Friday Find: Who Has the Right to Make Barbecue?

A must-listen: authors John T. Edge and Nicole Taylor join the NY Times’ Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris on their Still Processing podcast for more thoughtful discussions on barbecue and its cultural and historic implications.  Arrogant Swine gets a shout-out in each of the first two segments of the podcast before getting an eventual visit from the two hosts in the final segment.

Monk

Linkdown: 8/17/16

– WOW: Picnic is hosting a three-day “bbq revival” and bringing in Elliot Moss of Buxton Hall, Sam Jones of Skylight Inn and Sam Jones BBQ, Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin BBQ, Tyson Ho of Arrogant Swine, John Lewis of Lewis BBQ plus a lot more

– Speaking of Buxton Hall Barbecue, they have been named the #9 best new restaurant in America 2016

– Grant visits Zombie Pig BBQ in Columbus, his last new Georgia barbecue restaurant for awhile

– First We Feast gets another esteemed panel of experts to discuss “The Most Influential BBQ in America”; Barbecue Bros faves Stamey’s and Scott’s makes the list from the Carolinas

– Daniel Vaughn revisits Fox Bros Bar-B-Q after a few years and comes away impressed

– Question #1: Why are there two styles of NC Barbecue?

– Question #2: How would you describe SC barbecue?

Adding one more layer of complexity, he said that a third (or fifth, depending on who’s counting) sauce should be included: “rust gravy,” a ketchup-and-mustard blend found statewide, especially at the Dukes Bar-B-Que restaurants.

– Charlotte Agenda reports that Mac’s Speed Shop is opening a downtown Matthews location, just around the corner from Moe’s Barbeque

– Tim Kaine spent his Monday night eating barbecue at Buxton Hall and jamming with a bluegrass band nextdoor at Catawba Brewery

– So you can eat barbecue and lose weight; The Smoking Ho offers proof

Arrogant Swine – Brooklyn, NY

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Name
: Arrogant Swine
Date: 10/6/15
Address: 173 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
Order: 1 lb East Carolina whole hog, 1 lb Western NC outside brown shoulder, 1 lb spare ribs, Tikka Masala Sausage, Greensboro Pitmaster Chicken Wings, red vinegar slaw, collards, mac and cheese (link)
Price: ~$120

Monk: Having followed for the past year Tyson Ho’s excellent blog series on Serious Eats on the opening of his barbecue restaurant in Brooklyn, Arrogant Swine was my number one priority while we were in New York for 9 days in early October. That plus the fact that he was doing eastern NC whole hog in the middle of Brooklyn and that his joint was also advertised as a beer hall made it an easy choice.

Speedy: And what a fantastic atmosphere it had! Contrary to every other place in NY, the restaurant was spacious and comfortable, and had a large outdoor seating area. We started our meal at the bar (Monk and crew had some beers and smoked wings while I dealt with a closed subway line) before ordering. A great beer (and whiskey) selection was a big help in allowing the group to wait for me. Anyhow, once I arrived, we put in our order.

Monk: As a nod to cracklins, or crispy hog skin chopped into whole hog, Arrogant Swine serves their chopped pork with a layer of pork rinds. Which is a little bit of a curious choice if you ask me and it took me a minute to realize the pork was underneath it. Once I waded through the pork rinds, I found the vinegary chopped pork to be a decent version of NC whole hog but not quite as good as I had hoped or expected.

Speedy: The western style outside brown was also a little different than you’d find in NC. It came chopped, though I’d consider it more cubed. The pork almost looked more like burnt ends. The flavor was pretty OK, but the cubes made it seem a bit less tender than typical. Overall, I think this really missed the mark. Sorry, Tyson.

Monk: The  tikka misala sausage was made in house and was definitely one of the favorites of our group, though there isn’t much of a link to NC either in the sausage or the fact that its Indian spiced.

Speedy:The spare rib was big, meaty, and smoked well. They weren’t over cooked, so you could get a good bit, and the seasoning and sauce was a good compliment to, but did not overpower, the meat. Overall, I think this was better than the pork, which is odd for an NC ‘cue joint. If I were to return, I’d focus on the sausage and the ribs.

