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Best pit bbq


ryangary
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What places are serving the best pit bbq in the south.

This would be hard to say. There are so many different styles of pitt BBQ in the different regions of the South. It would have to be based on which style of BBQ you prefered.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I have never, ever had a better sandwich than at Short Sugar's in Reidsville, NC.

Short Sugar's

I taste bbq everywhere that it is available and everytime I go to Short Sugar's, I am afraid it won't be good anymore. But it is always better than anywhere else I have ever had it. And the sauce is truly unique and amazing. Not eastern or western. Thin and dark and present without being overwhelming. I buy it a gallon at a time when I go and seal it in mason jars to put over the inferior bbq we have available in Richmond.

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Short Sugar's is awesome, as is Lexington # 1. Also, my personal love, Bridges Barbecue Lodge (still AKA Red Bridges, even though Red has been dead for forty years now) in Shelby, NC.

Rick McDaniel

Senior Contributing Writer, Food and Drink

Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times

"In the South, perhaps more than any other region, we go back to our home in dreams and memories, hoping it remains what it was on a lazy, still summer's day twenty years ago."--Willie Morris

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not to quibble, and I love all the places listed in NC, but do any of them cook in an actual pit? Granted they all cook with wood (Short Sugars finishes theirs on wood pits, but mostly cooks over gas), but I think Lexinton #1 and Bridges in Shelby use contraptions that are built above ground, does a pit have to be dug?

Mitchell's used what I think of as a pit concept in Wilson, but as we know it is currently closed.

Is this a distinction without a difference?

William McKinney aka "wcmckinney"
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Not to quibble, and I love all the places listed in NC, but do any of them cook in an actual pit?  Granted they all cook with wood (Short Sugars finishes theirs on wood pits, but mostly cooks over gas), but I think Lexinton #1 and Bridges in Shelby use contraptions that are built above ground, does a pit have to be dug?

Mitchell's used what I think of as a pit concept in Wilson, but as we know it is currently closed. 

Is this a distinction without a difference?

Good question, and I was about to raise the same issue. However, I would argue (sorry, I'm in an argumentative mood this morning) that in the barbecue business, a pit most certainly can be an above-ground construction. A pit dug in the ground works fine for home-based barbecue, but it isn't efficient for a business. You could still make the distinction between restaurants like Lex 1 and Sweatman's that have large brick pits and those that are using other means of cooking, like Short Sugar's.

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

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there are about 5-7 joints in a little town about 100 miles east of memphis called henderson, tennessee. this town is a secret so to speak in bbq culture. they all still cook whole hog, every day of the week except sunday (closed for church). cooking whole hog is very hard work and not as profitable as cooking shoulders or butts. you might find some old joints still cooking whole hog in eastern north carolina but really thats about it. the sandwiches are so much better because they are mixing up several different areas of the hog on that 1 sandwich. some shoulder, meat from the bacon and rib area, and the hams. they are cooked for 22-26 hours at a very, very low temp even for todays bbq joints. they all cook between 185-200! thats about as low as you can really go. 225-275 is where most places cook at. any place that cooks bbq over 275 in my opinion is not true barbecue. these places are really wonderful places to eat and deserve a road trip by any of you with the time to do so. the southern foodways alliance did a doc on these joints. i cooked and apprenticed at them in college. check them out......except one.....jacks creek bbq. used to be a local legend but was sold a couple of years back and cook with an electric cooker. im glad its them and not me who'll have to answer to God about that one day. hope this helps.

Newgene Ledbetter would rather climb a tree to tell you a lie than stand on the ground and tell you the truth!

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Welcome, BigHoss!!!

We come through that way on the way from visiting family now and then, and have loaded up on BBQ several times. But it seems that every deedab time we've traveled in the past couple of years, it must have been on Sunday, because not one of the several we've tried was open. SLOOOOOWWW cooking, that's the trick.

