Hot!Que & Stew of the Month (& Crappy Brit kitchens, too)

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JRPfeff
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2013/08/18 19:51:19 (permalink)

Que & Stew of the Month (& Crappy Brit kitchens, too)

I told the ScreamingChicken that I was going to steal his Chicken of the Month idea and do the same thing with North Carolina barbecue.  I was going to name the thread Pig of the Month, but didn't want to change my screen-name to ScreamingPig.
 
The plan is to eat at one highly acclaimed NC barbecue restaurant each month and order the same items to compare: Barbecued Pork; Brunswick Stew; Cole Slaw; and Hush Puppies.
 
For the restaurants, I started my list with the 23 pits that are on the NC Barbecue Society's Historic Barbecue Trail (Trail Map). I then added all the NC barbecue places with RoadFood reviews and also added all the barbecue restaurants I found at the Our State website (NC's glossy monthly travel magazine). The list is up to 46 restaurants, with many showing up in multiple places.  However, only 5 restaurants are included in each of the 3 sources.
 
Pie Diva is visiting this weekend and we have started our comparison of the food at some of the pits.  Reports will begin to be posted very soon.


post edited by JRPfeff - 2013/12/27 08:47:46
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    Foodbme
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/19 02:15:04 (permalink)
    Great Idea!
    You can name your book, "Piggin' Out in North Carolina"
    #2
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/19 06:48:04 (permalink)
    We definitely did that, hitting 3 pits this weekend. Photo upload issues have delayed the report.
    #3
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/19 07:33:29 (permalink)
    Great idea and very much looking forward to reading these reports.  And don't underestimate ScreamingPig:  it rolls right off the tongue!
    #4
    ann peeples
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/19 07:38:24 (permalink)
    Ditto what BB said! I look forward to you assessment of both eastern and western style que.
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    Treetop Tom
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/19 12:38:50 (permalink)
    Don't try Grady's in Dudley, NC, first, because nothing else will stack up.  I love Wilber's in Goldsboro, NC, but even it pales in comparison to Grady's.
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    Pancho
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/19 13:57:19 (permalink)
    Great idea! I'm actually heading to South Carolina to the beach next week, and plan to hit this place about an hour away. Looking forward to the NC reports.
    http://thescottsbbq.com/ Hey Tom...I even did a google maps to Dudley and Grady's...164 miles. Maybe, just maybe.
    post edited by Pancho - 2013/08/19 14:02:54
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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/19 14:49:53 (permalink)
    JRPfeff

    I told the ScreamingChicken that I was going to steal his Chicken of the Month idea and do the same thing with North Carolina barbecue.
    Well, they say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery!
     
    I'm looking forward to reading about places that might not have the name recognition of the big boys.
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    JRPfeff
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/19 21:06:18 (permalink)

     
    August 2013 - Allen & Son Bar-B-Que, Chapel Hill & Pittsboro
     
    Stop number one on our grand tour is the much acclaimed Allen & Son Bar-B-Cue in Pittsboro. I can't imagine a better setting for a barbecue pit or a more Q-like looking building than the Pittsboro location of Allen & Son. They even share their parking lot with an outdoors/gun shop.  Allen & Son is one of the five pits that is listed on each of my sources - Roadfood, NC BBQ Trail & Our State
     
    I learned something after first making this post - there are two different Allen & Son restaurants. The one in Chapel Hill that is in all the books, and the one I know about in Pittsboro.  The Pittsboro store was purchased from the Allen's 20 years ago, so I will need to restrict this review to that restaurant. I do note that the barbecue gets less attention on their website than the coleslaw and french fries.
     
    A separate stop at the Chapel Hill restaurant is needed to compare the food. A separate report will come later.  Thanks to Cliff for pointing out the two locations!
     
    This was a good looking pile of pork, dark meat with bit of bark mixed in. It was moist and porky tasting, but did not have the smokiness and spice I was expecting based on the reviews by others. It was very tasty after adding sauce.

     
    We really liked the coleslaw and the hush puppies.  The slaw was creamy, but still had a spicy flavor, I couldn't stop eating it.  The hush puppies were sweeter than at our other stops over the weekend and we preferred the sweetness.
     
    The Brunswick Stew was also the best we had in our three stops, rich and porky flavored, with a thick texture. Being the first time either of us had tried Brunswick Stew, we had nothing to compare it to.  We really liked Allen & Son's stew and it is our standard for comparison.

     
    After our fine meal at Allen & Son, we had an appointment to play with the kitties.

