Jan 12, 2013 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Jim N Nicks

 

The neatly corded wood stacked next to a stainless steel coal creating furnace (about the size of two refrigerators) was nothing like the homemade wood coal furnaces of the history-rich BBQ shacks we saw during the first four days of our trip.  However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t using tried-and-true methods. Jim and his son, Nick, are relative newcomers compared to the likes of Rodney Scott and Sam Jones, but in a quarter of a century Jim ‘N Nick’s has grown into a very popular and successful chain. Co-founder Nick has become close with Sam Jones and Rodney Scott, and the two said we must visit one of these restaurants.

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In this 150-seat, sit-down restaurant, Jim and Nick did a great job of mixing faux-rustic architecture with modern interior design.  Each table had a ridged conduit lamp and a pair of their famous sauces – a mild, and a moderate heat hobanaro version. The menu focused on BBQ, but also offered lighter options, including BBQ salads. As we ordered, we were brought cheddar corn muffins with honey butter.  We gobbled them up and they were quickly refilled.  The popular corn muffin mix was available for purchase at the front, along with their signature sauces. There was a varied selection of sides including mac and cheese, collard greens, a nicely flaovered cabbage, and coleslaw.

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Our waitress, Gwen (who was fantastic!) , recommended that we try the brisket and pulled pork sandwiches and insisted that we eat the ribs. At her recommendation, we soon had three communal plates to sample. The pulled pork was drizzled with sauce and had a tender flavor, though we feel we have had some with better flavor so far.  Their brisket and ribs though were the best we have had so far      . The ribs had a great red, smoky color and were firm but tender. They were light on the sauce, which allowed the smoked meat to be the predominant flavor. The brisket had a deep and rich hickory flavor which managed to not overpower the meat.  It was sliced and had just enough barbeque sauce, about 2 tablespoons, to compliment the meat and was served atop grilled Texas Toast.

We were very pleased with the value, as we have paid more for lesser quality. Jim ‘N Nick’s definitely had the structured feel of a chain, but they balanced it very well with a feeling of southern hospitality.

Jan 9, 2013 - Notes from Sarah    3 Comments

From South Carolina to Georgia

Day 5

Scott’s BBQ—Hemingway, SC

Scott’s was not an original destination for us. Sam Jones of Skylight Inn, our first stop, directed us there.  We fell in love with Rodney’s personality right away.  Just like Sam, he was eager to share with us some tricks of the trade, including a secret to help us with digestion (thank you Rodney!)

Both Sam and Rodney made mention that their methods of cooking the hog is basically the same, it’s what they do after the meat is out of the pit that sets them apart. Like Sam, Rodney still stays true to the flavor of the meat but he adds more of a kick.  Maggie and I were particularly happy to come across a bit more spice.

Rodney gave us a thorough tour of his smokehouse and we spent a good chunk of time chatting with him in the back of the shack.  It was motivating to hear about his passion for Barbecue.  Rodney explained that the smoke draws people in and he has many memories of family gatherings around the pit.  He very genuinely describes that Barbecue is love.

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Sweatman’s—Holly Hill, SC

This was the first place that offered an all-you-can-eat section besides Bill Ellis.  Sweatman’s is a house that has been transformed into a restaurant.  This relatively large BBQ restaurant was our first encounter with a mustard-based sauce.  The sweet and tangy addition to the whole hog was a nice change of pace.  Their chicken was tender and nicely smoked.

They had all-you-can-drink sweet tea, which has become a new favorite beverage for us.  We were excited to be able to purchase fresh raw pecans, which I am about to snack on because that sounds really good to me right now.

We did not spend as much time as we would have liked because we were on a time crunch to get to Georgia.  This place is definitely worth a visit for those who are looking for traditional South Carolina BBQ with a more modern setting.

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Walls BBQ—Savannah, GA

Walls BBQ is worth going to for the beautiful scenery of Savannah, GA just as much as it is the food! Ms. Marguerite started this restaurant in the 1960s and gave it to her daughter in the 2000s, but she still works there along with other family members and friends.  While still in more of a tangy part of the country, we started getting into the thicker red sauce that we Wisconsinites are more used to.

