A trio of John Tanner Barbecue stories on NC barbecue joints – Rick’s Smokehouse, The Barbecue Center, and Midwood Smokehouse – including where I (Monk) was able to meet up with him in Charlotte. I enjoyed a meal with John – he got the pork combo platter and I got the brisket – on the patio at the Park Road location of Midwood Smokehouse a few weeks back on a warm October weekday. John certainly has his bona fides when it comes to barbecue – he is a certified True ‘Cue Inspector for the Virginia and DC Metro area and has an impressive archive of reviews over at John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog – and is an even nicer man to boot. I enjoyed our lunch conversation that ranged from barbecue to NASCAR to John Coltrane. Be sure to check out his blog and like his Facebook page.
Blues on Franklin gives Chapel Hill a new barbecue option owned by three generation of Tar Heels
Monk: We featured our favorite Charlotte barbecue restaurants and how to order takeout from them as well as select restaurants from the Piedmont and western part of the state last week. Here in this post we are featuring more notable restaurants from the eastern part of the state, some of which we’ve tried and some of which we still need to get to – at least those that posted updates on Facebook.
Please note: As everything is pretty much a fluid situation these days, please call ahead or check on social media to ensure that the restaurant is open and serving.
Grady’s BBQ (Dudley) Wednesday to Friday, 10am to 3pm; Saturday, 10am to 4pmNow Closed Call ahead to order (919) 735-7243
Lawrence Barbecue (Raleigh) Monday to Saturday, 11am to 7pm Link to order online or call ahead to place order (919) 596-6923
Longleaf Swine (Raleigh) Order by Wednesday for Sunday delivery and by Sunday for Wednesday delivery Link to order online
Picnic (Raleigh at the future Wyatt’s Barbecue location) Varies; check Facebook page Call ahead the day before to place order: (919) 908-9128
The Redneck BBQ Lab (Benson) Sunday to Thursday, 11am to 7pm; Friday to Saturday, 11am to 8pm Link to order online, call ahead to order (919) 938-8334, or pull up and put on hazards on for curbside service (seriously)
Sam Jones BBQ (Winterville) Monday to Saturday, 11am to 9pm; Sunday, 11am to 3pm Link to order online
Skylight Inn (Ayden) Monday to Saturday, 11am to 7pm Call ahead to order (252) 746-4113
Note: a version of this post was posted in December 2018. It has been updated as of December 2019.
Monk: Posting this a bit earlier this year. Here’s some gift ideas for the barbecue lover in your life. Or perhaps you if you want to treat yo’ self. The bolded items are the ones I can personally recommend.
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.
Whole Hog BBQ: The Gospel of Carolina Barbecue with Recipes from Skylight Inn and Sam Jones BBQ arrived on the same day as several other notable barbecue books – Matthew Register’s Southern Smoke, Ed Randolph’s Smoked, and Myron Mixon’s BBQ&A with Myron Mixon – but had to be the most anticipated for a large portion of the barbecue crowd due to Sam Jones as well as the involvement of Texas Monthly BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn. That was certainly the case for me, and the book delivered in spades.
This book is more than a typical cookbook, with chapters covering the history of his family and Skylight Inn, the story of starting Sam Jones BBQ with his best friend and business partner Michael Letchworth, and the resurrection of a family pit that had been sitting undiscovered for 70+ years. I don’t know how much Jones had written before or how much coaching or editing he got from Daniel Vaughn, but his writing is personal and engaging, particularly for a first-time author.
The other chapter covers in exhaustive detail how to host a whole hog party. In fact, I used it as my guide for the whole hog party Speedy and I hosted last month. In 40 or so pages, it walks the reader step-by-step through the process, from how much wood you need to how to construct the burn barrel and the cinder block pit to a detailed timeline of smoking the whole hog. For any first timer smoking a whole hog, I would point them to this book (and maybe our blog post). It gives you all you need.
Outside of the whole hog chapter, there are several recipes for eastern North Carolina dishes, sides, and desserts.
Whole Hog BBQ is full of beautiful photography and wonderfully personal writing from Sam Jones. It is a must-read not only for barbecue books released on May 7, but for any barbecue book released ever.