Barbecue and You

fingerThe world would be
a pretty dreary place
without the human penchant
for invention.

After all, if Carl the Caveman
hadn’t been messing around
with those Zippos that the
little green men left behind
while on a Earth booty call,
—— we might never have had fire.

And that means—

no BBQ.caveman

Talk about a drastic change.

Actually,

I was kidding
about the cavemen
having Zippos,
of course.

They only had thosegoodoldtimes
cheap disposable ones
that only work about 3 times,
and then they quit working altogether.

You can’t even get
a spark outta ’em, usually.

That’s why you can
buy em 20 for 5 bucks.

And they ain’t worth that.

You’ll need 10 of em,
just to get a decent fire going.

And you know,
cavemen didn’t have those
self-lighting charcoal briquettes, either —
—–  they had to use the plain ones.

Those can be tough to start.lynx

So, you can see how many challenges
that early man had to face.

What,
with no such thing
(back then, anyway) as a
Lynx Professional Natural Gas Powered Grill….

…. including custom features
for ultimate convenience:

a pullout bamboo cutting board,a1
a removable utensil tray,
an insulated cold storage drawer
for ice, beverages or marinated foods…

…. solid cast-brass burners impervious to wind,
and ProSear variable infrared burners
that can be closely controlled all the way
from quick searing to lower-temperature slow cooking.

But,
thanks to the sacrifices your ancestors
like Carl the Caveman made in the name of science —

you can have one —
Only $8999.99 .ralphie

Not including shipping,
handling, and assembly charges, of course.

Wait……

I think I mighta got side tracked —

…….. by a crummy commercial.

Those sneaky bastards.

Ahem.fatboy

You might know
that I grew up in South Florida…

and although I can name
all five varieties of Florida grapefruit,
( Duncan, Ruby Red, Pink, Thomson, and Marsh… )
… and even tell you the differences between them,

…. when it came to barbecue,
I grew up thinking anything
cooked over a fire could be called barbecue.

I had some pork bbq at
“Sunny’s BBQ” a coupla times…
….and it didn’t do anything for me.

Why would it?almoore

To me, that wuz BBQ…
— no big deal.

Don’t blame me….
I didn’t know no better.

How could I know…
until I moved to North Carolina …

….. about real barbecue
and the great BBQ schism…

And, if you don’t live
here in the beautiful South,
you’re probably unaware of the controversy.

It all started a coupla years ago….
….when some wise ass
Yankee TV chef did a program on “Barbecue”…hooked

and focused all the attention
on what he called the “Barbecue Capitals” of the South:

Memphis
Kansas City
and Texas.

Hold on there,
Mister Smart-Alecky TV guy……

Fer one, Kansas City ain’t no mo in the “South”
than Keokuk…….

Fer two, Memphis is great if want dry rub RIBS,
but I ain’t desperate enough for em to risk
life and limb goin to a hole like Memphis
unless I have to….

and besides, RIBS ain’t “barbecue”…..

And fer three….bigchief
Texas ????
They use beef
—- and that ain’t barbecue, either.

Man,
everybody knows there’s only
one place to get real barbecue…….

…………. and that’s here in the Carolinas.

Any chef worth his beans and rice knows that.

And barbecue don’t come from no cow….
…. no fish,
no deer,
no buffalo,
no Mongolians…

No no no no no.

Barbecue comes from a PIG.piggy

It’s pork, plain and simple.

Mmmmmmmm.

Hot Pork……

……… makes me feel warm all over.

(what’s that Frog got that I ain’t got, anyway?

…. other than a lily pad and a long sticky tongue.

Ahem.

Anyway,
as I was sayin’ before you interrupted me…..

The whole PORK thing
can actually get a mite complicated.crackling

You got to make some serious choices about it.

Never mind how to determine
just how much smokey flavor is just right—

And not withstanding making the difficult decisions:

— of choosing between sliced, chopped, or pulled……

— the differences between whole pig,
pork shoulder picnic, or Boston Butt…..

— the big moral dilemna of ‘to add sauce’ or ‘not to add sauce’…….

— the ‘dark’ meat versus ‘mixed’ question……

— and whether BBQ should come with
biscuits, rolls or cornbread……

Ok…. yes,
there are answers
to these complicated questions —

( the correct answers are:fire
very smokey ,
pulled,
whole pig,
add ,
dark ,
and cornbread . )

The most interesting thing about Carolinas barbecue…

just in case you didnt know……

……. is that we have three distinct styles of barbecue.

chuckAnd what you get when you order
Barbecue here has a lot to do with
where you are in the South.

For instance,
let’s say you’re down there
in the charming Capital
of South Carolina – Columbia.

Well, you’d want to find
yerself the nearest Maurice’s BBQ —

( formerly Piggy Park BBQ —
why would you change a name like that???? )—

and get you some mustard based bbq
with a side of some of that barbecue hash.

Top it off with some banana pudding.

Oh yeah.brown

Now, I can’t really ‘splain
what bbq hash is exactly….
I’m not sure anybody really knows….
but it’s sorta like……
well……
it’s some scorched pieces and some sauce, and ……..
it’s served on rice…..

