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E. Carolina BBQ: Quest of the Wood Burners

E. Carolina BBQ: Quest of the Wood Burners
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  • E. Carolina BBQ: Quest of the Wood Burners

    Post #1 - October 26th, 2005, 10:43 pm
    Post #1 - October 26th, 2005, 10:43 pm Post #1 - October 26th, 2005, 10:43 pm
    I’ve discovered that one of the most rewarding and interesting ways to see this country is to get in the car and explore our great BBQ regions, one joint at a time. When we first started doing this, our intentions were pure, but our method was weak and the results—well, the results were inconsistent. We’d just drive into an area with little real research—and just dive in, hoping for the best. Not that there is anything wrong with that, and god knows that we stumbled onto enough great BBQ to keep the quest going—though as time goes on, I find that the more pointed my search, the more rewarding the experience. It’s like when I came to know the BBQ force that is Gwiv. Pre-Gary, my attempts at making my own BBQ were much like my initial forays into the art of the BBQ road trip—hit or miss. Now, an unruly student of BBQ thanks to www.wiviott.com, I have seen what BBQ can and should be. The invaluable information that I have managed to extract has given my passion for BBQ a new boost, and my BBQ road trips a new vision.

    It becomes immediately clear after reading some literature from barbeque purists that the age-old concept of exclusively using wood is mandatory when attempting to make great barbeque. As obvious a statement as this sounds, it came as a big surprise to me that many if not most pit masters around the country don’t use a speck of wood! The rampant conversion over the years from wood to gas burners is nearly complete on a national level. With this fact in mind, I decided to make another pilgrimage to one of the great barbeque areas of the country, Eastern North and South Carolina. Unlike my many other trips there over the years, where I basically tried anything that passed my way, I decided this time to seek out as many wood burning establishments as possible. When researching the locations of wood burners in this area, I was shocked to find that no more 20 places in Eastern Carolina used wood alone as their primary cooking source!
    I decided on five of these wood burning places: Wilber’s (Goldsboro), Moore’s (New Bern), Southport BBQ (Southport), Murray’s (Raleigh), and Allen & Son (Chapel Hill). We also tried Roger’s in Florence, SC since it was highly regarded according to many sources. And because I love BBQ so much, I was able to squeeze down a couple of non-wood burners for the sake of comparison to see if wood really made that much difference in quality (Basically, it does in most circumstances.).

    Wilber’s (Goldsboro, NC)


    Wilber’s reputation amongst North Carolina barbeque aficionados is legendary. Located off the Kinston highway (US 70), it is a typical stop for travelers making their way to the Outer Banks. However, locals do abound there.
    As my first stop, I headed out back to check out their pits and was immediately greeted by the pit master and his aide. While giving me the quick tour, they told me that Wilber’s does both parts and whole pigs split in half. As far as I could tell, they use the classic wood-burning technique (hickory and oak).

    I found the pork to be overly rendered and dry but still managed a good flavor. I felt that it had been over chopped and, in general, when Carolina barbeque is, it takes on a tuna salad-like consistency. The barbeque didn’t reach this kind of texture, but approached it. I also thought that if I didn’t see wood-burning going on out back, I would have questioned whether they actually used wood due to its mild smokiness. Some would consider this intentional and of quality but for me, I don’t like to wonder whether there is any difference between a strictly gas-cooked pork and a wood-cooked one. This is decent BBQ, without a doubt, but certainly not inspirational.
    Surprisingly, I found the most enjoyable item the fried chicken. It was crisp and not dried out like so many other places we would try. As far as sides, I would say decent but not noteworthy.


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    Moore’s (New Bern, NC)


    No doubt a local favorite, this wood burner had lines forming from its opening. On Saturdays, they serve ribs and being a Saturday, I gave them a try. They were a dead ringer for Chicago-style “fall-off-the-bone”. Even their sauce was that super sweet, thick style we so often find in Chicago. Beyond that, the ribs were extremely fatty. This was definitely not my type of ribs in the least.
    BBQ-wise, I found it to be even less smoky and much less chopped than Wilber’s. A vinegar pepper sauce is usually added to eastern Carolina barbeque after being chopped but Moore’s must have bypassed or minimized it greatly, figuring I used half a bottle of it at the table. Again, this is a good BBQ but not inspirational.
    My friend, Ross Lampe, ordered the standard chicken/BBQ combo. He felt the chicken was overdone and the coating was soggy and not the least crispy. As in many places in this trip, he found the chicken to be under seasoned and borderline unsalted. I had to concur with his assessment.
    The shining star as far as sides went was their potato salad. Like their chicken, their hush puppies were not crisp.
    After our meal, we were given a wonderful tour of the smoke pit. Moore’s strictly cooks whole pig split in halves as opposed to the more commonly done shoulders or parts. I don’t know if I should be surprised but I notice that Moore’s uses charcoal briskets to supplement their own wood coals. Whether this practice is usual in the region’s remaining wood-burning barbeque places, I’m not really sure. Whether it makes much difference in the outcome of the product is another question for the more knowledgeable barbeque expert. One such expert (and purist) I’ve recently become aware of is Bob in Ga Although he says that it does, it was difficult to notice any difference. If I were to guess what Bob would say, it would be that the excellence of the pork has more to do with the pit master than any other factor.
    Moore’s was a more enjoyable BBQ than Wilber’s, at least on this day: but basically, we’re cutting hairs.

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    Southport Barbeque (Southport, NC)

    When researching for this trip, I was extremely pleased to find a true wood-burning place anywhere on the North Carolina coast. Southport Barbeque is one such place. Unfortunately, upon arriving in Southport, we were informed by their visitor’s center that they closed sometime in the recent past. The small number of Carolina wood burners just got smaller.


