Loading...
BYH to the one saying that Democrats don't believe in America's borders. Where do they get this stuff? I've never heard...

Whatever Happened to Barbecue?

Bob Garner
1 of 3

Bob Garner

Brisket.jpg
Book jacket(1).jpg
Loading…

Sunday, July 15, 2018

 

A TV viewer who I’ll call “Joe” recently commented on Facebook about my review of The Prime Smokehouse in Rocky Mount.

“Thanks for the review, Bob, but while I live in Raleigh, I'm a native of Rocky Mount,” Joe said with pride. “It once called itself the Barbecue Capital of the World. Back then, we had Bob Melton’s, Josh Bullocks and Buck Overton’s. My, what a choice.”

“In Rocky Mount, barbecue is a pig cooked over wood, not ribs or brisket,” he declared.

In Rocky Mount, barbecue was and indeed, is, cooking a pig over wood. But Joe, there is plenty of room in a growing and economically changing city for a small share of meats other than just pork pit-cooked over wood or in wood smokers. That niche has its own history.

Even before Melton’s opened in the early 1920s, beef, mutton and other critters were slowly roasted over the coals at big municipal events — right beside the sacrificial pigs. A Rocky Mount in-law of mine regularly included beef at his on-farm barbecues. Your memory, Joe, is on target but fairly recent.

When I was a 9, I ate at Melton's and all the others you mention, plus the Lincoln Park Restaurant and Motel and Brown's Chicken and Barbecue House. Don’t forget the chicken.

That’s why your traditional view is what I argued in my 1995 first book. It sold a ton of copies in hardback, far more than any of my subsequent books, and nearly all of them were sold in-state.

But, I have to accept that “North Carolina Barbecue: Flavored by Time” is now out of print. We can only visit the memory and greatness of those places at Rocky Mount’s park display commemorating the city’s barbecue heritage.

I could insist on continuing to scribble history books many people won’t buy. Not many among them seem to read history any longer. Doomed to repeat it? I don’t know.

We can also still rent or buy "The Way We Were," which is still in circulation. We can enjoy this Hollywood-glossed, charming movie about a fondly-remembered but complex past. Many of us will eat eastern North Carolina, chopped pork, whole-hog, vinegar/pepper-sauced barbecue in front of the TV as we enjoy this oldie.

I personally think it would be even more enjoyable and enlightening if we ate our personal barbecue choice at a public house table. We would laugh and argue — or at least smile uncomfortably — over each other’s crazy notions. Barbecue, life, culture, whatever. But I’m in the minority.

Still, there's really only one thing we cannot do. We cannot go back to "once" anywhere but in our memory. 

Rocky Mount can't be made great again through returning to its barbecue past; Raleigh can't be made great again by keeping Clyde Cooper's going, either. They serve ribs there now, as well as legacy ’cue. “Heresy,” many will cry!

But everything is gonna be all right. Raleigh’s old time joints and newer places alike still cook and serve traditional style pig over wood. I still frequently cook hog in the Triangle myself, on and off-premises, as it were.

No, it is not the same. But I believe it cannot be the same.

That mindset leads me, personally, to a narrow, resentful and doctrinaire tendency toward “blowing everything up.”

I'm still discussing food and life on TV, and I'm adapting to new media, which can be hilarious in itself. But I'm inexorably moving forward in chronological age and into unknown, unappreciated territory. There are many others lurching, bewildered, alongside me.

Before or after I leave this life, all I'll truly see of the past will be projected onto the back of my eyelids — until I sleep completely and then wake up with no memory of what I dreamed. Now I can only curse monotonously as I peer through a dirty window.

As you put it so eloquently in referring to the past: My, what a choice.

Joe, I choose anticipating the smoke-shrouded delights of a future I can only imagine, and the smoky hints we are given here and now. But I’m darned nervous about the future, too

I should just take a deep breath.

