Monk: Guy Fieri was on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina earlier this year and checked out relative newcomer Shepard Barbecue in Emerald Isle. Episode 34 of season 42 (!!) actually kicks off with Chef Brandon Shepard, who with his wife Elizabeth started a barbecue joint that draws inspiration from not only eastern NC but of course all over (i.e. Texas).
Brandon, Guy, and his son Hunter kick things off by putting together the Boss Hog sandwich. They start with the prep of jalapeno cheddar sausage made from trimmings of both brisket as well as pork. After a couple of grinds, the sausages are cold smoked for two-and-a-half hours before another 3 at a higher temp. Brandon does all his smoking on a custom offset stick burner using a mixture of hickory, post oak, and pecan.
For his pork butts, he keeps it simple with just a salt and pepper rub and smoked 10 hours. He mixes in his Carolina Vinegar sauce and puts a tray of that away for service.
Back to the Boss Hog, Brandon walks through the making of his Carolina Gold mustard sauce with yellow and Dijon mustards plus his Carolina Vinegar sauce, white vinegar, Worcestershire and a bunch of spices.
For the sandwich, the bun is brushed with beef tallow (!!) and garlic before starting the stack of slaw, sausage, pulled pork, Carolina Gold sauce, pickled red onions to create a behemoth of a sandwich.
Next, onto the “Spicy Heifer,” another big boy of a sandwich made with prime brisket.
The brisket is doused with a mixture of Carolina Gold sauce and pickle juice before covering in salt, pepper, seasoning salt, and granulated garlic. It is then smoked at 225F for 12-16 hours.
Shepard’s red barbecue sauce is a vinegar-based sauce with ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Carolina Vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, and other spices before taking a smoke bath.
Shepard then assembles the Spicy Heifer starting with pickles then sausage then brisket then Carolina red sauce and finally topped with pickled jalapenos and white onion. Behold:
Among the house made sides mentioned are Helen’s collards (inspired by his grandmother), pit beans, and street corn salad. Congrats on a great showing by Shepard Barbecue to Brandon and his wife Elizabeth!
Monk: Two decades ago, Anthony Bourdain and his production team reached out to Ed Mitchell at The Pit in Raleigh to talk about getting on season 2 of his show “A Cook’s Tour.” The only issue was that it was in the middle of a lunch rush. So, Ed Mitchell being a man of the people, he told him to call back because he was busy.
Monk: A few highlights from this past weekend’s Southern Foodways Alliance Fall Symposium where the focus was on barbecue: “questions about what barbecue is, who makes it, and how the craft is changing. From sliced beef brisket to pulled pork, from tacos to fire-roasted vegetables, barbecue speaks to the past, present, and future of the South and to the stories of pitmasters—the places they work, the smoke they conjure, and the sauces they stir.”
Texas Monthly Taco Editor Gustavo Arellano was a day one speaker and compared southern barbecue to Mexican barbacoa:
George and David Barber of Fresh Air Barbecue in Jackson, Georgia were named this year’s recipient of the Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award
Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor of Atlanta’s Heirloom Market Bar-B-Que treated folks to a Korean-inspired barbecue dinner Friday night
On day two, Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn explained why Texas-style barbecue is becoming the predominant style, both across the US and abroad
Food critic Hanna Raskin on the intersection of barbecue and alcohol
Soul Food Scholar Adrian Miller emceed the weekend with stories of black pitmasters
Finally, Helen Turner of Helen’s Bar-B-Q in Brownsville, TN was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lexington Barbecue Festival made a triumphant return after taking the last two years off
The Shepard Barbecue episode of Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives will air on Friday, November 4 at 9pm ET on Food Network
Dampf Good Barbecue has opened for regular hours at Phillis Farm of Cary; they will be serving their Texas-style barbecue Thursdays through Saturdays from 11am-6pm
The Southern Smoke festival raised a whopping $1.6M this past weekend
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