    Roger’s Barbeque (Florence, SC)


    After shooting a couple rounds of golf at a beautiful TPC course in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, I decided to play through and go to Roger’s Barbeque in Florence. Although this is not a wood burner, so many reliable sources strongly encouraged us to check it out. My main motivation was to compare a potentially outstanding gas version to the classic wood-burners and see how it would stack up.
    I don’t know about you but when I usually see a buffet, I’m expecting the worst. Roger’s threw that opinion right out the window. This wonderfully run restaurant had some of the freshest and most inviting items I’ve ever seen. Everything in the buffet looked tremendous. Some of the many sides offered were Collard Greens, corn souffle, potato salad, cole slaw, turnips, hush puppies and outstanding extra crispy cracklin’s.
    The barbeque was great. Certainly not over-chopped, Roger’s adds a sweet version of vinegar pepper sauce which is the prevalent style of South Carolina. This sweetness was noticeable but not overwhelming even though it wasn’t to my liking. The natural flavors of the pork were much more enjoyable than our previous stops. This was the first really good barbeque we’ve tried on the trip. Although Roger’s uses a standard gas pit, I believe that they smoke their pork indirectly with hickory and oak.
    Their chicken was also excellent, although again, under seasoned. Wonderfully crispy. Roger’s does a stiff business and is able to move enough product to be able to do things like keeping chicken crispy. That’s always a good sign. If you’re anywhere near Florence, I would strongly suggest a visit.

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    Murray’s Barbeque (Raleigh, NC)


    Located in the outskirts of Raleigh on a classic country road is Murray’s Barbeque; one of the most highly touted Barbeque spots in all of Eastern Carolina. We arrived in the early evening, coming straight from Roger’s in Florence, about 2 1/2 hours away. So, a good example of barbeque was still fresh in our minds. Murray’s is a classic, small roadside cider block shack that is covered wall to wall with pictures of NASCAR racing greats from yesteryear. The vibe of the place is truly a throwback to some lost era of the Ole South.
    The standout element of their barbeque was clearly its smokiness as compared to everything else we had tried. Nicely chopped, it had beautiful chunks of red-coated pieces throughout it. The flavor was also quite good. Unlike most of the earlier places we had previously visited, Murray’s didn’t over render the pork fat as to dry it out. It was wonderfully moist with its own natural juices instead of the all to common fattiness found at so many other lesser establishments.
    Their chicken was the all too common variety we’ve been running into at most places: under seasoned and overcooked. Although it had a nice crispiness to it, it fell far short of being very good. The standout side was clearly their hush puppies. Slightly sweet and crisp, this was the first place, so far, where I could have gone for another basket.
    My usual pattern when going to these restaurants is to eat first and then take pictures. But in this instance, Murray’s immediately inspired me to take pictures of its interior as I entered. Unlike all the other places where I would ask permission to take photos from its manager or owner, in my heightened state of excitement, I forgot to ask the owner if it was ok. Apparently it wasn’t. After our meal, I courteously began to ask him if he would allow me to look at his pit out back, of which he nonchalantly told me “no” and casually showed me his gun from beneath the register. If you’re disappointed about the lack of pit pictures or further information about Murray’s, I hope you’ll forgive me. As far as I have heard, though, Murray’s is a strict wood burner using no artificial means. Supposedly, he cooks his pig in a below ground smoke pit.
    Ross also informed me that he charged us an additional $3-4 onto the bill for what he described as an “A-hole tax”.
    I did get one thing out of him and that was he was closing the place permanently on or about November 22. At this point, I’m not quite sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I guess you could say that everything has its plusses and minuses.

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    Allen & Son Barbeque (Chapel Hill, NC)


    Let’s not beat around the bush, Allen & Son in Chapel Hill is operating on a whole other level. This is easily the best barbeque I’ve ever had in the Eastern Carolinas in 15 or so years of visits. Every aspect of their operation from its food, cleanliness and even charm trumped all other efforts I’ve come across in the region. Even from the food’s appearance as they brought it to the table, you could quickly tell that the attention to detail was incredible. The barbeque was godly. It was tremendously moist because of the pig’s natural juices, not from being overly fatty. Eating this pork was like nothing I’ve ever enjoyed in North Carolina before. It was beautifully chopped with luscious chunks. The smokiness was exactly to my liking: noticeable and yet still subtle (like me, PIGMON). I immediately had to wonder whether the pigs were of higher quality than everybody else’s or was it just from the skills of the pit master (or both)? After eating my mound of pork, I couldn’t stop myself from also finishing Ross’s leftover barbeque. Like most normal people, he wasn’t exactly looking to clean his plate after having just come off a week and a half long BBQ bender. Ross is presently on a self-appointed 2-month pork de-tox regiment.


    The sides straight across the board were stellar. Their great coleslaw was a bit chunkier and less soupy than most and the okra was fresh and lightly breaded. Their Brunswick stew was also a treat with its fresh vegetables instead of the usual canned variety. How can you not love a hush puppy, especially these, that were hand rolled and cooked to a magnificent brown crispness…the sweetness of toasted cornmeal came through in every bite. This type of place is the reason we seek out great barbeque. Wonderful.

    It was my utmost pleasure to meet Keith Allen, who owns and operates Allen & Sons. He is a man who takes tremendous lengths to make sure the product he is putting out is not only good but also special. He is a true barbeque artisan, taking great lengths to do it the historic and authentic way, slow cooking and using nothing more than wood as his heating source. They cook whole pig as well as parts.
    He told me that the other Allen & Son restaurants use gas today. You could tell even with his pleasant southern respectful way that he didn’t approve of these methods but could understand how less serious barbeque men everywhere could be lured into taking the easy way out. Real barbeque for Keith is what drives him everyday. He is clearly a dying breed throughout the Carolinas.
    I also asked him why Wilber’s barbeque appeared, to me, to be dried out; whether that was intentional on their part or just poor execution. After giving them huge accolades in regards to their long history of producing great barbeque, he told me about how their longtime pit master had died a few years back and that smoking pig is all about the pit master and his knowledge of barbeque.
    My time talking to a master like Keith was unquestionably the highlight of my trip. He is a true wealth of barbeque knowledge, and his passion is palpable.


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    I realized after talking to Keith that what he said rang true; that good barbeque could come from anywhere as long as there is a knowledgeable pit master. Places like Roger’s, which use gas supplemented with wood, had the ability to produce great barbeque. As far as gas burners go, they are the exception rather than the rule. My personal preference goes to the places that have great pit masters who use the time-tested approach of strictly using only wood and still cooking the whole hog; places like Murray’s & Allen & Son. These places may only be a memory as they seem to be slowly dying off one by one. Who knows, though, maybe someday we’ll see a resurgence of these barbeque artisans, but I’m not holding my breath.

