BBQ in North Carolina mountains, with hogs from local, sustainable farms?
Hello fellow chowhounds,
Here's a tough one:
I'm planning a trip through North Carolina (along the Blue Ridge Parkway, probably) and would love to sample some of the barbecue along the way. However, I will only buy meat in restaurants/pits that buy from local farmers who raise their livestock sustainably and with dignity.
As a long-time customer of Smoky Mountain Barbecue in West Jefferson, NC, I believe it is just what you are looking for. It is located near the Blue Ridge Parkway. The restaurant owner uses pork from a nearby farmer, Wesley Looper, who has certified disease-free pigs. You can get more information by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can't tell you about the source for the pork, but when I was a college student at ASU, we always ate at The Woodlands in Blowing Rock, NC (just off the BRP). I still go there when I'm in the neighborhood. You could try calling them to find out about their pork. Or maybe someone reading this board will have more information.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but the mountains of NC aren't barbecue country. You have to come down to the Piedmont and points east to get good barbecue. There's 12 Bones in Asheville, but they're a rib place, not traditional NC style barbecue (eastern or western style). Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying 12 Bones is bad, it's actually pretty good. But it isn't NC style. If you want to head further east, just search this board for barbecue, and you'll find more suggestions that you'll know what to do with. Also, don't take this to mean you won't find good food on your trip. Again, you will, often, some of the most creative cooking using locally produced, sustainable foods is being done in the mountains. Just not barbecue.
Finally, if you want information about NC farmers using sustainable management for raising hogs, check www.ncchoices.com. This is a group of producers that are working with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems setting up pasture raised pork systems. There are a few farms out in the mountains that are members, perhaps you could contact them to see what restaurants they sell to.
Well,when you pass through a large city that has a chain Fresh Market,or a high end grocery, stop and shop for some certified organic,or on the very odd chance ,some heritage pork.
Heritage International,Flying Pig Farms,and Spring House are three possible labels.
Buy a fresh ham,or shoulder/butt and pack in ice.
Plan on a overnight stop, with a motel near a decent pit.
Go see the pitmaster bfore closing time and negotiate.
The pitmaster -if they actually have one,will often cook outside meat projects for around $2.50/lb ,raw weight.
Bring your own jug and they may sell you their sauce, to go.
Tip well,and you should be fine.
That's hoping, he doesn't switch it on you during the cook.LOL
Good luck on your adventure.