Three keys to happiness

There must be something in the air. Something that's affecting somewhat reasonable folks thinking. Something that is causing a misfiring of synapses that's led them to believe smearing a tomato based sauce on meat instantly turns it into Barbeque. Now there's Barbeque (typically only found in eastern North Carolina or the home or restaurant of a transplanted Eastern North Carolinian), and barbeque (the adjective used across the country for cooking a piece of meat on a grill, often times involving the smearing of a tomato based sauce, often used when describing Ribs found in Memphis, Tennessee).

One of the luxuries I've had is being able to travel throughout the country. However one of the downsides is soon as lunch or dinner time rolls around, without fail I'm drug to their local "barbeque" restaurant. Some of them have actually tried to pass off the local Tony Roma's as a decent place to eat. It may be decent, if you haven't eaten in a while and your stomach is starting to eyeball your spine, but short of starvation I'll pass.

Several years back I arrived in Kentucky (Owensboro to be exact) during one of their local Barbeque Festivals. As a treat the owner of the company I was working with had purchased "Mutton Glutton" tickets for us. You read that right, Mutton, in Kentucky it seems sheep serve a purpose for something other than wool and date night. It wasn't bad, however I was sickened that they'd actually desecrate the name barbeque; overall it wasn't terrible if you weren't expecting real barbeque.

Other trips have taken me throughout the country where I've had just about every type meat imaginable (minds out of the gutter please) barbequed. Some of the more tasty treats I've experienced were the barbequed halibut tacos in San Diego, barbequed beef brisket in Dallas and barbequed ribs in Memphis.

There are some folks(Glenn Reynolds and Preston Taylor Holmes being two of the proud Tennesseans)1 that are probably going to get almost fightin' mad about this, but y'all are just barbequing pig, y'all ain't serving Barbeque. As I said earlier, there is a huge difference between Barbeque and barbeque. Hell I've been to places in Memphis that actually served a Mustard based sauce and folks were still calling it good Memphis barbeque2. If that took place around here it'd be grounds for a tar and feathering.

For those who still aren't quite sure what Barbeque is; it's a whole hog slow cooked skin side up for at least eight hours over charcoal, wood or possibly propane (propane if you don't have access to anything else that'll burn). About an hour before it's done you flip it and start it dousing it with Barbeque sauce. Barbeque sauce, as compared to barbeque sauce, is vinegar based (typically apple cider vinegar) with a couple of key ingredients being crushed red pepper, crushed black pepper and sugar. There are other secret ingredients that are passed through the family, but those are common throughout. Once the pigs done, it's taken off the cooker and the meat is chopped up, with more sauce being mixed in.

Round here in Eastern North Carolina smearing spicy catsup (the other barbeque sauce) onto somebody's Barbeque is damned near a killing offense. It's a little know fact that the war of Northern Aggression (some folks call it the Civil War, but there won't nothing civil about it) was actually started when some dumb Yankee soldier started bitching about our Sweet Tea and then tried mix catsup in with our Barbeque sauce. That's right folks it wasn't the threat federal guvement interfering with states rights that caused the first shots to be fired it was some ole dumb Yank that didn't know any better.

Hopefully this will help clear up some of the confusion that's been spreading around recently. There are three keys to happiness: Life, Liberty and Eastern North Carolina Barbeque (just don't forget the Brunswick Stew, Slaw, Boiled 'taters and Sweet Tea).

1) Glenn Reynolds and Preston Taylor Holmes are apparently trying to start some sort of war with their neighbors to the east or perhaps they just don't know good Barbeque.

2) No ill will should be harbored towards Memphians as the radioactive isotopes emitted from Graceland have more than likely caused a genetic mutation to their taste buds; well that and they just don’t know any better.

Super Secret Message to Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Holmes: I'll be glad to overnight a bit of quality Barbeque to y'all if you'd like, or if you ever make it east of I-95 in North Carolina dinner's on me.

Posted by phineas g. at 01:45 PM on September 19, 2005 | TrackBack

MMMM, Barbeque!!

Posted by: Oddybobo at September 19, 2005 02:19 PM

I cannot beleive Glenn would stoop so low as to insult real Barbeque.

It's time for the Confederate Air Force to fly one more bombing mission...

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 19, 2005 02:19 PM

Hey, now!!! I grew up in Memphis, and there is a heck of a lot more to Memphis bar-b-que (yes, that is the correct spelling) than what you describe.

I'd take what you wrote as fightin' words, but you obviously have not had exposure to real Memphis bar-b-que, which is ambrosia given to us by the gods.

You probably had the ribs at the Rendezvous, which while pretty good, ain't REAL Memphis bar-b-que.

Go to Showboats Bar-B-Que, or Three Pigs Bar-B-Que in Memphis for the REAL thing.

I've had the North Carolina Barbeque of which you speak, and it is pretty darn good, but it just don't measure up to REAL Memphis bar-b-que.