Monk: The Greensboro Pit Master wings are a nod to the Vietnamese pitmasters who do much of the smoking in the Piedmont joints that still smoke over wood – notably Stamey’s in Greensboro. While a nice tip of the hat, the sticky and sweet sauce on the wings isn’t really reminiscent of anything related to NC barbecue traditions. In any case, a nice idea and decently executed wing.

Speedy: I thought they were well smoked, but I didn’t love the sauce – a little sweet on my end. In terms of sides, I think I only had the slaw, which I enjoyed, even though there were raisins in there for some reason, which I can’t figure out.

Monk: Oh yeah! Even after we got an explanation from Tyson that just chopped cabbage and carrots in vinegar wouldn’t cut it in NYC, raisins still didn’t make sense to me. Another curious choice. Shout out to the waffle mac and cheese served with a side of queso, though.

Speedy: While eating, we did chat with Tyson a good bit and he was very cool. We talked about some of the differences between his joint and what we typically see in NC, and he was very aware of that. As he put it, he wanted to take the unique pieces on NC ‘cue and amplify them, which I think he did. While doing that, I think it lost some of the things I love about NC ‘cue, but it’s still better than most of the “barbecue” I’ve eaten in the city.

Monk: As an experience, Arrogant Swine was definitely worth trekking it out to Bushwick and I only wish we had been able to go a little earlier to hang on the outdoor patio and drink more of their great selection of beers. As a barbecue restaurant, Arrogant Swine was a little more of a mixed bag with some items more successful than others. In any case, I would definitely go back to Arrogant Swine again and will continue to follow its development, since  a joint that cooks whole hog over wood (particularly in NYC) is a rarity these days.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 4 hogs
Pork (eastern) – 3 hogs
Pork (western) – 2 hogs
RIbs – 3.5 hogs
Sausage – 3.5 hogs
Wings – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs
Arrogant Swine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Arrogant Swine

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Linkdown: 8/26/15

– You remember how Tyson Ho built  a barbecue restaurant in Brooklyn? He checks in with a retrospective nearly a year after it opened; if you want to catch up on the entire blog series (and I recommend that you do), check it out here

– Blasphemers!: Stamey’s food trailer was stolen from their lot Monday night

– A fire has damaged Bill Ellis’ Barbecue in Wilson but at least there’s this nugget:

“I took my plate with me,” Mangum said. “I was too hungry to just leave my good plate.”

Mangum stood beside Lisa Woodard, who was in her car looking at the smoke.

“I am as hungry as I can be,” Woodard said. “I just paid my money and they told us to get out.”

– Luella’s Bar B Que in Asheville is getting a second location in Biltmore Park Town Square

– A Charlotte vs Raleigh restaurant smackdown includes a short profile on Frank Scibelli (restaurateur behind Midwood Smokehouse) as well as a head to head barbecue smackdown between Bill Spoon’s in Charlotte and Clyde Cooper’s in Raleigh

– Marie, Let’s Eat! has been exploring Alabama barbecue this year and his latest stops on the blog are Pruett’s BBQ & Catfish in Gadsden and Ray’s Bar-B-Que in Atalla

A guide to Houston BBQ from TMBBQ

– Buxton Hall opens this Friday and I couldn’t be more excited to check it out at some point – I believe its been more than 2.5 years since its first iteration Buxton Hill was first announced, then with Rodney Scott as a partner

Buxton Hall is coming. On Aug. 28, the whole-hog barbecue restaurant will throw open its doors, permitting access to chef Elliott Moss’ wood-smoked ‘cue and farm-driven sides, all served in a cavernous former skating rink.

