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Sid's Catering & BBQ in Beulaville, NC

Sids Catering BBQ

I found an episode of NC Weekend which featured Sid's BBQ in Beulaville, NC. This is the South Eastern portion of the state so whole hog BBQ is still gospel. They cook with charcoal here (no gas or electricity) so it's definitely worth adding it on your BBQ roadtrip.

Now Beulaville isn't the most popular city around, it has a population of just over a thousand people. The town was originally known for its " alcoholism and frequent street brawls." Charming isn't it?

So I added a map above which will take your on a whole hog eating tour on your way to the beach! And who doesn't love a beach? Beaufort is the third oldest town in North Carolina is a well loved vacation spot. So my map will have you start with a meal at Wilbur's in Goldsboro, down to Dudley for a meal with the Grady's and hitting Sid's before enjoying the scenic drive through the Croatian National Forest to the beach!

Keep in mind that Sid's only opens on Saturday and will likely run out before noon.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhx_dIx1OyI]

Eastern North Carolina Cornsticks

A day or so ago I finally hit 10,000 views. The view that took me from 9,999 to 10K came from a search for Eastern North Carolina Cornsticks. In the Eastern part of the state, whole hog BBQ rules and cornsticks are traditionally served. Historically significant places like Parker's in Wilson and B's in Greenville still serve them today as an appropriate pairing with hog.

Cornstick recipes is a popular search and it's how many people seem to find my site. So to thank my readers I'll share with you the cornstick recipe listed in Holy Smoke, the most significant book on North Carolina BBQ to date.

Eastern North Carolina Cornsticks

Makes 1 dozen

  • 2 cups water-ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 rounded teaspoon lard, melted

Preheat oven to 450F and grease a cornstick pan. Mix the dry ingredients before adding the eggs, milk and fat. Pour the batter into the molds and bake til brown - about 20 mins.

Many people who have never had Carolina cornsticks before are not prepared for how hard they are. If you're serving guests I recommend warning them first. The crust is an acquired taste but the deep corn flavor is very much appreciated. To eat you're supposed to take a bite of hog and creamy slaw and then bite into a corn stick to round out the flavor.

Ed Mitchell BBQ featured on Mind of a Chef - Smoke

IMAG1103

My teacher Ed Mitchell was featured in the latest episode of Mind of a Chef starring super-star chef David Chang. The must have shot this video over a year ago as Ed had parted ways with the Pit for a while now. Great to see Ed Mitchell style whole hog BBQ being presented in such a wide forum.

You can watch the FULL VIDEO. Hurry. The free PBS preview expires in February.

Thai-Style Whole Hog BBQ

Someone actually found my site searching for "Thailand Whole Roast Pig". How did I end up in their search is beyond me but since someone's looking I'm happy to provide information. My wife is from Thailand and I have enjoyed many meals there. None of which included roasted whole hogs. That's largely due to the fact that I spent most of my time up North where she attended University.The north on the other hand are masters of the fried pork rind and you'll see huge sacks of them accompany meals. Curry + fried pork skins = my favorite meal.

Thailand's whole hog is based in Trang Province. which is the western strip that's a sneeze away from Malaysia. Trang is one these "Chinese" provinces (80% of the population are ethnically Chinese) where over a century ago, Chinese traders and laborers (invariably all male) settled into the area and married Thai women. In the area you'll find spicy southern Thai curry and dim sum effortlessly existing side by side.

The Trang Whole Hog consists of a rub composed of

  • Chinese 5-Spice powder
  • Honey
  • Garlic
  • Sugar

The pig is scored on the inside and the rub is generously applied. The next step would give every Health Inspector in the country a heart attack. The hog is then left in the SUN FOR A DAY for the spices to catch hold and the meat to ferment slightly.

The pig is then laid flat and roasted crispy and chopped to order. The Chinese prick the skin with a multiple needle device to aid in crisping up the skin.

The Hog is so popular that they even have their own festival! It's held every September and called the Trang Roast Pork Festival งานเทศกาลหมูย่างจังหวัดตรัง

The other popular pork dish in Trang is marinated sweet grilled pork Moo Yang. It's actually popular all over Thailand. Here's it's actually served for breakfast and eaten with their morning coffee and no wedding banquet would be complete without it. Moo Yang can be made with pork butts, but when it's made with PORK NECK it is quite simply Thailand's greatest dish.

