As of Monday, Robert Moss has officially launched his new digital publication Southeastern Dispatch, a “fresh look at food & drink in the Carolinas.” He has enlisted food journalists from both North and South Carolina, and so far posts have covered the Triangle and Charleston, with surely more cities and regions to be covered soon. I briefly spoke with him about this at Jon G’s Barbecue last month and have been intrigued ever since. I am curious what this mean’s for his weekly Cue Sheet barbecue newsletter, which took a brief hiatus but returned this week post launch.
Indian Trail’s 100 Main Beef and Barbecue is now both a barbecue restaurant and a country store
Barvecue, the wood-smoked plan-based barbecue company out of Cornelius, is rolling out to 12 colleges and universities and just signed a deal with Sprouts Farmers Market
A&G’s Barbecue & Chicken in Carolina Beach to close this week after 33 years in business as owner Angela Stainaker retires; the restaurant will be taken over by Tammy and John Sharpe, who will reopen the location as Butts ‘n’ Such
The Washington Post is also featuring vegan barbecue
The Smoke Sheet interviewed Daniel Vaughn in last week’s issue
Not that we’re anywhere close to being qualified enough to evaluate books but more so as a public service announcement we will periodically discuss barbecue and barbecue-related books.
Monk: If you have an interest in barbecue outside of recipes, personal memoirs, and restaurant guides, Robert Moss is one of the best barbecue writers working these days and a must-read. Sure, Moss does some of that other stuff too, but what I love is how he really digs into the history of barbecue in great detail, scouring archives going back several centuries for mentions of barbecue or barbecued meats to help him truly understand the history of the food in the US.
In this “Revised and Expanded Second Edition” of his 2010 book Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, Moss further expands on the history of barbecue after his years of research as part of his role as the contributing barbecue editor for Southern Living magazine, where he periodically files blog posts on his findings in addition to contributing his best barbecue joints lists.
Research from other barbecue writers such as Daniel Vaughn, Barbecue Editor of Texas Monthly, J.C. Reid of the Houston Chronicle, and Joe Haynes, author of several books on the history of barbecue in Virginia, has been added to round out Moss’s historical breakdown. Particularly, he beefs up the pre-colonial and colonial origins as well as provide more color on the beginnings of barbecue stands and ultimately restaurants starting in the late 19th century.
Moss also includes the barbecue traditions of Kentucky and the south side of Chicago, which were not included in the original book.
Additionally, whereas Moss’s original edition left off with barbecue in an uncertain place with the move to gas and electric smokers, by this point we are all aware of the big explosion in barbecue; or as Moss refers to it in his Afterword, the “second golden age of barbecue.”
Since the original publication date of the first edition of the book, barbecue in the US has seen a move to more of a craft-sensibility, bringing back all-wood smokers that require constant attention and rejecting the “set it and forget it” nature of the gas and electric smokers that had become favored by national and regional chains as well as the smeller joints who were looking to cut corners.
Moss points to Aaron Franklin as the turning point in the second golden age of barbecue not only in regards to the return to all-wood fired pits but also the prominence of Texas barbecue and platters in the meat market style of central Texas. That was the dominant trend until roughly 2015 where whole hog barbecue has come back into prominence thanks to Rodney Scott, Sam Jones, Dr. Howard Conyers, Bryan Furman of B’s Crackling Barbeque, Elliott Moss of Buxton Hall Barbecue, Tyson Ho of Arrogant Swine, and others.
Conveniently, Moss is also able to speak to the assertion by Washington Post writer Jim Shahin in that to see the future of barbecue, you can look to Charleston, where he just so happens to reside. The Lowcountry town that had been more known for fine dining now seemingly has all of the barbecue trends within its city limits, and sometimes all within a few blocks radius. Texas barbecue from John Lewis, whole hog from Rodney Scott and Swig & Swine’s Summerville location, the move back to all wood smoked barbecue from Melvin’s Barbecue, plus independently owned barbecue operations instead of chains.
In this revised and expanded second edition, Moss ends the book certain in the knowledge that American barbecue, the food intertwined with the very history of our great nation, is in a very solid place with its future secure.
After a few weeks in soft open mode, Sam Jones BBQ’s downtown Raleigh location has finally opened; the latest opening towards Raleigh staking its claim as a modern barbecue capital. Next up in some order is Ed Mitchell’s The Preserve, Wyatt’s Barbecue (from the team behind Picnic in Durham), Lawrence Barbecue, and Longleaf Swine. More coverage on Sam Jones BBQ can be found in this article from industry trade publication QSR Magazine.
In the next few months, a visit to Raleigh will certainly be called for, as our Capital brethren continue to beat out the Queen City in barbecue openings. Step up your game, Charlotte!
Robert Moss explores the origin stories of 5 southern sauces, including Scott’s Barbecue Sauce from Goldsboro which is available across the US thanks to its distribution via Wal-Mart
Monk: Robert Moss, Barbecue Editor for Southern Living and founder of The Cue Sheet newsletter, joins the Kevin’s BBQ Joints Podcast to promote his recently-released book “The Revised and Expanded Second Edition of Barbecue: The History of An American Institution.” It’s a good conversation with Moss peppering in interesting tidbits he’s collected from his research in revising the book.
Description: In this episode I chat with Robert F. Moss, contributing barbecue editor for Southern Living Magazine about his new book, The Revised and Expanded Second Edition of Barbecue: The History of An American Institution.
We start off with how he’s been holding up so far and get into some detailed burger talk.
It’s been 10 Years since the original book came out so a lot has changed in the barbecue world since 2009. The first edition focus primarily on the first golden age of barbecue in the 50’s and beyond.
We talk about his first chopped pork sandwich and a bit about his history. Primarily we focus on the new book and The ‘Cue Sheet which is an amazing resource that pops into your email box every Sunday (if you sign up, which you should)