Linkdown: 9/13/17

RIP to the original Riverside location of 12 Bones; it is survived by the Arden location and a new Riverside location down the street coming in January 2018

Operation BBQ Relief has been helping out for weeks for Harvey and is now live for Irma

– I’ve never been here but its unfortunate when a joint open this long closes: Lewis’ Barbecue (not to be confused with the Texas joint in Charleston by John Lewis), a 70 year old barbecue restaurant in Clinton has closed

Shots fired at NC barbecue from a San Antonio journalist

Several years ago, a free afternoon during a work-related trip to North Carolina called for an obvious mission: Seek out the finest examples of the barbecue the locals hailed as the world’s best, and gorge accordingly.

But upon completion of this task, which unfortunately involved the ingestion of sad piles of shredded pork doused in a sauce consisting primarily of vinegar, one question lingered over the entire experience.

How can a state love something so much and yet still be so bad at it?

– Per Stacy Franklin, Franklin Barbecue is “hoping to open in the next two weeks” from a Texas BBQ Posse post from 9/7

– More Texas: Goode Co. BBQ in Houston (a joint that helped influence the Charlotte restaurant Midwood Smokehouse) celebrated 40 years of being open recently

– Matthew Odam recently unearthed a series of barbecue reviews from 1978 from recently passed Austin columnist John Kelso

– Always good to refresh the ol’ knowledge tank

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Linkdown: 9/6/17

– Per their Instagram, Midwood Smokehouse is donating $1 from each pulled pork sandwich sold this week to Hurricane Harvey relief

– This past week New Bern hosted the first Piggin’ and Grinnin’ Festival for folks to enjoy barbecue and bluegrass

– Currituck BBQ Company is a recommended stop on NC 158

– The latest accolades for Lexington Barbecue are from food and travel site Rave, which compiles data from Eater, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, and The Daily Meal

– They are doing some inventive things with barbecue at LeRoy & Lewis Barbecue in Austin

– An oldie from last summer

Friday Find: House of Carbs – “Barbecue for the Forces of Good”

A barbecue-focused episode this week. In the first segment, I would describe fellow Ringer colleagues David Shoemaker and Bryan Curtis as two guys who grew up in Texas but I would classify as more like dabblers into the world of barbecue. Nonetheless, they talk brisket and Texas barbecue with House, who’s experienced La Barbecue

The second segment, Food News, isn’t barbecue-related so skip ahead to 42:25 if you want to hear Danny Chau discuss his excellent article about a recent trip to Charleston to visit Rodney Scott BBQ and Lewis Barbecue and discover the future of barbecue. Danny seems to know what he’s talking about a little bit more when it comes to the world of barbecue.

The Ringer’s Joe House is joined by colleagues and fellow podcasters David Shoemaker and Bryan Curtis to talk Texas barbecue, its growth, and expansion to New York City (3:35). Then House is joined by Juliet Litman for this week’s Food News (23:00). Lastly House sits down with Danny Chau to discuss his recent trip to Charleston and his thesis on South Carolina barbecue (42:25).

Linkdown: 8/30/17

– Thinking of Houston in the wake of Harvey

– In drier times (hopefully coming soon), could whole hog barbecue succeed in Houston?

– Glad to hear that the smokers at Franklin Barbecue made it through the smokehouse fire

– Art’s Barbecue and Deli and Bar-B-Q King make Charlotte Five’s list of 10 classic Charlotte restaurants you must try

– A barbecue-focused episode of House of Carbs this week talks Texas barbecue and Charleston as a barbecue capital

– Buxton Hall evening pitmaster David Phelps gets a mention in this article on third shift workers in Asheville

After coming in around 10 p.m., he spends the first two hours prepping the next day’s sauces and green beans. As he chops and mixes, Phelps is also building the fire up to the required temperature (225 degrees), in order to cook the two pigs nightly. By sunrise, he generally has around 350 to 400 pounds of pulled pork ready for the day crew.

– Buxton Hall’s also got great fried chicken too

– LOL

 

Linkdown: 8/23/17

– Ringer’s Danny Chau visits Lewis Barbecue and Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Charleston and sees the future of barbecue

– First We Feast: “8 Common BBQ Myths, Debunked”

– Seoul Food Meat Co and Mac’s Speed Shop is on Charlotte Five’s list of where to eat and drink in Southend while the original Midwood Smokehouse is on the list for Plaza Midwood

– Some great photos behind the scenes at the world’s largest free barbecue at the XIT Rodeo and Reunion in Dalhart, TX

– Thoughts and prayers are with the Brooks family as the original owner and father of the current brother owners passed away last week at the age of 90

– Kathleen Purvis on the cuisine of Charlotte for newcomers:

Take our barbecue style: We’re close to Lexington, N.C., where “barbecue” means a pork shoulder, slowly cooked over wood coals, chopped and mixed with a vinegar-based sauce with a little tomato in it. The origins are probably German, from all the German immigrants who started in Pennsylvania and ended up here. But you’ll also find Eastern North Carolina style, which involves a whole pig and no tomato in the vinegar sauce. That’s descended from an old English style, and we like that too.