For those who might not see pork consumption as the primary reason for visiting Trang, their beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. The best part of visiting the area is that the only tourists are native Thais, so the area is less commercialized and the nightlife not as seedy.

A reflection on a year in BBQ 2012

Hog26

One of the hallmarks of a happy and successful existence is the feeling that you wish you had more time. There have been several years where I was fully glad to turn the page and see what the New Year offers me. This year more than any other, I'm sad to see her leave.  I have done much this year and have made strides in both my personal journey as well as my professional life. There was much traveling to new countries in 2012, a promotion, new friends, deeper bonds with family. Since this blog is about BBQ I'm listing out my year in BBQ.

  • This year alone I have smoked 31 Whole Hogs. Most of which are over 200lbs with the smallest pig being 125lbs. I couldn't begin to count how many chickens, pork butts, or sausages I've smoked.
  • Being too cheap to head down to Memphis to see the country's Biggest swine cooking competition. I threw a Memphis in May Party for my friends in NYC. Many who have never been to the South to taste real BBQ.
  • I ate through 11 Barbecue Joints in 3 days during my research & development travels through North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. BBQ Roadtrips rule!
  • I cooked with my teacher, North Carolina pitmaster Ed Mitchell at this year's Big Apple BBQ FestivalTalking BBQ with a master of hog - Aubrey Mitchell long through the night, stoking the fires at 3AM.
  • I enjoyed an almost 2 hour long conversation with North Carolina BBQ patriarch Charles Stamey. As a Carolina BBQ stylist, this was akin to seeing the grandmaster up the mountain. A cherished memory.
  • Had the honor of cooking through the summer with New York's top BBQ blogger and Competition Team Head - Josh Bousel.
  • Previously the Arrogant Swine was just a photo page for some of my cooks. Even though wordpress uses a blog platform, I didn't really use it as a until my buddy Angel forced me to start posting my thoughts and in the span of 4 months we have hit over 8,060 views.
  • Made some great Smoking friends with Chris & Julian of the Island Smoke Ring BBQ Competition team. Lots of meats and cigars smoked!
  • It wouldn't be the proper start to the Fall unless I did my annual Carolina Whole Hog Event.
  • It was my distinct honor to cook with Josh Bowen & John Zervoulakos - Pitmasters of John Brown Smokehouse, where we combined their deep Kansas City flavors with my whole hog pit to cook a 200lb Gloucestershire Old Spot pig. The finest heritage breed I have ever smoked. Not only was John Brown named #1 BBQ Joint 2012 by the Village Voice, I was named their resident Whole Hog expert, a title I wear proudly.
  • I cooked at this year's Georgia State BBQ Championship better known as the Big Pig Jig with Team Bubba Grills, where we took on over a 120 competitors and came in First Place in the uber-stacked category of ribs.
  • After YEARS of envy at Big Bob Gibson's dual cooker trailer. I got my own 16 foot 1,000lb meat capacity trailer. 2 multi-tiered cookers capable of smoking 2 hogs and still have enough room to knock out enough chicken to feed a football team.
  • Finally 2012 I had the chance to break bread with some of the biggest names in the New York City BBQ scene including Robbie Richter, Daniel Delaney, and Matt Fisher.

I'm sad to see 2012 go. It had its ups and downs but overall it was a winning year. I hope for more like it. There's unresolved goals I hope to meet. I thank all my readers to sharing the journey with me.

Best Cigars to go with BBQ

It's only a weekend away and we will be bidding goodbye to 2012 and celebrating the New Year. There isn't any celebration that can't be made better with some cigars. To me BBQ and cigars are like Mash potatoes and gravy. It's hard to think of a better combination. Smoking a huge joint of meat takes hours. Even a slab of ribs will run you 4 hours. And smoking a cigar takes a long time. So they're natural companions to the pitmaster. They also call into memory that whole hog cooking is in the shadow of the tobacco harvest.

So here I will list out a day of cigar smoking with whole hog.

6AM Your hog is trimmed, seasoned and injected. The coals are ready, the wood is chopped. Time to fire up the smoker and close the lid. Strong coffee is passed around and you start off with off with an Ashton Classic Churchill 

It's clean and light. Well packed for a slow burn and the perfect companion for your coffee and morning paper. It should last you over 2 hours.

