Eastern-NC-Style
   It's easier to be a Master Chef at the New York Academy Of Culinary Arts & Sciences, it's easier to be a Professor Of Sanskrit at the Sorbonne, it's easier to be a Master Steak Chef at Blackie's in DC, than it is to be a Master BBQ Chef Of Eastern-NC-BBQ. That's because Eastern-NC-Style BBQ is plain whole-hog pork meat, with just the tiniest bit of vinegar-based "sauce" which isn't a sauce at all, applied as a moistening agent. Eastern-Style BBQ is usually one of two grades; either excellent, or close to inedible. When you have a fine-chopped (almost to the point of being ground at times, without use of a mechanical grinder) plain meat dish, with just enough vinegar "sauce" to wake up your taste buds and nothing else, the meat, the grade of the meat, how the pig is butchered and prepared, the pain-staking slow-cooking process, everything culminates to when it hit's your tongue with either an "ahhhhh" or a "yecchhh!".

   Most times Eastern-Style is served with Cole slaw, as a side dish if served on a plate, or atop the BBQ itself if served in a sandwich. Craig Claiborne, the former NY Times food critic and a converted fan of NC BBQ, often said an Eastern-Style BBQ sandwich, with the astringency stress of the (usually slightly hot pepper flavor but not much) vinegar sauce balanced with the cool blanche' of the Cole slaw made such an Eastern-NC-Style sandwich a true delicacy, an epicurean delight.

   When and wherever Eastern-Style NC BBQ served, in addition to Cole slaw, two things are also invariably served with it, those being sweetened ice tea so strong as to where a cup or pitcher full of melting ice won't dilute it much, and "hushpuppies". "Hushpuppies", again, seem to be a peculiarly North Carolinian' culinary invention, though, equally again, even though I've never found them for sale at any restaurant outside of North Carolina, one would have to think that fried cornbread balls, which are all that hushpuppies are, would be almost universal in taste appeal and popularity. Hushpuppies are merely cornbread-dough-batter elongated "nuggets" about the size of a small cheese stick, deep-fried very quickly in a super-hot grease bath, which gives them a flavorful golden-brown crust with a yellow and equally flavorful soft middle, and are as or more addicting than great BBQ by themselves. Even if a restaurant has acceptable-to-OK BBQ, if they have great hushpuppies and superbly-brewed iced tea, they'll do a decent business. An open speculation and question: as easy to fix, cheap to make, and as tasty as fresh-made hushpuppies are, I don't understand why a national restaurant chain, say Burger King or similar, hasn't picked up in them and made them an alternative side dish?...the Country would go crazy over them, over hushpuppies, if they did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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