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Eastern North Carolina-Style Barbecue

Click here for a PDF of this recipe without photos.

Right after my wife and I got married, we moved to Raleigh, NC where we lived for almost seven years.  During that time, I learned a great deal about Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue.  First, let me get the definitions out of the way.  North Carolina has two entirely different styles of barbecue: Lexington-style (sometimes “Western North Carolina-style) and Eastern North Carolina-style.  Eastern North Carolina-style features slow-cooked pork (whole hog or shoulder only) with a vinegar-based sauce.  Lexington-style uses a tomato-based sauce.

In addition to living in Raleigh, my job provided many opportunities for me to head “down east” to Wilson, Rocky Mount, Tarboro, Greenville, etc.  As a result, I sampled some of the best barbecue that the region had to offer (Bill’s in Wilson, Parker’s in Wilson, B’s in Greenville, Wilbur’s in Goldsboro, Pete Jones in Ayden, etc).  I also have a good friend with a retired-state trooper dad who knows a thing or two about cooking a pork shoulder.  There is plenty of debate about the right way to cook this (whole hog vs. shoulder, coal vs. gas, etc), but I’d like to think this recipe is authentic enough that Benny’s dad would be proud.

From my perspective, there are only a few things required to make outstanding pork barbecue.  They are:

  1. Set your grill or smoker to somewhere between 210 and 230 degrees, ideally indirect heat.
  2. Cook the pork until it reaches 190 degrees internal temperature, then let it rest for 30 minutes or so, during which time it will increase to 195 degrees.
  3. Baste or “mop” occasionally to add moisture and flavor.

That’s all there is to it!

Continue reading ‘Eastern North Carolina-Style Barbecue’

Black Bean-Chorizo Tortas

Click here for a PDF of this recipe without photos.

One of the things that has really stood out to me on this trip is the quality of the Mexican supermarkets (in particular the enormous Mega right across the street from where we’re staying).  The made-in-store chorizo and fresh-baked breads and rolls reminded me of this Rick Bayless recipe, so we put some of these together for lunch.   Continue reading ‘Black Bean-Chorizo Tortas’


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