Barbecue Bros Film Club: Ugly Delicious – “BBQ” (S1E5)

Ugly Delicious is a new Netflix series brought to us by Chef David Chang of Momofuku and food writer Peter Meehan. Like many shows of this ilk, each episode explores a different food or concept – from tacos to fried chicken to pizza and more. Though technically titled “BBQ”, this episode does explore the food-over-flame customs of other cultures – Korean BBQ in Los Angeles, greens over flame in Noma in Copenhagen (huh?), Peking Duck in Beijing, and yakitori chicken from Tokyo. Those are nice and all (and well worth watching the entire episode) but I’ll focus on the barbecue I’m used to in this write-up.

The episode kicks off with Adam Perry Lang prepping and starting a beef rib smoke at 4am in the morning in Los Angeles. 10 hours later, he pulls the beef rib out of the smoker and serves it up to David, Peter, and novelist Amelia Gray. The conversation over the meat that ensues discusses traditional vs. new and whether barbecue is uniquely American, setting the table for later segments in the episode.

Choice quote from Adam Perry Lang:

“I think the traditional barbecue is freaking unbelievable and I don’t want to change that…but I really look at it as live fire cooking. Beef and pork with fire creates a super flavor.”

The episode then moves to the Whole Hog Extravaganza, a pitmaster convention at the famed 17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro, IL with some serious talent in attendance from Asheville (Buxton Hall Barbecue), Nashville (Martin’s Bar-B-Q Joint, Peg Leg Porker), and Austin (Micklethwait Craft Meats).

At 8:50, they go back to the discussion in Los Angeles on the regionalization of barbecue but I honestly don’t understand the point that David Chang is making here:

“That’s what bothers me is that it became regional because someone decided to take a chance to do something a little bit different. And I hate when things become an institution”.

Huh? Is he saying that he wishes barbecue was somehow more homogeneous throughout the South? How does “things becoming an institution” fit into that at all? And what’s wrong with something becoming an institution? This is not a coherent argument to me.

The episode then takes a detour to Koreatown and Copenhagen from 9:55 until 16:21 before returning back to the Whole Hog Extravaganza in Murphysboro.

Screenshot (30)

You may recall that Carey Bringle railed against the True ‘Cue pledge in 2015, rejecting their claim that true barbecue is only smoked over wood only because he himself uses both wood-assisted gas smoker as well as wood-fired pits in his restaurants. Well, it seems as if he is still at it in 2017:

People get caught up in pits and people get caught up in fuels. And they get really passionate about it. I’m passionate about telling people: “Don’t tell me how to cook my shit.” It’s about what ends up on your plate.

Next, we get an extended scene of Elliot Moss breaking down a pig and explaining his story behind Buxton Hall and why he does what he does (“it’s always been in my heart”). He mentions that being in Asheville means people care about where their food comes from so he uses pasture-raised hogs which are quite expensive. Which for Moss, just means that he uses every part of the animal.

For the amount of labor and love and how many people’s hands touch it, it should be one of the most expensive things you can buy for food.

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Linkdown: 1/21/15

– You may have heard recently that Chipotle is out of carnitas at 1/3 of its locations, but Charlotte Magazine is glad at least several local dishes aren’t affected

Midwood Smokehouse’s ribs

You know that feeling when you get to Midwood Smokehouse a little too late, and you see someone being served the last fall-off-the-bone, flavorful rack of ribs? Yeah, let’s hope that their pork supply remains plentiful. 1401 Central Ave., 704-295-4227, midwoodsmokehouse.com.

Mac’s Speed Shop’s pulled pork 

Chipotle may be able to pull it off, but barbecue joint without pork? This is one place where if we’re coming in for the smoky, Carolina-sauced pulled pork, we won’t be so happy to substitute the chicken. 2511 South Boulevard, 704-522-6227, macspeedshop.com.

– Robert Moss’s 5 great interstate highway barbecue joints includes Fuller’s Barbecue, who we visited last fall

– In Madison County, Robin Reeves is raising her heritage-breed pigs partly on whiskey mash; introducing: WhiskeyPigs

The WhiskeyPigs name refers to Troy & Sons’ spent mash, which the pigs and Reeves’ other animals slurp down for 30 days prior to slaughter. With 10,000 pounds of mash per week, the distillery produces more than enough for the WhiskeyPigs fleet. The majority of the 2-3 percent alcohol concoction is collected for another local dairy farmer’s cows.

“They’re a little bit calmer, because they’ve had a little buzz,” says Reeves of the pigs’ final month, “but they’re pretty calm as it is. It’s their personality.”

– According to Atlanta Eats, Buxton Hall’s barbecue pop-up at Kimball House in Atlanta is one of the best things they ate this week

Upcoming Asheville BBQ joint, Buxton Hall made the journey down to Atlanta on Sunday. In one word: incredible. The line was long to get to the porky goodness, but it was SO worth it. The pulled pork was perfectly cooked and I’m still thinking about the fresh bread it rested on. So, roadtrip to Asheville soon?

Barbecue for breakfast? It’s definitely a thing in Texas.

– The latest barbecue stops for Marie, Let’s Eat! are Paul’s Bar-B-Q in Lexington, GA and Rooter’s BBQ in Athens

– The barbecue Illuminati gathered for the Whole Hog Extravaganza at 17th Street BBQ this week:

– Daniel Vaughn has some great photos, in particular

– Sugar Creek Brewing in Charlotte and Team Spearhead are having a barbecue benefit this Saturday to benefit the Charlotte Bridge Home; brisket and barbecued chicken will be served

– According to this, Kansas and Missouri are the only two states with “BBQ” restaurants at a disproportionate level of representation, according to Yelp; more explanation here

Here’s the breakdown for NC for your reference; I wonder if all those “Southern” restaurants also included barbecue

North Carolina

  1. Southern — 229 percent higher than national average.
  2. Cheesesteaks — 207 percent higher than national average.
  3. Hot dogs — 80 percent higher than national average.
  4. Chicken wings — 47 percent higher than national average.
  5. Soul food — 39 percent higher than national average.