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|Holy Smoke: 'Don't get behind on your barbecue'|
Maybe William Byrd II was right in 1726 when he described Tar Heels as a “porcivorous people” because of their preference for pig meat.
Southern studies guru John Shelton Reed and fellow pork pro Dale Volberg Reed have partnered with pig-pushing alum William McKinney (founder of the Carolina BBQ Society) to help us understand why, more than 280 years later, we’re still hooked on hog.
In Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Caroline Barbecue (UNC Press, November 2008) the authors provide the first definitive guide to the people, places and culinary secrets behind the world's best 'cue. They trace the origins of the holy meal and all its rituals as well as the emergence of the sizzling rivalry between Eastern and Piedmont approaches, heaven help us.
In addition to providing detailed instructions on how to cook a whole hog, the authors include recipes for traditional side dishes (Wilbur’s Green Slaw and Sanitary Hushpuppies) and desserts (Mama Dip’s Peach Cobbler or Crook’s Banana Pudding) that ought to accompany your barbecue plate, if you still have room, that is.
The book is sprinkled with lots of photos, tidbits and even a few barbecue lyrics:
“Holy Smoke: What smells so good? Is someone burnin’ hickory wood?” (Tommy Edwards, Bluegrass Experience).
“Whoa, mama, whatever you do, Don’t get behind on your barbecue.” (Jack Herrick/ Bland Simpson, Red Clay Ramblers).
Interviews with pitmasters like Samuel Jones of the Skylight Inn in Ayden and Keith Allen of Allen & Son in Chapel Hill provide a glimpse into what it’s like to be a keeper of the flame and to make North Carolina barbecue for a living.
Southern writer John Egerton calls Holy Smoke, “a harmonic convergence” of “factoids, field intelligence, received wisdom and fine art…. It is as entertaining as it is informative.”
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