Thursday, December 18, 2008
Ben and I have become barbecue enthusiasts. The time-honored Southern tradition of roasting an entire pig over a wood fire has become very dear to the hearts of these two Yankees.
For those of you unfamiliar with barbecue, or for those readers who think of barbecue as an event held on the Fourth of July or similar occasions, let me point you to the wisdom of Rhett and Link, North Carolina's favorite musical comedy duo:
People not from the South think barbecue means cookout.
And that’s something they’re wrong about.
Barbecue’s not a verb.
Barbecue’s not a grill.
Barbecue is meat prepared in a very special way, which varies depending on where you are.
And when you're in Eastern North Carolina barbecue territory, like we are, barbecue is pork prepared with vinegar-based sauce. And that's it.
I'll spare you details on the Eastern-style/Western-style drama, only saying that most folks around here like Eastern-style and Ben and I are with them on that.
Our favorite barbecue spot in Bill's in Wilson. There are a lot of good things about Bill's. First -- and most important -- the food is excellent. Second, there's a lot of it. Third, it's pretty cheap. Fourth, the ambiance and decor are such that you don't feel bad if you drop a little of your barbecue on the table. Or the floor.
I usually go for the barbecue (pork -- but that goes without saying in the Tar Heel State), chicken and dumplings, hush puppies, sweet potatoes and biscuits. And peach cobbler. The photo at the top is my most recent Bill's meal. Notice the half-eaten biscuit. That's where I started.
Ben skips the dessert and does double barbecue and biscuits. He's also a sweet potato fan, likes the fried chicken and hush puppies, and has been known to try fatback but reports it isn't his favorite menu item.
I think this picture of Ben really captures our barbecue experience. See how he's savoring the moment? Or just happened to blink as I took the picture?
If you're in the neighborhood, stop in at Bill's. Tell them we sent you. But I'd recommend skipping the fatback.