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Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Think We Can All Agree, No Matter Our State Affiliation or Loyalty, That It ALL Smells Like Heaven While It's Cookin'

Well, y'all! Thanks for coming to my rescue with your encouragement and support as I adjust to my new hair-do. I don't know why I'm struggling with it because, as my sister pointed out last night, it's really not all that different from the last time I got it cut by my friend and neighbor Maha. It's just that when I leave Maha's salon (in her basement) I always feel beautiful and amazing, and when I left the new salon Thursday I felt like an egg on two legs, wearin' Aunt Gladys's wig.

(Shrugs.)

An egg? you ask. Yes. I've hit the stage in pregnancy where when I'm standing up, I look like Humpty Dumpty with skinny pretzel legs (skinny at least in comparison to the rest of me). It's no better when I sit down, really, because I've already got that whole bullfrog look going on, wherein my belly sits on my lap, my boobs sit on my belly, and my chin sits on my boobs. And I can still put my pants on one leg at a time like anybody, only I can't just pull my knees straight up toward my chest and ploink them back down. Oh, no. I have to lift mine waaaay up and jut them FAR out to each side, around my watermelon belly. See? Bullfrog. Not that I'm complaining. I'm just sayin'.

*BROOOOOOAWP.*

What Questions Do You Have for My Answers, Part, What, Like Six or So?


AndiK's interested in some real Southern thangs, y'all.

I second the votes for top-ten boy baby names and the story of why you started blogging.

Did the boy names. Kinda did the why I started bloggin' but will do more next week.

And have you ever tried North Carolina BBQ? Thoughts?

M'kay. First, well of course I have! Don't be ridiculous. (And I meant that in a very loving and good-spirited way, AndiK.) Mama grew up in the Golden Cawner of SC (after a brief stay in Georgia), which is that northwestern Carolina-the-Lower sweet spot from which you can drive up into the North Carolina mountains in the bat of a pretty little eyelash. In South Carolina, we call it "Carolina Barbecue," and take full ownership of it like it was OUR idea, just as we also say, "Why James Taylor's from Carolina!" all puffed up and proud as if we formed him in our own two hands and breathed life into his lungs and inspired him our-very-own-selves to write "Carolina in My Mind."

For those of you who aren't from around those parts and aren't familiar with Carolina Q, allow me to 'splanify. To me, the Carolina modifier attached to barbecue indicates less sweet sauciness, in fact I'd characterize Carolina's version of this roasted porcine delight as downright tangy. I went and looked it up though 'cause y'all know me, my descriptions tend to lack grounding and specificity, and tend to lean heavily on ephemeral metaphor and whimsical imagery, which is all well and good, but even I know when you're tryin' to compare and contrast something as illusive as two different ways of cookin' up a little pig meat, it's best to employ some actual, you know, tangible facts. Here's what I found on eHow.com:

North Carolina barbecue is one of the most famous and beloved regional cuisines in all the fifty states. NC BBQ, as locals call it, cooks pig meat at quite low temperatures for up to 18 hours at a time. The barbecue style, which evolved over generations of tradition, uses little sauce and flavoring and instead brings out the flavor of the meat and fire.

Hmmm -- I see they got a completely unbiased North Carolinian to write that.

But despite the unmistakable and glaring prejudices implicit in this definition, it will do for my purposes. Only when I think of Carolina Q, I also tend to include mustard in my vision. If you buy you some Carolina BBQ sauce at a roadside stand in the mountains of North Carolina, it's quite yellow, and handsomely flecked with black pepper. But that's yet another log on the tangy fire, isn't it? So I won't quibble.

Now other regional BBQ-styles most definitely employ very slow methods of cooking like smoking and pit-roasting, so I'd question North Carolina claiming that as their own unique crowning glory. I would say that Carolina Q distinguishes itself most honestly by being less saucy and sweet, and more tangy and spicy than its cousins to the South and West, and that's what helps to spotlight the meat's flavor and smokiness. I am CERTAIN that there are Carolinians both Top and Bottom who would like to add their own perspectives on this matter, and those comments are WELCOME. Let us just remember to be kind and respectful, and let us also remember this certain, undeniable fact:

North Carolina may lay honest claim to great barbecue and even to James Taylor, but South Carolina's got the best football.

And what do you call those bugs whose bottoms light up? Fireflies or lightning bugs?

I call 'em lightnin' bugs. What in tarnation's a firefly? Sounds dangerous, to me.

