Linkdown: 1/12/22

For Monday night’s College Football Championship game, the governors from each state made a bet of barbecue, with Kay Ivey from Alabama wagering Dreamland Barbecue against Brian Kemp’s bet of Fox Bros BBQ. Which, must be said, is a Texas-style barbecue joint. Perhaps Georgia should have come up with Fresh Air Barbecue or Paul’s BBQ or Hot Thomas; you know, something a little more in line with Georgia-style barbecue. Never heard of it? Here’s an impassioned primer from our friends at Marie, Let’s Eat!

Native News

The BBQ Lab‘s upcoming North Hills location has started construction in Raleigh

Vote for the best barbecue in Charlotte in Charlotte Magazine’s BOB Awards

Non-Native News

PSA: Franklin Barbecue may have shorter lines during colder weather

Matt Horn‘s fried chicken restaurant is open in Oakland

Fort Worth is where it’s at for barbecue now

Monk’s Favorite Barbecue of 2021

Monk: While my hunch is that I had roughly as much barbecue as last year, I suspect the ratio of mediocre barbecue to great barbecue was higher than in past years. There’s always highlights to pick out, but let’s hope next year is a more favorable ratio.

In alphabetical order:

Jon G’s remains the gold standard for the Charlotte area. And it seems that the rest of the southeast is starting to catch on with Eater Carolinas naming them “Barbecue Restaurant of the Year” and Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn raving about them in an article from mid 2021. The future for Garren and Kelly remain bright.

Chopped pork sandwich from Noble Smoke – Charlotte, NC

Some of the meats at Noble Smoke can be a little hit or miss for me, but the Lexington-style chopped barbecue sandwich is ever reliable.

Speedy has said he often thinks the ribs at Peg Leg Porker are the best in the state of Tennessee, and who am I to argue? The full wings are also a must-order.

Randy’s ribs are a sub-regional variety with a sauce that I understand is found primarily in the Savannah area. It expanded my framework as to what barbecue is in different parts of the US.

Life-changing whole hog. So far I’ve only made it to Sam Jones’ outpost in Raleigh but I can’t wait to try this same tray at Skylight Inn this spring.

Sausage, wings, hash and rice, ribs, brisket, and turkey from Sweet Lew’s BBQ – Charlotte, NC (link to post)

Between the house-made sausage, the barbecue hash, and Lewis Donald’s ever-constant tweaking of his main meats, Sweet Lew’s continues to evolve, and I’m here for the the journey.

It’s a shame that Whispering Pines was takeout only but I’ll make the hour drive to Albemarle again I’m sure. Great Lexington-style barbecue.

Sam Jones BBQ – Raleigh, NC

Name: Sam Jones BBQ
Date: 10/16/21
Address: 502 W Lenoir St, Raleigh, NC 27601
Order: Jones Family Original BBQ Tray (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: Long time readers know that Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC has been on my to-do list for years and sadly it still remains on my to-do list in 2021. Regardless of the fact that I am not in that part of NC pretty much ever, I’ve thankfully been able to try the Jones family barbecue a couple of times in Charlotte over the years. The first time was at Midwood Smokehouse in 2013 when Sam Jones smoked a hog for a Midwood Smokehouse Sunday Supper even that also included an airing of the SFA documentary on Skylight Inn. The second time was at Free Range Brewing Pig Picking in 2017 that doubled as a viewing party for his Order/Fire documentary. Both times, the whole hog was life changing.

Since then, Sam Jones opened his first namesake restaurant in Winterville before opening a second location in Raleigh late last year. It was to be part of Raleigh’s supposed barbecue boom that was short-circuited by the pandemic. Thankfully Sam Jones BBQ persevered along with Prime Barbecue, Longleaf Swine, and Lawrence Barbecue.

After visiting the NC State campus with Lady Monk and the Monkettes, we made the short trip downtown to Lenoir Street. Though the lot for the restaurant is not very big, we found street parking right in front of the restaurant fairly easily. We waited in a short line and ordered at the front and not before too long a Jones Family Original BBQ Tray was placed in front of me.

Which I quickly turned into this to mimic what they do at Skylight Inn:

By now, everyone knows about the legendary whole hog with crispy bits of skin chopped in the way that the Jones family does it. The pork at Sam Jones BBQ in Raleigh lives up to that standard, although the skin could have been just a tad crispier. Just a minor nitpick in otherwise flawless whole hog barbecue.

Going in, I had wondered most about the corn bread. Theirs is a denser, non-sweet version that likely won’t ever be my favorite version of cornmeal served with barbecue. However, I can respect that its serving a different purpose than the sweeter corn meal in the hush puppies I’m used to in the Piedmont.

The mayo-based coleslaw was sweet and paired nicely with the cue and some Texas Pete.

It’s looking like 2022 will be the year I am able to finally make my pilgrimage to Ayden and I’ll likely stop by the original Sam Jones BBQ in nearby Winterville as well. Sam Jones BBQ’s outpost in Raleigh only made me anticipate that upcoming trip even more.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 4.5 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4.5 hogs

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