Last night, on the food network (I know this is about PBS, but everybody seems to have been breaking that rule so I will too) Tony Bourdain's Food/Travel show was everything that television about food should be.
The show was about BBQ and he did two smart things right off the bat. He admitted he knew very little about it (except that it was a fun thing to both eat and be around) and he also said that no matter how hard he tried, he would not be able to cover everything and make everybody happy. This admission of ignorance should be made by more of these TV guys. It would go a long way to describe why so many of them come off like pompous asses.He also pointed out that the argument/conversation chances with BBQ were limitless. There is discussion potential for:
1) The Pit/Cooking Unit
5) Expertise of the pit boss
6) You name it
He covered Kansas City, Houston, and NC (east and west). He covered these subjects in a very linear, limited way and it made for great television.
First stop in KC was Oklahoma Joes for pork sandwiches and then on to Paul Kirk (the Self Appointed King of KCBBQ). It was not so much about the Q, but about how he trims his briskets and the way he cooks them (hanging, in this cool clamp setup, must be nice to have an $8000 rig). His unit was made in Houston @Kloses in Houston. Where the show went next
At Klose's the program showed alot of swell pits, and some BBQ being cooked by Klose himself. THe best thing he had going (I know that it is not classic Q, but it looked damned good) was a #10 prawn stuffed with crab and wrapped in chicken which was wrapped with bacon and marinated in white wine over night. Oh Boy. Those things looked great.
Tony then traveled to NC. First stop was at Mitchells in Wilson for whole hog. The buffet looked like a large slice of heaven. Every single part of the hog is used and the better part of the meat is removed from the skin, (the skin is put back on the pit and turned into smoked cracklins, those cracklins were the best looking thing on the whole show
), chopped, and the sauce is mixed into the meat (eastern vinegar/no tomato sauce) and the whole thing is placed back on the whole skin and served on a platter along with a buffet of every single part of the hog (yes, this includes innards and eggs and brains). He let the Mitchell Brothers do the talking and stood back. It was really informative.
Last stop was with a couple of brothers (didn't get their name) who cooked western/Piedmont style. Shoulders smoked over a direct fire, producing a juicy crusty meat. It had a thin, tomato based sauce and was served with red coleslaw and hushpuppies. The meat was so tender that when asked for a knife to cut it with, the guy said, " I get fightin mad if I have to do anything but barely pull and get it off the bone".
All in all an interesting show and a great way to kill 30 minutes with a subject I hold dear. I just checked the food network and I could not figure when this will run again. I TIVOed it, so if ya wanna come to my house and watch I guess that will be one way to see it.