POSTSCRIPT

My title is channeled as a hat tip to homespun Wilson photographer, philosopher columnist, author, and editor Keith Barnes. Barnes is the author of “Whatever Happened to the Milkman? & other major topics of our time.” He is the editor of the Kenly News, where he also continues to write columns. His work also appears I the Wilson Daily times, as it has for many years. 

Bob Garner is a UNC-TV restaurant reviewer, freelance food writer, author of four cookbooks, barbecue pit master and public speaker. Contact him at bgarner2662@gmail.com. For more information about The Campaign for Real Barbecue, visit www.truecue.org

ONLINE

Visit this story on reflector.com to see Bob’s review from UNCTV of The Prime Smokehouse in Rocky Mount 

Rocky Mount- The Prime Smokehouse from Bob Garner on Vimeo.

From Today
Dec. 14 Community News

TO­DAY

Blood do­na­tion cen­ter

The Eastern North Carolina Dona­tion Cen­ter, 700 Cromwell Drive, will be open 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to­day through Sun­day and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mon­day. Blood donors are needed. Walk-ins wel­come;…

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

December 14, 2018 - 34 minutes ago

The 23rd-century world of "Mortal Engines" looks great: a fabulous and richly textured steampunk dystopia of haves and have-nots straight out of H.G. Wells. Populated, on the one side, by people in frock coats festooned with gold braid, and, on the other, begrimed laborers in goggles and grease-…

FILM-MORTAL-REVIEW-ADV13

December 12, 2018

Q Is the push to take probiotics just another fad or is there a good reason to take them? AD, Winterville.

A You may have heard me suggest eating yogurt with active cultures if you are taking an antibiotic to help avoid diarrhea -- I’ve been saying that for years. But there is lots more…

Kolasa, Kathy

December 09, 2018

Texas Roadhouse located at 720 Greenville Boulevard next to Cracker Barrel in the Shoppes at Greenville Grande has Texas sized food and spirit. The restaurant is as big as Texas too with plenty of space with a down home country feel. Come in and be met with upbeat sounds of top country music and a…

Steak Display Case.jpg

December 09, 2018

A Stokes resident and retired public school teacher recently published a novel based on a larger-than-life friend engaged marijuana smuggling in the 1960’s abd 1970s.

Life and Times in the Sierra Madres: An American Smuggling Story is written by Michael Biondi. It was published in November…

Michael Biondi

December 09, 2018

 

In the Spring of 1986 I was invited by the deputy chief of staff for Vice President George H. W. Bush to a meeting with the vice president in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across from the White House. At the time, I was a young executive in the U.S. Department of Commerce working…

David Edgell

December 09, 2018

“There should be an historic plaque in Chapel Hill honoring George Bush.”

On the day after the former president’s death, Chapel Hill lawyer and chair of the town’s historic district commission, Bob Epting, was making opening remarks at a public seminar on preserving historic…

9780812979473.jpg

December 08, 2018

It’s an odd-ball sort of bush.

It’s a native species — nothing odd about that — and it was originally restricted entirely to the coast, from North Carolina all the way to Mississippi.

Now, though, it is common well inland within all of these states, and beyond, and appears…

120818mysteryplant.jpg

December 07, 2018

In the annals of potentially disastrous spinoffs, "Creed" surely stands as an all-time champion. Directed with finesse and sensitivity by Ryan Coogler — who famously went on to make the blockbuster "Black Panther" — the 2015 drama had it all: a classically contoured boxing story, a…

FILM-CREED-REVIEW

December 07, 2018

Over nearly three decades of “The Nutcracker,” it is hard to imagine that anyone saw the Dance Arts Theatre production more than Jeane Welch.

She watched the first performance in 1985 when her daughter, Marty, was a dancer. She was in the audience when her granddaughter, Holton, twirled…

120718gonutcracker1

December 05, 2018

Members of the cast of Magnolia Arts Center's “Elf Jr.” are too young to remember when Will Ferrell starred as Buddy the Elf on the big screen. The beloved 2003 movie, which cost $33 million to make, grossed more than $220 million at the box office.

The musical version, which opens…

187 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 19
        Next Page»   Last Page»