Linkdown: 10/26/22 – The “Helen Turner, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner” Edition

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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

Native News

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

Non-Native News

The Southern Smoke festival raised a whopping $1.6M this past weekend

The McRib Farewell Tour? Maybe not…

Big Dan’s BBQ – Elizabethton, TN

Name: Big Dan’s BBQ
Date: 8/20/22
Address: 633 E Elk Ave, Elizabethton, TN 37643
Order: Barbecue sandwich with collard greens (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Monk: In the past year, one of my brothers as well as my parents have moved to the Tri-Cities area of northeast Tennessee. For decent barbecue in the Volunteer State, I’ve always assumed I had to go at least as far west as Knoxville but probably more towards Nashville. For a quick visit to see my family, would Big Dan’s BBQ in the quaint downtown of Elizabethton hit the spot? It did win the Reader’s Choice for Best Barbecue in Carter County in recent years, after all.

Short answer: only kind of. Big Dan’s at least tries, using a Southern Pride behind the building under a shed with a woodpile stacked against it (reminiscent of Archers in Knoxville).

In terms of the barbecue, that Southern Pride put out cue with decent smoke but was a bit on the greasy side. The bun did not survive more than a few pickups before I started picking at it with a fork.

The collards were well balanced and more successful than the pork sandwich for sure.

Big Dan’s BBQ is located next to Riverside Taphouse, the only beer bar in downtown Elizabethton and is not far from the Doe River and the historic Elizabethton Covered Bridge. Transcendent barbecue this is not, but for a snack while having a beer while sitting on a patio in a pretty part of the country, you could do worse.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 2 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 2.5 Hogs

Linkdown: 8/31/22

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Monk: Our prolific friend of the blog John Tanner has been at it again making the rounds in eastern NC recently, so let’s follow along in envy to some of the better places from his recent trip.

Wilber’s BBQ in Goldsboro has been back for a couple of years now but in his first dining room meal in some years, John and co. are wowed

Martelle’s Feed House is a restaurant with a buffet that includes great ribs and fantastic barbecue, located in the tiny town of Englehard (pop. 155), a (according to Wikipedia) “fishing community in Lake Landing Township on the mainland of Hyde County, North Carolina” near the Pimlico Sound

John also tried out Old Colony Smokehouse in Edenton, “a fine addition to eastern North Carolina” where they hold onto old traditions but also incorporate new trends

John passes on the buffet at Captain Bob’s Restaurant and Catering in Hertford for a pork plate but immediately regrets that decision

One of the highlights of his trip was a visit to Sid’s Catering in Beaulaville, a small town in southeast North Carolina

Non-Native News

Things are looking dicey for turkeys this Thanksgiving; this is from Heim BBQ

The BBQuest Eater Heat Map

Dispatches from the Tales from the Pits BBQ + Bourbon road trip

Archers BBQ – Knoxville, TN

Name: Archers BBQ
Date: 6/12/22
Address: 5200 Rutledge Pike, Knoxville, TN 37924
Order: 2 meat sampler with pork and ribs, hush puppies, and slaw (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: On the long drive back from Crossville, TN (about an hour west of Knoxville and home to one of the latest Buc-ees) earlier this summer, I made a pit stop at Archers BBQ in east Knoxville. Archers BBQ is the vision of Archer Bagley, a Memphis native who was an early investor in Fox Bros BBQ in Atlanta. According to the website, he struck out on his own and headed north to Knoxville where he has since opened 5 locations of the restaurant.

Archers (or at least this location) smokes their cue in a Southern Pride assisted by wood as evidenced by the nice-sized woodpile next to their cooking shed. On this summer Sunday, there was light traffic into and out of the store in a former gas station.

I went with a 2 meat sampler of 5 oz of pork and 3 bones and found both to be slightly above average. Light smoke but perhaps not the freshest barbecue on this day. Even with its Memphis heritage, Archers favors an international house of barbecue approach with all the meats and then all the sauces on the side. Average also summed up my sides of hush puppies and slaw.

So, not a full throated recommendation of Archers BBQ but I’d be curious if I’d have different results on a Friday or Saturday. Maybe I’ll try again next summer.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Ribs – 3 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 3 Hogs