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Jun 5, 2009 10:58 AM

If I Put BBQ Sauce On A Carrot Is It Now A BBQ Carrot?

I see so many post on the Home Cooking board where people insist on calling just about anything they make barbecue as long as they put barbecue sauce on it. Baked chicken with barbecue sauce on it is now barbecue chicken. Pork shoulder cooked in a slow cooker with barbecue sauce? Barbecue.

I know many people will call grilling barbecue but has the word devolved so much that as long as I slap barbecue sauce on it I can call it barbecue? What's wrong with calling a baked chicken a baked chicken or slow cooked pulled pork slow cooked pulled pork with barbecue sauce?

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    1. Lol -
      You'll love this one. Just last wknd, I was invited to a barbecue. The mains were crock pot shredded pork* with bbq sauce, and steamed hot dogs. The host was telling everyone that the "pulled pork" was Carolina style (which to her meant there was not a lot of bq sauce) so they had a bottle of open pit, and a bottle of kraft bbq sauce on the table for anyone who wanted extra sauce.

      Shame on them. Shame. Not only did they not have any bbq at their bbq, they didn't even GRILL.

      The potato salad was good.

      *Don't you DARE call that pulled pork!

      41 Replies
      1. re: gordeaux

        oooooh. You went and hit on my BBQ pet peeve. I can deal with people confusing grilling with barbecuing. I might roll my eyes, but I can deal. But the self-proclaimed BBQ experts who don't know the difference between chopped and pulled drive me nuts. I grew up on chopped BBQ. The only pulling I care about is pulling the basket of hush puppies away from my cousin.

        1. re: mpjmph

          Not sure I understand. In Memphis all the places pull the bbq pork off the shoulder first (with tongs). It is then chopped. Pulling helps release the meat from the connective tissue. Everywhere serves chopped pork, but it is indeed pulled first.

          After all, nobody attacks a big pork shoulder with a cleaver.

          1. re: Steve

            I've seen, on shows, industrial quality rubber gloves being use to pull the meat apart. These have enough insulation that you can handle the hot meat. Then the chopping.

            1. re: Steve

              The BBQ I grew up with (Eastern NC) is more finely chopped than the BBQ I've seen/eaten that was called pulled pork. The pulled pork I've been exposed to is more or less just pulled apart into smaller pieces with minimal knife work involved. Menus around here very rarely list anything more specific than BBQ, but when descriptors are used chopped is standard and pulled is rare (and usually only in places that are serving "Memphis style"). On the rare occasion that the word pulled is used the texture is very different from default Eastern NC.

              1. re: mpjmph

                i just looked at ed mitchell's "the pit" menu from raleigh. there is chopped and there is pulled.

                1. re: alkapal

                  Yes, but my contention is that chopped pork is pulled first. If it is not chopped after it is pulled, it is on the menu as pulled pork. If it is chopped after it is pulled, it is on the menu as chopped. Which is not necessarily the same thing as shredded or finely minced pork, I have no idea how they do that. But to chop pork easily, you can't just start hacking away at a large pork shoulder.

                  As paulj mentions above, large operations probably use as quick a method as possible, like rubber gloves.

                  1. re: Steve

                    steve, i recognize that chopped has to be pulled first. i wasn't arguing anything else. but i get your point, i think, about the fine minced stuff. maybe it's done by chopping with two cleavers in fast chinese mincing fashion for a longer time! ;-).

                    i think of pulled as being more long-ish shreds, and then chopped goes against that grain to make it even more tender. hey, i'll take it any way i can!

                    ps thanks for the tip on rockland's smoked chick! i'll have to check it out and get some.