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    Logs in back of Allen & Son



    Wilber’s Barbeque
    4172 U.S.70
    Goldsboro, NC
    (919) 778-5218

    Moore’s Barbeque
    U.S. Route 301
    Kenly, NC
    (919) 284-3865

    Roger’s Barbeque
    2004 Second Loop Road
    Florence, SC
    (843) 667-9291

    Murray’s Bar-B-Q
    4700 Old Poole Road
    Raleigh, NC
    (919) 231-6258

    Allen & Son Barbeque
    6203 Millhouse Road
    Chapel Hill, NC
    (919) 942-7576

    edited twice for punctuation
    Last edited by PIGMON on March 15th, 2009, 8:32 am, edited 3 times in total.
  • Post #2 - October 26th, 2005, 11:02 pm
    Post #2 - October 26th, 2005, 11:02 pm Post #2 - October 26th, 2005, 11:02 pm
    PIGMON,

    Thanks for the tour de force post. Allan & Sons has just rocketed to the top of my must visit "East Coast" BBQ spots.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #3 - October 27th, 2005, 12:02 am
    Post #3 - October 27th, 2005, 12:02 am Post #3 - October 27th, 2005, 12:02 am
    Great report.

    Over the years I have heard several of the BBQ places you visited as being at the top level. While I crave to also take a BBQ pilgrimage to the Carolinas before I die. I can only hope to vist Pete Jones Skylight Inn, Ayden, NC. The research I have read places the Skylight Inn at the top of the mountain of the old fashioned wood burners. Ayden is somewhat out of the way, but I vow to go.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #4 - October 27th, 2005, 9:06 am
    Post #4 - October 27th, 2005, 9:06 am Post #4 - October 27th, 2005, 9:06 am
    Pigmon, great stuff. Murray's does have an edge. Funny, as "scary" as some people find the neighborhoods and BBQ stands on Chicago's South and West sides, I have never heard one like that.

    I'm glad that I didn't have to go to the lesser places that you documented in order to confirm my love of Allen & Hjos. and Murray's (both very easy to visit on a trip to the Triangle). New Bern is pretty remote (I had work there once). This summer I tried another traditional Eastern BBQ place that is worth visiting if you are ever at the beach, actually in the historic village of Corolla at the road's end in the northern OBX. Nice lighthouse, too. It is traditional in the old Civil War reenactment/lives of the colonists way that is semi-peculiar to Eastern VA and NC. What little has been said about the place by BBQ know-it-alls and locals is all positive. Not quite Allen & Sons, but way up there. It is fairly little-known, even among folks with OBX stickers on their Suburbans, possibly because those people are mostly from NJ. PS, I would not have known to seek out this super low-key place except for the recommendation of a surfer who had, among other things, driven from Big Sur to Costa Rica in search of tasty waves. In my experience, surfers are the Streets and San men of the warmer, sandier climes, at least when it comes to dining advice.


    http://www.obxconnection.com/gallery/ga ... 292&GID=14

    Nearby in VA Doumar's, the Norfolk drive-in, has shockingly good BBQ given its jack-of-all-trades menu, as does Pierce's further north. They know about pigs in that part of the world.

    I eagerly await your Lexington report. Not too far from Charlotte, really.
  • Post #5 - October 27th, 2005, 10:12 am
    Post #5 - October 27th, 2005, 10:12 am Post #5 - October 27th, 2005, 10:12 am
    Rob;

    The story of Murray's is a nice little reminder that being a 'chowhound' isn't all fun and games and sometimes involves certain risks aside from heart disease and diabetes. :wink:

    Another beautifully rich post. You also make me feel good that my personal favourite for NC cue, Allen & Sons, with my rather more limited experience with other cue joints, is also favoured by you with your broader experience.

    What a welcome sight that green-checked tablecloth is at Allen & Sons... I don't think you made special mention of Allen & Sons' sauce, so I think I will: it's great. In fact, when I'm there, I think I go a little overboard with it. You do make particular mention of their cole slaw and hush puppies and I must say that I am not generally speaking a great fan of either of those items (though I do enjoy very much when in the mood and the quality is good). That said, I'm always in the mood for these at Allen & Sons; the stuff is all very good on its own but somehow there is some sort of magic with how the flavours of cue and sauce and slaw and pup all come together... ... And I like the fried okra a lot too.

    I'm lucky to have been introduced to cue by Amata, native Tar-Heel that she is, and also lucky that she grew up near Allen & Sons. And her parents live not much more than a couple of stone-throws from there.

    Again, great report.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #6 - October 27th, 2005, 11:06 am
    Post #6 - October 27th, 2005, 11:06 am Post #6 - October 27th, 2005, 11:06 am
    I noticed everyone familiar with Allen & Son in Chapel Hill seems to be making it "sons". As one who assumed the same, I called them for clarity sake. Keith Allen is the ONLY son..... and doing daddy proud.
    Last edited by PIGMON on October 27th, 2005, 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #7 - October 27th, 2005, 11:42 am
    Post #7 - October 27th, 2005, 11:42 am Post #7 - October 27th, 2005, 11:42 am
    PIGMON wrote:I noticed everyone familiar with Allen & Son in Chapel Hill seems to be making it "sons". As one who assumed the same. I called them for clarity sake. Keith Allen is the ONLY son..... and doing daddy proud.


    Hmmm... I suspect there is widespread misinterpretation of the genitive singular -'s as being a genitive plural -s'. Acoustically ambiguous.

    Just another reason why I don't like English...

    :wink:

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #8 - October 27th, 2005, 11:43 am
    Post #8 - October 27th, 2005, 11:43 am Post #8 - October 27th, 2005, 11:43 am
    Hi Pigmon,

    Great trip, great report -- I'm really glad that Allen and (singular) Son came out so well. I was shocked that your meal at Wilber's was so disappointing, but then the news you heard from Keith Allen about their longtime pitmaster having passed away explains it. The quality of these places really does depend on the individual looking after the cue, and the wood. Nothing that can be franchised, that's for sure.

    Thanks, too, for pointing out that the other locations bearing the name Allen and Son are different from the one north of Chapel Hill. That's the one to go to, without a doubt.