We'll drive up to a place we've been referred to by friends or online, or Roadfood, and one look at the roof---no smoke---and we're gone. Same for smokestacks with little peedidly wisps of white going skyward---one sniff of the outside air, and you KNOW.

Good first post...it said a lot.

PS...and best to Little Falsey

Edited by racheld (log)
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there are about 5-7 joints in a little town about 100 miles east of memphis called henderson, tennessee.  this town is a secret so to speak in bbq culture.  they all still cook whole hog, every day of the week except sunday (closed for church).  cooking whole hog is very hard work and not as profitable as cooking shoulders or butts.  you might find some old joints still cooking whole hog in eastern north carolina but really thats about it.  the sandwiches are so much better because they are mixing up several different areas of the hog on that 1 sandwich.  some shoulder, meat from the bacon and rib area, and the hams.  they are cooked for 22-26 hours at a very, very low temp even for todays bbq joints.  they all cook between 185-200!  thats about as low as you can really go.  225-275 is where most places cook at.  any place that cooks bbq over 275 in my opinion is not true barbecue.  these places are really wonderful places to eat and deserve a road trip by any of you with the time to do so.  the southern foodways alliance did a doc on these joints.  i cooked and apprenticed at them in college.  check them out......except one.....jacks creek bbq.  used to be a local legend but was sold a couple of years back and cook with an electric cooker.  im glad its them and not me who'll have to answer to God about that one day.  hope this helps.

Greetings Big Hoss,

So whom do you recommend in Henderson? Or please name a few and let us pick for ourselves. Thanks.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

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thanks for the welcome....its actually my second post....first was on the subject of slugburgers back last fall. just a "foodie" not a chef so i dont post much.....just like to read the posts and learn as much as possible. i will post on the subjects i do know quite a bit about: bbq, slugburgers and authentic corn whiskey (moonshine). thanks again for the welcome.

Newgene Ledbetter would rather climb a tree to tell you a lie than stand on the ground and tell you the truth!

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any joint in henderson is as good as the other 8-9...bill's, L&L, bobby's, my 3 sons, c&r grocery.....just dont go to joyner's in jacks creek (little town 7 miles east of henderson on hwy 100), they are the ones commiting treason by cooking with an electric cooker.

Newgene Ledbetter would rather climb a tree to tell you a lie than stand on the ground and tell you the truth!

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  • 1 month later...
Not to quibble, and I love all the places listed in NC, but do any of them cook in an actual pit?  Granted they all cook with wood (Short Sugars finishes theirs on wood pits, but mostly cooks over gas), but I think Lexinton #1 and Bridges in Shelby use contraptions that are built above ground, does a pit have to be dug?

Technically yes, a pit is dug in the ground...If you have ever built a Siberian tiger trap then you know that it starts with a pit. A brick or stone fashioned wood burning oven used for slow cooking pork should really be called a "cave"....

I wonder how my local DHEC inspector would feel about a below ground pit for smoking pork :cool:

John Malik

Chef/Owner

33 Liberty Restaurant

Greenville, SC

www.33liberty.com

Customer at the carving station: "Pardon me but is that roast beef rare?"

Apprentice Cook Malik: "No sir! There's plenty more in the kitchen!"

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Its a good point -- sadly. For a number of reasons (and I don't think Mr. DHEC is the only reason, in fact he may be a falll guy) there just isn't much pit bbq in urban Carolina towns. Hard pressed to find any pit BBQ in Charlotte, Greenville, Charleston, Raleigh or Columbia (Maurice's comes to mind but little more)...There're more broasted chicken stands in Columbia than you can shake a stick at, but just seems to me that there isn't as much of a link with Pit BBQ in metropolitan areas than there is in smaller or more rural towns.

William McKinney aka "wcmckinney"
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In Durham, NC it's an environmental code violation to run a commercial food smoker in the city limits. I suspect that a true pit would be classified as the same.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

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  • 1 month later...
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