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.
A collection of profiles on whole hog pitmasters throughout the southeast, “The One True Barbecue” by Rien Fertel is an enjoyable if not somewhat controversial read. In particular, Fertel ruffled feathers with his chapters on Wilber Shirley and Ed Mitchell. He portrayed the former’s restaurant as a joint with a racial division of labor between the front of the house and the back and the latter as a marketing gimmick in overalls that cooks hogs in a non-traditional manner (hot and fast rather than the traditional low and slow). However fair Fertel’s representation may or may not be (and he is but one man with his opinion), the fact that he spoke with neither for the purposes of this book only added more embers to the burn barrel.
Fertel ties the profiles together through narrative, following his path from New Orleans to the Carolinas and back, with even a stop in Bushwick to visit Arrogant Swine. Each chapter not only explores the pitmaster(s) themselves but in some cases the history of an entire town with Ayden, NC and its two joints Skylight Inn and Bum’s. He particularly favors Scott’s-Parker’s Barbecue in Lexington, TN, visiting with pitmaster Ricky Parker in the first chapter and then his sons after his death in the last chapter. In between, Fertel visits 12 other whole hog joints in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, and the aforementioned Arrogant Swine in NY.
I enjoyed Fertel’s writing and found this to be a quick read that I devoured over just a few sittings. Fertel cut his teeth writing oral histories for The Southern Foodways Alliance, and his experience writing on southern food showed. A small complaint would be that the only color photographs are confined to a section at the center of the book – I would have loved to see them throughout as opposed to the smaller black and white ones within the chapters. In any case, I can’t recommend “The One True Barbecue” enough.
– Will Bigham and Christopher Soto of The Improper Pig in Charlotte are doing great work feeding 400 homeless while The Salvation Army’s kitchen undergoes renovations
– Congrats to Luella’s Bar-B-Que in Asheville for 10 years of being open
Luella’s has teamed with Asheville’s Hi-Wire Brewing Co. to create Pig on a Wire Anniversary Ale, an amber honey-wheat ale that goes well with barbecue.
– Elliott Moss is one of Zagat’s 9 southern chefs to watch this year
– Speaking of Buxton Hall, they make the list of Garden & Gun’s fried chicken bucket list for NC
– TMBBQ on Barbecue (the film)
– John Lewis joined CBS This Morning and brought some recipes for his upcoming Tex-Mex restaurant in Charleston, Juan Luis
– Great sign at Chubby’s Bar-B-Q in Chattanooga. The barbecue? According to Marie, Let’s Eat!: ehhhhh
– A short video on Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro from The Southern Weekend
– If you don’t know, now you know:
– Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim to receive barbecue and a subscription to Our State Magazine (among other items) for his comments on Greensboro “adding no value” in hosting the ACC Tournament
– A review of the Barbecue documentary film
– TMBBQ has a post about the Texas smokehouses and barbecue pits of the 20th century
– Marie, Let’s Eat! finds Bears Den BBQ in Ocoee, TN to be similar to Herb’s in Murphy, NC
– A short film on Scott’s-Parker’s Barbecue from the Southern Foodway Alliance
– This article from the Washington Post’s Jim Shahin covers Heirloom Market BBQ among others
– As part of its Project 543 (named for the 543 miles between Manteo on the coast and Murphy in the mountains), Visit NC has a short profile on Lexington though it curiously says you can “go whole hog” in a city where they smoke pork shoulders
– Pitt County (around Greenville, NC) is working on lining up barbecue joints for a beer and barbecue trail
– Mississippi barbecue isn’t just Memphis’s lesser cousin
“Gas station barbecue is a phenomenon in the South and especially Mississippi,” Hatten said. “It’s servicing a population of the state that otherwise probably wouldn’t have lunch because they have to get back to work … a family-run joint is the archetype in the state.”
– The News & Observer editorial board: Bill Ellis was an inspiration to employees, all
Now here’s a story every North Carolina school child should learn. It is that of a kid who grew up on a Wayne County tobacco farm in the Great Depression, dropped out of school in the eighth grade to help support his family, worked at a variety of jobs and at 29, bought himself a hot dog stand.
– Marie, Let’s Eat! tries the brisket at potentially the best barbecue joint in Chattanooga’s, Shuford’s Smokehouse
– Daniel Vaughn on smoking barbecue in west Texas, where there are no trees
– Euphoria Greenville’s launch event in April will feature Elliott Moss
– Well this looks dang good
– More on Wofford College’s barbecue course held last January
– Barbecue is worth seeing at SXSW; also here’s an interview with director Matthew Salleh
-From an News and Observer sports writer at this week’s ACC Tournament in Brooklyn:
– NC barbecue legend Bill Ellis has passed away at the age of 83
Ellis was known as a barbecue missionary, carrying the gospel of Eastern North Carolina barbecued pork from coast to coast, and his restaurant was a barbecue mecca.
