I ordered the pulled pork platter which came with a drink (non-alcoholic), cornbread, and two sides (collard greens and mac and cheese for me). The price for the platter was $10.25, which strikes me as a little on the pricey side. The food came out shortly after ordering and I quickly noted the relatively small portion sizes for the price and compared with other barbecue restaurants. However, none of that other stuff really matters if the barbecue is of high quality.

Which is to say, sadly it was not. The consistency of the pork was fine, but overall it was dry and lacked smoke. There was a tangy reddish-brown sauce on the pork which somewhat helped with the dryness of the coarsely pulled chunks (another knock), but it wasn’t my jam. Since Moe’s is an Alabama barbecue restaurant there is the option to get an Alabama white sauce with your pork. Needless to say, I stayed far away from that mess.

All of the sides were fine – the collards came with bits of sausage and bacon, the mac and cheese was baked, and the cornbread had some nice sweetness (but it really just ended up making me wish hush puppies were on the menu).

So yea, Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que ended up being more or less as I expected. I won’t pitch a fit if folks want to go there in the future, but it just likely won’t be my idea.

-Monk

Ratings
Atmosphere/Ambiance  3 hogs
Pulled pork – 2.5 hogs
Sides 2.5 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs

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Moe's Original Bar B Que on Urbanspoon

Best Barbecue in the Charlotte Area: Winner

Kyle Fletcher’s in Gaston County defeated Red Bridge’s of Shelby in the Charlotte Observer Tournament of Food: Barbecue edition. Prior to the finale, Fletcher’s beat Bill Spoon’s in the semi’s, with Bridge’s taking out Bobbee-O’s.

I will reserve judgement on Kyle Fletcher’s until I actually taste it, but I will be expecting big things if it beat out Red Bridge’s. 

It’s not exactly Lexington, not quite Eastern; it’s its own thing – and a remarkably successful one we’d be proud to feed visitors.

“I’ve been twice now,” says Purvis, “and both times, I found myself surprised and delighted – and wondered why I don’t hear more talk about this place among the barbecue fanatics.”

Kyle Fletcher’s, you have officially been added to the list. and I look forward to checking you out.

-Monk

Best Barbecue in the Charlotte Area: Winner