    Hungrily,
    Amata

    p.s. Amazing story about Murrays! I wouldn't have expected that in a "big city" like Raleigh!
  • Post #9 - October 27th, 2005, 1:38 pm
    Post #9 - October 27th, 2005, 1:38 pm Post #9 - October 27th, 2005, 1:38 pm
    Pigmon -

    Nice work. While on a project in Raleigh a few years back, I ate at Murray's many times. In fact, it's pretty much the place that I wanted to have lunch every single day, much to the chagrin of my co-workers, who would have been perfectly happy with the Wendy's across the street form the office. Their loss. Top-notch pork and, you're right, the hush puppies are outstanding. Sad to hear they are closing, the place has a lot of character for sure.
    I exist in Chicago, but I live in New Orleans.
  • Post #10 - October 27th, 2005, 8:48 pm
    Post #10 - October 27th, 2005, 8:48 pm Post #10 - October 27th, 2005, 8:48 pm
    Rob, thanks for the great report and pic's. As a person born in NC and raised (mostly) in SC I appreciate your research. I must note, though, that you did not post pictures of your golf scorecards. :twisted:
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #11 - October 29th, 2005, 4:39 pm
    Post #11 - October 29th, 2005, 4:39 pm Post #11 - October 29th, 2005, 4:39 pm
    Excellent report, Rob!

    Scott
  • Post #12 - October 29th, 2005, 10:28 pm
    Post #12 - October 29th, 2005, 10:28 pm Post #12 - October 29th, 2005, 10:28 pm
    Pigmon, that was a thoroughly enjoyable post that left me with this incredible jones for BBQ which I thought was going to be quenched tonight in my condo building down here in Florida. Our building manager just happened to be hosting his yearly ribfest tonight. The residents rave about them. This was going to be my first taste. All I'm going to say is they were purchased at Sam's Club, boiled, and then grilled on a gas BBQ slathered with overly sweet bottled sauce. :cry: I'll just have to live with the memory of GWiv's ribs and unbelievable Wagyu brisket. Hopefully it will be enough to erase the memory of tonight's dining experience.
  • Post #13 - October 29th, 2005, 10:56 pm
    Post #13 - October 29th, 2005, 10:56 pm Post #13 - October 29th, 2005, 10:56 pm
    RevrendAndy wrote:Pigmon, that was a thoroughly enjoyable post that left me with this incredible jones for BBQ

    Andy,

    Even though I had expertly smoked wagyu brisket tonight at Steve Z's, Honey 1 earlier in the week, and the wagyu brisket/ribs I smoked midweek in honor of your all too brief visit to Chicago, in reading Pigmon's incredible post this evening, for the third time by the way, I developed a serious BBQ jones.

    Great post Mr. Pigmon, and one that really contributes to the general body of LTHForum knowledge.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #14 - October 31st, 2005, 2:22 pm
    Post #14 - October 31st, 2005, 2:22 pm Post #14 - October 31st, 2005, 2:22 pm
    The Carolinas are now the one BBQ mecca I haven't made a food trip to....hmmm, you're not a secret shill for Travelocity making people like myself so hungry and eager that they impulsively by tickets, are you?
  • Post #15 - October 31st, 2005, 4:25 pm
    Post #15 - October 31st, 2005, 4:25 pm Post #15 - October 31st, 2005, 4:25 pm
    Thanks alot for blowing my cover, extramsg. I thought I'd sufficiently weaseled my way into the inner sanctum of LTH enough as to not be suspected. Now, I have a taste of what Valerie Plame has been enduring. :wink:
    By the way, OUTSTANDING work in Mexico. After seeing those magnificent posts, you and I (and probably everyone else too) know who’s truly working for Travelocity.
  • Post #16 - October 31st, 2005, 5:05 pm
    Post #16 - October 31st, 2005, 5:05 pm Post #16 - October 31st, 2005, 5:05 pm
    Thanks. I wish I was working for Travelocity. But honestly, I think I am Satan, or at least some sort of weather demon. Was planning a trip to NOLA: hurricane. Bought tickets to go to Texas: hurricane. Have tickets to go to Cancun in December: hurricane. Warning: do not invite me to your town. Now, if I really was working for Travelocity, then maybe I could find a replacement trip for December rather than fighting with American Airlines to change our flight without paying hundreds of dollars.

    btw, I think Bob in Ga is full of it. There's a difference between being committed to traditional methods that get traditional results and just being puritanical. In Texas, eg, you get places like Cooper's that burn their wood down to coals and then set those coals directly under the meat. Then you have places like Smitty's and Kreuz where they use split logs outside the pit and the smoke and warm air gets drafted through the pit. Then you have people like LOW BBQ out here that uses charcoal for heat with wood on top for flavor. All produce excellent results. None produce a creosote flavor. I think the creosote flavor is most often a result of not letting smoke vent and flow over the meat. Rather they close down the vents and try to infuse stale, sooty smoke on the meat.

    I think Bob would make a good employee of some Italian or French government agency that enforces what can be called Parmeggiano or Champagne.
  • Post #17 - October 31st, 2005, 10:16 pm
    Post #17 - October 31st, 2005, 10:16 pm Post #17 - October 31st, 2005, 10:16 pm
    extramsg wrote:btw, I think Bob in Ga is full of it. There's a difference between being committed to traditional methods that get traditional results and just being puritanical.

    Extramsg,

    I, as do a few others on LTHForum, know Bob in Ga personally. Have been to his farm, really more of a homestead, and find him and his wife genial, committed and incredibly talented.

    Bob cares deeply about traditional methods and is committed to preserving them for the future.

    I quote Peter Kaminsky in Pig Perfect, “We are at a point in culinary history where the promise of a return to the old ways needs to be preserved. Soon the old masters will be gone and, like students of a dead language, we will have to reacquire their knowledge all over again.

    People like Bob are our communal hedge against the old ways being lost forever. I have tremendous respect for his stubborn perseverance against the dark forces of gas rotisserie cookers and cnc bbq machines with liquid smoke spray nozzles.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - October 31st, 2005, 10:58 pm
    Post #18 - October 31st, 2005, 10:58 pm Post #18 - October 31st, 2005, 10:58 pm
    But he goes too far. His arguments make use of the same fallacy over and over. eg:

    Carolina-style whole hog BBQ over coals is an earlier form of BBQ than Texas-style BBQ. Therefore, Texas-style BBQ is a sub-set of BBQ.

    He may as well have said that the Model T is an early form of automobile, therefore the Mustang is not an automobile, but just a subset of automobiles. It's non-sensical.