10AM You've been stoking the fire adding coals and wood as needed. It's the South so a tasty breakfast of fried chicken filets on a butter biscuit is settleing nicely. Time for something to keep you going through lunch. Some of you might even be cracking the first beer of the day. It's a new cigar, a bit fuller on the medium scale and nothing will go better with that first sip of beer - Nat Sherman Timeless #452 

1:30PM By now, depending on your smoker, you hog has been flipped, seasoned with more spices and butter and your best friends just grilled up some burgers for lunch. You're comfortably full and ready to take on some more forbidden smokes. Namely ones from a certain communist run island. - Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No.1 

The hardest thing to do is make an assertive cigar that isn't heavy. Hoyos are full bodied and sophisticated. The only way to enjoy the perfect afternoon.

4PM The hog is cooked and not begins the resting period for it to redistribute those juices. Your slaw is already chopped and seasoned. Your hush puppy batter is mixed and resting in the fridge. There is nothing left to do but relax and wait for you guests. You been chatting with your fellow pit crew for most of the day and some have even slouched over for a nap. It's the same quiet time as you had at the crack of dawn. You want something to meditate to, something that just defines a job completed and well done - La Aurora 1492 Belicoso 

Certain tunes are better for introspection than others. Something not too upbeat, not too fast nor too loud. You reflect on how lucky you are, all that you have, the family that loves you, the friends that stand by you. You reflect on where you want to be and how much further it will take for you to get there. All that wrapped in a leaf of tobacco.

7:30PM Your guests have all been feed the perfect plate of barbecue - chopped whole hog, dressed in a vinegar pepper sauce with a mustard slaw and hush puppies. You are stuffed to the gills. You're probably drunk and moving is uncomfortable. You need something to cut through all that food and booze. Something brawny and loud. The Type-A personality of cigars - La Flor Dominicana Chisel 

10PM Well the party is basically over but the beer and conversations linger on. Last cigar of the day. Choosing the last one is like picking your favorite child. There's so many great choices. Do you go with some regal like the Fuente Fuente Opus X? The masterclass blend Don Pepin Series JJ? Or something elegant like the Cuban Bolivar Royal Corona? Since we are doing whole hog BBQ, the tongue in cheek limited release Liga Privada Feral Flying Pig might be a good choice.

It's been a long day and something elegant to finish off the night is my choice - Cabaiguan Robustos Extra. Luxurious taste with creamy rich smoke. Great cigar smokes have texture and there are very few that does texture as good as Cabaiguan.

This I Believe

I am inspired by an old essay written by  Leslie Scott, co-owner of the legendary Ubon Barbecue in Yazoo City, Mississippi titled "This I Believe."

Steve Jobs shadowing Picasso said "Good artists copy but great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing good ideas". Here's my version.

This I Believe.

I believe in America and her unwavering commitment to liberty, freedom and the human spirit. Barbecue is America's single native culinary creation and is the nation's finest food.

I believe whole hog is the best barbecue. It is neither the most difficult barbecue to cook nor necessarily the most fullest flavored. It is the best barbecue because of that it represents. Unlike other cuts, it is neither thrift nor utility which gave birth to it. It represents celebration, thanksgiving and rest from toils with those most important to you. Whole hog barbecue came not from the kitchens of kings but from pits dug in the ground by slaves. Men and women who lived lives of unimaginable suffering who yet could still smile to one another as they shoveled wood embers below their next day feast.

I believe in old fashion cookery. The use of wood as the source for heat and flavor. It is not that gas and electric can not produce good tasting food. In fact cooking with gas or electric produces very consistent food. What they can not produce is romance. This is fine for burgers or pork chops, but it will never invoke the primal passion of hardwood fueled flame.

I believe in feasting. A perfectly decorated plate does not scream out family and friends. It's a fantasy of perfection rather than the glorious imperfection of real life. Feasting comes from whole joints of meats. We tear into the same flesh and dine together on the same beast, at that moment we are family.