                    1. re: Steve

                      "Yes, but my contention is that chopped pork is pulled first"

                      That's not always the case and many places do chop shoulders with a cleaver. Once a shoulder is cooked you do not need to separate it from connective tissue. The whole point of the long cook time is to convert collagen into gelatin. All you need to do is seperate the bone from the meat and basically it falls right out. There is not a lot more to remove.
                      Pulled meat is pulled apart by hand or tongs into the size desired. Chopped is often just chopped up into small pieces with a cleaver. No doubt this will vary from region to region and pit to pit but one of the reasons we see chopped and minced Q more often now is because so many places are operating with what some refer to as a Cajun microwave. That's a false descriptive but it's still kinda funny. The way these systems work is very similar to a bakers oven with shelves that rotate. On the side is a door where charcoal or wood is inserted and started by gas.The unit can be run by gas, wood, charcoal or typically a combination. The benefit of this is that the system cooks in a fraction of the time that a true "pit" does and uses less wood or charcoal because of the gas start and cook option. This type of Q often lacks a nice smoke ring or a full flavor and it does not need to be cooked until it's falling apart. In the case of the pork shoulder it will get chopped or minced so it does not need to be nearly as tender. I suspect that this is what you are calling finely minced. I'll leave a link so any one interested can see what theese wizz bang BBQ "pits" look like.


                      1. re: Fritter

                        Thanks for the link. Looks oh so delicious.

                        In Memphis, after you order, the person usually stands behind a shield (so the pieces don't spray all over), and works quietly for a few moments (this is the pulling part). Then it is only after a while that you hear the chopping. It is standard to pull to order, just like in a good deli, they don't slice up the corned beef in advance. In most areas, chopped or pulled to order is rare.

                        1. re: Steve

                          I'm not much of a fan of the products that come out of these ovens. I try to be open to all styles in my worship at the House of Q but I have to admidt I prefer the stronger smoke flavor of a real pit BBQ and pulled over chopped. However I'm sure there are some pit masters out there that can make these ovens sing.
                          I have had chopped many times and it's been very good. I don't like the texture of the minced at all. It just seems soooo wrong.

                      2. re: Steve

                        I'm not really sure what you're trying to say, it sounds as if we are in agreement that pulled pork BBQ and chopped pork BBQ are 2 different, though closely related, forms of BBQ. My beef (pork?) is with those who call all pork BBQ on a sandwich pulled pork.

                        1. re: mpjmph

                          I am saying that pulled and chopped pork are pretty much the same thing, the same meat, and cooked in the same way. If a place offers both pulled and chopped, they are cooked using the same process, from the same piece of meat. Some people (me, for instance) simply prefer the meat to be chopped up into easier to eat pieces. Also, for some reason, many places that I have been to that serve pulled pork don't seem to get as much exterior crunchy parts into the mix.

                          1. re: Steve


                            At the risk of starting another argument, what you are saying may be the case in Memphis, but in NC, AFAIK, pulled generally implies Lexington style made with only pork shoulder (butt), while chopped implies eastern style made with the whole hog. In the latter case, the meat is (of course) pulled off the bones then all chopped together, including residual fat and skin/rind, into one big pile of mixed chopped meat--serving it this way would not be possible if it were only pulled (can't "pull" the skin/rind/fat). In short, they are definitely not the same thing--they don't contain the same parts of the pig, and most importantly chopped eastern style contains stuff, skin and fat, that the Lexington does not.

                            Of course there are innumerable variations in and qualifications to the above, and yes Lexington style can certainly be chopped as well, and often is.

                            1. re: johnb

                              No. Lexington style is generally served sliced or minced; the latter is really just chopped bbq, but "minced" is the local lingo. Every Lexington style joint I've ever eaten at has offered sliced or minced; I've never seen "pulled" as an option there or anywhere else in North Carolina. Eastern style is always chopped, since sliced is obviously not an option. It's also not common for eastern style to have things like fat/skin/etc. in it- most places favor a clean chop. Pete Jones is the only place that jumps out at me as prominently featuring cracklins and other such assorted bits.

                              1. re: Naco

                                I've had pulled at more than one place in Asheville NC but I have no idea if that area is some exception to the norm for NC.

                                1. re: Fritter

                                  Asheville's basically a tourist town and has a lot of people from out of state, in addition to never exactly having been a hotbed of bbq itself. "Pulled pork" simply isn't part of the lexicon for NC natives.