Linkdown: 7/8/15

– Michael W Twitty with a thought-provoking piece: Barbecue is an American Tradition – of enslaved Africans and Native Americans

– How the word barbecue has “divided the coalition of the grilling”

– Friend of the blog Johnny Fugit also weighs in on how words matter when it comes to the word “barbecue”

– We linked to this article a few weeks back, but its worth another link: Tyson Ho (among others) gets a profile in Garden & Gun Magazine

A guide to barbecue in the San Francisco bay area includes the Lexington-style joint Rusty’s Southern

Sarah Fritsche: “When I first visited Lexington Barbecue in North Carolina about a decade ago, I knew I’d met my ideal kind of ‘cue. Slow-smoked pork shoulder is finely chopped, not pulled, and served with a tangy vinegar sauce and all the fixings, which include a tomato-based red slaw and cornmeal hush puppies. Happily, thanks to Rusty’s Southern, I don’t have to book a flight to N.C. to get my fix. Prior to opening their Tenderloin restaurant earlier this spring, owner Rusty Olson and chef Francis Rubio spent time with Lexington Barbecue owner Wayne Monk to learn how to re-create the unique barbecue.”

– The 10 best barbecue restaurants in Britain, for what thats worth

– There is a South Carolina Barbecue Association judging class this Saturday in Cheraw

– Grant’s latest joints on Marie, Let’s Eat!: Center Point Pit Barbecue in Hendersonville, TN and Bill’s Bar-B-Q in Hull, GA

– In a follow-up on Michael Symon and his quest to create “Cleveland-style” barbecue, Thrillist asks just exactly what it is (via)

– Smoking tips from a man who knows what he is talking about, Steve Raichlen

Linkdown: 2/11/15

– Our State ruminates on the barbecue sandwich, deconstructed

– In this week’s blog for The Daily South, Robert Moss profiles a NASA scientist by day, and whole hog barbecue pitmaster by night

A career in engineering took Howard Conyers a long way from Paxville: to an undergraduate degree at North Carolina A&T followed by a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and materials science from Duke, and then to Louisiana. “I finished my Ph.D. and took my first job at Stennis,” Conyers says. “I lived in Slidell for a year and then moved to New Orleans.” Somewhere along the way, he started to miss his family’s style of whole hog barbecue. “I realized I had left something back home that is unique and special,” he says.

Tyson Ho writes about the importance of mentors – barbecue and otherwise – in his latest blog for Serious Eats; he also spills the beans on the origins of the name Arrogant Swine

(If you’re wondering, the name came about when we were trying to find a pig-based url for my website. A whole hog joint needs a pig name, and url squatters had most of them. I tried every color pig.com, every variant spelling of hog, all to no luck. Then one day I walked past a poster for a beer called the “Arrogant Bastard Ale.” I wondered if Arrogant Swine was available, and it was, so that became my name.)

Smoke Modern Barbeque is a new barbecue restaurant in Huntersville from Charlotte restaurateur Dennis Thompson, who is involved in Firebirds Wood Fire Grill and Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar; it opened on Monday

– …aaaand they already have a second location planned, slated to open in July in Ballantyne

– In more expansion news, Queen City Q is opening a second location in Matthews

– Sad news out of DC, as barbecue legend Mr. P (originally from NC) was taken off of life support earlier this week

– TMBBQ goes deep on best naner pudding in Texas, though I disagree with their assertion on NC naner pudding – its been served cold everywhere I’ve ever been

First, though, let’s talk about what unifies banana pudding in Texas. That’s temperature. If you venture over to North Carolina, it’ll come piping hot and covered in meringue, but in Texas it’s served straight from the fridge.

– JC Reid from the Houston Chronicle talks about the importance of wood and smoke (via TMBBQ)

– In other Texas barbecue news, The Dallas Observer is looking for a barbecue writer

– Smoky Oak Taproom, a Charleston barbecue restaurant with an impressive tap list, to open a location in Florence, SC

– Want to win a $100 gift card to The Pit Durham?

Linkdown: 2/4/15

– This NY Times article on the sisterhood of women chefs in NC is great, though I don’t really get the following line on “barbecue kids” – is this a euphemism for “hipsters”?

Ms. [Nathalie] Dupree, who lives in Charleston, put it a little more bluntly. “North Carolina has always been a place where food was very important, but the men were always more interested in the macho-boy stuff that attracts the barbecue kids these days,” she said. “So the women were free to make all the rest of the food.”

