Linkdown: 8/2/17

One man’s quest to ruin it for everyone else; complaints of air pollution from Little Richard’s BBQ in Winston-Salem:

Someone has been emailing for months officials with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, the Forsyth County Department of Environmental Assistance and Protection, me, state legislators, Ask SAM and anyone else within electronic earshot about “the plume from the 3 unregulated point source smoke stacks” that sends a “cloud of unmitigated (carbon monoxide) and particulate matter” into the atmosphere.

– Congrats to Rodney Scott’s BBQ, named one of 50 finalists for Bon Apetit’s Best New Restaurants in America 2017

– As expected, the Southeast Tourism Society has named The Barbecue Festival one of the top 20 events in the Southeast for October 2017

– Coverage of Skylight Inn turning 70 last weekend from the News & Observer and WNCT

– The 4th Annual Pigs & Pedals BBQ cooking competition is in Asheboro this weekend, with a new People’s Choice Competition

– Barbecue the documentary comes to Netflix in August in glorious 4k

– An “American Regional Barbecue Cheat Sheet from Tasting Table” though they don’t quite get the North Carolina section right

– This week’s latest Cheerwine story

Photo Gallery: The Best Barbecue in 2017 So Far

Bar-B-Q King – Lincolnton, NC (review)

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The Smoke Pit – Salisbury, NC (review)

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Jon G’s BBQ – Monroe, NC (review)

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Central BBQ – Memphis, TN (review)

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B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque – Atlanta, GA (review)

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Heirloom Market Bar-B-Que – Atlanta, GA (review)

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DAS BBQ – Atlanta, GA (review)

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Lewis Barbecue – Charleston, SC (review)

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Rodney Scott’s BBQ – Charleston, SC (review)

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Swig & Swine – Summerville, SC (review)

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Linkdown: 7/5/17

– The Battleground Ave location of Stamey’s will reopen in the next few weeks after a fire last summer and has even added a drive-thru

– A visit to Keaton’s Barbecue in Cleveland, NC near Statesville, known for their spicy chicken

– Keaton’s also gets a write up in this month’s Our State

– The Fayetteville Observer reviews Buddy’s Bar-B-Q, an eastern NC joint which opened 72 years ago in 1945

– Eater jumps on the “Charleston as a barbecue hotspot bandwagon”

– Stick with me here: Tim Carman of The Washington Post says that the brisket at Hill Country, which just recently switched off the gas assist on their Ole Hickory smoker, is “as good or better than Franklin’s”

– Austin 360’s Matthew Odam then takes exception to that statement

Look, I’ve never been to Hill Country barbecue in D.C., or the flagship in Manhattan opened by a man with Texas roots who modeled his restaurant on Kreuz Market in his family’s hometown of Lockhart. But I don’t need to to know that the brisket there, or anywhere in D.C., can’t touch that at Franklin Barbecue.

– The Washington Post then responds back immediately, calling Odam’s take “food chauvinism”

– Scott Moore, the pitmaster at Tejas Chocolate, writes about the experience After Texas Monthly, or ATM, when they were named a top 10 joint

– The Christian Science Monitor takes a macro view of barbecue today, starting from its roots up through this year’s Memphis in May competition

Barbecuing, of course, has always been bound up in the politics and race of the nation. Six years before colonists dumped tea in Boston Harbor to protest British tariffs, the royalist governor of North Carolina, William Tryon, tried to appease local militiamen by roasting a whole ox. The men responded by tossing the roast in the river, an act of affirmed loyalties hence referred to as the Wilmington Barbecue.

– Barbecue the film is available next week

Swig & Swine – Summerville, SC

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Name
: Swig & Swine
Date: 5/27/17
Address: 1990 Old Trolley Rd, Summerville, SC 29485
Order: 3 meat plate (pulled pork, brisket, and sausage) with hash & rice, collards, and mac & cheese (link to menu)
Price: $24 (for two)

Monk: I have a confession, dear readers, and not one that I like to readily admit: sometimes I do get sick of barbecue. It doesn’t happen often but it usually happens after I’ve had a particularly bad meal. After having 4 meals in 6 days on the Monk family vacation I was actually completely fine with hitting something quick on the road back to Charlotte so we could just get back to real life. The last meal at Smoke BBQ had broken my enthusiasm for the week, it would appear.

However, in an unexpected twist, Mrs. Monk had looked up reviews of Swig & Swine’s Summerville location and insisted that we stick to our original plan. Her enthusiasm helped push me and on we headed about 35 minutes from Mount Pleasant to Summerville, SC. Sometimes the missus really does just get me.

This Swig & Swine, unlike the West Ashley location that Speedy previously visited, has enough room to smoke whole hogs and that was the main draw for me. Besides that, they do go the “international house of barbecue” route with a little bit of everything in terms of smoked meats.

