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.
I got major FOMO listening to this podcast of the Tales from the Pit guys rundown of their 5 days in Charleston earlier this month. Total FOMO. I will definitely have to try to make it out next year.
There are so many amazing events that take place during the five day Charleston Wine + Food (CHSWFF) festival and we were fortunate to be granted media access to many of them. From whiskey-centric experiences to barbecue excursions, we did our best to take in all of the sights and sounds of this incredible culinary opportunity.
This episode will give you a rundown of all of the events we covered as well as some food and drink highlights from each. We were fortunate to get to spend time with some amazing barbecue talents such as Rodney Scott, Sam Jones, Jonathan and Justin Fox, John Lewis, Anthony DiBernardo, and many more.
We’ve got some exciting interviews that we’ll be posting in the coming weeks from these events, so stay tuned for those. A special thanks to Alyssa Maute Smith and the entire Charleston Wine + Food team for putting together such an outstanding collection of unbelievable events and excursions. Be sure to follow CHSWFF on social media to get tickets for next year’s events when they are announced!
Note: a version of this post was posted in December 2017. It has been updated as of December 2018.
Monk: For those last minute shoppers (whoops, should have posted this a few weeks earlier), 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.
The “Milestone” Edition: In this week’s linkdown, we have links on a new barbecue restaurant opening, a big expansion of an existing one, plus Chef Vivian Howard’s favorite eastern NC barbecue restaurants and a milestone birthday for the city of Charlotte.
Congrats to Sweet Lew’s BBQ on finally opening today!
Chef Vivian Howard, a NC State grad who just finished her acclaimed PBS show “A Chef’s Life”, grew up in eastern NC and lives there now. You can bet she definitely knows her stuff when it comes to eastern NC barbecue.
Sam Jones is as entertaining as ever, and its good to hear from his friend and business partner Michael Letchworth on how he got into the barbecue game.
Having grown up in a family whose history in barbecue could be traced back to the 1800’s, whole hog cooking was something that had always been a part of Sam Jones’ world. Despite being reluctant to make barbecue a career as young man, Sam returned to the business full time when his grandfather Pete Jones, founder of Skylight Inn, became ill.
Sam navigated Skylight Inn through tough times after Pete’s death and helped make the business thrive and prosper. Sam has a strong business mind and wanted to create a restaurant of his own, still focused on whole hog cooked the traditional way over wood burned down to coals, but something that would stand on its own and not be seen as a carbon copy of the now famous Skylight Inn.
Together with his longtime friend and business partner Michael Letchworth, they opened Sam Jones BBQ in Winterville, North Carolina in the fall of 2015. Check out part one of our interview with Sam and Michael where we discuss the history of Skylight Inn and its unique way of cooking and serving whole hog, and how the mindset of not being afraid to ask questions and to learn lead to the eventual creation of better processes for running a successful business and brand.
We expected a lot of interesting stories when we sat down to record with Sam Jones and Michael Letchworth, but no way we could have predicted there would be #kekechallenge talk. Check out part two of our interview.
A short feature on Sam Jones, Skylight Inn, and his recently resurrected family barbecue pit from My Home, NC
Everyone has an opinion of their favorite North Carolina barbeque and what method or sauce is best. There are families who have been cooking BBQ for generations. Sam Jones cut his teeth at his granddaddy’s legendary restaurant, Skylight Inn BBQ in Ayden, NC. Now he is hard at work keeping his family’s legacy alive for a new generation of whole hog enthusiasts. My Home, NC talks to him about his restaurant Sam Jones BBQ in Winterville and his love for traveling the world preaching and teaching the finer points of the Jones family’s BBQ gospel at cooking events.
– The story behind the longtime Stamey’s Barbecue which has been in Tyro for 45 years; owner Dan Stamey is the son of the original owner of Smiley’s and may be a distant relative of Warner Stamey of the Stamey’s in Greensboro
The idea for the restaurant came when Dan Stamey picked up a newspaper and saw a building available for rent at $250 per month. At the time, he was working part time at another barbecue restaurant and working other odd jobs. His father, Herman “Smiley” Stamey, was the original owner of Smiley’s Barbecue on N.C. Highway 8.
– Almond Farm in Millingsport will host its first Blackberry Festival and will also sell barbecue as a benefit for 4-year old Tate Whitley, who has leukemia
– You never hear much about Sam’s but it needs Austin’s help
– I think this is a pretty big deal. I may be mistaken, but I can’t recall in my 6 years of paying attention Stamey’s advertising their longtime Degar (from central Vietnam) pitmaster Chhanuon Ponn so prominently (though I know they have his photo up in the restaurant).
This is our Pitmaster, Chhanuon Ponn, he has been cooking solely over wood coals for over 33 years now. If reading this doesn’t make you hungry for some authentic wood pit-cooked NC barbecue I don’t know what will! #NCbarbecue
Photo by Jerry Wolford pic.twitter.com/x823gFXbXo
The owners of The Skylight Inn, Bum’s Restaurant and Sam Jones BBQ all trace their beginnings to common ancestor Skilten Dennis, who began selling barbecue to camp meeting groups around Ayden from the back of a covered wagon sometime in the mid-1800s.
I became a guy who was “into barbecue,” which, for as true as it is, is still somewhat painful to type. Talking Heads had told us that day was coming, when you wake up and ask yourself, Well, how did I get here?
– Food & Wine on how Jess Pryles became a hardcore carnivore
Very honored to be written up by @foodandwine along with some wonderfully talented ladies as part of a piece on women in BBQ. But moreso, managed to sneak two cuss words in. https://t.co/nkvFp7GAPH
– Pete’s BBQ in Rock Hill, which has served barbecue during four holidays of the year, is shutting down after 55 years of service after this Memorial Day Weekend; congrats to the 98-year-old Pete Wheele’s on his retirement!