Or you can find newer, fancier barbecue that involves Texas brisket or Memphis ribs, and we embrace that because it tastes good. But if you invite someone over for “a barbecue” and serve them grilled hot dogs? They’ll be nice about it, but they won’t be happy. (See “pop,” above.)

– A recently-closed bistro in Durham will reopen as Maverick’s Smokehouse and Taproom, which will have an an international house of barbecue menu

– 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio: the next great Texas barbecue joint?

– David Chang’s last meal on earth (which is more of a transcontinental progressive dinner) includes a stopover in Austin for brisket at Franklin Barbecue

La Barbecue – Austin, TX (Speedy’s take)

IMG_1608Name: La Barbecue
Date: 7/20/17
Address: 1906 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
Order: ½ lb brisket, ¼ lb pork, 1 sausage link (link to menu)
Price: $19

Speedy: After a quick work trip to Dallas, I thought it would be a good idea to pop over to Austin to visit Rudy. We both had to work my first day there, but I was able to get away for lunch and head over to La Barbecue, which Rudy previously raved about.

I got there about 11:30, and there was already a decent line. A guy behind me in line asked how long the wait was from the end – he was told 15, but the reality was 40. After 15 minutes, his order was taken (but no one else’s), so as to not make the worker “a liar.” Also, there was no free beer as there was on Rudy’s visit. Combine this with the hot weather and the business casual attire, and I was a little annoyed. The lack of urgency from the staff to serve people added to my annoyance.

Monk: I know the answer to this question, but you were mad because it was hot in July in Texas and they didn’t offer you free beer, something they aren’t obligated to do? Really?

Rudy: I believe that the free beer is only on Saturdays. You were actually able to visit La Barbecue on one of their last days as a food truck because they have since moved into a brick and mortar location. So while the wait might not be less time, but it could possibly be inside.

Speedy: At long last, I got to the front of the line, ordered ¼ pound brisket, ¼ pork, and a sausage link. Before cutting, the homie cutting the meat handed me a small chunk of brisket, which I popped into my mouth. Every annoyance, and truly every care I had immediately went away. The bit was so peppery and moist and simply divine. I quickly upped my order to ½ pound of brisket, got my food, paid, and went to find a shady spot to sit.

Rudy: They got me with the taste test too. Works every time.

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Speedy: Every bite of brisket was just as the first. This was, without a doubt, the best brisket I had ever tasted. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. It was absolutely perfect. There’s nothing I would change about it. I’m not an eloquent enough write to justly write about this brisket, so I’ll just say if you ever get a chance, get it.

Monk: I had similar thoughts when I tried Lewis Barbecue in Charleston earlier this year, which we all know is the joint that former La Barbecue pitmaster John Lewis opened about a year ago. I’d be curious how Lewis stacks up to La.

Rudy: Being a North Carolina boy, I didn’t have high expectations with the pulled pork, but digging in, I was blown away. It was tender, smoky, and tangy. I don’t know what was on it, but there was vinegar involved. It also came with pickled onions, which was a perfect pairing. Overall, this was in the top echelon of pulled pork I’ve ever had. I was shocked. If you ever get a chance, get it.

The sausage was disappointing. The flavor was fine, but it was a little dry and fell apart pretty easily. It wasn’t by any means bad – in fact, in a vacuum, i’d probably call it good. But compared to the brisket and the pork, it’s not worth ordering.

I didn’t order sides – I didn’t feel the need to.

In thinking about La Barbecue, my biggest regret is not getting a beef rib (in addition to, not instead of the other things). Yes, it’s expensive, and there’s no way I could eat it all, but damn it looked good.

Overall, my meal at La Barbecue was incredible. The next day, Rudy and I had plans to hit up Franklin’s, so I was pumped to be able to compare the two. Leaving La Barbecue, my only thought was that I had a hard time understanding how it would equal or exceed what I had just eaten.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 2.5 hogs (bumped down due to heat, lack of free beer, and slow service)
Brisket – 5 hogs
Pork – 5 hogs
Sausage – 3 hog
Sides – N/A
Overall – 5 Hogs (the brisket and pork were good enough that nothing else mattered)
La Barbecue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Hard Eight BBQ – Coppell, TX

IMG_1592
Name
: Hard Eight BBQ
Date: 7/17/17
Address: 688 Freeport Pkwy, Coppell, TX 75019
Order: Brisket, pork ribs, sausage, fries, corn bread pie (link to menu)
Price: Can’t remember, maybe ~$36?

Speedy: Recently, I had a short work trip to Dallas, which I turned into a more extended trip to visit Rudy in Austin. With a busy work schedule and a couple of planned trips to ‘cue joints in Austin, I only stepped away for one ‘cue meal in Dallas. Hard Eight was the most conveniently located and was recommended by the client, so there we went.