     

     
    We had an awesome tour of Carolina Tiger Rescue at dusk. The big cats were active and playful. Rajaji, the tiger, was a show off, stalking our tour guide and pouncing on the other side of the fence next to her.  He also like to spray out the fence towards the crowd. Stand back he had 20 feet of range with that stuff.
    post edited by JRPfeff - 2013/08/20 20:28:06
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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/20 09:38:08 (permalink)
    JRPfeff
     
    This was a good looking pile of pork, dark meat with bit of bark mixed in.
    That's how I like it, too...the extra flavor added to the white meat makes a big difference.  How oniony were the hush puppies?
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    Pancho
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/20 15:38:06 (permalink)
    ScreamingChicken

    JRPfeff

    This was a good looking pile of pork, dark meat with bit of bark mixed in.
    That's how I like it, too...the extra flavor added to the white meat makes a big difference.  How oniony were the hush puppies?
    Hey SC...have you been to Double S in Cambridge? They are expanding or have expanded. They had a food stand at the recent Fete de Marquette (Cajun music fest) in Madison and what I sampled was great. Or, did I already ask you this?

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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/20 15:52:37 (permalink)
    Yes, you asked last year.  It's good to hear they're doing well; they hadn't been in that location long when I visited last September.
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/20 18:34:50 (permalink)
    That is some great looking food, especially the Brunswick stew!  I have only been to the Chapel Hill location of Allen & Sons and it is good to know that both put out a quality 'que.  This is going to be such a fun report to follow.
     
    Will you be trying any desserts at these bbq parlors?
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    JRPfeff
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/20 20:44:54 (permalink)
    To paraphrase Arthur Carlson, as God is my witness, I thought Allen & Son was only one restaurant.
     
    Frankly, until buffetbuster pointed out that I ate in Pittsboro and not Chapel Hill, I thought that Allen & Son's barbecue was greatly overrated. I gave them the benefit of the doubt in my review based on the reviews by other, thinking they had an off night.
     
    A note on our pork tasting process. We first take several bites of the pork as it is prepared by the chef in the kitchen and make an assessment of the quality. That's how they taught us in BBQ judge school. We will then add some sauce to product and try it again to see if that improves the flavor. At the Pittsboro restaurant, we tasted no smoke and little seasoning. The sauce did perk it up and make the pork more palatable. But it was not world class in our opinions.
     
    We've added the Chapel Hill restaurant to our list and will give them a proper review.
     
     
    #14
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/20 20:48:43 (permalink)
    SC - Not much onion in any of the hush puppies that we tried.
     
    bb - We were hitting several BBQ pits in a row, so didn't have room for dessert. We'll have to keep our pie-eyes open in the future.
    #15
    Big_g
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/22 17:21:08 (permalink)
    In Durham for a software class....going to head out to Allen and Son tonight for a Que fix!
     
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    JRPfeff
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/22 17:27:01 (permalink)
    I'm very interested in your opinion Big_g.
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    Big_g
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/23 16:47:40 (permalink)
    JRPfeff

    I'm very interested in your opinion Big_g.

    Sorry....didn't make it. Life got in the way.
    Headed back to TN in the morning....may try to hit them for lunch.
    Did have some of Smokey's BBQ in Morrisville...had the Double play...Ribs and Pulled Pork, potato salad and green beans....and a banana pudding to go.
    Ribs were very tasty, nice rub on them. but starting to dry out a little from being held...pulled pork was very moist and had a light smoke flavor....sides were sides..  I'm not big on sauce but what they had on the table was a good representation of a NC sauce, tangy with a little pepper added.
    Banana pudding tasted homemade and went well with my coffee while I studied for my certification test.
    I'd go back again.
     
    #18
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/23 17:19:06 (permalink)
    Did you pass your certification?
     
    I'll eat at the REAL Allen and Son BBQ before too long, but the report may take a while. I've got 2 other pits I went to last week and may hit 4 others this weekend. Am I allowed to post more than one review a month or do I have to wait?
    #19
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/23 17:21:59 (permalink)
    Considering, we are talking about NC 'que, we will want a review everyday!
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    CajunKing
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/23 17:42:44 (permalink)
    Yeah dont string us along like SC does post em if you got em!
    #21
    Big_g
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/23 19:18:09 (permalink)
    JRPfeff

    Did you pass your certification?

    I'll eat at the REAL Allen and Son BBQ before too long, but the report may take a while. I've got 2 other pits I went to last week and may hit 4 others this weekend. Am I allowed to post more than one review a month or do I have to wait?

    Yup, 48 out of 50...I r now certifiable.  I can't put a hat on...they stuffed our heads something fierce...Now all I have to do is take it back to campus and make it work.


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    JRPfeff
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/23 20:49:27 (permalink)
    I was in training for 3 days this week too. My brain is close to mush.
     