                                  1. re: Naco

                                    I'm starting to think a Bourbon tour through KY followed up with a Q tour of NC would be a great road trip.
                                    FWIW here's a link to one I've been to. A mix of chopped, pulled and sliced.
                                    I never would have guessed that the river district in Asheville was a tourist meca but I will say the Q at 12 bones was mighty good.


                                2. re: Naco

                                  Well, Pete Jones Skylight BBQ is generally considered the archetype of eastern NC BBQ. And as to "pulled pork," it may be true that most Lexington style places don't use that term, but like it or not the term is widely used anyway (do a google) in referring to that type of q, including from Lexington, to distinguish non-chopped (e.g. sliced) from chopped. Obviously, all q is first pulled before doing whatever comes afterward. I was mainly trying to respond to Steve and his contention that pulled and chopped are the same thing.

                                  You are correct, tho, in noting that Asheville isn't exactly a BBQ hotbed (tho dismissing it as a "tourist town" isn't fair/correct either). One of the greatest tragedies of life for me is that Western NC just doesn't offer much in the way of decent q. There is a place in A'ville called 12 Bones that supposedly has good ribs, but I haven't been there myself.

                                  1. re: johnb

                                    "Pete Jones Skylight BBQ is generally considered the archetype of eastern NC BBQ"

                                    By who? Wilber's, Jack Cobb's, B's, and Bum's are all very well thought of here, and they do not put cracklins in their bbq. Pete Jones is the only one that does, end of story. As far as chopped bbq goes, Pete's is as good an example as I could think of to make my point, since they chop the bbq right in front of you.

                                    I am not disputing that "pulled pork" is widely used. What I'm saying is that, insofar as North Carolina bbq goes, it's a descriptor used by outsiders, often incorrectly, as we see on here with people opining about the difference between pulled and chopped bbq. I don't get the fixation on what is just one part(and an incidental part at that) of the cooking/prep process. The method by which the meat is removed from the bone is completely irrelevant to the final flavor and mouthfeel if the meat undergoes further prep work, as it does in North Carolina.

                                    1. re: Naco

                                      "By who?"

                                      By just about everybody. He's the one that won all the awards, such as James Beard.


                                      1. re: johnb

                                        Yes, they've won awards. They are still the only place around that does cracklins. It's just a fact. They're the odd man out on that one. You were asserting that eastern style bbq contains cracklins and extra bits as a general rule, and that's wrong. It's unusual to find that kind of thing. If I'm wrong, please let me know which specific bbq joints add cracklins. I live ten minutes from Pete Jones, so I could go check them out and give everyone a nice report.

                                      2. re: Naco

                                        "The method by which the meat is removed from the bone is completely irrelevant to the final flavor and mouthfeel"

                                        Heh? You actually think that pulled has the same texture as chopped?
                                        Oiye. Talk about opining. Try to remember not every one is from NC and not every one does things the same way and that includes your fellow Tarheels.

                                        1. re: Fritter

                                          "You actually think that pulled has the same texture as chopped? "

                                          No. What I said was, "The method by which the meat is removed from the bone is completely irrelevant to the final flavor and mouthfeel ***if the meat undergoes further prep work, as it does in North Carolina***."

                                          Emphasis added, since you didn't get it the first time.

                                          1. re: Naco

                                            So what exactly is that uber technical term you are using? I never heard of "mouthfeel" before.
                                            That's different than texture? What further "prepwork" does pulled meat go through?
                                            Again try to remember we are not all in your area of NC. Steve was talking about Memphis which can be a lot different than KY or Texas. Not even the folks from Western Vs Eastern NC seem to agree.
                                            So while it may seem like pointless opining to you my friend others might actually enjoy learning about the regional differences in what one single word like "Pulled" can mean.

                                            1. re: Fritter

                                              Mouthfeel is, more or less, a synonym of texture.

                                              As far as what further prepwork pulled meat goes through, that would be chopping/mincing or slicing where NC barbecue is concerned. If you go to Pete Jones, they do it right in front of the counter, as I mentioned before.