Monk: Dang, another Texas visit that Speedy makes that I didn’t get to go on. What is this, the third time?

Speedy: It is, indeed. Some of us are just more dedicated to the readers than others…

Entering the parking lot, you could see stacks and stacks of wood, and a large outdoor smokehouse with a roof. Smartly, Hard Eight keeps all the meat in a stone oven-esque thing right in front of the cash register, forcing you to order 3x more meat than you can possibly eat.

Monk: Is this the Instagram that inexplicably led to exactly 300 likes as of this writing? Which is by far the most ‘Gram likes any photo of ours has ever had by at least 200?

Speedy: Yes, it is. Except that it’s totally explicable. The followers – they love me. It sucks being second, doesn’t it, Monk.

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That said, I ordered the brisket, sausage, and pork ribs even though I was with co-workers. When it comes to barbecue, I have no shame. The meat is cut and weighed in front of you and you pay by the pound. You then proceed to a cafeteria style line for sides, which I’m told is not uncommon in Texas. You then pay at the end. I don’t know how much my meal specifically cost, but the total for three people was $60. Judging by volume, mine was at least 60% of that.

The interior was large, with plenty of seating, and there was also a good sized covered porch. This day was too hot to eat outside, so we sat at an inside high top and dug in.

Since this joint is in Texas, I’ll start with the brisket. I was very pleased with the brisket. It had decent (not great) bark, good flavor, and a nice tug. It was only slightly dry, but overall didn’t need sauce. At the time, I thought I was having fairly top notch brisket, but (spoiler alert) after a couple of briskets in Austin, I had to re-adjust my internal scale and bump this brisket down a bit. Still, I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Monk: This is true. After this visit, Speedy was raving about Hard Eight. After his subsequent trip to Austin, a little less so.

Speedy: The sausage also was good – it had a nice flavor and held together well. The sausage was sliced at the front and not served in links, and I have no idea if it was made in-house, but it has nice smoke and was cooked well. I would have preferred a little more spice, but overall, a good offering.

The ribs were nice and meaty and had good flavor. They were not dry, but I did end up adding a little sauce. They were cooked well – offering a clean bite without falling off the bone. I would have enjoyed a little more rub, but an enjoyable, if unspectacular rib.

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Overall, I enjoyed my experience at Hard Eight BBQ. I feel like had I written this review immediately, it would have scored higher, but a couple of experiences later in the week just overshadowed it. That said, I wouldn’t complain about a return trip.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4 hogs
Brisket – 3.5 hogs
Ribs – 3 hogs
Sausage – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 2 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs
Hard Eight BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Linkdown: 7/26/17

– Congrats to Carolina Bar-B-Que in Statesville on being open for 32 years!

– Jon G’s BBQ (our current Charlotte #1) is moving up in the world with their spiffy new trailer

– As previously announced, the next location of Midwood Smokehouse will be in Birkdale Village in Huntersville in the old Smoke location

– John Lewis names his pitmasters of the future in Tasting Table

– Tasting Table had their list of America’s Top 11 BBQ Joints from an article back in May, which I don’t believe I saw until now

– Is it ever too hot to eat barbecue? Never.

– Atlanta’s gotten a 4 Rivers Smokehouse (the first outside of Florida) in its burgeoning westside

– A GQ feature on the Austin barbecue scene

– AV Club’s Supper Club explores Alabama’s white sauce, “smoked chicken’s best friend”

– The best barbecue sides in Austin

– Filing this away for future reference…

Friday Find: YETI Presents: Tootsie

From Yeti (a brand which appears to be universally loved by just about every celebrity pitmaster), a profile on the 81 year old Texas pitmaster who goes by one name: Tootsie.

Custodian by day, Texas barbecue pitmaster by night, Tootsie Tomanetz wrote the book on hard work and dedication. At 81, she’s spent the best part of the last 15 years making the best barbecue in Texas at Snow’s BBQ.

Whether tending to the grounds at Giddings High School, or ​keeping the fire going at Snow’s BBQ, pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz doesn’t have a lazy bone in her body. In this YETI Presents video, visit Lee County and a renowned Texas barbecue pit, where Tootsie doesn’t see herself putting on the brakes anytime soon. Slowing down just wouldn’t suit her.

Linkdown: 7/19/17

– From Joe Haynes, the author who brought us Virginia Barbecue, comes Brunswick Stew: A Virginia Tradition out in October:

– Grant finds some decent cue but some great fries at Love That BBQ in Knoxville

– Elliott Moss’s favorite spots for hash in his home state of SC

– The supposed golden age of Texas barbecue means “waiting is the price you pay for transcendence”

– In search of great barbecue at last weekend’s Windy City Smokeout

– Aaron Franklin with tips to improve your backyard smoker in Esquire

– Stubb’s (the restaurant) will be changing names after settling a lawsuit with Stubb’s (the sauce)

– From the G&G archives