Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Oral History of Carolina Barbecue


Varmint
 Share

Recommended Posts

Kathi Purvis of the Charlotte Observer discusses the work of a precocious 22-year old: assembling an oral history of Carolina barbecue restaurants. Sponsored by the Southern Foodways Alliance, William McKinney is recording interviews with the purveyors of 40 different joints.

In the dining room, McKinney had asked [the owner] about the best part of his job.

"When customers say, `I ate here 15 years ago and it's still just as good.' "

Click here for the Charlotte Oberver Article -- Will be available online only for a limited time

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John Edge discussed this during the Tennessee Williams Festival. He pointed out that this was exactly the kind of thing that he would like to see more of and that the SFA was willing to lay out the dough to see it happen if they could find people like Mr. McKinney to do the work.

I wish we had had a barbeque club when I was in college. Although in North Arkansas it probably would have had to have been a pie club. MMMMMM. Pie.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Mmmm. I'm a carolina girl that brought a 5 gal tub of Eastern NC bbq back to Chicago when I went home at Easter. I hope these great places are still in business when I have children. I've also converted DH (from SC) over to my bbq. :biggrin: The best 'q comes from hole in the wall places though...and they're usually only good at one thing...'Q!

it just makes me want to sit down and eat a bag of sugar chased down by a bag of flour.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great article, great project. Kudos to that enterprising young man.

I was born and raised in North Carolina; have lived all over the place and now am settled in New York City. I never make a trip to NC without coming back with a cooler full of 'cue... NYC has experienced an explosion of so-called barbecue restaurants in recent years, but none of them hold a candle to even a mediocre barbecue shack back home, much less a gastronomic temple like Allen and Son.

My wife is from Kansas City, home of its own important regional barbecue tradition. There is a very active "Kansas City Barbecue Society" (see http://www.kcbs.us/ for more info) with a membership entirely comprised of barbecue fanatics and boosters, which exists to celebrate and promote their regional style of cooking; they hold contests all over the country, publish a newsletter, and so forth.

I have often wondered whether fans of North Carolina 'cue could support such an organization. I think so. Respect for the Carolina-style cooked pig is strong across the country; even in NYC, several of the "barbecue" restaurants claim to offer "Carolina-style pulled pork." (It is a pale imitation, or to be charitable, an homage, at best.) The local foodies know the score; my friends clamor for invitations to dinner when they learn I'm coming back with a load of the real deal.

So why not a Carolina Barbecue Society? We could be magnanimous and include the Western NC folks, too. Maybe even the South Carolinians... those mustard-based sauces are weird, but otherwise they get the flavor and texture of the 'cue right.

Edited by enrevanche (log)

enrevanche <http://enrevanche.blogspot.com>

Greenwich Village, NYC

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.

- Mark Twain

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had lunch with William McKinney last week, and he is quite an impressive individual. You don't find many people in their early 20s who have an appreciation of the history of barbecue and the sociological importance of the barbecue restaurant. William does, and he formed a barbecue appreciation organization at the University of North Carolina. They have brought in speakers from time to time to discuss many different aspects of North Carolina barbecue. I'll see if we can't get William to chime in here about the status of this organization and whether it can't be expanded.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if Carolina fans could stop arguing long enough to form a society, although William McKinney's barbecue club when he was a student at UNC might be the groundwork. However, there is a move afoot to try to start a barbecue museum, in Lexington. I reported on it in The Observer a couple of weeks ago.

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aw shucks, thanks for all the nice comments about the recent KPurvis article in the Charlotte Observer. What you have said is more a testament to the quality writing that Kathleen does than anything I have really done.

I believe that the Carolina BarBQ Society at UNC is in good hands. The new President, Fritz Kramer (Fkramer@email.unc.edu) is a good man, and he knows what direction he wants to take the club. Membership since I graduated has blossomed...I think where the club can excel is in getting people interested in foodways and microcultures (and metacultures?) across the Carolinas. I am a SC native, there is a reason I didn't name the club the NCBS, besides the easy mneumonic device :)

That being said, the club is started by a bunch of college kids who already feel pressure from a number of sources. I sort of bristled at times when BBQ junkies would pressure the club about going all out on some BBQ related activity. However I am still pretty sure that debate has a happy resolution on the side of maintaining an appreciation for such places as BBQ joints.

I believe a gentleman earlier in this thread concluded about BBQ restaurants in NYC: "but none of them hold a candle to even a mediocre barbecue shack back home, much less a gastronomic temple like Allen and Son." This may be true on the NYC level, but I think its true for all of us....they will never hold a candle to the ones back home, or at least for me that is the case.

William McKinney aka "wcmckinney"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well put, young William. (Told you you'd like egullet!) And writing can't work without a good subject. Give yourself the credit for that.

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...