Ed Mitchell’s Que – Durham, NC

Name: Ed Mitchell’s Que
Date: 5/26/14
Address: 359 Blackwell St, Durham, NC 27701
Order: Chopped whole hog and brisket combo platter (off menu) with collards and fries (link to menu)
Price: $16

Speedy: I’ve previously declared my love for Raleigh’s The Pit, so I was pumped to hear Ed Mitchell return to the restaurant world with his new restaurant Que (Monk note: It should be noted that Ed Mitchell was gone by the time we visited The Pit in 2012; Speedy note: It should be double noted that I had previously eaten at the Pit when Ed Mitchell was still there – it was just pre-blog.). A work outing to a Durham Bulls game afforded me the opportunity to give it a try (the restaurant is right next to the stadium).

Monk: Also worth mentioning is that Ed Mitchell has a barbecue stall inside the Durham Bulls stadium as well, and I’ve heard on at least one occasion of Mitchell himself working the stall during a ballgame, although that was before Que opened.

Speedy: Walking in, the restaurant has a very modern feel. I didn’t venture too far in, as the bar is there to greet you right as you walk in. It definitely does not look like a stereotypical ‘cue joint, but the upside to that is the awesome beer and whiskey selection. I quickly bellied up to the bar, ordered a beer, and picked up a menu.

Monk: I’m already so in on this place…

Speedy: I knew I wanted to try both the whole hog and the brisket, but unfortunately, a combo plate isn’t on the menu. However, I didn’t even have to play the blog card (would that work???) to convince the bartender to let me order it.

Monk: I can see it now…”but, but, but…I have a barbecue blog and need a combo plate so I can properly review!”

Speedy: As is my custom, I asked if the slaw was mayo based and passed on it when I found out that it was, opting for collards and fries instead. The food came out quickly, and it turned out to be a considerable portion, so I dug in.

At this point, I need to make a confession: I like eastern style chopped pork as much as Lexington style.

Monk: This is honestly the first time I’ve heard you say anything about this. And frankly, I’m shocked. I like eastern a lot but it plays second fiddle to Lexington in my book. Although tasting Skylight Inn’s barbecue at Midwood Smokehouse last fall has me reconsidering. I can only imagine that Ed Mitchell’s might help the case for eastern as well.

Speedy: Ed Mitchell’s pork was nearly perfect. Chopped finely, with the awesome tang of a great vinegar sauce. The one inherent problem with whole hog is the lack of bark relative to Lexington style, and while I did notice that, it did not take away from my enjoyment. There were two dips provided on the table, but I didn’t touch either – there was just no need to.

Monk: And that’s exactly why I will almost always prefer Lexington – the amount of bark created by cooking shoulders, and the inherent smokiness and flavor that comes with it.

Speedy: Rudy is fond of saying the Texas barbecue joints use sauce to cover up bad brisket, so I was a little concerned when this brisket came out slathered in sauce. I don’t think that it was the case that the sauce was really needed, as the brisket had good tug and seemed plenty moist. It wasn’t the best brisket I’ve had, but it was still very good and I easily finished my entire plate.

The collards were very good. They tasted like good southern collards are supposed to and had little bits of bacon thrown in for good measure. The fries were also good, but I would’ve prefered to see fried okra on the menu. That’s getting pretty nitpicky, but I don’t have much else bad to say about the meal.

Overall, this was one of the top barbecue experiences I’ve had in a while. I really loved Ed Mitchell’s Que and can’t wait to go back.

Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4.5 hogs
Pork – 5 hogs
Brisket – 4 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 4.5 Hogs
Ed Mitchell's Que on Urbanspoon

Linkdown: 6/4/14

– Ed Mitchell’s ‘Que is now open; now just need to plan a trip to Durham soon…

The restaurant’s hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and closed Sundays. It will operate extended hours on DPAC event and Durham Bulls game nights. 

– More coverage on ‘Que in this article from the Raleigh News & Observer

Here’s the event menu for the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in NYC this weekend

– A Carolinian tastes her first bite of brisket at la Barbecue in Texas (via)

To All the Armchair BBQ Critics, from Carey Bringle of Peg Leg Porker (via)

– Elliott Moss of the upcoming Buxton Hall continues to practice his whole hog barbecue technique

– A couple of barbecue festivals are represented in this North Carolina Summer Festival Spotlight list from Our State Magazine

15. Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival
TRYON • JUNE 13-14
One of the most popular sanctioned barbecue competitions in the U.S. celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Per usual, there will be rides, games, two entertainment stages, and barbecue “cooked low and slow.”

10 a.m.-11 p.m. Admission free on Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. All other times: Adults $8. Children 12 and younger free. Harmon Field, 301 North Trade Street. (828) 693-84431 or blueridgebbqfestival.com.

– Austin’s top 6 sausages, according to Fed Man Walking

– Duh: Despite What You May Have Heard, South Carolina Is (Probably) Not the Birthplace of Barbecue

Weekly food truck locations for Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen, the current #1 on our Charlotte Big Board

Our current location schedule:
Tuesday lunch at Coliseum Center Buildings 3 & 4
Wednesday lunch at Coliseum Center Buildings 5 & 6
Thursday lunch at Parkway Plaza

Every 3rd Friday of the month: Food Truck Friday in Southend 
Friday, June 20th
Friday, July 18th

The Ashton Southend
Friday, July 25th at 5:30

Linkdown: 5/13/14

– North Carolina is #2 on TripAdvisor’s “Top 10 States for BBQ.” Sure, I guess I can buy that. #1 on the list? Georgia…wait, what?

– Speaking of Georgia, here’s an interview with native son Myron Mixon from Conde Nast Traveler

– Statesville has a place that serves both eastern and western NC barbecue

– Another list of barbecue around the world, entitled “From the Philippines to Australia, a Gorgeous Look at BBQ Around the World”

– Eater’s guide to eating brisket in NYC, including Barbecue Bros fave Mighty Quinn’s

– Unfortunately, you need a subscription to read the whole article on barbecue styles in the Houston area, but there are these two fantastic sentences just before the paywall:

There are a lot of different styles in the United States, but the two barbecue heavyweights are North Carolina and Texas. Barbecue folks in Kansas City and Memphis are going to take umbrage at that statement, but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

A recap of last week’s Getting Jiggy with the Piggy last weekend in Concord

– The Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, as well as the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship that takes place alongside it, will remain in Raleigh until at least 2018 

– Alton Brown’s favorite barbecue is…North Carolina barbecue (specifically eastern; question and answer is at 2:13 of the linked video). 

Tacos faced barbecue in this final round of Food Network’s “Regional Foods Face-Off” bracket. Spoiler alert: barbecue won.

Congratulations, barbecue! You are the pride of the South. If you think about it, what’s more American than barbecue? It was born and bred in the United States. And even though there are different types of barbecuing methods, preparations and sauces, which are very often hotly contested between states, at the end of the day it’s easy to bring together a crowd of family and friends when there’s a barbecue nearby. And with summer just around the corner, it’s time to pull out those grills and dust off those barbecue pits because grilling season is ahead!

– Not sure how long it’s been up, but the website for Ed Mitchell’s ‘Que is live and you can take a look at the menu here; full plates include both chopped and pulled eastern Carolina whole hog as well as chopped bbq turkey, brisket, ribs, fried chicken, and bbq half-chickens. The original opening was in April, but hopefully we’ll hear more details soon