Pittsboro, NC – Food writer and historian Rien Fertel has written an ode to the Southern tradition of whole-hog barbecue: “THE ONE TRUE BARBECUE: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook the Whole Hog.” He will be making an appearance at McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington Village on Saturday, May 28 at 11 am. Rien will read from his new book and answer questions followed by a book signing session.
Rien traveled the dirt roads and weathered paths of Tennessee and the Carolinas to track down the handful of pitmasters who still practice and preserve this storied culinary art form, and even makes stops at famed North Carolina BBQ joints like the Skylight Inn, Bum’s Restaurant, and Sam Jones BBQ.
The smoky, wood-fired pork cooked by whole-hog barbecue pitmasters is perhaps America’s one original food as well as the original expression of barbecue. These dedicated men shovel coals and flip 200-pound pigs in small, concrete, smoke-filled shacks for hours until the charred pigs can be chopped up, slathered in vinegar sauce, and served up as barbecue sandwiches.
Though there are only about a dozen or so whole-hog establishments left, entrepreneurial young pitmasters are bringing about a resurgence of this time-intensive practice with new dedication to the practice, to barbecue’s lore and family legacy, and to restaurants opening in unexpected places, like Brooklyn. THE ONE TRUE BARBECUE profiles some of the most famous whole-hog barbecue pitmasters, from Rodney Scott of Scott’s Bar-B-Que in South Carolina to Ricky Parker of Sam Jones BBQ in North Carolina.