This was the smokiest meat we have come across so far.  And because we were in Georgia we decided to treat our pallets with some deviled crab as a bit of a break from BBQ.  The deviled crab was a favorite of Maggie and I.  The corn bread was a welcome familiarity.  In the Carolinas, the cornbread was flat, dense and less sweet, where as in Georgia is was sweeter, fluffier and more like bread.

Walls had a bigger focus on vegetable sides than previous restaurants.  We ordered okra and tomatoes, candied yams, coleslaw, and mac & cheese.  The okra and tomatoes were cooked together in a beef stock and were a welcome change of pace from eating predominantly meat for a few days.  The candied yams were glazed in butter, brown sugar and nutmeg.  Personally, the yams had a little too much nutmeg for me but Tyler really liked them.  Now the mac and cheese was where it was at!  Maggie particularly liked mixing bites of the perfectly cheesy noodles with the tangy pulled pork (which by the way is cooked using charcoal).

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Written by Sarah Smith

Jan 8, 2013 - Reviews    No Comments

Crossing Chapel Hill

Day 4

  

Grady’s (Dudley, North Carolina)

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Grady’s is a small restaurant in Dudley, North Carolina, with all the traditional feel of a small Southern BBQ restaurant.  The building is a small, unassuming white structure, with wonderfully hand-lettered signs on the outside walls, and a classic “Pepsi” sign out front.  As we pulled up, we were greeted by the smell of barbecue, and with this being our first barbecue restaurant of the day, we were hungry and ready to go.

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Once inside, the atmosphere was cozy and homey, with plenty of wood paneling (I am always a sucker for wood paneling) and pictures of the owners and their friends and family.  Business was still getting started for the day, but a few were lined up to order, and some customers were already enjoying their orders.  As we stepped up to the counter, we were introduced to Ms. Grady.  As we could tell from the name of the restaurant, she was primarily responsible for the running of this efficient and orderly joint.  Stephen and Gerri Grady have been keeping this place running smoothly for 27 years.

From the start, Ms. Grady was a delight, with a big smile and a desire to keep her customers leaving happy.  When we ordered, we basically requested whatever she recommended most (which was more or less everything), and sat down, eager to start.  Our plate consisted of barbecue chicken, barbecue pork, and fried chicken (yay!).  Grady’s was also the first restaurant where we got sides of vegetables, including coleslaw, collard greens, cabbage, butter beans (my new favorite), German potato salad, and black-eyed peas.  It was fantastic having fried chicken- Sarah says it was the best fried chicken she’s ever had, and this was the start of a definite smokier flavor to the meat.  With the great food that we received here, we tried our hardest to clean our plates, despite having two more stops for the day in our future.

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Afterwards, Stephen Grady showed us the smokehouse.  This building, not 15 feet from the restaurant, has been standing for 25 years- it burned down once two years after the restaurant began.  The smells were terrific, and the building was well-organized, with plenty of Mr. Grady’s homemade vinegar barbecue sauce prepared and stocked.  With our bellies mostly full, we headed towards Lexington.

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Smiley’s

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As we headed over to Lexington, there was a definite shift in the style of barbecue.  The meat is similarly cooked, but they cook the shoulder and butt instead of a whole hog cooking process.  Also, this was west of Chapel Hill,    and is where we begin to head into red sauce territory, but it is still fairly light and involves plenty of vinegar.  One more note on sauce- in Lexington, it is referred to as ‘dip’.  Here, the atmosphere was very friendly, and provided curb assistance- a honk from your car results in immediate service.  We opted for seating indoors, as at this point, almost any break from  the van is welcome.

Our waitress, Anne, was fantastic, and introduced us to our first taste of “Cheerwine”  (which I now crave).  We ordered hush puppies, BBQ cole slaw, chicken, and both roughly chopped pulled pork and sliced shoulder.  There was dip on the meat, and also two warmed servings on the side.  The meat was also just a bit smokier than we had eaten earlier, and this was the first time that we were able to try sliced shoulder, as well as pork that had been cooked by the shoulder and butt separately.  Both the roughly chopped and the sliced pork were amazing, as was the chicken, which was tender and lightly coated in barbecue sauce as well.