Just try it.

If you’re near the NC coast,
say around New Bern or Wilmington—

You’d probably find you a local Smithfield BBQ
( they’re all over down there… )

and dig into some delicious fire roasted
mixed BBQ with the vinegar and pepper sauce.

Man, I love the stuff as it drips down on your hush puppies.
( you know, them fried thingees….. )

us27Now, let’s say you’re up
around Greensboro, North Carolina…….

Well, then you’d probably drop down
about 20 miles and head for Lexington Barbecue-

for their pit-cooked dark meat barbecue with the sweeter tomato based sauce…….

order the ‘chunk’ and not the fine chopped —

so you can be sure you get
some of the burned darker pieces ( “outside brown” )

….. chewy but tender, and yummy.

If you’re in Lexington,
well, Speedy’s is good, too…butts

Actually, my absolute favorite
BBQ place is in Winston-Salem —

It’s called “Bibb’s Downtown”
on West 5th Street, in Winston, near the ball park.

Their ribs are UNBELIEVABLE.

Kid you not.

Anyhoo….

While there certainly are other differences in the styles,

I guess it mostly comes
down to the sauces used in cooking and serving.pulled

So, I thought it might be nice of me,
as a public service to all y’all folks
who can’t get down here anytime soon….

…. to give you a couple of recipes
so’s you can try some of these styles for yourself.

I can’t promise that old pork roast
you cook at home is gonna be as
good as the real thing,
but it’ll give ya an notion anyway.

PS……..
If you were to ask me in public
what my favorite BBQ sauce style was,
I’d have to answer regionally.

Privately…..
if I’m makin it at home,
I like the upcountry SC mustard based…..
( don’t tell nobody…. )

Mustard Based Upcountry BBQ Sauce sunscreen

1 cup yellow mustard ( Duke’s or Guldens is good )
1/3 cup dark brown Sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice ( or lemon juice )
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 dash of cumin

Place ingredients in sauce pan
and simmer over medium low heat for an hour,
stirring frequently. Do not allow to boil.
Add salt and hot sauce to taste if desired.

.

Vinegar Based Carolina BBQ Saucesept

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
dash of Cilantro
dash of hot sauce ( Texas Pete will work )
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar

No need to cook this…..
just set aside in refrigerator for 24 hours.

.

Lexington Style BBQ Sauce

1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup water
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Spanish paprikabuttrub
1 bay leaf
dash black pepper
Cayenne and Hot Sauce to taste

Heat, but do not bring to boil…..
simmer for 30-60 minutes.

.

Let me know how you like these !!!

PS… if you’re looking for BBQ in Charlotte,
which is not exactly the BBQ mecca of the Carolinas,
your best bet might be Sauceman’s on West Blvd at Tryon Street.

.

HOY!

bbq

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Gifts for the Bacon Lover

1Ok…

Yes, I am a somewhat over-dedicated powerlifter and gym rat.

Thanks for asking.

My workouts are about 1 1/2 to 2 hours long, 5 times a week,
( okay… six  )

……… and I very carefully watch what I eat… mostly.

I spend much of my days telling people about good nutrition and exercise.

So, the whole “wonderful world of bacon” thing might seem a bit incongruent with that.

Well,
when it comes to something as sublime as bacon…

…………………………………….. all I can say is tough toogies.

You might as well ask me to give up redheads, coffee or motorcycles.

And THAT ain’t happenin’.

.

2

.

Anyhoo…  with the holiday gift season coming up…

I thought it might be fun to talk about BACON….

And we’ll look at some of the more interesting products aimed directly at the heart of the bacon affectionado, like you and me.

First, a little background on the stuff.

Bacon — the real stuff — comes from a pig. (….. like barbecue )

I hate to be an absolutist on anything, but this is one point on which I am totally non-negotiable.

Bacon don’t come from no turkey, no cow, no way, no how.

Oinkers only need apply.

That said, there is still some , well…
….. confusion on what qualifies as bone-fide bacon.

The Europeans, despite having first introduced the concept of bacon to us mere colonists, seem to have veered from the path of real bacon virtue….

The English use a cut that is part loin and part fat-back, and cook it all wilty-like.

The French cut it up into little cubes, call it ‘lardon‘ , and spread it on toast.

The Germans boil it into a goopy mess.

And the Canadians…, usually a sensible bunch people with reasonably good taste,

…. well, I dunno what they’re thinking… theirs looks suspiciously like ham.

What we Americans call ‘bacon’ comes from the belly of the pig,
….. yes, it’s mostly fat –
and is usually smoked and cured before cooking.

It cooks up crispy, golden brown, to piggy perfection.

My great-grandparents in Virginia used to smoke and cure their own,
… but today, most Americans just buy it by the pound at the grocery store–

And you can find some delicious variations of smoking and curing in a good market that just add to the whole bacon adventure.

There’s salt, maple or brown sugar cured, smoked in hickory, or oak, or even corn-cobs.