I believe in generosity. You can not have great barbecue without generosity. Generosity is not an action, it is a product. Generosity comes not simply from portion size but the effort, time, and passion in creating the dish. Those who are committing themselves over to the old school processes are selling generosity everyone else is simply selling smoked meat.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the value of our nation's ancestral barbecues. I believe that the future generations will do too and will pay for it. This will require the creativity and aggressive marketing that only capitalism can provide. Historians will not save our heritage. Our heritage will be saved by the almighty dollar because it is a worthy product and others will value it too.

Whole Hog BBQ Myths

The BBQ world is filled with myths and tall tales. Fairly ridiculous claims like the 18 hour brisket or the 20 hour pork butt. Heck I've even had some guy tell me he cooked his chickens for no less than 8 hours. A lot of it stems from the "low & slow" target that people aim for, so theoretically Lowest & Slowest should make the best BBQ right? If you believe that. I have some beach front property in Arizona I'd like to show you.

Myth #1 200 Degrees and below cooking temperature

You've heard it before, people claiming that the key to cooking the perfect hog requires you  hit a MAXIMUM cooking temperature of 225 degrees. I've even read about places claiming that they cook the hog at 185 degrees or perhaps just slightly higher just to keep the flies away.

One key fact people miss is the DENSITY of the hog. Now if you were cooking a little hog fetus, you go right ahead and do real low. My teacher, Ed Mitchell always said that the most important part of the initial temperature was to get "your heat into your meat". Do you know what they call a turkey cooked for 2 hours in a 500 degree oven? Raw. How long do you think it takes an animal the size of 10 Turkeys to get up to temperature. Just because your pit is 200 degrees doesn't mean you hog anywhere NEAR 200. Heck you're luck if its anywhere near 100 degrees. So raw meat in a moist warm environment, you know what that translates to? Yessir, that's some food poisoning bacteria making it's happy home in your dinner.

For many BBQ cooks, 180 - 200 is a HOLDING TEMPERATURE. You don't cook with it at all. This is the period where the BBQ is at the exact doneness that you want her to be at and she's going to hang out at this setting to rest, redistribute juices, and relax wound up protein. No one cooks at this temperature at any legitimate whole hog joint. If they tell you so they're either lying or trying to kill you.

Myth #2 It takes 24-36 hours to cook a hog 

Now this is a pretty sad view of the pitmaster. Poor guy has to hang around a carcass for the entire day 6 days a week. All dating and sleep will take place on Sunday unless they're open on Sunday. So where exactly do they get this number?

The best lies are of course partially true. It's the same as the 18 hour brisket, despite what television tells you, the brisket is not cooking for 18 hours. Same with the hog, the longest a hog should take you is about 14 hours. Most people will get it done much sooner. What happens after it's fully cooked is that the pit has enough residual coals giving off light heat for the pitmaster to go home without having to fire the pit. If you cut off the drafts, your pit should stay warm for hours. Get a good night's sleep, come back and stoke the coals (re fire) and finish off your hog. So the math is pretty simple 14 hours cooking + 2 hours at the bar + 8 hours worth of sleep = 24 hours. The final 10 is a holding temperature where the meat is no longer cooking.

Can the meat be served at the 14 hour mark? Absolutely. It's fully cooked.

 

Gods of Whole Hog BBQ - Chris Siler

Chris Siler is the owner of Siler Old Time BBQ. His pitmaster's name is Ronnie Hampton. Siler is another new generation pitmasters still doing whole hog. As of this writing he's 37 years old and still preserving the traditions of whole hog BBQ.

Style - West Tennessee though Siler is actually pretty honest about his cooking methods. Many Tennessee pitmasters tend to exaggerate how low. He starts off hot and once the temperatures stabilize he lowers the heat. They use 200-250 lbs hogs as is favored in the West Tennessee area.

Fuel - Only hickory smoker ever touches these hogs.

Sauce - Siler has a unique sauce that utilizes a very old ingredient - Sorghum molasses  It isn't as sweet as we normally think for molasses and it has a rich deep flavor.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QKfoGo5pIMA]

Gods of Whole Hog BBQ - Pat Martin

Aside from the people making the oral history recordings, I'm not sure there's too many people who read up as much as I do on the history, culture and techniques of whole hog barbecue. Much of the reading is just down right depressing. You hear of these tiny remote out of the way towns doing whole hog as a dying art. It's too labor intensive, too time consuming, too hazardous, etc. People don't want their kids doing it, no one is making any money from it, the business dies with the owner etc. See what I mean? The ultimate culmination of this insult to injury narrative is that many have switched over to gas or electric cookers and more or less killed off any real tourist attraction feature it might have had.