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After eating, the owner showed us the pit where they cook the meat.  This location, unlike those we saw at previous restaurants, was in the same building as the restaurant, for ease of access and to save space, and they cook over hickory.  Inside the kitchen, we were shown how they cook pork rinds, which are very popular, and how the sections of the pork are chopped up and served with the dip placed over the meat only once it is being served.  Our next stop was not five minutes away, so we savored what last bits we could, said goodbye, and headed on over to Lexington BBQ.

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Lexington BBQ

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Just down the road and right up a hill, we found Lexington BBQ.  Dave of Sweet Baby Ray’s recommended it to us, but called it by a different name, Monk’s (after Wayne Monk, the man who started this restaurant), which is a name for the restaurant that is still often used by the locals.  Stepping in, we noticed that this place was a lot bigger than most of the restaurants we have visited.  Waitresses were bustling everywhere, but we were still seated almost immediately.  We ordered, of course, barbecue pork with coleslaw and hush puppies (these Sarah’s, and my, favorite so far), and a new item, a pork skin sandwich.

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The food was quickly served, and we quickly dug in, despite having eaten not 30 minutes ago.  There was a definite similarity between the two Lexington restaurants, as both used a similar method of cooking, in pits attached to the kitchen, and a similar vinegar/ketchup-based barbecue sauce.  The pork skin sandwich was intriguing, and dangerously good.  It involved a bun (naturally), fried pork skin (of course), and coleslaw.  In a couple of bites, it was gone.  After finishing our meals to the best of our ability, the grandson of the original owner of Lexington BBQ gave us an amazingly thorough tour.  We noticed the telltale piles of wood outside, and he showed us how there was a door connecting to the pits indoors, through which wood could be put to stoke the fire.

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Inside, we were shown how the pig shoulders and butts are cooked, in the skin, unnecessary parts are removed, and the pork is then coarsely ground.  Lexington BBQ was also the first place to cook turkey, and it is cooked in a similar manner as the pork.  Here, we were able to better watch the action of the kitchen.  Orders moved in an assembly-line manner, which was fascinating and mesmerizing to watch.  One man would chop the meat, fresh per order, the next would add the sauce, and so on.

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Everything moved like clockwork, and I think we could have stood there watching for quite a while, if we would have had time.  Because this was our last stop for the night, we indulged in pecan pie (my personal favorite – delicious!) and apple cobbler.  With full stomachs and a full schedule for the next day, we said goodbye, and piled into the van.  Thank you, everyone at Lexington BBQ and at Smiley’s, for your friendly faces and willingness to put up with us!

Written by Maggie

Jan 7, 2013 - Reviews    2 Comments

4 Restaurants in 2 Hours (Pictures to come!)

Day 3

Sorry we haven’t had much up in a few days.  We have been busy driving from restaurant to restaurant stuffing our faces with the different Barbecue styles of the Carolinas.

On day 3 we ate at 4 restaurants in 2 hours!  We were most definitely full and started to learn that we need to pace ourselves.  We ate at so many in such a short amount of time because in this area it is common practice that the Barbecue restaurants are only open until they run out of food, which generally happens around 2 p.m.

At this point in the trip we are east of Chapel Hill, NC where you find a lot of Whole Hog Pit Barbecue.  This area likes to focus on the purity and integrity of the meat versus the sauce.  In all of these places the meat is basically seasoned with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and vinegar.  On the table they offer Texas Pete Hot Sauce and a seasoned apple cider vinegar water.  Sweet Tea is the popular beverage in this area.

Skylight Inn—Ayden, NC

The Skylight Inn was an inspiring first stop!  Here we had the pleasure of meeting with Sam Jones who is soon to be appearing on Food Network’s “Pit Masters.”  Sam is the 3rd generation in his family to run The Skylight Inn, which has been open and unchanged for 65 years.  Sam was gracious enough to take us into his smokehouse and really show us around.  He is definitely a story-teller and it is clear that he loves people just as much as he loves his craft.  We were charmed by his warm personality and inviting nature and had fun listening to everything he had to tell us about BBQ.

In Wisconsin we are more used to pork that is pulled.  Here in North Carolina they take sections of the pig and finely chop it mixing the dark and white meat to secure a more moist and fuller flavor.  Sam explains that the best part of the pig is the whole pig.  He even includes the skin in with the pork, leaving very little to go to waste.  While we found some locals do not care for the bits of skin in with the meat.  We found that it added a lot to the experience to have that hint of crunch in there.