– Tyson Ho checks in with his latest blog entry for Serious Eats on how he picks and scavenges for equipment and other goods when another restaurant closes

– This post on how to help your local bbq joints was written with Texas joints in mind due to beef’s historically high prices, but can apply to local joints wherever you happen to be

– “Barbecue sandwich” is one of 16 sandwiches in Our State Magazine’s Southern Sandwich Tournament; here is their travel guide to each sandwich

– Destination BBQ’s blog has a map that helps make finding SC BBQ easier

– Home Team BBQ is opening a downtown Charleston location by Labor Day 2015

– From last summer, 5 questions with Bethanie Schemel of KC Barbecue Tours in Taste Trekkers (our list is here btw)

– Queen City Q is celebrating 3 years of being open next week with the special release of Susie Q Smoked IPA from Birdsong Brewing, named after the owner of the restaurant

– Speaking of beer and barbecue, NoDa Brewing and Midwood Smokehouse are coming together for a Texas-themed “Crossroads Cue Supper” with James Beard-winning author Robb Walsh; Speedy and I attended a similar event a little over 1.5 years ago with Sam Jones of Skylight Inn

– This week, Marie, Let’s Eat! checks out Porkie’s Original BBQ, a north Alabama joint in central Florida

– Last weekend, a barbecue was held to help benefit a local Charlotte firefighter battling cancer

– Two competitions have been posted on the NC BBQ Association website, one of them being the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival in Charlotte in May (our photos from last year)

– Scott’s Bar-B-Que is one of Thrillist’s best 13 restaurants in the south

Scott’s Bar-B-Que

Hemingway, SC
If you’ve never driven to the middle of the countryside or just a teensy town whose closest large city is the #1 destination for 19-year-old Spring Breakers along the Carolina coasts, just for a lunch of smokey pulled pork, you’re lazy, but also it’s time to take a trip to Scott’s. The Variety Store and ‘cue spot has been operating since’72, and it’s truly a family affair with son Rodney as the pitmaster that brought them to national fame. Order a 1/2lb of pork, slow-smoked and well-seasoned overnight, get your sauce spicy — you finally took this pilgrimage, so make the best of it — ask for crispy, fresh-fried pork rinds like you’re a regular in the know, and, then, whatever you do, remember to get at least 2lbs of pork and a gallon of sauce to go. Because, sadly, you aren’t a regular, but you’ll want to eat like you are as long as possible.

– Via TMBBQ, Live Oak Barbecue in Austin has closed; Rudy tried it about a little over a year ago and was not a fan

– Finally, if you feel so inclined we’d be honored if you would vote us for Best Local Blog under “Media – Best Local” in Charlotte Magazine’s annual Best of the Best Awards

Linkdown: 12/3/14

How Do You Spell Barbecue? Personally, I go with “barbecue”

Back in the 18th century, there were almost as many ways to spell barbecue as there were people cooking it: barbacue, barbicu, borbecue. In his diary entry for September 18, 1773, George Washington recorded that he attended, “a Barbicue of my own giving at Accotink.”

He may have been the Father of our Country, but Washington’s spelling didn’t stick. By the time of the Civil War, Americans had settled on two primary versions—barbecue and barbeque—and that’s as close as we’ve come to consensus. The North Carolina Barbecue Society has come down on the side of the “c”, but their neighbors in the Palmetto State, home of the South Carolina Barbeque Association, are more prone to go with the “q,” as are the folks out in Missouri in the Kansas City Barbeque Society.

– Southport has a new barbecue restaurant in Terry’s North Carolina Bar-B-Que & Ribs

Zagat: Arrogant Swine brings Carolina ‘Cue to Brooklyn

– Speaking of Arrogant Swine, I haven’t linked to a Tyson Ho blog entry on SeriousEats in a few weeks, but here’s a link to his latest, on changing his menu and taking feedback; if you haven’t read the whole series, do yourself a favor and catch up asap

We’ve already cut two items from the menu: turkey legs and corn pone. There’s a certain amount of market efficiency when it comes to a barbecue menu. Certain items appear everywhere because they’re guaranteed hits: brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and chicken are time-tested and reliable. Sometimes you win big when you go against the grain, but for the most part one would do well to heed the wisdom of crowds.

