Linkdown: 3/20/19

D.G. Martin: “Real barbecue restaurants and small towns: Do all you can to preserve them and do not miss any opportunity to enjoy them now before they are gone.”

But could Wilber’s Barbecue actually reopen? They have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Is Philadelphia becoming a barbecue town? I’m not so sure about that…

Southern Living has come out with their best barbecue joints in every state list for 2019; Buxton Hall Barbecue wins honors for NC

This has to be a good sign for Gardner-Webb’s basketball team; can they be the next 16 seed to upset a 1 (against UVa again, nonetheless)?

Heading from Charlotte to Austin? Of course you’re going to seek out some barbecue.

Rodney Scott already making an impact beyond barbecue in Alabama

Now Available: Barbecue Bros “Forefathers of Lexington Barbecue” T-shirts!

Link: Barbecue Bros Forefathers of Lexington-style Barbecue Shirt

In the spirit of the pioneers and innovators of our favorite style of barbecue, the Barbecue Bros are pleased to make available our first t-shirt featuring those men in the classic Helvetica list style. We hope that Lexington-style barbecue fans will purchase and wear this acknowledgement of history proudly. The shirts are $24.99 and ship for free if you have an Amazon Prime account.

  • Lightweight, Classic fit, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem
  • Available in Men’s, Women, and Child sizes S-3XL
  • Solid colors: 100% Cotton; Heather Grey: 90% Cotton, 10% Polyester; All Other Heathers: 50% Cotton, 50% Polyester

Click to purchase

A brief history of Lexington-style Barbecue

In 1919, Sid Weaver set up a tent across the street from the Lexington courthouse and began selling what would later become “Lexington-style” barbecue. He was the first man to sell this style of barbecue.

Weaver later teamed up with Jess Swicegood and those two men perfected Lexington-style barbecue and helped spread the technique across the Piedmont of North Carolina. Lexington-style means pork shoulders are smoked as opposed to whole hogs because shoulders are fattier and more forgiving than the leaner hams and loins found in a whole hog and yield more barbecue. They took the vinegar-pepper sauce of the eastern part of the state and added ketchup to provide sweetness to balance it out while maintaining the tang of the vinegar.

In 1927, Warner Stamey began working under Weaver and Swicegood while in high school, and for me this is where things began to pick up. After a few years under the tutelage of Weaver and Swicegood, Stamey moved 100 miles southwest to Shelby, NC. There, he taught the Lexington-style technique to his brother-in-law Alston Bridges as well as Red Bridges (oddly enough, not related). They, of course, opened their own respective restaurants in 1956 and 1946 respectively, both of which still exist today.

Stamey moved back to Lexington in 1938 and bought Swicegood’s restaurant for $300. It was there that he taught the legendary barbecue man Wayne Monk, who went on to open Lexington Barbecue (aka “The Honeymonk”) in 1962, which just so happens to be the Barbecue Bros’ collective favorite barbecue restaurant ever. Stamey would of course go on to open Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro, where his grandson Chip Stamey still owns and operates to this day. Warner Stamey is also widely credited with bringing hush puppies to barbecue restaurants.

Much of the information above was taken from Robert Moss’s seminal book Barbecue: The History of an American Institution. If you want to read more on the history of our favorite food, I highly recommend it.

Photo Gallery: Saturday Lunch at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge – Shelby, NC

Monk: Some more shots from around the grounds at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge. See my review from this visit here.

IMG_0704I started my stroll at the iconic green and yellow sign closest to Hwy 74, which is just simply a great retro sign. Over 70 years!

Red Bridges is known for their large wood pile, though on this particular Saturday the pile was a little smaller than normal. Must have been a busy night and morning in preparation for the Saturday lunch.

IMG_0718I mean, what other mailbox would be more appropriate for a barbecue joint? No idea if this is the actual mailbox in use.

IMG_0720I don’t know the story behind this limousine or if the patrons were in the restaurant at the time but it cracked me up.

IMG_0729Another notable car on the Red Bridges premises, albeit for different reasons. I wish I had gotten the full car in this shot.

A few exterior shots of the restaurant from different vantage points during the lunch hour on a busy Saturday. In all my times visiting, I hadn’t stepped back to take a shot of the entire building.

IMG_0751I do love the font of the “Bridge’s” sign in the this shot. The same font is used over the door.