Posted by: Jack at September 19, 2005 02:35 PM

ahhhh. Piggy. I am sooooooooo friggin' homesick. You bastard. ;)

And you need hushpuppies. Gotta start with the hushpuppies. Yum....

I am SOOOO going to go get a butt roast and make a "fake" Barbecue this weekend.

Posted by: caltechgirl at September 19, 2005 04:36 PM

I wonder what would happen if an Aussie wandered in gave tips on how to 'Barby' :p

Posted by: NYgirl at September 19, 2005 04:44 PM

I heart barbeque. It is the best thing American cooking ever invented.

Next time you come to NY, I'll take you to Keenes Chop House for a mutton chop. Yummy.

Posted by: RP at September 19, 2005 04:48 PM

Hushpuppies are okay but they're a pale shadow of corn pone.

But hold on one second here...

Propane! Jeeze, why don't you just deep fry the thing if you're going to use propane?

Posted by: Jim at September 19, 2005 05:01 PM

Damn, I can't believe I left out hushpuppies.

I'm thinking there's a new war in the works. One which shall be waged against the likes of one ENC Barbeque Sauce bashing Reynolds.

Jim, the main reason we haven't deep fried a whole hog yet is we don't have a cooker big enough. Well that and we save the frying for Hushpuppies and Turkey.

Mmmmm Fried Turkey.

Posted by: phin at September 19, 2005 05:08 PM

Phin, I'll even cook the pig, but remember the sauce recipe stays in the family

Posted by: carolinagrayghost at September 19, 2005 06:17 PM

Them's fightin' words.

Then again, maybe I should take you up on that whole overnighting-BBQ thing, seein' how money's been tight since the wife quit working at the local "gentlemen's club".

Just make a trip to Memphis, get the dry ribs at the Rendezvous downtown, and then you'll not only be eating your words, you'll be eating some angelic pig.

Posted by: Preston Taylor Holmes at September 19, 2005 09:51 PM

I must be a very confused girl.

North Carolina Barbeque - I've made an ass out of myself on several occasions involving this delight. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Texas Brisket - Oh. My. Goodness. Worth a trip to Texas just for that.

Memphis - I'm not a huge rib fan - but I LOVE THESE.

Kansas City - when flying through there I would beg for a 4 or 5 hour lay-over just so I could go out and eat.

It's a sickness....I told you, I have issues with food.

Thanks, thanks a lot Phin! ;-)

Posted by: Tammi at September 19, 2005 09:58 PM

If it ain't mesquite, it ain't barbeque.

Rather than get riled up about it, though, I'll just feel sorry for you poor fellers who have to barbeque with hickory or some other "junk wood" because y'all can't grow mesquite.

Poor, poor fellers.

Posted by: Texas Barbeque at September 20, 2005 03:01 AM

Dang. Insty and Preston Marie in the same sentence.

Yeah. Bar-b-que rocks! BOOYA.

Posted by: sadie at September 20, 2005 03:16 AM

Our barbeque is anything cooked outside over coals. Being a keen cook I can understand the arguments over the sauce ;-)

Posted by: Ruth at September 20, 2005 03:32 AM

Obviously, everyone has their own definitions. Here phin, the whole hog thing is simply called a hog roast. BBQ, yes, we use 'BBQ' here, is anything with BBQ sauce slathered all over it and cooked slow. Ribs are the pick, if given a choice.

Posted by: Theresa at September 20, 2005 03:33 PM

As Joe Bob Briggs says, barbecue is OK, Bar-B-Q is good, but BBQ is the best.

Posted by: Joey at September 20, 2005 09:03 PM

People, people, people...

As the author of the aforementioned Six Meat post, I feel obliged to clarify: Memphis' specialty is not ribs, but pulled pork, and it is the best pulled pork to be found anywhere. And ribs are best left to the folks who know ribs best: Alabamians*. Being neither a native Memphian, Alabamian, or Tarheel, rest assured mine is a truly bipartisan position. The American people know where I stand.

* Honorable mention: Kansas City

Posted by: Johnny Walker Red at September 20, 2005 09:19 PM

I have to call bullshit on the mesquite. I've lived in Texas most of my life and mesquite is a weed that should be eradicated along with the boll weevil. Anybody who has smoked a lot of animal flesh knows you would never use mesquite before using an honest to goodness smoking wood like hickory, oak or pecan. Mesquite is actually okay for use in grilling steaks or chops, but one should never use it for smoking.

Posted by: Dash at September 21, 2005 11:14 PM

The post that led to the site redesign... heheh..

Love the Dark skin, Phin!

Posted by: That 1 Guy at September 23, 2005 01:37 PM

Life withoug Barbecue would not be life at all! We invite you to check out All Spiced Up! We sell some of the best!

Posted by: mitch at October 19, 2005 11:14 AM