    I'll start putting up my reviews, starting with Wilber's.
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/24 10:05:48 (permalink)
    Wilber's
     
    Mr. Shirley is "His Highness of Hog", "The Pasha of Pig", "The Pope of Pork", "The Sultan of Sauce" ...  Wise choice.  I am truly looking forward to your review!
    post edited by MetroplexJim - 2013/08/24 10:07:07
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    JRPfeff
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/24 18:57:45 (permalink)
     
     
    August 2013 - Wilber's Barbecue, Goldsboro
     
    We knew we were in for good barbecue the second we stepped out of my truck. Sweet hickory smoke was in the air of the heavily filled parking lot at Wilber's.  Wilber's Barbecue is listed on the NCBS Trail and was featured in Our State. I was really excited to try Wilber's after reading the review at the NCBS link:
    For many people the name Wilber’s and Eastern North Carolina barbecue are synonymous. Some people even refer to Eastern North Carolina barbecue as Wilber’s Barbecue. Wilber Shirley did not invent Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue but he has certainly served it on site to perhaps more people than any other single barbecue operation east of Raleigh.
     
    I found Wilber’s barbecue pork to be absolutely delicious. The coarse chopped pork has a smoky flavor and is not heavily sauced from the kitchen. It was chopped in fairly large pieces but not too coarse. The high quality of the meat along with the slow cooking over pits with live oak and hickory coals imparted a delightful woodsy, smoky flavor and a lasting finish.
    Our helpful waitress dropped off a large basket of hush puppies almost as soon as we sat down.

     
    We thought the puppies were lacking in sweetness and onion flavor, although after adding a little butter they were fine (OK shoot me, I'm from Wisconsin and butter goes on everything).
     
    When ordering our meal, our waitress pointed out the pork and stew combo that saved us several dollars. She said the servings were the same size which we otherwise would not have known.  The pork was as good as expected - smoky, moist and nicely spiced.  It was good with the addition of the Eastern Carolina vinegar sauce, but really didn't need it. The pork was particularly well picked, with no gristle or fat, but with some bark in the meat.
     
     
    I didn't care much for the slaw. It had a sharp taste that I couldn't identify, maybe some kind of citrus.  I didn't like it much alone or with the pork.
     
    Neither Pie Diva or I cared much for the Brunswick Stew either. It was tomato-ey and was more like soup than stew to our tastes.

     
    After finishing lunch, we were off to our next destination for the day of New Bern, North Carolina's Colonial Capital.  Or were we ... ?
     
     
    post edited by JRPfeff - 2013/08/24 22:34:20
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    ann peeples
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/24 19:27:16 (permalink)
    I have to admit, Jrpfeff, I am not enamored of Carolina que-either east or west. Don't get me wrong-I loved the hot sauce on the tables, and bought many. I love cracklins-crazy. My favorite food in the Carolinas is fried chicken. Unlike Wisconsin, chicken at these places are great sizes.No matter where we went, it was awesome. Bob doesn't care for fried chicken, but in your neck of the woods, he loved it. His family is from Greensboro, and Raleigh.......
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    JRPfeff
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/24 22:01:06 (permalink)

     
    August 2013 - King's BBQ Restaurant, Kinston
     
    Before leaving the parking lot of Wilber's, I had one of those WWBBD? moments. If one lunch is good, then two are better! We added a stop at King's BBQ to our itinerary.  King's was one of the BBQ joints I found at the Our State website. We figured out later that this was not the main location for King's BBQ, but would expect some consistency among the locations for this Kinston chain.
     
    This location looked like a converted fastfood chain location and offered counter service.

     
    There was no smoke smell at the restaurant and that carried over to the pork. It was moist and tasty, but with no smoke flavor.


    We didn't note anything special about the slaw or the hush puppies.

     
    The Brunswick Stew was very thick and meaty, but didn't have any outstanding flavor.

     
    Now it was on to New Bern.
    post edited by JRPfeff - 2013/08/24 22:32:16
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    JRPfeff
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/24 22:24:38 (permalink)

     
    When we got on the road, Pie Diva noticed that New Bern was the birthplace of Pepsi Cola, which seemed notably Roadfoodie to us. 

     
    We shared a Pepsi Float from the soda fountain. We don't know if that is the original fountain or a replica.
     

    I photographed the original recipe for Pie Dive to try at home.

    post edited by JRPfeff - 2013/08/24 22:39:25
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    CajunKing
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/24 22:35:11 (permalink)
    How was the tater salad??
     
    I always want to love others tater salad but I am usually disappointed.
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    JRPfeff
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    Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/24 22:54:07 (permalink)

     
    Going back to last Saturday morning, before our stop at the Pittsboro Allen & Son, we had to drive to Sanford for donuts from Sandra's Bakery. I'll add this here for completeness.
     
    Sandra's has really, really good donuts. Someone brings them into work every week and since eating these, I no longer touch the Dunkin's and Krispie Kremes when they show up. I think that makes Sandra's donuts "Healthy Donuts" by lowering my input of other donuts.

     
    This is not the best photo of our half-dozen. That's a caramel donut on top, with really good caramel topping. Under the tissue are two Turtle Donuts that they specially prepared for us.  They added chocolate, caramel and pecans to a cream cheese topped donut for us.  Sandra's belongs in the Roadfood Donut Hall of Fame.

    post edited by JRPfeff - 2013/08/24 22:57:11
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