Friday Find: “Somewhere South” Explores Barbecue

Link to episode

Starting in Lenoir County, NC and making stops elsewhere in North Carolina as well as Tennessee, Florida, and Texas, Chef Vivian Howard seeks to expand her barbecue palette beyond eastern North Carolina whole hog and barbecued chicken.

I do love that while Chef Howard visits her good friend Sam Jones at Skylight Inn, she highlights the side of barbecue not often seen in barbecue media from turkey barbecue that’s becoming increasingly popular in African American communities to female pitmasters in a male dominated field to smoked fish to restaurants in Texas that celebrate the fusion of barbecue from different cultures.

At the very least, be sure to luxuriate in the Florida section where Chef Howard attends a “Cracker barbecue” (21:20) – don’t worry, they explain the name – as well as a smoked mullet competition (25:14).

Description:

Southerners are particular about the way they cook and eat barbecue. No dish says eastern North Carolina more than the region’s signature whole hog barbecue; however, the art of cooking meat over fire and smoke is one shared by all cultures. On a tour of eastern North Carolina barbecue joints, Vivian is reminded of traditions that define the area’s version of pork barbecue while being introduced to new techniques.

Flipping what she already knows about ‘cue, Vivian sets out to uncover buried barbecue histories and to learn about the unexpected ways that different types of meat are smoked, pit-cooked, wood-fired and eaten. We learn that barbecue—both the food and the verb— cannot be pigeonholed into one definition. On her journey starting from the whole-hog pits in her figurative backyard, Vivian learns the history of Black barbecue entrepreneurship, from the North Carolina families who started turkey barbecue to the women firing up pits in Brownsville and Memphis, Tennessee.

Curious about other iterations, Vivian travels to the west coast of Florida, where a storied “Cracker” history at a smoked mullet festival drastically changes her perspective on Southern ‘cue. She then heads further south to Texas, where robust barbecue techniques steeped in tradition are being morphed by longtime Texas families doing what they know best. This includes a pair of sisters in the small southern Texas town of San Diego adding a Tejano touch to their barbecue joint menu, and two Japanese-Texan brothers with a smokehouse that pairs brisket and bento boxes.

Linkdown: 4/29/20

More good from the Southern Smoke Foundation

Prime Barbecue was set to open a few weekends ago but that has been put on hold for the time being, as has any other businesss openings in Wake County

Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ to open a second Birmingham-area location in the town of Homewood

University of Texas football legend Cedric Griffin now has a barbecue truck in Austin

This week’s Somewhere South looks to be a must-watch for barbecue lovers

James Beard-award winning author Adrian Miller joined Vivian Hoard to tape the episode of “Somewhere South”

Thanks to The Smoke Sheet for featuring our recent post on mail order barbecue options in NC and SC in their latest issue

More coverage on the re-opening of Wilber’s Barbecue from the local paper

RIP Carter Brothers Barbecue in our hometown of High Point; it had been open since 1997 but will not reopen due to the coronavirus

D.G. Martin wonders what other great NC barbecue restaurants won’t survive either

Linkdown: 3/4/20

In Vivian Howard’s upcoming PBS series “Somewhere South” she will be exploring the foods uniting cultures across the South; barbecue fans should be excited for the description of episode 6:

Episode 106: “How Do You ‘Cue?” (Friday, May 1, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET)

On a tour of eastern North Carolina barbecue joints, Vivian is reminded of traditions that define the area’s version of pork barbecue while being introduced to new techniques. Flipping what she already knows about ‘cue, Vivian sets out to uncover buried histories and learn about the unexpected ways different types of meat are smoked, pit-cooked, wood-fired and eaten. We learn that barbecue – both the food and the verb – cannot be pigeonholed into one definition. Starting from the whole-hog pits in her figurative backyard, Vivian explores the history of Black barbecue entrepreneurship, from the North Carolina families who started turkey barbecue to the women firing up pits in Brownsville and Memphis, Tennessee. Curious about other iterations, Vivian travels to the west coast of Florida, where a storied “Cracker” history at a smoked mullet festival drastically changes her perspective on Southern ‘cue. In Texas, robust barbecue techniques steeped in tradition are being morphed by longtime families doing what they know best. A pair of sisters in tiny San Diego, Texas add a Tejano touch to their barbecue joint menu, and two Japanese Texan brothers with a smokehouse pair brisket and bento boxes.

Dish was purchased by Sweet Lew’s BBQ owner Lewis Donald last fall and reopened this week with sandwiches on the menu that include turkey and pork belly smoked at Sweet Lew’s BBQ

Details on Hogs for the Cause, happening later this month in New Orleans

Prime Barbecue and Cut & Gather are included on Eater Carolinas’ 5 most anticipated restaurants list

Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor went on a mollejas hunt in South Texas

Happy belated Texas Independence Day!

Congrats to Barbecue!

Linkdown: 6/26/19

It’s important to understand the roots of the thing we all love so much

The Barbecue Festival has been named as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast, according to the Southeast Tourism Society

Vivian Howard of A Chef’s Life shouts out books from NC pitmasters Sam Jones and Matt Register in her latest newsletter

Register also gets a profile in the Winston-Salem Journal

“I was a real-estate developer. I didn’t even really cook,” Register said. “I was the grill guy who liked to be outside with my beer, listening to music.”

That changed when he happened to pick up a copy of “Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue” by John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg Reed.

New pork belly taco special from Midwood Smokehouse until July 4th

The Texas Monthly Reader’s Choice Bracket has reached the semifinals

Speaking of which, big news for Texas Monthly

A longish but certainly worthwhile read about a barbecue roadtrip through NC (and SC and Georgia) from Marie, Let’s Eat!