Ashley Christensen’s Take on Barbecue — With Fullsteam!

November 4, 2010

As I wrote earlier, Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner is preparing a very special barbecue dinner to benefit the Lucy Daniels Center.  This won’t be any ordinary barbecue, however.

Ashley cures the pork for 3 days, with a special rub of salt and other herbs and spices.  This turns the pork into the most amazingly succulent swine you’ll ever taste.  But then she slowly smokes that pig over nut wood (typically pecan) for hours and hours, until a nice, crust is formed and the meat is redolent of that sweet smoke.  Of course, she has her own take on sauce.

You know it will be good.  No, you know it will be the best damn barbecue you’ve ever had.

But there will also be beer.  And we’re talking about beer that was created to be served with barbecue: Fullsteam’s Hogwash, which is a hickory-smoked porter.  We’ll also be serving the Fullsteam Carolina Common, a lighter beer for those who prefer it that way.

And as far as side dishes are concerned, you won’t be disappointed.  Don’t expect some limp green beens or dried out corn sticks.  There will even be a special Brunswick Stew.  And banana pudding so good, it’ll make you want to smack someone.  I mean, kiss them.

We will have some of Ashley’s roast chicken for those who don’t eat pork.  And if you’ve had that chicken before, it’s the best.  Anywhere.

But I need you to buy tickets to this dinner.  Yeah, it’s pricey, but it’s for an amazing cause.  The Lucy Daniels Center is the Triangle’s leading non-profit provider of children’s mental health services.  Why is this a big deal?  Because in this economy, with so many people unemployed, it’s harder than ever on children.  And parents don’t have the resources to pay for the help their kids’ needs.  The Lucy Daniels Center provides some sort of financial assistance to 90% of the families who receive care.  A large portion of those families receive care for free.

So I ask you — No, I BEG you — please go to the Lucy Daniels website and buy tickets to the dinner. Or call Patti Wilt at 919.459.1611. You’ll have a great meal.  You’ll enjoy the beer.  And you’ll know you’ve done something very special for families in need.  And there’s nothing better than that feeling.  Not even the banana pudding.

Buy tickets thru PayPal here:

Or call Patti Wilt at the Lucy Daniels Center at 919.459.1611

Adults are $75, kids under 14 are $35, and all but $25 is tax deductible.  Sorry, no beer for the kids.

Barbecue: Poole’s Diner Style

October 15, 2010

I love barbecue.  I love Poole’s Diner.  And on November 7th, I’m going to really love me some barbecue made by Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner.  This will be a special family-oriented fundraising meal benefiting the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood (of which I’m the Chair of the Board), and I invite you to purchase your tickets via PayPal by going here.

Here’s the details: Poole’s Diner will be preparing the barbecue and the sides from 5:30 to 8:30 PM on Sunday, November 7th.  Beer has been graciously donated by the great folks of Fullsteam Brewery in Durham (can anyone say “yum” to a Hogwash, hickory-smoked porter?).  Heck, I might even make a dish or two (I can put my kids to work making pie).  Tickets for adults are $75 and $35 for kids14 and under, and of that price, all but $25 is tax deductible.

Space truly is limited, as Poole’s is a pretty small place, and we’ll be looking to do two full turns of the restaurant.  It’ll be a nice way to spend an evening, eating some great barbecue, and supporting a very worthy cause.  Did you know that with this economy, the need for mental health services has dramatically increased, but there are fewer places where kids can get those services?  Did you know that 90% of the kids who receive services from the Lucy Daniels Center receive some sort of assistance, and many families do not pay a dime?  Did you know that when one child is helped with an emotional problem, that also benefits that child’s family and classroom?  Did you know that I REALLY want to see you buy tickets for this event?

This is very important to me.

This is very important to the children of the Triangle.

And this may be the best barbecue you ever ate. Please join us.