    Are east Africans more human than Northern Europeans because their genetics are closer to that of the earliest humans?

    It's goofy.

    Carolina whole hog is BBQ just as Texas-style brisket is BBQ just as Memphis style chopped pork sandwiches are BBQ. Etc, etc. Each of these have their own methods that are integral to their traditions. A diesel car is no less a car than a gas car which is no more a car than a hybrid.

    He may be a great guy, a fearless fighter for a worthy tradition. But he's still full of it when it comes to what is and isn't BBQ and what is and isn't appropriate methods for making BBQ.

    (Further, puritans like Bob can often be an impediment to saving traditions because they're unwilling to carry on a real conversation. Not saying he is this way, but it's possible from his comments on his website.)
  • Post #19 - October 31st, 2005, 11:56 pm
    Post #19 - October 31st, 2005, 11:56 pm Post #19 - October 31st, 2005, 11:56 pm
    extramsg wrote:(Further, puritans like Bob can often be an impediment to saving traditions because they're unwilling to carry on a real conversation. Not saying he is this way, but it's possible from his comments on his website.)

    Extramsg,

    Bob and I, along with Bruce C and others, were at Kits, who is participating in this thread, for a BBQ weekend. I had one of the best conversations in recent memory sitting around Kit's lake side firepit, bottle of Bourbon wedged in the sand, conversing with Bob about all things BBQ.

    Bob is no stick in the mud, hell, I even got him to post for a picture with a LazyQ BBQ Pit and remote polder thermometer in hand.

    Frankly, I'm uncomfortable being in the position of 'defending' Bob, I think you are mistaken in your overall interpretation. I can also say that 6-7 years ago, when I cooked my first whole hog on a cinderblock pit, without Bob's input via the SPTSB email listserv I would have tanked my first couple of pigs.

    I'm going to email Bob and see if he'd like to jump in, though LTHForum is a bit graphic heavy for his 14,400 rural dial-up.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #20 - November 1st, 2005, 5:50 pm
    Post #20 - November 1st, 2005, 5:50 pm Post #20 - November 1st, 2005, 5:50 pm
    >But he goes too far.

    How far would be far enough? But not too far? I'd
    like to know precisely how far would have been
    proper? Should I have blessed the use of gas and
    electricity as well? What about the crock-pot or
    the household range? How would you decide where
    to stop? And why?


    >His arguments make use of the same fallacy over and over. eg:
    >Carolina-style whole hog BBQ over coals is an earlier form of BBQ than Texas-style BBQ. >Therefore, Texas-style BBQ is a sub-set of BBQ.

    Exactly. Thanks for repeating it again. If you do this enough
    times, you may finally understand the concept that once something
    is originally done one way, changing things about it creates
    something different. It's quite challenging to be the same -- but
    different. If Texas or Memphis have managed to pull this off,
    I'd be curious to hear about it.

    >He may as well have said that the Model T is an early form of automobile, therefore the >Mustang is not an automobile, but just a subset of automobiles.

    But a Mustang is not a Model T. This is why they call it a Mustang
    and not a Model T. They call it a Mustang because there are many
    differences between it and a Model T. Their differences created
    something different. It only makes sense to call it something
    different. That's sort of the secret that makes communication
    work so well.

    Fried chicken and a coal-cooked whole pig are both cooked meat.
    They are not both barbecue. Just as a Model T and a Mustang are
    both automobiles. But a Mustang is not a type of Model T. Or
    vice-versa.

    Scotch is scotch because of the ingredients and process
    used to create it. Jack Daniels is sour mash for the
    same reason. Yes, both are distilled beverages, but
    Jack Daniels is not scotch, nor is scotch sour mash.

    It doesn't matter how many times Jack Daniels puts the
    word "scotch" on it's label, how many scotch contests
    it wins, how many bottles it sells or how many Internet
    forums are devoted to it's promotion. It still isn't
    scotch. (although I'm sure you'd be more than willing
    to accept it as such)

    >It's non-sensical.
    >Are east Africans more human than Northern Europeans because their genetics are closer to that >of the earliest humans?

    You obviously advocate expanding the meaning of the word
    "barbecue" to include whatever it is that you personally
    would like to see included as "barbecue". I will quote
    Leonard Lehew from my web site:

    "This is not merely a matter of semantics. By broadening
    our definition to include almost any kind of spiced,
    cooked meat, we rob the term of any useful meaning, and
    we obscure the rich traditions associated with this style
    of cooking."

    Ravioli is not spaghetti. Spaghetti and cheddar cheese sauce
    might make a nice pasta dish --- but it does NOT make
    Fettuccine Alfredo, regardless of how many people call it that
    or sell it labeled as such or tell their family and friends that
    they are feeding them Fettuccine Alfredo.

    Just for what it's worth, I'm pretty sure that brisket is
    only a sub-set of whole-cow sides cooked in sealed pits by
    cowboys at the end of long cattle drives. And if true,
    brisket, hot-smoked or open-pit cooked would taste nothing
    similar. But what the hell, call it the same thing anyway,
    after all, it makes communicating much easier, right?
    I don't believe that stand-alone brisket even has any claim
    to authenticity in Texas barbecue history.

    You obviously have no appreciation for our pursuit of
    authenticity in this most famous and notorious of
    American foods.

    And all this time I was under the impression that this
    group was filled with discriminating food connoisseurs! <G>

    I'd be very curious to know exactly how you would go
    about attempting to cook or define authentic American
    barbecue without using the history of the food as a
    guideline? And how you would decide when and where to
    mysteriously stop using history as your vehicle for
    searching?

    Any authentic food (or beverage) *is what it is*
    because of the ingredients and techniques used
    to create it. The fact that virtually nobody nowadays
    has the capability to make authentic barbecue, doesn't
    automatically turn what they *can* make (or afford to
    sell) into authentic barbecue. That's just plain
    ignorance!

    One more note on the thread is that it's of no virtually
    use to attempt to "BUY" good barbecue---anywhere. The
    pigs that Wilber's cooks are probably 6 weeks old, have
    no flavor and have never seen the light of day, most
    likely. They give the tenderloins away to bribe interneters
    into singing their praises to the groups.

