Somewhere on A1A...

Wednesday, October 23, 2002


As a Native North Carolinian, and a huge SEC football fan, this report in the NYT got my attention. Especially when a home town place is featured in the accompanying photo.

While war rages in Israel, while we debate probable war in Iraq, while India an Pakistan face-off, while diplomatic problems appear in every corner, I thought I'd take a little break and try to get some opinions from BBQ lovers on other issues. The debate may not be earth shattering, but it's a whole lot more fun.

Culinary authorities shed heat, if not necessarily light, on exactly the kinds of questions that baffle diplomats. Precisely where, for instance, is the border between Down East and Piedmont barbecue in North Carolina? That line proved every bit as difficult to define as the one between India and Pakistan in Kashmir.

Age-old questions were revisited: Wood or charcoal? Pork or beef (or mutton or goat)? Chopped or sliced? Sauce based on tomatoes, vinegar or mustard? Sauce on top, sauce on the side, or no sauce at all? And what about side dishes? Coleslaw, baked beans and potato salad, not much controversy there; but what about fries? Are they too tainted by McDonald's?

Well right off the bat I see an oversight... What about Brunswick Stew? Corn Sticks, corn bread, biscuits or toast? Whatever the arguement it's a pleasure to have such multi-cultural, multi-ethnic debate. BBQ not Kosher, you say? Well...
Mr. Trillin argued that even the most observant of his fellow Jews could feel free to eat barbecued pork because of a little-known "easement" granted by the equally little-known Joplin (Mo.) Rebbe. But it was left to Marcie Cohen Ferris, a young scholar who grew up near Memphis, to disclose, less facetiously, that an Orthodox congregation there has held a kosher barbecue for the last 14 years, and that Corky's BBQ Restaurant has nearly perfected a kosher sauce.
So take a stand.... Beef or Pork ?? Sliced, chopped, or pulled? Sauce ?? Sides ?? And what's the best way to wash it down ?? Swee'tea or beer? I want to know!


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