It's important to record some of the passing stories, to preserve their stories long after they and their art have passed on. Just importantly though, or I would argue even more importantly, are the profiles of those who ARE successful, who ARE preserving traditional whole hog barbecue without gas, who ARE looking to pass their craft down to their children. People like Pat Martin are the new generation of hog cookers. They have new standards of economics i.e. the fact that a pig cooked for 16 hours should NOT cost the same as a McDonald's hamburger. Despite what old timers might think, the younger generation does value artisanal foods, ancient cooking, and preserving traditions.

Style - Modern West Tennessee. Martin uses a rub on his pork unlike the minimalist seasonings he learned. As traditional West Tennessee goes, wood is burned down to embers and shoveled underneath the hog in an open pit with a metal lid. His signature dish is the famous "Red-Neck Taco" in which barbecue is placed on a hoe cake and seasoned with hot sauce.

Fuel - Garden & Gun claims he's burning hickory but I don't have a confirming source. Would make sense, West Tennessee cooks love their hickory.

Sauce - Western Tennessee Red tomato vinegar sauce with spices.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufruwns0mNI]

Gods of Whole Hog BBQ - Douglas Oliver

Douglas Oliver is the pitmaster of Sweatman's BBQ in Holly Hills, South Carolina. He's one of the more tragic unsung heros on our list. Sweatman's, oddly enough is not listed in the South Carolina BBQ Society's top 100 list which is just criminal. Sweatman's was actually featured on Anthony Bourdain's show "No Reservations" and the president of the SCBBQA brought him there proclaiming it 100 mile BBQ. Oliver's work on the pits is a common theme in the South Carolina countryside - Whole Hog BBQ is hard work, but it isn't as hard as farming. They're rather sit around and watch the pits than have to man the fields.

Style - Sweatman's burns down wood to coals and cooks their hogs on open pits. Unlike many of their competitors, there are metal lids and cover the pits using a pulley system. The hogs are cooked overnight and are only served two days a week - Friday and Saturday. Now they say it takes them all week to prepare but to this day I can't figure out what they're prepping. They also have the distinction of separating the white and dark meats so that people can have their choice of what cut they want. Some people really like this, for a Eastern Carolina stylist like myself, it feels like it defeats the purpose of the whole hog - mixing the fatty dark with the lean white meats.

Fuel - Sweatman's burns oak and hickory woods.

Sauce - You can have any sauce you want just so long as it's mustard you're looking for.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY4KHKOLITY]

Gods of Whole Hog BBQ - Jackie Hite

Jackie Hite lives the dream that everyone wants to live. He pursued his passion for politics, he made a living out of something he loves to do, and he gets to spend his free time teaching kids in the community how to fish. He seems to have had several workers before so there's deep hope that future entrepreneurs will open up their own places cooking Jackie Hite style whole hog. Style - Hite's BBQ cooks on open pits. Wood is burned down to embers and shoveled around not underneath the meat. Having the embers around the meat minimizes the risk of burning the meat and flare ups. The whole hog is cut into six sections for easier handling - flipping pieces instead of the entire animal all at once. He heavily salts the skin and blisters it at the end producing what some argue is South Carolina's best crackling. The open pit is covered with cardboard to keep the heat in. There are no thermometers, Hite's philosophy is just as long as it's smoking, it's cooking. He fires his pits once every 25 minutes year round and once every 30 minutes in the summer.

Fuel - Hickory wood and lots of it. Judging from the massive amount of farmland in the area, there's plenty of wood for him to burn.