    Barbecue joints are there to make money -- not great
    barbecue. I've never known or heard of ANY of them
    (and yes, that means ANY) that could manage to do
    both even reasonably well. The Skylight Inn, as
    Bruce mentioned, is the only one I know of that
    even makes a reasonable attempt at it.

    Bob in Ga
  • Post #21 - November 1st, 2005, 8:18 pm
    Post #21 - November 1st, 2005, 8:18 pm Post #21 - November 1st, 2005, 8:18 pm
    Bob, you've got two different propositions: 1) That Carolina whole hog BBQ is the only true or the most authentic BBQ, and 2) That certain methods do not produce good BBQ.

    Again, on first point, I don't think your argument makes sense. First of all, in response you falsely restate my claim. I was not saying that a Mustang is a Model T. I was saying that both are automobiles. While Texas style BBQ is not East Carolina style BBQ, both are, nonetheless, BBQ. (Texas style BBQ is a subset of BBQ, but so is Carolina style. Texas style BBQ is not a subset of Carolina style BBQ and the definition of BBQ is not equal to the definition of Carolina style BBQ. And I may be wrong, but that seems to be what your website is claiming.) I could go on and on about the nature of words, etc, but if we can't agree on this, then I repeat my worry, not more assuredly, that someone too bound by traditions cannot carry on a fruitful conversation.

    On the second point, I said originally, and I stand by it, that we shouldn't exclude from the list of BBQ those methods that produce a good product. Also, we should not exclude methods that produce the products that have their own traditions separate from the Carolina tradition. (Refer back to the previous paragraph.) The Central Texas wonders -- places like Kreuz, Smitty's, Black's, Mueller's, City Market, etc -- use split logs burned at the edge of a pit and drafted through to smoke and heat the meat. And it works. It produces a great product. It also produces the traditional product for that style of Q. It doesn't make it less of a BBQ, but just a different kind. (And arguably a better kind, but that's neither here nor there.) The main problem with gas, oven-baking, wood chips, charcoal only, etc, is that they produce an inferior product. I think it make sense to say, at least with the ones that produce smoke, that it is BBQ, but inferior BBQ.

    I'm all for maintaining traditions. But it's important to separate why and realize that in many cases it's for the beauty of it and little more. That's fine. I'm not keen to have Crater Lake emptied as a source of irrigation even if it'd be good for the economy because of nothing more than the fact that Crater Lake is pretty.

    Whole hog, traditional Carolina style BBQ is pretty. It's a pretty form of BBQ. It may not be the best, and it's certainly not the only, but it is a pretty form. And I applaud you for honoring it's beauty. Just stop deluding yourself into thinking that it's the only thing worthy of being called BBQ.
  • Post #22 - November 1st, 2005, 9:35 pm
    Post #22 - November 1st, 2005, 9:35 pm Post #22 - November 1st, 2005, 9:35 pm
    Bob,

    You write:
    Bob In Ga wrote:Spaghetti and cheddar cheese sauce
    might make a nice pasta dish --- but it does NOT make
    Fettuccine Alfredo, regardless of how many people call it that
    or sell it labeled as such or tell their family and friends that
    they are feeding them Fettuccine Alfredo.

    Meaning is a function of usage. If the overwhelming majority of a linguistic community call a dish "x", a person who violates the usage runs certain risks (e.g., being misunderstood or considered ignorant, dishonest, insane, etc.). Usages (and therefore meanings) change over time.

    It's true that A&W isn't made with the same ingredients or techniques as primitive home-brewed root beers (which, so far as I know, no one makes today). But a person who says, "A&W isn't root beer," is simply incorrect (unless he immediately qualifies the statement to clarify his meaning). The history of root beer might be interesting, but it is largely irrelevant to the contemporary semantic range of the word.

    I admire your preservationist zeal and would love to attend one of your "Hoof to Head" Festivals. But I think your obsession with the moment at which "barbecue" crept forth from the primordial Carolina ooze distracts you from the more momentous day in which it developed an upright gait and opposable thumbs on the hills and plains of Texas. :wink:

    Scott
  • Post #23 - November 2nd, 2005, 3:14 am
    Post #23 - November 2nd, 2005, 3:14 am Post #23 - November 2nd, 2005, 3:14 am
    extramsg wrote:
    Also, we should not exclude methods that produce the products that have their own traditions separate from the Carolina tradition. (Refer back to the previous paragraph.) The Central Texas wonders -- places like Kreuz, Smitty's, Black's, Mueller's, City Market, etc -- use split logs burned at the edge of a pit and drafted through to smoke and heat the meat. And it works. It produces a great product. It also produces the traditional product for that style of Q.



    I'm confused. I ask this question as an enthusiast of BBQ and, obviously, not an expert but what, exactly, makes these legendary Texas establishment's methods anything less than authentic or legitimate by anybody's standards? Are we saying that it is not enough to use strictly logs and that whether one uses a direct or indirect method in their cooking has some sort of bearing on its legitimacy? Is the fact that they use parts instead of whole animal another significant issue? I ask these questions not to stir the pot but to get some clarity on some longstanding questions I have about BBQ. Thanks

    edited for punctuation
    Last edited by PIGMON on November 2nd, 2005, 7:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #24 - November 2nd, 2005, 4:02 am
    Post #24 - November 2nd, 2005, 4:02 am Post #24 - November 2nd, 2005, 4:02 am
    PIGMON, you linked to Bob's site. Some quotes:

    From the FUQ-U:
    5. Of what relevance are the cities of Memphis and Kansas City to barbecue?

    They both have a Chamber of Commerce with an overactive imagination.

    6. Of what relevance is Lexington, North Carolina to traditional barbecue?

    It's pretty close to Eastern North Carolina.

    ....

    13. Why do you consider Texas or beef barbecue to be nothing more than merely a regional version of the real thing?

    Colonists did not arrive in Texas until 1821. Texas did not become a part of the United States until 1845. This would place any Texas barbecue practices or preferences around 200 years behind the time settlers were cooking hogs in the Virginia region now know as Eastern North Carolina. While Texans seem to have a colorful relationship and history with their wood-cooked beef, it's relevance to the barbecue history of the United States does not date back far enough for it to be considered anything more than a regional version.

    ....

    15. Why do you maintain that meat with a heavy smoked flavor and appearance does not constitute authentic barbecue?

    We examined virtually every possible method that a pig could have been cooked in a primitive set-up. We did not come up with any practical set-up that would have imparted a meaningful smoke ring or smoked taste in a pig.

