Official "Off Season" Arrives

You can tell when the "off season" arrives by the changing character of posts on the UNC message boards. Invariably, someone will bemoan the passing of spring football/basketball and suggest that someone begin a good old fashioned barbecue thread. Barbecue, Krispy Kreme and UNC sports somehow seem to form a holy trinity even though I have read recently of some Carolina people who really don't understand what all the fuss is about with Krispy Kremes. It's just a few but until several months ago I had never met or heard of a person who didn't like Krispy Kremes. I had talked with people who chose not to eat KKs but never anyone who said they didn't like the taste. Wonder what these people are going to do if the rumored deal goes through that will bring a Krispy Kreme shop to Chapel Hill on the ground floor of the building where the Top of the Hill restaurant is located. A branch bank occupied the lower part of the building prior to a merger and talks are taking place that could result in Chapel Hill finally having its own Krispy Kreme. It will eliminate students having to make trips to Raleigh but I have news for those who might work nearby. The constant smell of Krispy Kremes will not cause them to end their love affair with KKs but smelling them all day will reduce the excitement of a smell every now and then. I know this for a fact because I used to live across the street from a KK shop in Raleigh ( second one- right after the first one opened in Winston-Salem) and everyone who visited us would comment on how lucky we were to live so close to the KK shop. We finally stopped trying to explain it to them.

Enough on Krispy Kremes. I want to tell you about the special issue of Southern Living that hit the newsstands on May 20th that is dedicated to Southern BBQ. They refer to it as "Our Ultimate Guide" and it is well worth the purchase price of $9.95 for reference even if you never use it.

There are photographs of Wilburs and Lexington BBQ and the Skylight in Ayden is the only N.C entry on the BBQ map of the south as well as a shot of their BBQ with the signature cornbread. They do a good job of explaining the difference between Eastern and Lexington BBQ.

There are separate sections on hush puppies, sauces, brunswick stew, slaw, tea, potato salad, beans and deserts. There is even a photo and recipe for a BBQ sundae. I think I will pass on that one.

I learned some things I didn't know from the book and found some recipes that I want Mrs. RamFanatic to try. For example, I have never heard of a banana pudding recipe that calls for condensed milk. I would like to try it because I may have been missing something. Another one is sweet potato salad. I don't think I will like it better than conventional potato salad but I won't know until I try it.

The part I liked best were the definitions of eating establishments that serve BBQ. I have noticed that I have a hard time deciding what to call BBQ eating establishments when talking or writing but Southern Living has solved that for me. Here are their definitions:

BBQ joint- screened door, jukebox, beer, chalkboard menu. The cook is named Bubba. Cash only.

BBQ dive- Torn screen door, tattoos, beer, whiskey, flies. No menu. The cook's real name is Bubba, and she has a prison record. You don't tell your mama you go there.

Now that I know the difference I would like to state for the record that I am perfectly capable of patronizing a dive if the aroma outside beckons. I love to find these out of the way places and I don't share their locations freely with others. I am past the stage of wanting to convince others that my tastes in BBQ are superior to theirs.

The Pit Stop BBQ locations in N.C. which are listed are as follows. While it doesn't say so explicitly, I believe all of these locations cook their BBQ over an open pit.

Allen and Son -Chapel Hill

Barbecue Center - Lexington

Bill's Barbecue and Chicken - Wilson

Jimmy's BBQ - Lexington

Lexington Barbecue - Lexington

Rick and Tina Sauls - Harbinger ( I must admit I don't know where Harbinger is )

Skylight Inn - Ayden

Speedy's Barbecue - Lexington

Stamey's -  Greensboro (across from the Coliseum and other locations)

Whitley's Barbecue - Murfreesboro

Wilbur's BBQ - Goldsboro.

I've got to run now. In writing this article, I have made myself hungry and I think I have a little BBQ left in the refrigerator from Clyde Cooper's in Raleigh. If I don't, it won't take that long for me to thaw some in the microwave. Don't tell anybody I do that or I will be ruined.