                                              1. re: Naco

                                                I think there's a bit more to mouthfeel than simple texture, in the sense of soft, hard, grainy, crunchy. It's more a combination of texture, consistency, fat content and, in slow-cooked meats like the pork we're talking about here, the gently dissolved cartilage, which adds (to further abuse an overworked term) an unctuous quality.

                                                I would also point out that mouthfeel is frequently used in descriptions of wine, where one can argue that texture alone is irrelevant since all wines are liquids.

                                                1. re: BobB

                                                  I agree, and that's why I added that "more or less" caveat. I do feel like the physical, textural component is more important with regard to eastern NC barbeque, as that's an area where you'll find a fair amount of variance.

                                3. re: Steve

                                  "many places that I have been to that serve pulled pork don't seem to get as much exterior crunchy parts into the mix"

                                  My experience has been the exact opposite. Even if they do have bark when they chop it up you no longer have the same texture because the pieces are so small. Since many of the places in my area that chop are using the gas fired ovens I noted above instead of authentic pits they just can not get a nice smoke ring or bark.
                                  I'm sure there are places that use the same cooking process for both where people can have a strong preference for pulled Vs Chopped but if it's the same meat then the bark should be the same on both except for the size of the pieces and the texture.

                                  1. re: Fritter

                                    Fritter--I agree with you.

                                    Pulled pork is exactly that--pulled apart. Pulled off the bone, generally with gloved hands. Not chopped. No knives needed (2 forks may be used to get finer strands and/or to keep the fingers from getting burnt). Even the bark is ripped apart in this manner and there are texture and flavor differences in each bite. Chopped (ie 2 cleavers mincing it up to nearly a hash consistency), has an even texture and consistent flavour. We prefer it pulled.

                                    1. re: Caralien

                                      I think this is a great discusssion and everybody has something important to add. I have not had bbq in North Carolina, or Texas for that matter, much to my chagrin, and I look forward to overindulging myself one day.

                                      The pork served pulled I have been exposed to had little to no bark, cracklins, whatever, and I find more difficult to eat. But I'd love to hear about any place that serves pulled pork for a Chowhound to love.

                                      1. re: Steve

                                        Steve - the Weenie Beenie in Shirlington serves a pretty respectable facsimile of an Eastern NC barbecue (chopped pork; vinegar-based sauce with flecks of red pepper) sandwich, complete with little packets of Texas Pete hot sauce.

                                        1. re: Bob W

                                          Thanks, Bob, the Weenie Beanie is indeed a great place to stop. But I did a taste comparison recently, and this was the result:


                                          Get a tray at your local H-T and let me know what you think.....

                                          1. re: Steve

                                            H-T is my regular market, i need to give their cue a try. they are from NC so it should be pretty good at least.

                                            1. re: Bob W

                                              bob, see this thread:

                                              note: the "brookwood farm" e. carolina style pork is now in a little white tub in the MEAT section, near the other "tub bbqs" and hot dogs. it is a better per ounce price than in the clear-topped "clamshell' type package in the sushi-deli-prepared sandwich area. in that section, they still carry the other bbq styles -- including w. carolina style chicken and kansas city style.

                                              ps. after reading through the thread again, i see that you posted that you had tried the Q there at h-t and liked it, per the thread. time to get some more! ;-).

                                        2. re: Steve

                                          For starters, I'd recommend "Hog Heaven: A Guide to South Carolina Barbecue" (published 1979). From our travels, most of the places still exist, even if under different ownership after 30 years; the reviews remain on par with what we've had. When we're near Charleston, we usually get Momma Brown's (adequate amount of bark, few cracklins). Sweatman's is scheduled for our next trip.

                                          "Holy Smoke" is a good guide to/history of bbq, particularly NC styles.

                                          We simply try bbq everywhere we go. If there's a painted pig sign--even if we're not hungry--we turn.

                                          Bub Sweatman's
                                          1313 Gemini Dr, Holly Hill, SC

                                          Momma Brown's Barbeque
                                          1471 Ben Sawyer Blvd, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

                                          1. re: Caralien

                                            SC has great barbecue -- but it's overshadowed by two things. 1. NC barbecue. 2. The notoriety of Maurice Bessinger.

