In an alternate universe, I drive a pick-up truck with a pig face insert for when the smoker isn't hitched.
While doing a little research on the South Carolina barbecue sauce map, I stumbled across the most excellent "A Very Brief History of the Four Types of Barbeque Found In the USA" written by Lake E. High, Jr., President, South Carolina Barbeque Association. It's worth reading in its entirety if you're a barbecue lover or geek, or a Southerner.
Below are a two of my favorite bits on the term "barbeque":
Unfortunately, most Americans who live outside of the South in general and North and South Carolina in particular, use it as a verb or, if they use it as a noun, use it incorrectly. Midwesterners or Yankees will say to friends, "I'm going to barbeque some hamburgers tonight." Or they will say, "Let's put some brats on the barbeque and break out some beer." And while everyone will be having a great time sitting around in the smoke, the use of the word in that way is incorrect. That neighbor is going to grill some hamburgers, not barbeque them. The cooker he is going to cook them on should be called a grill, not a barbeque.
The incorrect use of the term barbeque on television, in movies and in magazines which is, more often than not, written or spoken by people who know nothing about real barbeque, has led to the misconception, for instance, that beef is barbeque. It's not. Don't forget, barbeque is more specifically a noun, a specific thing, and that specific thing is pork, not beef or fish, or beaver, or shrimp or anything else. It's quite possible to barbeque beef; tens of thousands of people out west do it all the time. And it's oftentimes delicious. But it's "barbequed beef" not barbeque. The term barbeque is always properly reserved for pork. (emphasis mine)
Another great food map: The Sweet Tea Line, the availability of sweet tea in Virginia as a representation of the Mason-Dixon line. Did you know that South Carolina is the first place in the United States where tea was grown and is the only state to ever have produced tea commercially? More ice tea and sweet tea history.
I wrote about my recent trip to Wilber's Barbecue on Serious Eats. It is some mighty fine barbecue, and I miss it dearly.
I just completed my application to become a card-carrying member of the North Carolina Barbecue Society. The best part? The oath:
I promise to give some of my time, energies and funds to further the goals of the NCBS (a.k.a “THE FUN TRIBE™”) to wit: cook and/or eat barbecue as often as possible, preferably in the company of good friends, and to promote the Old North State as the “Cradle of ’Cue™” wherever my journey takes me.
I'll do my best.
The Week Magazine on how grilling became a national passion. Did you know that charcoal briquets came about because Henry Ford wanted a creative way to make use of the scraps from the sawmill that produced wooden panels for Model T's? With some help from Thomas Edison, they devised a cheap and easy way to transform these scraps into charcoal briquets, and sold them at Ford car dealerships.
Bitter Greens Journal on sustainable agriculture and barbecue.[thanks, rcb!] The July 2005 issue of Gourmet includes a profile of Ed Mitchell, famed NC pitmaster, who is "now working with small-scale African-American pork farmers in his area to identify a pork breed and develop a raising protocol that can produce pork worthy of the smoking pit." Unfortunately, Mitchell's restaurant closed earlier this year as he faces multiple felony and misdemeanor tax charges.
I'm still recovering from the wonderful meaty madness that was this past weekend's Big Apple BBQ Block Party so you'll have to wait a little bit longer for my review, but I was there both days (plus Friday's pit set up and VIP party) and shot a lot of photos, here are five to tide you over in the meantime:
Garry Roark of Ubon's "Champion's Choice". (Friday)
Beef brisket and sausage, Michael Rodriguez' of The Salt Lick. (Saturday)
Ed Mitchell of Mitchell's BBQ and some pork waiting to be pulled. (Saturday)
Baby back ribs, Mike Mills of 17th St Bar & Grill. (Sunday)
Pitmasters, hanging out. (Sunday)
If there's anything you particularly want to see photos of or hear about in my review, or you have something to share about your BABBP experience, please feel free to leave a comment!
Barbecue lovers in the city already know that the 3rd Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party is this weekend. The rest of you, mark your calendars!
Last year's event drew enormous crowds and long lines thanks to the combined effects of good weather, good barbecue, and poor event planning. I only had enough patience to wait for Mitchell's, and was not disappointed. Thankfully, it sounds like a lot of lessons were learned and this year's event will be bigger and better coordinated. According to event organizers, here are some the improvements you'll notice:
Last year the food was at 26th Street between Madison and 5th Ave. This year the food will be on Madison between 23 and 26th Streets. This means more space for pitmasters and more organized lines.
Last year there were 6 pitmasters. This year there are 10.
Last year you had to buy coupons at one booth, then buy your food at another, which meant waiting on two different lines. This year, you can purchase your food by credit card or cash when you buy your food at the pitmaster tents--no coupons necessary!
At last year's events, New Yorkers consumed:
500 lbs of hot links
20 whole hogs
1200 racks of spare ribs
1500 racks of baby back ribs
2100 lbs of pork shoulder
4700 lbs of brisket
24,000 sandwich rolls
800 lbs of cabbage
37,500 bags of potato chips
1800 slices of watermelon
Things get started this Friday when the pitmasters will start firing up their smokers. Saturday and Sunday line up for your barbecue between noon and 6:00 p.m. For more information, go to Big Apple BBQ.