Mama can't ever listen to this one without her own silver tear appearin'. That's some talent you got there, J.T.

12 comments:

  1. Oh my lands...I'm bbqing this weekend. Tomorrow is my 7th wedding anniversary and we are celebrating it with a bbq and the kiddos.

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  2. All right, Megan. I've been reading for a while now, and have to tell you that I LOVE your blog and think you are too funny and your little Bean is the sweetest, darlin'est thing in the world - but I need to say that South Carolina does indeed have the best football in the world - GO GAMECOCKS!!!

    :)
    Joanna

    Oh, and yeah, I think of mustardy, spicy BBQ being from "Carolina" in general, too - Columbia's best Q is all like that. I didn't even know it was supposed to be mainly from NC.

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  3. I've never had Carolina Q. Never. I'm in fast and forever love with the Alabama version, though, and would live off of it if possible. But never tasted the Carolina version. It seems I'm missing something. Do I still count as a person?

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  4. I *LOVE* that song. It gives me the biggest lump in my throat.

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  5. My mama is actually from North Carolina. And where she's from they often put creamy coleslaw on top of their NC BBQ like so: bun, NC BBQ, coleslaw, bun.

    But when we travel through NC and we stop at BBQ places, I always get...a chicken sandwich.

    *Ahem*

    I fear I am a sad disappointment to my mama.

    But I do call them lightning bugs too! And I spent much of my childhood trapping them in mason jars. While eating honeysuckle (me, not the bugs).

    So...maybe not a complete disappointment.

    ~ AndiK

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  6. Oh, I forgot to add, I remember NC BBQ as more vinegary...less mustardy? She's from Eastern NC.

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  7. Being from N.C., I feel the need to add a little to the discussion. There are really two types of N.C. BBQ - Eastern and Western (or Lexington style).

    "The big difference between eastern barbecue and western barbecue is that ketchup is commonly added to the sauce of western barbecue. The other difference is that in the east they use the whole hog, both white and dark meat, while in the west they cook only the pork shoulder, which is dark meat and thus more fatty, moister and richer." (I got this info from the following - http://www.northcarolinatravels.com/food/barbecue/index.html in case anyone cares to read about NC BBQ. I doubt it but just in case!)

    Since I am from Lexington, I of course, prefer Lexington style BBQ. Although I don't prefer the Lexington style coleslaw which uses ketchup and vinegar - I prefer a mayo based coleslaw. But that's just me.

    And when I think of a mustard BBQ sauce, I think of Maurice's in Columbia, S.C. And I am not a fan of it...I think the yellow color turned me off!

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  8. OK. So now I feel the need to revise my question.

    Have you had Eastern NC BBQ with creamy coleslaw on a bun? ;-) Thoughts?

    ~ AndiK

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  9. If memory serves, not specifically, but I know I've had HYBRIDIZED Q with creamy coleslaw. On a bun. Shoot! Now I'm hungry. Somebody ship me some barbecue. And a Chik Fil A sandwich or thirty, please.

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  10. Since this was a BBQ post, I personally had to add that my family now loves you. We are heating up the leftovers from your BBQ recipe for our third BBQ dinner this week!

    ...and I've taught my kids to say, "oh, my granny"...

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  11. Even though we grew up in the same place, I've never really "gotten along" with the NC BBQ. Mustard-based, Maurice-style sauce and I had a falling out in High School. I seem to recall a week of standardized testing, a batch of some mustard BBQ chicken the night before, and a mad dash from the basement upstairs to the girl's restroom to HEAVE, HO, and HEAVE some MO.

    Now down here in the midlands of SC, our the pork is still cooked low and slow and offered naked, but we have a choice of sauces - on the side!! I ALWAYS choose the tomato-vinegar based sauce and can you say YUM.

    But the best part of our BBQ here is the hash and rice that go with it. Our hash is something like the Brunswick stew that you gave us a recipe for some blogs ago, but it is much thicker. We just can't get enough of it, but we do try to go a few months between gorging.

    YUMMMMMY

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  12. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllll, I am not even going to stir things up by insisting that in all things BBQ AND FOOTBALL AND MUSICIANS that Texas has ya'll beat, hands down (and I think Karen would have my back on that one). I'll just leave ya'll to enjoy your tangy delights while I sop up the sweet heat of Texas bbq'd beef with some plain white bread (because really, it is so good, it stands alone and doesn't need any coleslaw - creamy or otherwise - to magnify the taste) while I listen to George Strait and appreciate the greatness of it all.

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Thoughts?