                                            I have to give ol' Maurice credit for one thing, though. While he probably doesn't even produce the best barbecue in the Bessinger family (his brothers all run barbecue joints in the Charleston area), he put a location right off I-95.

                                            1. re: Bob W

                                              I didn't care for Maurice's bbq (or the rest of his blather), although I have to admit I did like the hash. Melvin's is better, although Momma Brown's beats both of them (and Bessinger's).

                                            2. re: Caralien

                                              "If there's a painted pig sign--even if we're not hungry--we turn"

                                              Now there's a road trip rule I can live with.

                                            3. re: Steve

                                              Steve--2 photos from today's lunch at Grub Hut; the pulled brisket and pulled pork both had bark

                          2. re: gordeaux

                            Never break bread with them again; talk to them only if they're wearing hair shirts.

                            So, how were the "pulled pork" and steamed dogs? I would probably been just fine with the crock pot pork, but maybe not with the bottled sauces.

                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                              >>So, how were the "pulled pork" and steamed dogs? <<

                              The potato salad was good. ;-)

                          3. Who are you to say that they can't call it "barbeque"?
                            That's judgmental. Not supposed to do that any more. Hurts their self-esteem.

                            1. I think it is the difference between knowing the difference and understanding what the majority of the average eating person calls and what they consider BBQ.

                              I cater and people ask for BBQ. The majority do not want a long slow cooked BBQ'd meat they want BBQ chicken for the event or BBQ pork sandwiches or BBQ'd baked beans. Our society has attributed the term BBQ to the sauce which we put on many of our foods.

                              I went out to lunch today at had a BBQ chicken sandwich. I was just a chicken breast dipped in BBQ, some melted cheese and toppings. But it was called BBQ.

                              I know what true BBQ is. I am making a long slow roasted brisket on Sunday in my smoker. And it will go all day. A whole day finally off. I don't do it often because of time, but I know what true BBQ is. But if I make some wings quick in the crock or oven or stove top with BBQ sauce I still call them BBQ wings. And most people I would serve would also call them BBQ wings. What else would I call them. So when I make my pulled pork in the crock pot ... it is not BBQ'd pulled pork traditionally. But it is pork, it is pulled and it is BBQ'd. And the majority of Non-Foodies would never know the difference and they would more than likely refer to it as BBQ pulled pork.

                              So is this a traditional questions or a realistic question? What is a true BBQ ... yes I think we all know the answer to that, it is pretty basic. Now what is called BBQ, well ask society ... not foodies, not cooks, but ask the average person who orders BBQ every day and eats it world wide every day of the year. There is a big difference between the two.

                              And although I understand your appreciation of the word BBQ, I also understand what the average NON FOODIE eats and considers BBQ. Unless they go to a true BBQ joint, they are apt to get a "fake BBQ," according to you, however, they probably still enjoyed it, still thought it was BBQ and never knew the difference.

                              So next time I cook my chicken in the oven (cuz it is raining out), slap some sauce on it and the entire table calls it BBQ chicken ... what would you like me to call it? Or better yet ... what would the majority of the average consumers call it? I highly doubt that they would refer to it as baked chicken with a BBQ glaze ... they would call it BBQ chicken.

                              Grant it, we all now the difference, but sometimes we have to real. In a hurry, short on time, yes, BBQ in the oven, BBQ in the crock, even BBQ on the grill pan. Sorry but I still call it BBQ. But I understand your post, I just don't think it is realistic is all. People generalize a name to a overall area many times. People want spaghetti, but it may not be spaghetti, but it has noodles and sauce. Mashed potatoes ... if they are mashed they are considered mashed, but are they smashed or skin or or off or smashed or roasted not boiled.

                              Does anyone really care. It is more a public perception vs what we know. I know the difference, but I also know what the average person thinks so yes when I make something with BBQ, I call it BBQ, if I am making true BBQ, I will let them know that. Do I care NOT really. It all turns out good and guests are happy and I am happy. All that matters.