    The use of hardwood burned to coals would not have resulted in the formation of a smoke ring at all, whether uncovered, loosely covered or buried.

    We then took into consideration all anecdotal accounts that we could find in reference to early pig cooking's. We did not find any reference to the use of any method that would have imparted a smoke ring at all.

    Taken together, we came to the conclusion that it is highly unlikely that heavily smoked meat containing a smoke ring could ever be considered a replication of barbecue authentic to the United States.


    (This talk eagerness to call authentic only the "orginal" food is always a bit annoying to me. It reminds me of religious zealotry. eg, pork was not the original BBQ meat almost surely. Since the term "barbecue" and the earliest method associated with it that we know of seems to have come from the Caribbean, they were probably cooking something indiginous, such as fowl and fish, prior to the pig's introduction. Also, since the term most likely comes from the Spanish barbacoa, whatever they applied that tterm to in the New World would be "original". This would include those items still called barbacoa in Mexico today, such as pit cooked meats, including goat, beef, and lamb.)

    From Doing It the Wrong Way:
    Making barbecue requires the use of real wood, not charcoal briquettes, not lump, the so called pure charcoal, and certainly not gas. It takes real wood burned down to coals.

    ....

    Taking logs, splitting and burning to coals is the right way. The only way. Burning wood to coals, you don't have the low oxygen, but you have natural draft. The wood is not burned as completely as in the charcoal making process. Thus, you do have more smoke flavor that is going to get onto the meat. The smoke has a couple of hundred chemical ingredients in it. Burned to coals, the worst of the impurities are burned of and the best of the flavorings are left.


    From the BBQ Dream Section:
    All the way from the pristine pits in Lexington, North Carolina, where they reduce barbecue to only front quarters, include no skin, and serve their final product laden with of all things, ketchup! Down to the birthplace, on the North Carolina coastal plain, where pyrotechnic shows from BBQ joints have helped to guide fighter pilots to safe landings during hurricane force storms, but where they still do not properly blister the skin on the tasteless commercial hogs that they are forced to cook these days. And even those that do almost everything right, fail by not including all parts of the hog in their barbecue.

    On to Memphis, St. Louis and Chicago, where they seem to have the idea that scrap rib bones are really barbecue, when they are merely a psychological and economic conquest of the population by the meat industry, along the same line as chicken wings.

    Over to Kansas City. Where they seem to have no idea whether barbecue is pork, beef, rib bones or dessert.

    Stretching all the way from Florida up through the northeast, across the Rockies to California, misguided "smoke joints" taint the name of pork barbecue by using non-traditional methodologies. They do this in contraptions ranging from elaborate brick smokers to politically correct stainless steel monsters, which seem better suited for an operating room, than for dealing with flesh that is already dead.

    And sadly, on to the false prophet. If barbecue were a southern Baptist church, then contests would certainly be the anti-Christ. .... But unfortunately, these events have turned into a tragedy for barbecue. Into events where people lay their meat in contraptions with enough instrumentation to closely resemble a neuro-intensive care unit.


    Basically, I think Bob's position is that East Carolina BBQ is BBQ and nothing else is.

    I would be interested to know if Bob has ever had Polynesian-style BBQ, eg, kalua pork from Hawaii, and what he thought of it.
  • Post #25 - November 2nd, 2005, 7:03 am
    Post #25 - November 2nd, 2005, 7:03 am Post #25 - November 2nd, 2005, 7:03 am
    >(This talk eagerness to call authentic only the "orginal" food is always a bit annoying to me.

    Isn't this why the term "fusion" became necessary?

    >It reminds me of religious zealotry.

    Your position also reminds me religious zealotry.

    Let's see....

    "In your church, you believe that any meat cooked with wood
    introduced into the process should be given consideration as
    authentic American barbecue. And anyone using gas or
    electricity is a non-believer and is not considered to be
    producing authentic American barbecue and is bound for
    hell".

    But the Bobinga.com site is zealotry and yours is
    not? You can narrow it down, but I go too far?

    If wood is your only consideration and that is as far
    as you care to delve into it, then that is your right.

    My site was devoted to exploring what was likely the
    inspiration and original tastes of the food behind the
    ongoing and ever-progressing love affair of (anything
    referred to as) "barbecue" in the USA. I guess I should
    have either not done the site at all or simply rented
    a page and stated "Authentic American Barbecue is any
    wood-cooked meat". And left it at that?

    Well, bobingasux.com is still available and you have
    my blessing to buy it. <G>

    Bob in Ga
  • Post #26 - November 2nd, 2005, 11:22 am
    Post #26 - November 2nd, 2005, 11:22 am Post #26 - November 2nd, 2005, 11:22 am
    Vigorous discourse, this is.

    I would only add my understanding that barbacoa is not an originally Spanish word, but rather an hispanification of an Arawak, Carib or Taino word. Possibly, the original BBQ involved a mullet.

    The Oxford Encyclopedia Of Food and Drink in America, while not as well-edited or scholarly as, say, the Oxford Encyclopedia Companion to Wine, seems to get to the heart of BBQ's origins:

    Barbecue is a method of slow-cooking meat over coals, also known a barbeque, bar-b-q, BBQ, or simply cue....Most authorities agree that both the word "barbecue" and the cooking technique derive from the Taino and Carib peoples of the Caribbean and South America. The Spanish conquistadores reported natives of Hispaniola roasting, drying, and smoking meats on a wooden framework over a bed of coals, called a barbricot, which the Spaniards pronounced barbacoa. The derivation from the French barge a queue, literally "from beard to tail," has been discounted. Europeans had of course been cooking meat over fires for thousands of years. It was the low heat of the coals and the consequent slowness of the process that set the New World method apart. One Early French explorer reported: "A Caribbee has been known, on returning home from fishing fatigued and pressed with hunger, to have the patience to wait the roasting of a fish on a wooden grate fixed two feed above the ground, over a fire, so small as sometimes to require the whole day to dress it." The Europeans in the New World quickly adopted this novel method of slow cooking, discovering fairly early that hogs made great barbecue...Barbecue parties featuring whole hogs became fashionable enough by the late 1600s that Virginia passed a law banning the discharging of firearms at barbecues...The barbecue as a social occasion has been well documented...The oldest form of American open pit barbecue is practiced all along the flat coastal plain of the southeatern United States where the English colonists originally settled."
    ---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, Volume 1 (p. 64-65)
  • Post #27 - September 22nd, 2007, 6:23 pm
    Post #27 - September 22nd, 2007, 6:23 pm Post #27 - September 22nd, 2007, 6:23 pm
    BBQ mavens far and wide have long been singing praise for Pete Jone's Skylight Inn BBQ located in the Eastern North Carolina town of Ayden. Being the only barbeque place I’m aware of in North Carolina who still cooks true whole hog (head, tail, and all) over burned down hardwood coals, it has been on my short list of BBQ places to check out for awhile. I could hardly stand waiting the few days before getting there in anticipation of trying their barbeque.