He emphasizes that Barbecue is regional and to him what barbecue is all about is the meat, explaining, “You can put enough BBQ Sauce on a napkin and still eat it!”  Meaning that he feels BBQ sauce can be used to cover up poorly cooked meat.  Sam uses Oak to smoke his whole hogs.  When we asked why he preferred Oak he again pointed out that BBQ is geography and that Oak is abundant is his area.  That is really why the styles of Barbecue across America are so different; people would use what they had in their region.

As we left, Sam Jones insisted that we each take a T-Shirt to go.  He also told us we needed to check out Rodney Scott’s BBQ restaurant in South Carolina.  He describes Rodney as his BBQ Counterpart in SC and also “his brother from another mother!”  We didcheck out Scott’s BBQ on the 5th day and were very pleased.  More details to come on Scott’s later :)

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Parker’s Barbecue—Greenville, NC

Next we hit up Parker’s Barbecue.  This was a very busy sit down restaurant.  Our server Ryan was extremely friendly and willing to take a minute to talk with us.  We had a pulled pork plate and the pulled pork sandwich with hush puppies, corn sticks (a french fry-like stick made of corn), and coleslaw. Unlike the other restaurants we stopped at that day, Parker’s uses gas to cook their pork.  One thing we started to notice at Parker’s BBQ is that in North Carolina the coleslaw is minced with not much in it besides a sweet mayonnaise base.  We also had some unbelievable chocolate cake in honor of Maxx’s birthday (The Black Sheep’s Sous Chef who would rather be in Florida than with us on this awesome trip…not that we are bitter).  We had a very pleasant visit at Parker’s BBQ but it was fairly quick because we needed to get to the next stop.

B’s Barbecue Greenville, NC

B’s Barbecue are also masters of pit-cooked whole hog.  They use charcoal instead of wood when preparing their pig.  This is another second and third generation restaurant.  It is amazing to us that there are so many families upholding traditions.  We are finding that Barbecue is much more than a type of cuisine…it is a livelihood and lifestyle…Barbecue is what brings them together.

Three sisters and a daughter were hard at work serving a line of hungry customers and quickly running out of food.  By the time it was our turn to order they were out of the BBQ chicken, so we only ordered the pulled pork.  They do not include any of the skin in their pork, which seemed to be a big plus for some of the locals.

We were jealous of the local gentleman who sat across from us with the last piece of chicken.  Being a regular he had called their personal cell phone and made sure there was a piece set aside for him.  B’s Barbecue does not have a phone number open to the public, but that does not stop anyone from swarming the restaurant to make sure they get some grub before the restaurant runs out.

Bill Ellis Wilson, NC

Bill Ellis is a giant Barbecue attraction.  With 15 catering trucks they deliver their food all over the state.  The building was huge with 3 different ways to order.  There was a drive thru (which was backed up with at least a dozen cars), a to go room, and an all you can eat buffet.

We ordered yet another plate of pulled pork with a side of coleslaw, hushpuppies and pork skins.  The pork was done in the same way—whole hog with a few seasonings and vinegar.  The coleslaw was minced like typical North Carolina slaw, but had a mustard taste.  This was our first encounter with pigskins, which are fried and thrown in a bag for people to enjoy.  I hated myself for loving the very addictive fried delicacy.

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Written by Sarah

Jan 6, 2013 - Notes from Tyler    3 Comments

Our Super Messy Itinerary

Our Itinerary changes daily as we added new places and run out of daylight but her is a glimpse at our guide to pork. It also gives a better idea of where we are at each day.

The girls weren’t to happy about my sloppy mess being posted online but bare with my mess because my priority is the all mighty pork

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Proposed Itinerary – PORK AMERICA TOUR 2013

January 1: Whitewater to Lafayette, Indiana. Overnight in Lafayette.
January 2: Lafayette, Indiana to Ayden, North Carolina.