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                So what happens when no one really cares any more?
                                When 99% of the people become used to eating pork cooked in the crock pot with bottled commercial sauce poured over it and calling it "pulled pork" BBQ, that becomes the new normal.
                                When they finally eat the real thing, they don't think it "tastes right" because it doesn't taste like what they're used to eating and calling "pulled pork" BBQ.
                                To them, it's not "pulled pork" BBQ. They might not think it's as good as what they're used to.
                                They say things like, "I can make better than this at home..."
                                The old ways die....

                                1. re: MakingSense

                                  I know I don't make real bbq--I leave that to my in-laws and the other pit masters we try to sample during road trips. Mine is slow-roasted pork in the oven (up to 28 hours). Yes--even that isn't real because there's no smoke or fire, and I'm not tending to it every 45 minutes. Made only during the cooler months, of which there are many in this part of the country.

                                  This may be out of place, but I don't really care what 99% of people consider this or that, or what's considered "normal". I used to think that bbq was disgusting, as it was the jarred sauce atop some slop. Or what I've tried as "award winning and served at the Inauguration" Q served in a certain stretch of our travels which my husband and I find disgusting. But then there's the real stuff not slathered in sauce on the plate--tomato, mustard, or vinagre--which is divine. A side of sauce can always be requested. Grilled food can be incredible even if I use (aack!)--the dreaded briquettes.

                                  If someone wants to call it bbq but it's grilling, I'll bite my tongue, have a taste, and go from there. Sometimes the potato salad is the best item, but who am I to criticise a well-meaning host? Be a good guest and thank them for their effort and friendship, and have a good time.

                                  And the old ways don't die. This site is one of many which prove that it doesn't matter if convenience foods are standard in many households, there will remain people who will make food from scratch and follow traditions, even if they're modifying them for their own lives (I'm guilty of taking to work containers filled with rice, sliced mushrooms, broken asparagus, and raw scallops to cook in the microwave for lunch; I cut corners making fries by nuking the potato before cutting it into wedges, drizzling with olive oil, rosemary, fresh pepper and sea salt before tossing it under the broiler for a few minutes--to me, that's convenient, but it's certainly not the old way of doing things). My crock pot is on right now making stock from last night's roasted chicken; it's not on the stove, and has been running for awhile with no one tending to it.

                                  I must be lightening up a bit now that I'm in my mid-30's.


                                  1. re: Caralien

                                    Well written and thoughtful, Caralien. Thanks.

                                2. re: kchurchill5

                                  "Grant it, we all now the difference"(sic). Obviously we don't all know the difference, as you say yourself most of your clients don't know the difference. So the fact that we continue to dumb down the language, words will become meaningless.

                                  "So next time I cook my chicken in the oven (cuz it is raining out), slap some sauce on it and the entire table calls it BBQ chicken ... what would you like me to call it?" I'd like you to call it baked chicken. Let's takes this one step further, if you are really stressed for time and you throw a chicken breast into the microwave and put BBQ sauce on because you cooked it slow enough to make it taste like it was poached will you still still call it barbecue?

                                  1. re: KTinNYC

                                    Words don't become meaningless, but they do change in their use and meaning.

                                    Did BBQ and 'pulled pork' mean the same thing in Minnesota 50 years ago as they did in South Carolina? Eastern NC BBQ purists don't even recognize the pork cooked in the western part of the state as BBQ, much less the brisket cooked in Texas. BBQ supposedly comes from barbacoa, which referred to meat cooked on a wood platform well above a fire, or in other contexts, to meat cooked in a pit. What does that have in common with the ribs produced in a slainless steel BBQ pit on 18 wheels?

                                    I don't there was ever a time and place where BBQ was used in a pure, static, and traditional sense.

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      It's not true that people in eastern NC don't recognize Lexington style as being barbeque. People in North Carolina tend to prefer the style belonging to the area they grew up in, but having lived my whole life here, most of the more extreme commentary I take to be ironic in nature.