The pulled pork single-handedly restored my faith in barbecue after the disaster of a meal the day before. The lighter meat was pulled into long strands and dare I say, might I have enjoyed it a bit more than Rodney Scott’s BBQ? Perhaps so.

The brisket had well-rendered fat and a nice tug to it. While the whole hog was the main draw, I would just as soon as go back for the brisket.

The housemade sausage was another solid entry and at this point in the meal, Swig & Swine was running laps around my previous meal at Smoke BBQ. In Speedy’s review of the West Ashley location, sausage was by far his favorite part of the meal and I found it to be really juicy with a nice snap to the casing.

My hash & rice fascination continued at Swig & Swine and I realize should take better notes when it comes to hash, because the subtle differences are probably lost on me. Still, that plus the collards and mac & cheese really brought it.

Swig & Swine capped my trip off nicely with a great meal of barbecue. This was the fifth and last barbecue meal in seven days of vacation to and from Charleston – almost certainly the most amount of barbecue I’ve eaten out in a week-long stretch. There was only one real dud, and overall most of my other experiences were really positive. But after this trip, I’m not ashamed to admit that barbecue and I decided to take a little bit of a break from each other for a week or two – and a welcome one at that.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 4.5 hogs
Brisket – 4 hog
Sausage  – 4 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Friday Find: John T. Edge Visits The Winnow Podcast

Southern Foodways Alliance Director and author of the recently-released “The Potlikker Papers” John T. Edge recently stopped by The Winnow podcast to discuss all things southern food with Hannah Raskin and Robert Moss. There’s really only a passing mention of barbecue, but the 36+ minute podcast is worth it just to listen to one of southern food’s foremost minds opine on the past, the present, and the future of the cuisine.

 

Linkdown: 6/28/17

– A writer for the Virginian-Pilot tools around Greenville, NC and eats barbecue for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

– The legacy of Maurice Bessinger will live on the site of a former Piggie Park location despite a new owner’s wishes, specifically because Bessinger meant for it to

Unfortunately for Daras, he doesn’t own the flagpole-sized plot, though, because Bessinger sold the flag pole and the land it’s sitting on to a Confederate veterans’ group, precisely so he could ensure it would never be taken down.

– Sean Evans of First We Feasts Hot Ones, tries all of the barbecue at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

– Food & Wine on the culinary fusion happening in Texas barbecue

– The latest barbecue stops for Marie, Let’s Eat! are both in Chattanooga: Big Jeff Barbecue and Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que

The runners up to the Texas Magazine Top 50 BBQ list

– Relevant:

Smoke BBQ – Mount Pleasant, SC

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Name
: Smoke BBQ
Date: 5/26/17
Address: 713 Coleman Blvd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
Order: The Tommy B. Monster Sampler Platter (pork, pastrami brisket, “Charleston brisket”, chicken) plus “perfect rib” and a beer (link to menu)
Price: $35

Monk: I hadn’t planned to visit a fifth barbecue spot during our vacation week but when I saw how close Smoke BBQ was to our Airbnb in Mount Pleasant I couldn’t resist sneaking away one afternoon to check it out. Unfortunately it turns out I shouldn’t have wasted my time or money.

Since I was there I went for it and got the Tommy B. Monster Sampler platter which comes with 4 meats. I then added a “perfect rib” to round it all out. When my platter of meats was delivered each meat was sitting in a pool of grease and appeared to have been reheated. Fresh off the smoker these definitely were not. I won’t bother to go through each meat individually – but I will say that after a bite or two of each one I decided to move on, finding each to be as equally bad as the previous.

The “smoke style slaw” is their take on coleslaw and comes with green apples and candied pecans topped on red cabbage and carrots. I didn’t find it to be a successful barbecue side. The baked macaroni and cheese was the best food part of the meal and was the only real edible item for me.

There was very little that was redeeming about my meal from Smoke BBQ and I ended up tossing most of the takeout container in the trash once I got home. At least I got to enjoy a beer on their nice covered patio. So there’s that.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3 hogs
Pork – 1 hog
Brisket – 1 hog
Pastrami – 1 hog
Rib – 1 hog
Chicken – 1 hog
Sides – 1.5 hogs
Overall – 1 hog

Rodney Scott’s BBQ – Charleston, SC

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Name
: Rodney Scott’s BBQ
Date: 5/24/17
Address: 1011 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Order: Whole hog plate with hush puppies and coleslaw (link to menu)
Price: $13.50

Monk: Coming into my vacation week in the Charleston area, I was just as excited for Rodney Scott’s BBQ as I was for Lewis Barbecue. I was fortunate enough to have visited Scott’s Bar-B-Que in tiny Hemingway, SC (pop. 573) a few years back taking the long way from Charleston back to NC. First trying Scott’s whole hog at a plastic table in that tiny convenience store was one of the top five or so best barbecue experiences in my life.

Thankfully, Rodney Scott has made it little more convenient to try his barbecue for those who can’t make the trek to Hemingway by opening up a store in Charleston earlier this year, adding to the city’s already booming barbecue scene.