    Pete Jones came up with the name “Skylight Inn” since the restaurant was used as a guiding landmark for an airport that once existed out back.

    As Jones the younger (Sam) told me, his family initially got started in the 1830s when Skilton Dennis (7 generations earlier), supplied his barbeque for the annual bible convention held in Ayden (known back then as Otter town). Accolades for his barbecue were so great that he eventually bought a building nearby and started a year round business.

    The modern version of the Skylight Inn came by way of Pete Jones (Skilton’s great-great grandson) who in 1947 originally opened up a hot dog and hamburger joint that also served barbeque. After a few years, the demand for the ‘cue was so great that he decided to stick exclusively to pork.

    Another branch of the family also making whole hog barbeque in Ayden is Pete Jones’ cousin, Lathem “Bum” Dennis, owner of Bum’s BBQ. Both the Skylight Inn and Bum’s BBQ stemmed from earlier restaurants started by John Bill and Emmit Dennis (John Bill being Pete’s dad and Emmit his uncle (Bum’s dad). Pete started working in 1936 for his Uncle Emmit and in 1947 took over Emmit’s barbeque place and named it the Skylight Inn. Like the Skylight Inn, Bum’s BBQ has also always made whole hog barbeque, and through the years, also strongly believes that there is no reason to do it any other way.

    Unfortunately, Pete Jones died in February ’06, bringing into question by some whether their pork is as good today. Most say that Pete’s legacy is loyally being carried on today by his son Bruce, and grandson Sam.

    Bruce claims that the Jones’ family lineage to barbeque also goes back 6 generations.

    All members of this amazing family that I spoke with insist that they will continue to produce slow cooked whole hog barbeque as they’ve always done, certainly a refreshing thing to hear these days.

    Although I couldn’t get the exact Dennis family history pre-1900, according to Shirley Dennis (Lathem’s wife), Bruce Jones, and Sam Jones ( Pete Jones’ grandson), there is an unbroken succession of whole hog making traditions in this family since Skilton Dennis in the 1830’s. If true, it is highly likely that this is the oldest commercial barbeque-making family in the country since the Carolinas were the gateway for barbeque in the U.S.

    The Skylight Inn has been procuring their pigs from the same supplier for over 30 years (Barbeque Pigs Inc.).

    In 2003, Pete Jone’s Skylight Inn BBQ won a James Beard award.

    The Skylight Inn’s menu is all about the pork, offering up only a “tray” (includes pork, a hockey puck piece of cornbread, mediocre coleslaw made with Kraft mayo), pork sandwiches, and pork “to go”. That’s it. No doubt their pork has had its loyal fans throughout the years to stay in business.

    The smokiness of their pork is kept in check, a usual characteristic for traditionally made barbeque made in these parts (they use about 85% oak and 15% hickory). Skylight's flavorful pork is finely chopped and contains small pieces of pork skin or cracklin's, along with a bit of solid fats and even some cartilage. Skylight chops their pork with 2 cleavers at once, insuring the chopper his fingers remain intact at the end of the day.

    I wasn’t initially blown away by this BBQ, even knowing and loving the fact that they remain one of the few operations today are still making authentic Eastern Carolina barbeque. Having recently eaten JeffB’s organically raised Hampshire pig, with its amazingly luscious profile, and cooked in a similar Eastern Carolina fashion, the bar might have been placed unfairly high going into the experience. However, the quality of the pig used when attempting to make the highest levels of BBQ cannot be understated. I know this is a bit unrealistic since no commercial operations are willing or capable to using such costly pigs.

    I'm also quite sure it didn't help that we showed up just 5 minutes before closing (~7:00pm) when they were heading for the door. The cracklin’s in the barbeque had a plastic-y texture since they were too cold and affected the overall mouth feel. The pig itself, though, was subtle but still flavorful.

    We also ordered 2 pounds of pork to go, figuring we’d make sandwiches the next day and try out its shelf life. Even then, I still found their BBQ enjoyable but didn’t quite live up to its legendary status; an admittedly high order (for a thoroughbred like this).



    In 1979, National Geographic crowned the Skylight Inn BBQ the "Barbeque Capitol of the World". Naturally, Pete decided to
    erect this replica of the Capitol dome over the restaurant.
    Image

    Although this photo looks like it’s taken underwater, you can see the whole hog, head and all, through thick smoke.
    Image

    Burn down pit to make coals from hardwood logs.
    Image


    Skylight’s “tray” of barbeque, cornmeal bread, and cole slaw.
    Image

    Image

    Skylight Youtube link



    Skylight Inn
    1502 S Lee St
    Ayden, NC 28513
    (252) 746-4113


    Bum's Restaurant
    566 3rd St
    Ayden, NC 28513
    (252) 746-6880
    Last edited by PIGMON on September 24th, 2007, 3:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.
  • Post #28 - September 24th, 2007, 12:06 pm
    Post #28 - September 24th, 2007, 12:06 pm Post #28 - September 24th, 2007, 12:06 pm
    Rob, another great chapter in your documentary of American food. Thanks. BBQ, even legendary BBQ, is fickle stuff (unless you're using some kind of Smokomatic). As we've seen, it's true in Texas, Carolina, Southern Illinois, the South Side. But it's not just the meal that counts. You and Mike and many others here have shown how worthwhile these trips are, even if you might end up with a less-than-perfect plate of 'cue on any given visit.

    For those who are interested in the reference to our local efforts at this kind of cooking, allow me to link to Rob's above mentioned post.

    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=15203

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