                                      1. re: Naco

                                        Yea, it's not that they don't recognize the other - it's that eastern style folks turn their nose up at tomato based sauce and western style folks dislike the vinegar based saucues. Then you get into the whole hog stuff. Creamy cole slaw vs. vinegar-based slaw.

                                        I've lived in NC for 14 yrs now, and when I first moved her from PA I didn't "get" NC BBQ. But let me tell you, I got bit by the bbq bug and was converted a long time ago. Eastern-style all the way, baby. Don't forget the hushpuppies, slaw, and lots of hot vinegar sauce on the side. Mmmm....

                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                          i just saw the throwdown with ed mitchell (the pit, raleigh, nc ) and his ribs vs. bobby flay.

                                          ed's style is fast and hot, not low and slow (i was surprised). anyhow, ed used a dry rub, then once done, he used a western style sauce, then came back and sprayed an eastern style sauce on top. (too funny, cause bobby had thought he'd do sort of an amalgam of the styles with the bbq beans side dish.).

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            "Ed" was hot and fast for ribs but I'm sure he doesn't apply the same cooking technique to pulled pig and IIR he didn't feel it was "really" BBQ unless you were cooking Whole Hog.

                                            1. re: Fritter

                                              fritter, you couldn't do the whole hog anyway BUT low and slow. fast and hot wouldn't cook it through before burning the outside.

                                              and if that's really his philosophy, i don't see any "whole hogs" on his menu but for catering (where it's the literal whole hog, right?).

                                              i see pulled, chopped, brisket and ribs. that's not *quite* the *whole* hog. most of it, yes, but they're all cooked in the smokers as different pieces, i'm sure. i can't make sense of his statement about bbq "really" being *only* "the whole hog."

                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                Maybe I'm reading your post wrong Mon Ami but I think you need to pick this "bone" with Ed.
                                                I can't speak for his philosophy. It was just one show and Bobby Flay at that so perhaps he was poking fun at those who have their axles wound a little too tight. I was simply relaying what he indicated on the show.

                                                1. re: Fritter

                                                  fritter, my issue is not with you of course. i'm just trying to figure out what he meant.

                                                2. re: alkapal

                                                  I haven't watched Mitchell cook other than the Thrown Down, but whole hog most likely refers to the chopped as that is the traditional Eastern NC method. The other menu items like pulled and ribs are probably different pieces cooked individually.

                                              2. re: alkapal

                                                I have read interviews with Mitchell in the past where he stated that he likes to start his fire out hot(in part to sear the meat), and then let the temperature fall naturally, rather than the "low, slow, and steady" conventional wisdom of bbq aficionados. I add that last caveat because in reality, when you read interviews with NC pitmasters, there are a wide variety of techniques employed. There is no bbq law.

                                                1. re: Naco

                                                  naco, thanks for that further information. and also thank you for this quote: "There is no bbq law."

                                                  may i quote you on that, because it sure needs to be said a LOT here on chowhound. (i've added it to my profile section, in fact! ;-).

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    I was looking at the rules for a Texas BBQ competition. They were really quite simple. The only specification regarding cooking was that the use of wood or wood products (charcoal).

                                                    There were 4 categories of meat
                                                    - brisket
                                                    - pork ribs (some detail here)
                                                    - chicken
                                                    - exotics (goat, wild boar)
                                                    The meat could not be preseasoned or marinated. That all had to be done during the competition.

                                                    There were a lot more details about presentation - the number and thickness of the brisket slices, the submission tray and foil, no sauce, etc.

                                                    So things like cooking temperature, cooking time, use of smoke, type of grill, are not part of the rules. They are up to the cook's judgment, balancing what he things produces a good product, and what he things the judges will like.

                                    2. FYI, I ordered BBQ'd carrots at a side in a NY restaurant. ... Guess what BBQ sauce on carrots. Just kidding, but realistically, it is all consumer perception. They were steamed carrots, not smoked guaranteed with BBQ sauce, good sauce, but just BBQ sauce and then lightly grilled nothing more.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                        Do you remember the name of the restaurant? I live in NYC and it would be interesting to know where it is.