Here is something that the Jones’ put together after Skylight had a fire in one of their cook houses during the week of Thanksgiving. What a testament to all of these BBQ restaurant folks in Eastern North Carolina (among competitors) during the time of year we give gifts to each other and give Thanks to God.
Category Archives: BBQ Lore & History
Finally after several months on the “Pig Pen Trails” I have gotten back to “square one” where my buddy Skipper Beck and I first began on Day 1. If
you recall, Skipper and I flew from Charlotte to Raleigh, where we visited The Pit in a refurbished warehouse/mill in downtown. Originally opened as Nana’s Chop House by my friend Scott Howell, the restaurant was converted to The Pit with pitmaster Ed Mitchell from Mitchell’s BBQ in Wilson, NC at the helm. From here we flew into Greenville, NC where we visited and had great BBQ at world renown Pete Jone’s Skylight Inn where we had my favorite Eastern NC BBQ to date. Unfortunately, the Skylight had a pit fire last week and the testimony of other BBQ restaurants who showed up to help out the Jones in the down time was wonderful and inspiring – chivalry and honor are not dead in NC! Those guys at Skylight make the best Q I have had in the East to date!
On the way back to the airport, you may recall B’s was out of food. From here Skipper and I flew to Conway SC, rented a car and drove to Hemingway SC to eat at Scott’s only to find it closed. I knew I would never hear the end of Skipper’s raggin’ on me about Scott’s being closed, not to mention I made him throw out the great BBQ at Skylight to save room for 4 more BBQ joints that afternoon. Skipper said “Noble, I am so hungry now (about 5 o’clock pm) I would pull that Q out of the trash can if I could. I can’t believe you brought me down here and didn’t know they were closed.”
Well, Skipper, you will be glad to know I finally made it back the Saturday after Thanksgiving on a deer hunting trip.
You have to make a point to visit Hemingway SC and I found out that the deer lease my father-in-law and brother-in-law have is only 15 minutes from Scott’s BBQ. What a great coincidence! In fact, Patrick Cook who manages the lease and works with Dick & Sam (father and brother in laws) knows Rosie (Roosevelt) who owns Scotts. So I took the trek to Scott’s and I am sure glad I did.
- I got to Scott’s about 2 in the afternoon and there was a steady stream of people coming in and getting BBQ pork, skins and chicken to go. As I approached the order window inside, I saw a large pile of pulled BBQ pork waiting to be ordered. Scott’s uses whole hogs and have been for some 30+
years. The pork was cooked with precision and was dressed with a little sauce, but they provided some on the side. It was more of a NC BBQ sauce than the expected mustard based SC sauce. The meat was tender and luscious. I ordered a pound of pulled pork, a whole BBQ chicken and a pack of skins which came in a ziplock bag. As I was paying, I asked the lady at the checkout if she was the owner, and she pointed to a man sitting a the only table inside and said that he, her husband and she owned the restaurant. Knowing there was no place else to eat, I asked if I could eat inside and she told Rosie to slide over for me. What a treat, to sit down with Rosie and eat his BBQ. We struck up a great conversation about BBQ, Scott’s, the NY Times article and his history in BBQ. He was a great host and after asking, he showed me around and showed me the pits. This place is a classic. He has a room to the side that is the pit room with about 10-12 pits end to end with a walk way through the middle. He also has more pits outside. Rosie showed me the iron walls and said they were there because the pit room had burned down 2 times already. He kept a 8′ fire barrel outside where they fired up the wood from which they would pull the coals for the pits. Rodney Scott, son to Rosie and Ella is the pitmaster and has been cooking whole hogs for over 27 years.
Rosie and Ella Scott are good folks and I loved their place. Scotts BBQ was founded in 1972 by Ella and Roosevelt “Rosie” Scott in Hemingway, SC. If ever I am in the area hunting (which I hope is soon) I will return to Scott’s for the BBQ Skipper and I only dreamed about until last week.
from 9:30am to 8:30pm
2734 Hemingway Hwy.
Hwy. 261 Brunson Cross Road
Hemingway, SC 29554
On a recent solo trip to Noble’s Grille in Winston-Salem I had the opportunity to add a couple more BBQ joints to the “Pig Pen Trails.” This particular week I took the I77 to I 40 route to the twin city and had my first stop in Mooresville at Lancaster’s BBQ. Their claim to fame is that they are the only whole hog BBQ smokers in the “Western NC” group. As far as I know that’s true (not to mention that these guys are no “fly by night” operation – these guys are serious BBQ folks: a noticeably successful and large restaurant. They must be doing it right.) I had a chopped BBQ tray with hushpuppies and an unsweet tea. Now, I don’t know why I try to drink unsweet tea (with Splenda or Stevia) when I am eating BBQ, but I suppose every little bit helps. I understand that Lancaster’s is a hot BBQ joint for the racing business that seems to have a great toe hold in Mooresville. This also appears to be a great family place as well. Well done.