One of my favorites is Applewood-Smoked Peppered Bacon..
………. it takes a BLT to a level way beyond sandwichland.

And you can’t go anywhere near L.A. without having a bacon-wrapped hot dog.

( Wilcox and Hollywood Blvd — hint, hint, nudge, nudge )

Did you know that the record for the world’s largest BLT was set at Iron Barley’s Tomato Fest, St. Louis, Missouri in 2011 —

It was a staggering 224 feet long, and held over 600 pounds of hickory smoked bacon.

Not to mention 440 pounds of bread, 550 lbs of tomatoes, 220 heads of lettuce, 60 gallons of mayonnaise ( I hope it was Duke’s ) and weighed 2000 pounds.

Man, that’d take me a coupla days to finish…

OK… maybe a day and a half.

But bacon ain’t just for breakfast and sandwiches, ya know.

I recently had some bacon-wrapped chicken at a local Brazilian Steak House that sent me into orbit.

And when I was at the beach this year,
I bought some dark chocolate dipped bacon on the boardwalk,
……… it was very chocolate-ey and very, very bacon-ey indeed.

There’s a restaurant-bar in New York City where everything they serve has bacon in it.

Everything.

I had the Bacon-Infused Bourbon.

And the Bacon Ice Cream had little chunks of bacon in it.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm… smoky.

Ya know, being a bacon fanatic can actually become something of a lifestyle for some folks….

Imagine that.

And since knowing what someone likes makes gift giving so much easier…

I figured we should look at some of the .. ummm .. interesting … bacon themed products on the market .

I think you might be surprised at the variety.

This little number, for instance.  3

This,

my friends,

is for the bacon life-styler who wants to carry his passion into the here-after with him.

( ……. would that make him a ‘bacon after-life styler’ ?)

Yes, IT IS a coffin painted to look like it’s covered with bacon.

( you couldn’t actually cover a coffin with bacon
………… that would be a waste of perfectly good bacon! )

This gem comes with everything the deceased bacon lover would want….

18 gauge steel construction, premium bacon-themed interior, adjustable mattress…..

…… even a bacon-scented air freshener !

( Yes, of course they make bacon-scented air fresheners !! )

And it’s all yours ( or somebody’s ) for only three thousand dollars,
….. plus shipping and… errr…. handling .

I guess it’s for the guy who wouldn’t get caught dead being without bacon, huh?

Next !

At least a part of the appeal of bacon is that marvelous smokey aroma.

Imagine if you could walk around smelling like bacon all day….

Hey, the girls wouldn’t be able to keep their hands off ya, right ?

Well, now your evil plan to dominate the world’s population of olifactorily sensitive females can come to fruition……

( try and say THAT three times fast… )

4

Yes, now for the first time ever, “BACON SOAP”.

For six bucks, you can wash yourself all over with luxurious baconey goodness,

…… without having to have the fat scraped off you afterwards with a trowel.

( I hate when that happens. )

It washes off just like soap– cause it IS soap.

Get several and have a piggie party !

Soooooooooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeeeey !!!!!

…. ummm…. wait… huh ????

NEXT!!! 5

This bacon themed lunchbox will make ya look cool no matter where you take it….

Office, school, gym, or even Bacon-Anonymous Meetings ,
………….. it’ll fit right in with your bacon-centric lifestyle.

Comes complete with a bacon-themed thermos ,
…… and room for three , … count em, three bacon boties !!

( That’s “bacon sandwiches” to the unenlightened )

Hey–
what da ya want for fifteen bucks ?

I’ve been thinking…..

You know how part of being any kind of life-styler is telling the world all about your particular …. umm… thing ?

Here’s your chance to do it,
without the slightest chance of having the girls at the office look at you funny and mumble: “….. ewwww grosssss ! “

( ok. there is still a slight chance, but I don’t think it has anything to do with this fine product.)

6Send a message with these fine Simulated Silk, Simulated Bacon, 100% Rayon Ties !

Here you have all the advantages of a bacon tie,

………… with none of the inconvenience of using the real thing.

Only 20 bucks –

…. an inexpensive way to show the business world your porky paradigm !

Wearing this, stray dogs won’t be the only thing that will want to follow you home.

And….

7

Assuming, of course, that the last only slightly semi-sarcastic insinuation ends up working out to be true,

You’ll want to remember to always: ‘ un-dress to impress ‘ –

…………… with these bacon-themed boxer shorts.

Yes, now you can wear the object of your devotion close to your heart –

……… well, ok, maybe not your heart , exactly…

Ahem.

These can be yours for about 20 bucks, come with spandex waistbands, and for the more dedicated bacon lovers– sizes up to 5x.

Ok.

Let’s just take a shot in the dark here…

…… and say that, instead of me just confusing ya with all this double entendre stuff,

that you’ve actually come to feel — that bacon and you — could really have something special.

It takes a brave man to admit it.

Of course, you might be feeling conflicted, maybe oddly curious.

Hey– it’ll be our little secret, ya know?

And my friend, do I have the resource for you.

8

Cheers!