– His operation was apparently known as the “Microsoft of Barbecue”
– The Wilson Times honored Ellis on their front page yesterday
– City Barbeque has opened its second Charlotte-area location in Matthews as of this past Monday with a grand opening this Saturday; I’ve still yet to check out the Ballantyne location but plan to soon as Speedy had a good impression of the Cary location
– Sauceman’s will be smoking two whole hogs at Lenny Boy Brewing’s patio release party on March 11; you get one free plate when you purchase a 22oz. beer of SouthEnd MAAgic Yogi, a Belgian Ale brewed with Jasimine Tea & Lemons.
– Rick Bayless details how live fire cooking has influenced him
– The Smoking Ho has photos from The Sausage Kings of Austin Festival in February
– On Jess Pryles, the Austrialian-born now-Austin native
– The latest barbecue stops for Marie, Let’s Eat! are Uncle Gus’s Mountain Pit Bar-B-Que in Decatur, TN and a couple of joints north of Chattanooga
– From Daniel Vaughn and Robert Moss:
– Congrats to chef/pit master Elliott Moss on his James Beard nomination for Best Chef: Southeast
– Could he win it like Aaron Franklin did two years ago?
– Marie, Let’s Eat! (the blog) turned 7 so they counted down the best barbecue in East Tennessee since they moved there last year
– Thrillist has a list of the most iconic restaurants in every state (and DC), which includes barbecue restaurants for NC and SC both
– Though Kathleen Purvis from the Charlotte Observer thinks maybe they should have looked past barbecue restaurants for each state
– Nice shot:
– Barbecue (the documentary film) will be the very first film premiering at SXSW
-The True Cue guys are at it again, trying to make the fourth Monday in February a new barbecue-related NC holiday
But Reed and Levine also educate us about the connection between politics and barbecue. Their search for such connections took them all the way back to late February of 1766 when “the Royal Governor of North Carolina, William Tryon, attempted to win the New Hanover militia’s good will by treating them to a barbecue. He did not succeed: citizens of Wilmington threw the barbecued ox in the river and poured out the beer. (This was not an early expression of North Carolinians’ preference for pork; they were upset about the Stamp Act.)”
Reed and Levine explain that this “expression” of discontent with British authority came seven years before “the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when some rowdy New Englanders threw boxes of tea in Boston harbor to protest a British tax.”
– From BBQ Hub
Eater’s How We Eat video series takes a trip to Nashville to talk with Pat Martin of Martin’s Bar-B-Que.
In West Tennessee, whole hog barbecue is a dying art, but pitmaster Pat Martin is working to change the story. How We Eat visits Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville this week to learn about the smokey tradition, how it differs from other barbecue methods around the country, and what Martin and his team are doing to preserve the practice.
– TMBBQ on the italian influences of Texas BBQ in Waco
– An inside look at day one at Rodney Scott’s BBQ last week
– It opened without a hitch after a day or two of soft opening
– If you missed last week’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern as they traveled to Buxton Hall and Fox Bros among others on the “Southern BBQ Trail”, you have a couple more chances to check it out
– Speaking of which, Zimmern has some goodies from his stops available at his website
– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits the Athens, TN location of the Buddy’s Bar-B-Q chain and left unimpressed
– An oldie but goodie from Our State
– The Brick Pit in Mobile, AL gets a second life thanks to a Facebook post
– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits Mike’s Smokehouse in Chattanooga, which is among the better barbecue joints in the area
– In case you might be doing some brisket smoking for the Super Bowl
– I love Robert Jacob Lerma’s barbecue photography
– An older article where Robert Moss picks SC’s most underrated barbecue
– If you’re ever laid over in the Houston airport, it might be a good idea to head to Gatlin’s Q
– Put your barbecue knowledge to the test (I got 80/100)
– BBQ Hub has a peek inside the pit room at Swig & Swine, the new whole hog joint in Summerville, SC
– Speaking of whole hog, looks like Kentucky is getting more whole hog in the form of a monthly event from Red Barn Kitchen BBQ in the Louisville suburb of Lydon
– Marie, Let’s Eat! stops in B & C Melrose BBQ in Nashville
– Charleston’s getting more barbecue: Wild Hare Barbecue opens in February in the West Ashley neighborhood and will be smoking with an onsite stick burner
– Would love to make the trip to Garland