– The SC Barbecue Trail marketing campaign (specifically the web series) wins some accolades by highlighting the state’s barbecue tradition

– An Army veteran has opened a NC barbecue restaurant in Tampa, Three Brothers BBQ Smokehouse

– Austin writer Matthew Odam picks apart a recent WSJ article on Austin barbecue that just plain got some things wrong

– Marie, Let’s Eat! begins their 12 chapter (!!) circumnavigation of barbecue restaurants in South Carolina and eastern North Carolina with Maurice’s in Columbiasome less than great places around Florence, and Parker’s in Wilson

Friday Find: Serious Eats Guide to SC Barbecue

You may recall I wasn’t a huge fan of the NC barbecue video in this series of videos produced by Serious Eats for Arby’s. And this one’s every bit a mess as the other. In addition to the whole “being a blatant ad for Arby’s”, there’s that Creepy Serious Eats founder again. And while they bring in Tyson Ho (he of the newly-opened Arrogant Swine whole hog joint that I’ve been linking to for months) to talk about whole hog barbecue, hey may as well have been talking about eastern NC whole hog barbecue instead of SC. And I actually do suspect he was discussing NC barbecue when he was interviewed seeing as how he is an Ed Mitchell disciple (though he does serve some SC mustard sauce at his joint). He knows his stuff, but keeps referring to “Carolina whole hog” barbecue and even vinegar-based sauce as opposed to the mustard-based sauce they probably want him to discuss in a South Carolina-style video. If I had to guess, I would put money that this was an editing issue and they didn’t or couldn’t get someone to discuss mustard-style barbecue. In any case, way to go again, Serious Eats.

Monk

Linkdown: 9/17/14

– Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor of Texas Monthly, is definitely the right man to write an article about being “meat drunk”

You’re experiencing a rapid heartbeat, flush cheeks, and a sweaty brow. All are symptoms of overindulgence, but not of the alcoholic kind. Rather than an elevated BAC, the cause might be a high that even a teetotaler can get. You’re getting meat drunk.

– Speaking of Texas Monthly, their annual barbecue fest was this past Sunday and it looks like it was a blast (more photos here and one blog’s top 5 bites here)

– The title says it all: “For traditional Carolina barbecue, a trip to Lexington, NC is a must”

A tanked economy winnowed down the joints, but not the residents’ passion for barbecue shoulders. That’s what makes Lexington barbecue different: Many pit masters have tried the typical ribs, beef briskets, turkey and chicken, but few now offer them except on a few days a week and on special occasions.

“Ribs never caught on in Lexington,” Yountz said, adding that he also tried beef brisket but found it too wasteful and the novelty soon wore off for his customers.

– The latest entries in Tyson Ho’s How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn series looks at the interior decorating on a dime aspect and standing before the community board

– Elizabeth Karmel (aka Grill Girl) has left Hill Country to start Carolina Cue To-Go, an “online barbecue shack” that will offer whole mail order whole hog barbecue; it goes live on 11/1 (via @BBQsnob)

But after more than a decade focused on Texas-style food, it is time for me to go back to my North Carolina roots.  I have partnered with a childhood friend to form an online “Barbecue Shack” that will sell traditionally smoked Eastern Carolina whole hog barbecue nationwide.  My whole hog is inspired by my long-time barbecue buddy, Ed Mitchell, and it will be sauced with my signature Lexington-Style Vinegar Sauce.  In my opinion, it will be the best of what North Carolina has to offer.

More coverage on the Great NC BBQ Map

– The Carolina/Texas barbecue joint Curly’s Carolina, TX Barbecue in Round Rock, TX closed last Sunday

Barbecue Rankings made his way back through NC last week

– Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples visits Skylight Inn

This is eastern North Carolina, so the hogs started whole and then got chopped into hunks. At the Skylight Inn, cracklins intermingle with the meat.The occasional crunch is entirely intentional. The pork doesn’t need accompaniment, but a bath in the thin, vinegar-based sauce produces an entirely different flavor explosion.