Sauce - We are comfortably in the mustard belt here. Mustard not only meets the BBQ, it also shows up in the hash as well.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awyelVWybig]

Gods of Whole Hog BBQ - Ed Mitchell

Ed Mitchell BBQ It's Friday! Can you believe we've already had an entire week of "Gods of Whole Hog"? Today grabbing the mantle is my teacher, Eastern Carolina pitmaster Ed Mitchell. As far as I know, there really isn't anyone but Ed getting out there an promoting Whole Hog BBQ like Ed is. Well there's my website but that's a bit too much self promotion there. There's plenty of whole hog guys being written about but none have grabbed the pulpit and nationally preached the gospel of swine as widely as Ed. If the other pitmasters were saints of our religion, Ed is the prophet. I mean just look at him! With the beard and the size, all you need are some stone tablets in hand and we got a prophet of biblical proportions.

Along with promoting whole hog BBQ, he's going one up further on the supply chain. He believes that farms raising heritage breed hogs can and should make a living doing so and whole hog BBQ is the vehicle to preserve not only America's oldest existing culinary practice but her long standing heritage breed husbandry.

Style - James Kirby's "banking" technique where coals are arranged around the hog. The fire starts off very hot and lowers to a steady temperature through the control of the dampers. Purely Eastern Carolina style here where the hog is chopped up and mixed together both lean and fat. The skin is then crisped up on the pit to be chopped up and mixed into the meat.

Fuel - Ed uses a mixture of charcoal and hickory wood.

Sauce - Eastern North Carolina is straight vinegar pepper. It takes as much to preserve the old traditions as it takes to innovate. Ed doesn't deviate from the sauce his grandparents used. There is a secret ingredient to his sauce though, it's moonshine. The secret is that you put that moonshine in the pit cook and not the sauce bottle.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJVWk1coEbY]

Gods of Whole Hog BBQ - Ricky Parker

Western Tennessee probably has more whole hog restaurants than any other region in the country. It's sandwiched between Nashville and Memphis. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the same sexy music appeal as the two. I'm not sure how Eastern North Carolina's whole hog cooking method arrived in the area, but they're pretty faithful to it. Ricky Parker is the owner and head pitmaster of Scott's Barbecue in Lexington, Tennessee. He has been cooking hog for close to 37 years. The Duroc-Yorkshire hybrids weight between 180 to 200lbs and a picked for their thick backfat. Tennessee style whole hog necessitates a bigger pig because they serve each individual part separately - Shoulders, hams, bacon (middlin'), loins, and tenderloins (catfish). The thicker backfat protects and seasons the loins through the long cooking process. Parker not only continues the old tradition of cooking whole hog, he's actually thriving where many of his competitors in the areas have shut down due to the loss of the meat processing plant.

Style - The duroc-yorkshire hybrids are cooked on their back over hickory embers in open pits. The top of the pit is covered with cardboard paper that Parker has specifically made for him. He goes through 3 hogs a day and needs to change the cardboard every 3 days because the heat causes them to crumble.

Fuel - Tennessee is all hickory all day. Apparently it's really good hickory too. A good friend of mine in the region actually trucks hickory up to BBQ joints in New Jersey. He gets them in planks for a sawmill.

Sauce - Like in North Carolina, his sauce is a vinegar pepper sauce. He does have some super spicy and some sweet sauces he says are for the "tourists" from Memphis.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/1535389]

Gods of Whole Hog BBQ - Samuel Jones

SOURCE: Southern Living Magazine

Up next on deck for my "Gods of Whole Hog" series is Samuel Jones of the Skylight Inn. Now heirs to any throne usually get the short end of the stick public court of opinions. When Michel Roux Jr of Le Gavroche, one of London's most expensive restaurants, took over from his father, the Michelin Guide unceremoniously demoted them from 3 to 2 stars. Bit harsh considering that many consider Michel's talents to exceed his father. The fact that this family has been doing whole hog BBQ for over 180 years, you'd think there would be some type of empire going on. Some generic sauce being sold at whole foods. "Skylight Inns" that bake their pigs in an oven popping up all over the country. Hell a stock listing perhaps. But it's not. The Skylight Inn to this day is still a dive located in the middle of nowhere. It is still to this day where the faithful go to pray. Their butcher block an altar, and like the Eucharist, you get bread and flesh. So I'm assuming he's not in it for the money.

Style -  Classic North Carolina cooking here - burn wood down to coals and shovel around the pig. Around and not under. No thrills, no frills. Jones is also adamant that it needs to be hog cooked with wood embers and it needs to be in an open pit. So all of us with our shiny fancy doors on our trailers, we ain't pit cooking.