January 3: Skylight Inn Barbecue, 4618 S. Lee St., Ayden, NC Ph: 252-746-4113
B’s Barbecue, 751 BS Barbecue Road, Greenville, NC Ph: 252-758-7126
Grady’s Barbecue, 3096 Arrington Bridge Rd, Dudley, NC Ph: 919-735-7243

January 4: Smiley’s Barbecue, 917 Winston Road, Lexington, NC Ph: 336-248-4528

January 5 Paula Deen’s The Lady & Sons , 102 W Congress St, Savannah, Georgia Ph: 912-233-2600
Spend the night at Hilton Head

Scotts BBQ Hemingway, SC

Sweatman’s BBQ Holly, SC
Wall’s BBQ Savanna, Georgia

January 6: woke up mertal beach off to Nashville, Tennessee (need recommendations)
Jimmy Nicks BBQ Atlanta Area 4574 South Cobb Drive Southeast, Smyrna, GA (678) 556-0011
Martin BBQ by Rodney Scott and Sam Jones 7238 Nolensville Rd, Nolensville · (615) 776-1856 just a nit out of Nashville open 11-8 pm
Jacks BBQ NAshville locations.html416 Broadway Nashville, Tennessee 37203
Downstairs and upstairs dining, Patio out back overlooking open Monday 10:30 to 8PM
the Ryman Auditorium. – 615-254-5715

January 7: Memphis, TN until morning of January 9
1. Corky’s BBQ (2 locations) 5259 Poplar Avenue, Memphis Ph: 901:685-9744 or
1740 North Germantown Parkway, Memphis Ph: 901-737-1988
2. Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous Ribs World Famous Barbeque, 52 South 2nd Street,
Memphis, Ph: 901- 523-2746
3. Jim Neely’s Interstate Barbecue (2 locations) 2265 South 3rd Street, Memphis, TN (901) 775-2304 or 2265 South 3rd Street, Memphis, TN (901) 775-1045
4. Road Side BBQ, West Memphis, 196 State Highway 147 ,Proctor, AR 72376 870-733-9208
(It appears this is Memphis style but not located in Memphis)

January 9: Drive to New Orleans and overnight
Mother BBQ 401 Poydras Street New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 523-9656
Down South BBQ 19891 Cty Road 10, Foley, AL – 251-955-6622
January 10: Austin (and San Antonio, Texas?) overnight in Austin
Salt Lick, Austin, TX 3600 Presidential Boulevard  Austin, TX 78719 (512) 530-2959
Green Mesquite BBQ, 1400 Barton Springs Road  Austin, TX 78704 (512) 479-0485
75 miles north west of Austin Cooper’s Old Time Pit 604 West Young Street Llano, TX (325) 247-5713 11:00 am to 8 PM
36 miles north west in taylor wayne muller 206 W. Second Street Taylor, TX 76574
(512) 352-6206 open 10 to 6 pm
vencil meers taylor cafe 101 North Main Street Taylor, TX 76574 (512) 352-8475 open until 8 or 9 pm
SOUTHSIDE MARKET 1212 Highway 290 Elgin, TX (512) 285-3407 open until 8 pm
County line in austin Texas 3 location below
512 E Riverside Dr Ste 200, Austin · (512) 327-1742
6500 Bee Caves Rd, Austin · (512) 327-1742
5204 Ranch Road 2222, Austin · (512) 346-3664
Blacks BBQ 215 North Main Street Lockhart, Texas 78644 888.632.8225 open 10 to 8 PM

Best Quality Meats Temple texas headed north towards dallas 2610 South General Bruce Drive, Temple, TX 8:30 am – 6:00 pm closed Sunday and Monday

January 12 Dallas (overnight)
Hard Eight Pit BBQ (3 locatiaons) http://www.hardeightbbq.com/locations/

 

January 13: Arthur Bryant’s, 1727 Brooklyn Avenue  Kansas City, MO 64127 816-231-1123

January 14: St. Louis: J Buck’s (2 locations), 1000 Clark Avenue, St. Louis, MO (314) 436-0394
or 101 South Hanley Road, St. Louis, MO (314) 725-4700

January 15: Chicago: Sweet Baby Ray’s Restaurant, 249 East Irving Park Road  Wood Dale, IL 60191
(630) 238-8261
Purple Pig Restaurant, 500 North Michigan Avenue  Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 464-1744

Jan 4, 2013 - Notes from Sarah    2 Comments

When Technology Fails…

Day 2 going into Day 3

The common question of the night was “Where are we?”  Our GPS made us confident that we were on the right path to get to Ayden, NC by 4 am (give or take a few stops).  Around 2:30 am Maggie and I were awakened when Tyler had parked at a truck stop somewhere in West Virginia.  He was too tired to continue.  I laid there for a minute realizing that I was too awake to go back to sleep.  I decided to take the wheel and finish the longest leg of our journey so that we would have more time the next day for all of the planned stops.

Maggie, being the trooper that she is, decided to keep me company for the rest of the drive.  As Maggie searched for awesome music for us to listen too (i.e. Old Crow Medicine Show and Macklemore) we realized the GPS was no longer in service.  We saw a road sign for Charlotte, NC and decided to follow the route hoping that our GPS would pick up service again.

Well…not so much…and of course we didn’t have a map!  We pulled off to the nearest gas station to purchase a map of North Carolina.  However, we did not have any luck.  The station we chose only sold maps of townships and not of states.  Frustrated, but not discouraged, we found the next station in Elkin, NC where I spent 10 or 15 minutes finding the best route to get us across the state.  After a few wrong turns we finally found the main road we were looking for.

Once we had a handle on our route…like a punk…our GPS decided to rejoin the party.  It was around 6 am and our new arrival time was now 8 am.  Since we were only two hours away I decided to stop in a parking lot in Cary, NC to get some rest.  I fell a sleep with a new confidence that I don’t need a GPS even if I don’t know where I am.  With a little logic and patience I can get us back on track.  My two friends, Bryan and Dave, would have been proud :)

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Jan 4, 2013 - Notes from Tyler    No Comments

The Start of American BBQ

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Day 2
We rolled out of bed today in the home of Purdue University- Lafayette Indiana. Real beds. Yes, in fact we even had pancakes and real maple syrup. We took our time getting ready because we knew this was the last day we would see a real bed for a while and nobody was willing to admit that the thought of sleeping in the makeshift bunks in the van might not offer the same relaxation.However, we were anxious to head somewhere that was not only warmer but also the birthplace of American BBQ.
As Sarah was figuring out a more detailed route, I was getting a history lesson from Jim Early, The Carolina BBQ expert. Jim, The President of the North Carolina BBQ Society, had his trip of epic-porkportions years earlier, traveling to each of NC’s 100 counties and critiquing over 228 BBQ joints. This lead him to author the book The Best Tar Heel Barbecue Manteo to Murphy.
You see barbeque, or barbecue, as they spell it in North Carolina, is different than what we find back home in Wisconsin (where it almost always means ribs slathered in a thick sweet but tangy sauce). North Carolina seems to have an intimate understanding of their BBQ.
West of Chapel Hill, NC there are very few of those aforementioned ribs, and even less of the red sauce,and instead, those ribs are cooked intact in the pig in a wood pit overnight, and in the morning all of the meat is pulled or shredded. Then, liberal amounts of what would be the starter for Northern BBQ sauce is added, including lots of vinegar and some sugar and red pepper flakes, but there is no ketchup or tomato added here.
However, the minute you cross the imaginary north/south line of Chapel Hill headed west we see something a little more familiar. Rather than cooking the whole hog here, they focus on the butt or shoulder. The meat gets a dry rub of spices liberally rubbed on, and then the meat is slowly smoked and then pulled. In that part of the state you can begin to taste some of the similarities to the popular brands of BBQ sauce we are familiar with as ketcup, brown sugar, and tomato paste are added.
With our minds full and our bellies starting to empty, we again hit the road with our longest drive ahead-we were on our way to taste whole hog vinegar BBQ. Our first Stop is Skylight Inn of Ayden, NC!

Jan 4, 2013 - Reviews    3 Comments

Parky’s Smokehouse

Day 2 (Odometer Reading: 150394)

With a 12 hour-drive ahead of us from Lafayette, IN to Ayden, NC, we were concerned that we may miss out on discovering any BBQ for the day.  Fortunately, a billboard outside of Lebanon, IN threw us in the direction of Parky’s Smokehouse.  Since the restaurant was voted the “Best Casual Dining” in 2011 Boone County People’s Choice Awards, we thought we would give it a try.

The décor was nice but didn’t seem fitting of a typical BBQ restaurant.  However, we did enjoy some of the details such as fun murals (which were painted by a former employee) and sassy sayings on the bathroom walls.  We particularly liked their hours sign, which stated “Open at 11…Closed Several Hours Later.”

We were warmly greeted by the staff Sarah and Dana (we hope we spelled your names correctly!) and had a wonderful time chatting with them about the area.

Parky’s Smokehouse’s menu was quite extensive; so we let Sarah, our waitress, help us with our selections.  We enjoyed The Barbecue Blast, which included a quarter rack of ribs, a white or dark chicken quarter, pulled pork, brisket, turkey breast and smoked sausage.  We also ordered the Battle of the Champion Pork Loin For every Battle of the BBQ pork loin sold, a donation is made to the Boone County Cancer Society!  We finished our meal with a Bread Pudding with a Praline Sauce and a scoop of local Vanilla Ice Cream.

We left Parky’s Smokehouse very satisfied with full tummies and enlightened by the wonderful service!

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We decided that the BBQ plate with easy description was a bit of  genius.

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Written by Sarah

Jan 3, 2013 - Reviews    4 Comments

Gemato’s

Day 1 (Odometer Reading: 150,136)

Seeing a menu with a Greek salad, gyro, and a full rack of ribs didn’t seems to make a whole lot of sense- in our minds we feel that we have a pretty good idea of who was going to make the best barbeque and where.  That being said, the Greek BBQ joint,  a longstanding BBQ spot not on the BBQ belt is something we must understand if we wish to offer barbeque in the north.

With plans to leave at ten in the morning and an actual departure time of shortly after one o’clock, you would think that we would have made time for lunch but we hadn’t. As restaurateurs, we are used to eating about once every ten minutes and the cupcakes lovingly made by Stehpanie needed to last more than a day.  So, as we crossed the Illinois border we headed toward Publican Quality Meats in Chicago. Unfortunately, as we drove into town on January first we realized that they were not open. We then stopped at Tiger Direct to pick up some equipment for the trip and asked them to recommend the next best thing. That happened to be Gemato’s.

Gemato’s looks to a remnant of a long lost Hardee’s or other chain, the décor seemed to remind us of the old west. We ordered a bit of everything at the order window and waited for our food. Their ribs, a favorite of Mary Ann (a regular customer), were good but we favored the chicken. The ribs fell of the bone, thought we are not sure yet if that is a sign of great BBQ, and seemed to have a smoke flavor that penetrated all the way through the meat.  The chicken was not overcooked and had a great mix of sweet and spice.  Everything was cooked over an open wood flame which may have been the cause of an overcooked brisket that we didn’t finish and a pulled pork that needed more moisture to bring out the flavor. Everything had a light brushing of their tangy and thin bbq sauce, which you could also buy by the bottle and there was a small side of fairly typical l side of fairly typical coleslaw.

Gemato’s left us looking forward the barbecue of the south. Still, we left with full bellies and excitement for the adventure ahead.

In what seemed like no time, we rolled over to mile 150,394, forward to rolling into our beds.

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Written by Tyler

Jan 2, 2013 - Notes from Maggie    No Comments

And so it begins!

Looking back, it seems ridiculous that I originally had no intention of joining the crew of Pork America.  I love my co-workers/fellow travelers.  I love roadtrips.  And it goes without saying that I enjoy barbeque quite a bit.  So, here I am, in Lafayette, Indiana, with three stuffed suitcases, one sleeping bag, one pillow, and two of the most determined barbeque lovers that I have ever known.  Listening to Sarah and Tyler discuss Pork America, I’m realizing that I know absolutely nothing about the art of barbeque.  Fortunately, that’s going to quickly change.  With the route that they are currently planning out, there is no doubt in my mind that we will be experiencing an exciting journey, and that these two are going to completely change my perception of sitting down to a pork sandwich.  I’m excited, I’m nervous (kind of), and most of all, I’m hungry.  If the rest of 2013 is even half as amazing as the first sixteen days will be, I’ll consider myself pretty darn lucky.  But for now, I’m content with some sleep and a whole lot of anticipation.  Thank you for joining us on this adventure!

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