Remembering that styrofoam tray back at Scott’s, I focused on the pork plate as I stepped up to the counter to order. In hindsight maybe I should have tried the ribs as well, but there’s always next time. In terms of setup, Rodney Scott’s is fast casual and covered in the same soothing light blue as the original which reminds me of a classic diner. It has booths on either side of the small-ish dining area with a raised community table at the center of the restaurant.

I’ll start by saying that the whole hog was very good. Still, I don’t think it quite lived up to how I remembered it from the original store. Perhaps it’s unfair to compare it to a memory of one of my favorite barbecue bites, but in any case it didn’t quite measure up. Both were tender and I favored the spicy table sauce in each instance. One difference between the two stores though: whereas the original has coarsely pulled strands of pork the Charleston location was coarsely chopped. But, like I said, it was still very good.

Keeping it traditional, I got hush puppies and white slaw on the side. The hush puppies in particular were very good, served with honey butter which I always like to see.

Like Lewis Barbecue, Rodney Scott’s BBQ falls victim to the Charleston effect when it comes to prices. A plate with two sides will run you almost $14 and that’s before a drink or beer. Some may quibble whether that’s worth it, but for whole hog of that quality in a town filled with tourists, that’s about what I’d expect.

For me, the whole hog of Rodney Scott’s BBQ doesn’t quite capture the magic of the original Hemingway location but there’s still a lot to like about the Charleston location.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 4 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Hite’s BBQ – West Columbia, SC

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Name
: Hite’s BBQ
Date: 5/20/17
Address: 240 Dreher Rd, West Columbia, SC 29169
Order: Barbecue plate with hash and rice, slaw, and roll (link to menu)
Price: $8

Monk: Back in early 2015, John T. Edge’s article about Hite’s BBQ in Garden & Gun Magazine initially put the joint on my radar. Due to the fact that I don’t make it down to Columbia all that often plus the fact that Hite’s is only open Fridays and Saturdays meant that it would still be over 2+ years before I would be able to finally check it out. Not that I hadn’t tried before unsuccessfully, making the trek down the day before this past New Year’s Eve specifically to check out Hite’s only to find out they were closed. Hite’s is a family operation so I definitely couldn’t begrudge them for not being open before a holiday, but it meant that I would have to wait another 6 months before eventually checking them out.

Hite’s is a takeout only joint run out of a simple cinder block building but does have a few picnic tables overlooking a small lake on the property which apparently has 3 generations of Hite’s living on it.

The menu is very simple, with choice of sandwiches, plates or takeaway pounds of either whole hog, ribs, or chicken. The pork was a tad dry on this day and though mustard will never be my favorite style of barbecue sauce with pork it was still quite good.

Hash and rice comes standard with each plate and was my favorite part of the meal. Not that it’s quite as good as the hash a mile and a half down the road at True BBQ, but it’s still pretty dang good nonetheless.

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There was nothing special about the slaw, which I didn’t feel the need to finish. The rolls that came standard with each plate were fine but in the interest of saving my stomach from the carbs, I saved them for my daughter to have at the beach later that week.

After my meal, I snapped a few photos around the property, including the Hite St sign and the huge stacks of split logs behind the joint before current owner David Hite (grandson of original owner John D. Hite) was kind enough to invite me to check out the pit room. At that point, all of the hogs were off the pits so it was just chicken, so I quickly snapped a few shots when he revealed the pit. I spoke with him for just a few minutes about the family operation behind Hite’s and the requests he sometimes gets from various news outlets (which he isn’t always to accommodate due to the joint’s limited schedule). I certainly appreciated David taking some time to chat with me.

Hite’s BBQ wasn’t necessarily my favorite barbecue of the vacation week (more on that in the coming weeks) but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for folks passing through Columbia looking for a taste of true midlands SC-style barbecue.

For more reviews of Hite’s BBQ, check out:
Marie, Let’s Eat!

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3 hogs
Pork – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs
Hite's Bar B Que Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Linkdown: 5/31/17

– Helen’s Bar-B-Q makes a big impression on Marie, Let’s Eat!

– They also quite liked Papa KayJoe’s BBQ in Centerville, TN though they are currently operating with a different smoker due to a fire

– National Geographic’s list of best barbecue in America runs through a few options in several barbecue locales

– From 2013, Relish Magazine has their own list of the 10 best barbecue restaurant that was clearly tweeted out for Memorial Day

– Honorable mentions for the TMBBQ Top 50 inclues the meats, desserts, and atmosphere that didn’t quite make the list

– Jim N’ Nick’s has opened in Mount Pleasant

– Sauceman’s has expanded both its building and its hours and Charlotte Agenda has the details on that as well as their grand reopening this Friday that will feature two whole hogs

– While the NCAA investigation of UNC reaches its 7th year, there’s at least this: