Vote in USA Today’s 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Barbecue in NC
Stamey’s Barbecue with a mini-tweet storm last week; none of which is wrong (click on the tweet below to see the rest):
Sometime it pays to have the fire chief as your pitmaster; a fire broke out in the smokehouse of Skylight Inn last week but Sam Jones was among the firefighters who put the fire out
Rock the Block in downtown Charleston is Saturday, February 23 and benefits Hogs for the Cause; Sam Jones and Justin and Jonathan Fox of Fox Bros BBQ will be in attendance
Conde Nast Travel recently profiled Birmingham and its reinvention and shouted out Rodney Scott’s BBQ, which is opening a store there in 2019
“The city caught my attention because of how pleasant it is,” says Rodney Scott, the James Beard Best Chef Southeast 2018 for his Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Charleston. He’s set to open his next, identical concept in Birmingham first-quarter 2019. “It’s a big city, but it feels like a small town,” he says. “It doesn’t feel like New York or Chicago, but it’s just as important a food city in my opinion.”
WBTV in Charlotte recently featured the “Love Endures” mural by artist Curtis King, which was saved from demolition and now resides behind Sweet Lew’s BBQ
The New York Times’ eating guide for Atlanta for this weekend’s Super Bowl and gives Bryan Furman and B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue a shoutout for being the only whole hog joint in town
Sure, why not?
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.
Cookbooks, from pitmasters and food writers alike
- Whole Hog BBQ: The Gospel of Carolina Barbecue with Recipes from Skylight Inn and Sam Jones BBQ by Sam Jones and Daniel Vaughn (pre-order) new
- Southern Smoke: Barbecue, Traditions, and Treasured Recipes Reimagined for Today by Matthew Register (pre-order) new
- Hardcore Carnivore by Jess Pryles (signed) new
- Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques, and Barbecue Wisdom by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart
- The South’s Best Butts: Pitmaster Secrets for Barbecue Perfection by Matt Moore
- Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades by Steve Raichlen
- Praise the Lard: Recipes and Revelations from a Legendary Life in Barbecue by Mike Mills and Amy Mills
- Buxton Hall Barbecue’s Book of Smoke: Wood-Smoked Meats, Sides, and More by Elliott Moss
- Barbecue: a Savor the South cookbook by John Shelton Reed
- Peace, Love, & Barbecue: Recipes, Secrets, Tall Tales, and Outright Lies from the Legends of Barbecue by Mike Mills
- Franklin Barbecue: A Meat Smoking Manifesto by Aaron Franklin
- Southern Living Ultimate Book of BBQ: The Complete Year-Round Guide to Grilling and Smoking by The Editors of Southern Living
Food History, Cultural Writing, and Photography
Hats, T-Shirts, Apparel
Accessories, Stocking Stuffers, etc.
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.
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.
– A feature on Sauceman’s brazilian pitmaster Edgar Simoes (though whats with the question about sauces?)
– Former Red Bridges pitmaster Phil Schenk passed away earlier this month at the age of 74
– Later this month, Big Tiny’s BBQ in Mooresville celebrates two years of being open
– With its 5 locations, Midwood Smokehouse is on this list of chain restaurants that started in Charlotte
– A writeup on Rashad Lee, barbecue tv personality and owner of Big Lee’s BBQ truck in Ocala, FL
– A roundup of barbecue books released so far this year
– The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot food writer Matthew Korfhage waxes poetic on the “some of the best pulled pork in the known universe” two hours away from him in eastern NC – B’s Barbecue and Skylight Inn
Sure, there are other famous eastern-style whole-hog barbecue spots – most notably Wilber’s in neighboring Wayne County, where presidents have dined and owner Wilber Shirley still presides over his restaurant, as he has for more than 50 years.
But a morning drive down winding, wooded roads to B’s and Skylight – hitting both stops along the way – is one of life’s most unmitigated pleasures, one I’ve only just discovered and will repeat many times before I’m through.
– Speaking of The Virginian-Pilot, good find from Robert Moss from that paper from 1935
– 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).
– Bob Garner’s latest is on Skylight Inn, Bum’s Restaurant, Sam Jones BBQ, and six generations of barbecue in Pitt County:
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.
– Huckberry has a short profile on Rodney Scott as well as his banana pudding recipe in their latest catalog
– Garden & Gun writes up Texas A&M’s Barbecue University but they gotta give NC State’s BBQ Camp some love!
– Food writer Peter Meehan (recently of “Ugly Delicious” fame): “Entering a National Barbecue Competition Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time”
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
– Food & Wine also features several other women of barbecue in their latest issue: Pat Mares of Ruby’s BBQ in Austin and Laura Loomis of Two Bros BBQ in San Antonio
– Food Republic: “Do yourself a favor this summer and learn to properly barbecue tofu”
Me: “I’m good”
– Daniel Vaughn remembers Anthony Bourdain
A few months ago, we posted the first video in David Dawei’s NC barbecue roadtrip last summer at B’s BBQ in Greenville. Here’s his second stop (of ten total) at the world famous Skylight Inn in Ayden.
This is my second stop in North Carolina on the BBQ Tour. SkyLight Inn is located in Ayden. This place has people driving from all parts to eat it. The Pork (as served) was a little too smoky for my taste – 7.5/10 The BBQ Sauce – I did not care for either one – 4/10 The Cole Slaw was tasty, but a bit too sweet for my taste- 7.5/10 The Corn Bread – interesting, but not worth the carbs – 7/10 Overall Value = 8/10
A short video from Bob Garner on Sam Jones continuing the legacy of his famous barbecue family.
Update: I re-watched the video and found it to be pretty light on actual barbecue content and more of a commercial for the car.
BuzzFeed takes a 6-stop barbecue roadtrip through North and South Carolina to visit some great and iconic joints: Buxton Hall Barbecue, Lexington Barbecue, Skylight Inn, Rodney Scott’s BBQ, Sweatman’s BBQ, and Lewis Barbecue.
– More on fair food at the NC State Fair (which starts tomorrow) and whoops:
Only one of the dishes I tried was outright bad, and that was the barbecue-and-coleslaw waffle sandwich. It was somehow extraordinarily greasy, even by fair food standards, and the barbecue mostly just tasted like smoke.
– The Polar Pig Cook-Off, formerly held in Mount Pleasant (NC), will be held at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center on November 10 and 11; the event will feature vendor tents, a Kids Zone, a beer garden, live music, and the barbecue competition (including a people’s choice award)
– People Food and Zagat have named Skylight Inn the most popular restaurant in NC
– Filing away for future potential use:
– Daniel Vaughn of TMBBQ explores west Tennessee whole hog and discovers Ramey’s Whole Hog Bar-B-Q in Parsons, about 90 minutes outside of Nashville
– 45 years ago Monday: