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Barbecue


Varmint
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Five paragraphs? How about five hundred? The sublimnities of barbecue are such that the subject is ill-served by less than the most magisterial of discourses. My next book, American Meat, will deal with it in great detail; and my current book, Meat Me in Manhattan, devotes one of the book's best essays to the subject. I won't reiterate what I said there, but I think you might enjoy it. If you want to do Mr. Cutlets a special service, buy the book via the Mr. Cutlets website.

For the purpose of this forum, I will make a few points about barbecue which Varmint, I'm sure, knew as a toddler, but which many New Yorkers are in the dark about. Let's call them, for the sake of convenience, The Barbecue Bill of Rights.

1. Citizens shall call nothing "barbecue" that has not been slow-cooked in a bath of fragrant hardwood smoke over a period of not less than three hours. No sauce, spice, or chutney shall be substituted for this all-important element, and attempts to label as "barbecue" oven-braised or crock-potted meats shall be punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.

2. Barbecue will be recognized as a regional specialty, with only the element of smoke as a common denominator. After the fashion of the French government, five barbecue regions will be recognized by regional appellations: Texas, Deep South, Carolina (both varieties), Kansas City, and Kentucky. Mesquite grilling in the Southwest, and ketchup-braising in Chicago, will in no way recognized as barbecue by representatives of the State. (Memphis may apply for re-instatement when they stop cooking "wet" ribs, in violations of articles 1 and 3.)

3. Sauce will be served on the side only, and that in minute quantities. Submersion of barbecued meats in sauce will be punishable by revocation of barbecue licence.

4. All meats subjected to barbecue treatment will have plenty of intersticial fat, thus to grant a toothsome succulence and rich flavor to the meats after their trasformation in a smoke bath. In practice this means ribs (short, spare, baby-back, lamb, 'prime', chuck); whole unskinned chickens; pork shoulder; mutton; point cut brisket including the "deckl"; and various sausages and wursts.

5. All barbecued shall be accompanied by no less than two of the following recognized accompaniments: orange soda, sliced white bread, macaroni and cheese, collards, beans, cole slaw, cheese grits, pecan rice, pickled beets, potato salad and beer. No salad shall be served in any ways.

Be it resolved by MR. CUTLETS.

:laugh:

Mr-Cutlets.com: your source for advice, excerpts, Cutlets news, and links to buy Meat Me in Manhattan: A Carnivore's Guide to New York!
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Thank you!!!!! You certainly get it!!

five barbecue regions will be recognized by regional appellations: Texas, Deep South, Carolina (both varieties), Kansas City, and Kentucky.

Of course, there's actually 3 varieties of Carolina barbecue: 2 North Carolina varieties (Eastern and Western/Lexington) and the South Carolina mustard-based variety.

3. Sauce will be served on the side only, and that in minute quantities. Submersion of barbecued meats in sauce will be punishable by revocation of barbecue licence.

North Carolina barbecue then violates one of your tenets in that the sauce is mixed in with the meat itself. Its purpose is to complement and accentuate, rather than mask, the flavor of the pork, which may be the discerning feature. Bad NC barbecue tastes of vinegar, not pork. Ick.

Edited by Varmint (log)

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Thanks Chad.

Varmint, your point about the three regions is well-taken. But

I have to tell you that I don't consider carolina style pulled pork

in vinegar to be real barbecue. Please don't take this the wrong

way. I respect and even revere Carolina's barbecue traditions,

and you wouldn't be far wrong if you called it the capital of barbecue.

But once smoked pork shoulder has been immersed in a sea of

vinegar or any other sauce, it ceases to be barbecue and becomes

just a kind of glorified manwich. No offense.

yours,

Mr. Cutlets :sad:

Mr-Cutlets.com: your source for advice, excerpts, Cutlets news, and links to buy Meat Me in Manhattan: A Carnivore's Guide to New York!
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But once smoked pork shoulder has been immersed in a sea of

vinegar or any other sauce, it ceases to be barbecue and becomes

just a kind of glorified manwich.  No offense.

Methinks you misunderstand North Carolina barbecue. First, in my opinion, the finest and purest form of NC barbecue is Eastern style, which is whole hog, cooked at a temperature of no greater than 225-250 degrees over hardwood. The meat is pulled from the pig, chopped coarsely, some ultra-crunchy skin is chopped and cut in, and then lightly sauced with a vinegar-based concoction. The meat is not "immersed" in any sauce. The meat is not pulverized into catfood. The vinegar should barely be noticeable, if at all. What you taste is pork, with a gentle smoke flavor. There's a slight exogenous flavor to it, but is that any different than the spice rub that was applied to the brisket or ribs before smoking?

Come visit. I'll show you that you've been horribly misled. :wink:

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Come visit.  I'll show you that you've been horribly misled. :wink:

Sounds like Varmint's getting ready for next year's. :biggrin:

Sounds good, Varmint.

I'm definitely in this time.

Shall I telephone the hotel and begin blocking space???

:laugh:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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A sandwich is a sandwich but a Manwich is a meal.

Props to Varmint for using the word "exogenous" in a sentence.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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My compliments on that too. I've had the kind of barbecue you describe in NC, Varmint, but it was few and far between. I attended the NC state fair in Raleigh one year, and it was one crock of saucy stew after another. I did get some of those great sandwiches with the "mr. brown" mixed in and only a dollop of sauce; but then I had to stress with all my might that I didn't want a huge lump of hideous, runny cole slaw on top. Why do Carolinians love vinegar so much?

yours,

Mr. Cutlets

Mr-Cutlets.com: your source for advice, excerpts, Cutlets news, and links to buy Meat Me in Manhattan: A Carnivore's Guide to New York!
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5.  All barbecued shall be accompanied by no less than two of the following recognized accompaniments:  orange soda, sliced white bread, macaroni and cheese, collards, beans, cole slaw, cheese grits, pecan rice, pickled beets, potato salad and beer.  No salad shall be served in any ways.

Dr. Pepper

Bill Russell

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Why do Carolinians love vinegar so much? 

Good question. Perhaps it was to cut down on the gaminess of the critters they originally ate. A possum without vinegar is . . . well . . . just a possum, and a nasty one at that.

If your NC barbecue eating experience is based on what you consumed at the State Fair, you have much to learn, Grasshopper! That's about the worst place to learn.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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5.  All barbecued shall be accompanied by no less than two of the following recognized accompaniments:  orange soda, sliced white bread, macaroni and cheese, collards, beans, cole slaw, cheese grits, pecan rice, pickled beets, potato salad and beer.  No salad shall be served in any ways.

Dr. Pepper

Or Moxie, or Cheerwine.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Mr. Cutlets has been eating barbecue since YOU were knee-high to a grasshopper.

Merely eating barbecue is no badge of honor. One must work hard to seek out the definitive spots, the places that best represent the regional style. The NC State Fair ain't that. :wink:

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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5.  All barbecued shall be accompanied by no less than two of the following recognized accompaniments:  orange soda, sliced white bread, macaroni and cheese, collards, beans, cole slaw, cheese grits, pecan rice, pickled beets, potato salad and beer.  No salad shall be served in any ways.

Dr. Pepper

Or Moxie, or Cheerwine.

Sweet tea. Nuff said.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Lemonade is good too. As to this other business -- I've had plenty of Carolina BBQ outside of the State Fair. But it seems that the claims made for the best being typical, and the worst being unrepresentative, were (it seemed to me) belied by the fair, which had dozens of Manwich booths from all over the state. Let's turn this to the positive: what would you guys say are the best barbecues in the Carolinas? And what is the best ambassador of Carolina bbq in the north?

Mr. Cutlets

p.s. (The best I've had is Sweatmans.)

Mr-Cutlets.com: your source for advice, excerpts, Cutlets news, and links to buy Meat Me in Manhattan: A Carnivore's Guide to New York!
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Mr. C., if you are still reading this topic, a follow-up.

Rick Bayless--he of the wacky soul patch beard and now questionable commitment to substainable organic farming and decent food--wants us to go to Burger King because it's "Some of The Best BBQ Around". Do you agree? If not, what do you see as the proper role, meat-wise, for places like Burger King? Are they where the cheapest cuts go to die? Would you recommend having (gasp!) a salad there instead?

Also: If you had to compare Bayless to a cut of meat, which cut would it be?

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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With all due respect to our host Mr. Cutlets, I would disagree that State Fair's would be representative of the States foods. Think of going to Syracuse to our NYS fair, and preclude you have just eaten in Manhattan. :blink:

If your looking for fairly good bbq in the city, I think that upon the opening of the Dinosaur Restaurant this coming January, you'll be close to NY's best commercial offering at the present time.

woodburner

Edited by woodburner (log)
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Let's turn this to the positive:  what would you guys say are the best barbecues in the Carolinas? And what is the best ambassador of Carolina bbq in the north?

The best barbecue in the Carolinas was served at my pig pickin' on October 11. :wink: Scroll down this page for some decent pictures of what I produced.

As far as restaurants are concerned, I'd say that Wilbers in Goldsboro and Mitchell's in Wilson do a pretty decent job of eastern style barbecue. However, few joints really take the time that is necessary to get the whole hog right. I find that even Ed Mitchell oversauces his pig. Some of the best spots are places that really aren't even restaurants, but are places run out of the back of peoples' homes during the weekends.

I recently went on a venture in search of relatively unknown western-style barbecue joints (Click here for the thread). Each of these places were in the top quarter of all the joints I ever visited, and a couple were absolutely exceptional. Vinegar was not a major part of the barbecues' flavor.

Edit to add: I'm so glad that my 3000th post was about barbecue!!!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Those images are downright obscene...I wish I had been there!

(And on the piedmont trip, too!) As for Dinosaur, I've eaten plenty

of it, and it's mediocre. Virgils is better, and Blue Smoke is better,

and Biscuit is better. I haven't been to Daisy Mae's.

Other questions: I have only warm feelings for Burger King, as I

lay out in my Fast Food answer. Rick Bayless knows as much about mexican food as any white person in the world, although I can't vouch

for him a chef, having never eaten in Frontera grill. His opinions about BK's barbecue should be taken about as seriously as Orson Welles' commitment to Gallo wines.

yours,

Mr. Cutlets

www.mr-cutlets.com

Mr-Cutlets.com: your source for advice, excerpts, Cutlets news, and links to buy Meat Me in Manhattan: A Carnivore's Guide to New York!
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His opinions about BK's barbecue should be taken about as seriously as Orson Welles' commitment to Gallo wines.

yours,

Mr. Cutlets

www.mr-cutlets.com

Well put.

I think I'll change my sig to "I will eat no swine before its time".

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I can think of no better way to spend my 500th post. Signature changed.

Mr Cutlets-- you missed out on the bbq at Varmint's. It was a beautiful thang.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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