My next stop was in Mocksville, NC. When I was a kid we would take a trip to visit Granddaddy’s family “up in the country” in Iredell county – before Iredell county was cool! You remember my Granddaddy Stamie Stroud (my Mom’s Dad) from my restaurant blog on tomatoes and summer. He was the local tomato king in Guilford County. Well anyway when Stamie was 16 he moved from Iredell county to the big city of High Point and got a job with Globe Parlor Furniture Co. Granddaddy was good with his hands and did a great job, eventually becoming the Cabinet Room Foreman. He grew up between Mocksville and Harmony on NC 901 where we would go to visit every so often, taking Aunt Beaut with us – her name was Beulah, but we called her Beaut. This was before I40 was completed so we would go down I85 to NC 64 and drive through Mocksville, where Aunt Ruth lived (she was a Hoot! who loved life and the Lord and had a continual and contagious laugh). There is a square in the middle of downtown Mocksville that had an old drug store on the corner where we would stop and get “real” fountain cokes. Just in case your wondering how old I am, this was in the 60’s when I was just a tot. Once we finally got to Grandpa and Grandma Stroud’s home we would always find a plate full of “local” fried chicken (local from the back yard because there was no other place to get it) and stacks of homemake biscuits. Wonderful, and probably the reason I love fried chicken today (see King’s Kitchen menu). It is amazing how food reminds you of places, times and smells from your past.
Back to Mocksville and Q! Deano’s Barbecue is right near the square in Mocksville and well worth the trip. If you are in Mocksville, you need to stop in. They are cooking with wood and the Q is good. Deano’s is owned and operated by Dean Allen who started in the BBQ business in 1961 as a curb hop for Buck Miller at Buck’s BBQ while still in high school. He opened the current restaurant in 1998 in a hewn log building. I understand from Jim Early Deano’s serves a “mean” pimento cheeseburger along with a long list of sandwiches. I’ll go back for the bologna, Philly steak and house made pimento cheese.
Next stop, an interview with Wayne Monk of Lexington #1 – the King of Western North Carolina BBQ.
I will surely miss my buddy Skipper. He was my friend, my brother in the Lord, my BBQ trail buddy and my best critic. I look forward to our reunion. My heart and prayers and with his family. He was loved by his Bible study prayer team and he had a heart for the Lord.
Well I started our really excited about going to see my old buddy and fraternity brother Fred Nelson, better know as Fuzzy of the famed “Fuzzy’s BBQ” in Madison NC. Fuzzy now runs the BBQ wholesale business in the building directly behind the restaurant and leases the restaurant to someone else. He still however owns the business, trade name, recipes, etc.. and I am glad of that for him.
Fuzzy’s is the namesake of Fred’s father, who after having his hat shot on a hunting trip leaving it tore up and fuzzy received the name after putting it back on his head. Big Fuzzy opened the restaurant in 1954, using the tried and true methods of hickory and oak pit cooked BBQ shoulders, western style. They also smoke whole hams for slicing. The restaurant has been in the family ever since. All of the recipes are the ones developed and created by big Fuzzy himself, with I am sure help from young Fuzz.
Fuzzy was cooking Boston butts in the wholesale operation when I arrived just before 8 am and just beginning to take them out to process. Fuzzy has received a lot of press by selling NC pork BBQ in the Big Apple. Fuzzy was working on a new BBQ sauce when we went through the kitchens and he gave me a taste. I told Fuzzy I thought it was very good and asked what was in it – as chefs normally do. Fuzzy looked at me a little crazy and said, “I can’t tell you that Jimma,” which is what Fuzzy calls me. He put some of the sauce on the fresh pulled Q from the kitchen and gave me a 1 pound tube, and let me tell you that it was “outta here” good.
Fuzzy took me for a tour of the restaurant and particularly the pits and it was like looking into history. The current restaurant was built to replace the original in 1974. What a legend.
Look out for Fuzzy for he’s itching to do more, and he has my vote.
Thanks for the great info, teaching and insight Fuzzy! And the next time I am in Madison, I’m gonna call Fuzzy on the way and have him put together some more Q with his special sauce from the wholesale operation.
Goobie, Goobie Fuzz!
Welcome to Jimmy’s Pig Pen Chronicles. We are taking a journey across North and South Carolina to visit every wood-smoked BBQ joint to find the best Carolina Q. It is amazing what we are already learning. The history and lore of Carolina BBQ has a rich heritage and I will share what I find with you.
Did you know that there are less than 50 BBQ joints still in operation that cook with wood? At Jim Noble Restaurants, we have been cooking with wood for over 25 years. I could not imagine cooking without wood, much less roasting whole hogs or pork shoulders (Boston Butts) without using natural wood fires, consisting mainly of hickory and oak.
Did you know that hickory was a by product of the wood and furniture industry here in Carolina (and when I refer to Carolina I mean North and South Carolina. Henceforth I will refer to North and South Carolina as “Carolina”). When land was cleared and the wood was brought to the saw mills, most all of the wood was processed, but hickory was rejected and pushed to the side. Hickory is such a hard wood, that it would break the saw teeth of the early saw mills. Therefore, hickory wood was a by product of the logging industry and was readily available to anxious pit cooked hog aficionados. What a story!
We will begin our journey in detail on our next posting.
I look forward to bringing you the best of NC cue-sine.