‘Cuegrass Festival in Downtown Raleigh on Saturday

April 13, 2010

If there were ever a match made in heaven, it would be whole hog North Carolina barbecue with local swamp-trash rockers,  Southern Culture on the Skids.  But it ain’t heaven, it’s Davie Street in downtown Raleigh this Saturday at the second annual North Carolina ‘Cuegrass Festival.  I love how they state that the festival features the “bluegrass music by Southern Culture on the Skids.”  Er, SCOTS is not a bluegrass band.  SCOTS is not anywhere close to a bluegrass band.  But SCOTS is a perfect band to play at a festival featuring Southern food, and particularly barbecue (fried chicken and banana pudding would be great, too).   Now there are some legit bluegrass bands playing at ‘Cuegrass, so fans of banjo picking and fiddle playing need not worry about getting your fill of tunes.

The festival is put on by the folks at The Pit restaurant in Raleigh, and it’s a huge fundraiser to support the W.C. Breeze Family Farm, a 270-acre educational farm near Hillsborough devoted to sustainable agriculture, and the North Carolina Future Farmers of America , a student farmers’ education group.  Barbecue sandwich plates, beef brisket sandwich plates, and beer (great local stuff) each will sell for $5.  Pretty simple, and pretty reasonable (where’s that nanner puddin’??).  And who knows, maybe Greg Hatem, Ed Mitchell and the other folks at Empire Eats will expand this festival to bring in other pitmasters from across the country, as is the case with the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party.  We need that type of party here in North Carolina!

North Carolina ‘Cuegrass Festival
Saturday, April 17
11 AM to 4 PM (Rain or Shine)
328 W. Davie St., Raleigh, NC
Free entry

The Pit to Expand

August 6, 2009

pit-100Not the most earth-shattering news, but business has been so good for The Pit that they’re about to expand, according to pitmaster Ed Mitchell.  They’ll be opening a new take-out window where you can get as much barbecue as you want.  Mitchell told me that business has been extremely good, and you need reservations on Thursday through Saturday unless you want to eat very early or late.  Obviously, all the attention Mitchell and The Pit have been getting of late has really paid off.

Capitol Q

July 14, 2009

My friend Joe York, filmmaker extraordinaire, has put together a fantastic film on one of North Carolina’s barbecue gems, the Skylight Inn in Ayden. The Skylight is a special place, a purist’s nirvana, where the crunchy skin is cut into the meat, and there are only three foods on the menu — barbecue, slaw, and cornbread. Yeah, they have soda and Moon Pies, but those aren’t made there. And the barbecue at the Skylight is seasoned very lightly, allowing you to savor the full flavor of the Q.

Watch the film, which was put together for the Southern Foodways Alliance with support from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. The film debuted in New York, of all places, at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party.

Edit: I meant to re-post this great photo of James Henry Howell, the Skylight’s pitmaster:

The Barbecue Song

January 21, 2009

My friend Kathi Purvis sent me a link to this wonderful, and quite accurate, song about barbecue.  Yeah, it was part of an Alka-Seltzer ad campaign from last summer, but it’s still cool.  I think I’ll have Rhett and Link, the front men for this song, come to the next pig pickin’ I do, as they are from North Carolina.

An Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Birth

November 18, 2008


Here I was, surrounded by icons of North Carolina barbecue: Wilber Shirley of Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro.  Chip and Charles Stamey of Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro.  Samuel Jones of the Skylight Inn in Ayden.  And Ed Mitchell of Raleigh’s The Pit.  We were assembled there to celebrate the release of the fantastic book on North Carolina barbecue, Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, written by John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and William McKinney.  Mr. Mitchell was getting ready to pull a pig off his cooker in the kitchen, and folks were just having a grand time.  I truly felt that I was not worthy to be around so many barbecue dignitaries, but they weren’t the ones drawing my attention.  No, Andy Price was the person I really wanted to get to know, and that’s because this young accountant is about to open a small, Eastern-style barbecue restaurant in Lumberton. Read the rest of this entry »