Well, I’m about to wade into it. The great BBQ debate. (Or barbeque, or B-B-Q, or whatever.) But not really.
I won’t hold up myself as an authority, though I do certainly love barbeque. I won’t start to try to argue for this or that region, or any particular restaurant, as having “the best.”
I will take a few to add my voice in praise of a place nearby my home that I consider my favorite, Backyard BBQ Pit.
I discovered them shortly after I moved down here in the fall of 2007. According to the Pit’s website, that was only a few months after they opened, so I guess that makes me a long-time, original fan. (Many thanks to the friend who turned me on to them. You know who you are.)
For those of you not from the American South, or another region of the U.S. where BBQ is nigh-unto a religion, and certainly a way of life for many folks—a brief explanation is probably in order. If you think barbeque is what you do with hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill in the good ol’ summertime—wrong! I’ll let others go into major details, but what we’re generally talking about here is meat that is wood-smoked at low temperatures for an extended period of time to maximize flavor and tenderness (a.k.a. “cooked low ‘n’ slow”). In North Carolina, the preferred meat is pork. And though we do like our ribs and other cuts of meat, what you heard just generally spoken of as “barbeque” is pulled pork. For this, either a whole hog or just the shoulder cut is cooked and then chopped or pulled into shreds.
Backyard BBQ excels at many things, its pit-cooked BBQ included. The place is unassuming, as a BBQ joint should be. This is food that speaks for itself and doesn’t need the diversions of an ornately stylish ambiance. At the Backyard, patrons have been encouraged to scrawl their messages on the restaurant walls with markers or whatever’s handy. Reading them is part of the fun if you choose to eat in.
Behind the small, cafeteria-style counter you’ll find a choice of delicious down-home foods and friendly folks serving it up. If you’ve somehow had your fill of barbeque for the day (though how this is possible, I’m not quite sure) you’ll find an assortment of other smoked or fried choices to tantalize you. The ribs and the catfish are both excellent, but honestly, this is one of the few places I can truly say I’ve never gotten anything bad off the menu. Sides are mouth-watering and homemade. From gooey mac & cheese to black-eyed peas to collard greens, you’ll find all your Southern favorites.
Gladly, I can also say that, though it has been featured on the Durham episode of Man vs. Food, BBQ Barbeque remains just as it has always been—a little slice of food heaven.