Sloan Column: All this BBQ talk is making me ‘hangry’
True Southerners take their barbeque seriously - very seriously.
Start a discussion on which ’que is better, pork or beef, or take on the age-old mustard-based versus vinegar-based argument, and watch what happens. There’s a good chance things will get heated and before long somebody’s going to get “hangry,” a combination of hungry and angry.
Quite often, a person’s preference for a certain type of barbeque is dependent upon where he or she lives. If you hail from the Southwest or Midwest, your meat of choice is beef. Those living in the southeast will swear allegiance to pork. Most anyone below the Mason-Dixon line will claim that their neighbors to the north know little or nothing about true ‘que and that their opinion doesn’t count.
I’ve been blessed to have traveled around our nation a good bit and have had the chance to sample many styles of barbeque. Whether its from the Carolinas or Memphis or Kansas City, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at any offering hot off the grill or straight from the smoker. Grilled or smoked, it all leaves my stomach both happy and full.
My heart, however, lies with pulled pork from the Carolinas. Having grown up in Virginia and lived in Eastern North Carolina for many years before moving one state to the south, I prefer the vinegar-based ‘que. Add some slaw, baked beans, and a slice of white bread, and you’ve got a happy boy on your hands.
The best barbeque I’ve ever tasted was mixed with the secret sauce of Mr. Horace Ivey. For decades, the good folks of Barker United Methodist Church of Lumberton, N.C., used Horace’s special sauce twice a year to turn its semiannual BBQ plate sales into the talk of the town.
The night before the sale, the sacrificial hogs would be placed on cookers and grilled to perfection. A handful of men would stay up all night manning the grills, boiling pig’s feet in a large pot over an open fire, and chewing the fat.
Early the next morning even more men would show up. We’d gather around a makeshift wooden table to pull the pork from the bone and then chop it with cleavers and carving knives. Once, chopped, the meat would then make its way to the kitchen where Horace, who arrived with dozens of plastic containers filled with his magical mixture, would blend the mixture into the pork by hand.
The finished product left taste buds dancing with delight. It was not uncommon for better than a thousand plates to be sold. Zip-lock bags containing one or five pounds of barbeque would be sold and brought home.
My goodness, but that barbeque was to die for.
Horace would never divulge the secret to his sauce. He said it was a family recipe that had been passed down. It had never been written down and was all in his head, he would insist. He often said he would take the recipe with him to his grave. Like most, I thought old Horace, was just running his mouth.
Horace died in 2008 at the age of 87 and his barbeque sauce recipe was buried with him. Needless to say, the barbeque at Barker UMC’s plate sales was never quite the same.
As I said, some people take their barbeque very seriously.
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Members of the S.C. Barbeque Association certainly take their barbeque seriously. The organization, in its 16th year, will sponsor and sanction the Youth Mentors of the Pee Dee’s annual BBQ Cookoff Fundraiser Festival April 9-10.
The event will be held in the lot behind Palmetto Peddlers at the corner of Hoffmeyer Road and Darlington Street.
On Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. there will be an Anything Butt contest. SCBA chefs will whip up anything except BBQ. Folks who purchase a wristband can sample all the creations to their heart’s delight. Wristbands are $10 each and children under 12 with a paid adult get to eat free.
Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is the main event – the Barbeque Cookoff. Some 25 teams will cook their best ‘que in hopes of taking home the top prize. Like Friday, wristbands allowing unlimited sampling can be purchased for $10 and children under 12 with a paid adult get to eat free.
All proceeds from the event will benefit Youth Mentors of the Pee Dee. YMPD is a United Way organization with the mission to improve the lives of area youth through mentoring. Youth Mentors help fill the void in a child’s life when one or more of the child’s parents are absent. Volunteers typically spend two or three hours a week with their mentee.
Youth Mentors is always in need of volunteers that are willing to spend a few hours a week with a child from a single parent or broken home. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact our office at (843) 662-7081 or visit our website at www.youthmentorsofthepeedee.com.
Mark your calendars. Good eats for a good cause. It doesn’t get much better than that.