Fuel - All oak here. No wood blends. If they cooked with any other wood, we might need to place those trees on the endangered species list.

Sauce - Jones says you can keep your secret sauce and it's pretty likely he'll just give his to you if you ask nicely. A beer would help too. But it's simply cider vinegar, salt, black and red peppers and a dash of Texas Pete hot sauce. Don't try to give him any of yours though, he has unkind words for that glob that people drown their hog in.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/5103174]

Gods of Whole Hog BBQ - Rodney Scott

SOURCE: Time.com Somewhere in the middle of nowhere in South Carolina a voice cries in the wilderness proclaiming to all the faithful to make straight the highways to Scott's BBQ. That voice of course is that of Rodney Scott. It's a fairly reasonable demand, there's only 600 or so people in Hemingway, South Carolina and most tourists are definitely not in the area to go stare at the old railroad. If you talk to a lot of whole hog cooker or many people cooking any barbecue the old fashion way, it's a pretty depressing conversation. On the one hand they'll talk about how awfully hard and terrible the work is, on the other they'll lament the dying of the art. Scott's answer? - sure beats farming.

In addition to being the town's BBQ guy, he's also the town's tree removal service. You have a tree down? He'll come by with axes and chainsaws ready to take it off your hands free of charge. AND he'll invite you to the annual easter BBQ for your kindness. Think about that for a second, he'll take care of YOUR problems and still invite you over for a thank you meal. We all thank God does BBQ but for heaven's sake let's get the man into Congress!

Style - This is old school BBQ right here. Wood is burned down to embers and shoveled under the pig in open pits. The hog is cooked facing down and flipped at the final few minutes of cooking. Scott cooks the "Pee Dee" style of South Carolina BBQ which means a vinegar pepper sauce. Not a drop of mustard in sight! This makes him fairly similar to his eastern cousins in North Carolina. The major difference here is that he seasons the hog on the pit. So after flipping, the hogs are basted while he takes a large spoon and breaks up the meat. Extra coals are placed under the pig to cause the sauce, now pooling in the pig's cavity to boil. This final act of boiling binds the flesh with the sauce.

Fuel - Rodney uses a mix of hickory, pecan and oak. I'm fairly confident that the mix is whatever he has on hand at the moment. He does seem to prefer the flavor of oak though. Like most stick burners, the question is less about wood flavor and more about output of BTUs. He notes that pecan is the fastest and hottest burning wood, hickory makes the longest lasting coals, and oak coals makes the best flavor.

Sauce - As we're in the Pee Dee region - vinegar & pepper rules the day. It seems that there's a nice mix of powdered and crushed peppers in there. He also likes placing lemons into his sauce. The big element in this part of the south is the seasoning of the pig with Accent, an MSG product. Many text have been written about MSG, long of it is - get over it. MSG has no harmful effects, you can not develop an allergy or sensitivity towards it, otherwise the entire nation of China would have one chronic headache. Who knows? Toss a little Accent into your food, you might like it.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/12588376]

Gods of Whole Hog BBQ - Myron Mixon

http://www.jacksoldsouth.com/themes/theme198/logo.png Just for fun I'm posting some of my favorite videos you'll find publicly on Youtube and Vimeo profiling the Gods of Whole Hog BBQ. For obvious reason it'll be a short series. The list of people who are experts at cooking whole hog is very small. This is not because it's the hardest BBQ style to cook, it's because the barrier of entry is particularly high. Brisket, for example, is extraordinarily difficult to learn how to do correct. But it's also pretty small so you could just screw up a brisket on a weekly basis until you finally get it right. Cooking a tiny 50 lbs pig on a weekly basis to get right isn't really within reach of most people.

So today I'm profiling the competition titan Myron Mixon. Myron got his start in competition by winning whole hog and has since been a domineering force in all different types of barbecue contests. It seems that whole hog continues to be his best category. He is best known for his no nonsense iconoclast style seemingly breaking all "rules" of BBQ like 'no lighter fluid' and 'no green wood'.

Style - Myron cooks hot and fast in an enclosed pit. His is specifically competition based, thought he does cook with wood embers in his "Memories Class" where he teaches cooking methods passed down from his father. His pits have a water tray underneath the pig which keeps the humidity in the pit very high. The hog is cooked for several hours uncovered until it has absorbed all the smoke it could and form a nice bark, then it's flipped and wrapped in foil to finish cooking on its back. Judges will sample parts of the shoulder, loins and hams.

Fuel - Myron uses a mix of charcoal and green peach wood. To burn green wood you need a very hot fire, for Myron it's charcoal. If the coal bed is not hot enough to burn the wood cleanly, the wood with start to smolder and produce some black bitter smoke.

Sauce - Because he's largely cooking for competition, the judges are normally offered 3 sauces a vinegar, a mustard, and a regular red sauce. You can actually buy his sauces here.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF4lsvFxqEA]

BBQ ROADTRIP!!! :Midway BBQ - Buffalo, South Carolina

See all the Food Porn HERE.

When I, and most everyone else in the country, think about hash we're thinking shredded potatoes. In South Carolina, it's an stew that's an integral part of the barbecue experience. There really isn't too many places that will serve South Carolina BBQ and not have hash on the menu. Mustard sauce optional, hash never. Midway was also my first experience with eating hash and it definitely set the bar high for me.

Midway is featured in the Southern Foodways Alliance's Oral Documentary project. In it they noted that Midway's slogan was “Hash and chicken stew capital of the world.” It's not one that I'd bet my money against. The beef hash was rich. I didn't realize there was a way to further concentrate the flavors of cow and butter. It would have been more clear to call their hash an "essence". It doesn't try to be very complex with a myriad of herbs and spices - it is the very image of going deep instead of broad.

I also matched it with some barbecue pork, mash potatoes and fried okra. The sides were perfect. Exactly what a proper barbecue plate should contain. The pork on the other hand was kinda bland. It wasn't bad, very moist and the sauces that came with it - Vinegar pepper, mustard, or red sauce - paired up with it nicely. It seems like they use the whole hog from what I saw coming from the truck. Just something missing in the pig. Walking around the back after breakfast I saw that my suspicions were confirmed - a large gas smoker.

I believe it's best to judge someone by what they're offering as their best product. You wouldn't order fish at a steakhouse nor steak at a sushi spot. The pork here was fine but didn't fit the 100 mile BBQ designation that the South Carolina BBQ Association gave it. But their Hash was easily 200 Mile BBQ. No road trip through South Carolina's BBQ landscape would be complete without Midway

Some shots

Whole Hog BBQ - West Tennessee by Joe York

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/1535389 w=500&h=377]

It's been a few years since I last watched this video and it's interesting watching it again. What's striking about the video is the hyper-regionalism of the West Tennessee style. Whole hog is the trademark style of Eastern North Carolina and it's something that translates well into popular culture.

John T Edge noted correctly that just because you have several states that do whole hog bbq over hardwood embers that they are definitely not the same. For most people, the separation is largely the sauce. In Western Tennessee it's the actual parts of the pig themselves. Us Eastern Carolina stylists like to mix the various parts of the pig together so that you get a blend of the lean and the fatty. So in West Tennessee, one does not order a plate of barbecue. They'll ask for either loins, or hams, or shoulders etc. 2 specialty cuts they'll ask for are

  1. Middling - aka bacon
  2. Catfish - the tenderloin

I'd imagine the "catfish" being pretty popular. In North Carolina pig pickings, the ribs, loins, and the catfish are separated out for the pitmasters before everything is chopped together. Got to give the pit crew something for their efforts.

The other difference between Carolina whole hog and Tennessee is that the Carolinia's fire it a bit hotter. The fear of the loins drying out is less pronounced as everything is mixed together. The guys in Tennessee cook it REALLY LOW and REALLY SLOW. This produces a hog which is more tender but it also limits the amount of fat rendering. For Carolina hog you need to have the fat render properly otherwise the meat will boil in the fat and produce a greasy texture.

Incredibly what's causing the tradition in this area to die out is not labor cost or regulations but the simple fact that several meat processing plants have closed in the area. The readily accessible source of whole animals have dwindled.

After so many years since watching this video and several hogs later. It's interesting what you missed the first time around. I've watched this video many many times when it first came out but didn't have the knowledge nor background in order to interpret what I was watching. Gives one a shiver now on what I'm "seeing" in front of me but realistically am seeing nothing.