North Carolina needs a good strong barbecue society to promote our agriculture – nationally and internationally. We are the second largest pork producing entity on the planet. Sampson and Duplin counties are the two largest pork producing counties in the world. North Carolina is synonymous with great basketball and great barbecue. Millions of words are written about our basketball, but few writers truly understand our uniqueness in the world of barbecue.
The North Carolina Barbecue Society (NCBS) has its own monthly newspapers NCBS Pig Tales® and NCBS Piglets™ that is the voice and carry the news of the Tar Heel barbecue world. We will sponsor educational programs at all school levels regarding North Carolina and its barbecue heritage. We will participate in films and documentaries regarding North Carolina’s culture and barbecue history. I have already assisted in a film called “Barbecue is a Noun” that played the River Run film festival to wide acclaim and is currently playing at various film festivals nationwide.
NCBS supports and promotes ALL North Carolina barbecue events statewide and will assist (if asked) in any way that is appropriate in keeping with its charter purposes. NCBS is a non profit corporation. NCBS will participate in barbecue events in state and nationally. Its goal is to preserve our barbecue heritage and to promote North Carolina as the Barbecue Capital of the World.
We need to preserve our barbecue culture and our barbecue heritage. To that end NCBS will produce videos of the present living pit masters as they work their magic at the pits and capture their wonderful stories, experiences and grilling methodology, so it will not be lost with the passage of time. I have also arranged with my friends who are barbecue icons, nationally and internationally, to assist with these videos and add their knowledge, character and color to this project. The NCBS board has selected 24 of the best barbecue places that are still cooking with wood or charcoal to be designated as NCBS Historic Barbecue Pits. These 24 barbecue places are part of a NCBS Historic Barbecue Trail across North Carolina and will become part of our tourist industry. The North Carolina Barbecue Society Historic Barbecue Trail is now being considered by several state agencies to be included on their websites as well as that of NCBS.
We hope to have minorities again involved in North Carolina barbecue. Fifty to sixty years ago, all of the barbecue places or joints were mom and pop operations with the kids assisting after school. About half or more of these mom and pop operations were owned and operated by minorities. Minorities have played a significant role in the development of North Carolina’s agriculture products – in particular barbecue. When I did the field research for my book The Best Tar Heel Barbecue Manteo to Murphy, I went to all 100 counties in an effort to find the best barbecue in all the counties in the state. I critiqued 228 barbecue places in my efforts and found only six minority owned and operated barbecue places in my journey. There may have been others but I did not hear of them or find them. Almost all of the pit masters that I met were minorities but the businesses were not owned by minorities and only a few of the businesses were owned and operated by women.
In our effort to preserve our heritage, our culture, our traditions and those things that set us apart from other states, we would link up with the SLOW movement that is already well established in Europe and in the U.S. The SLOW movement is designed to preserve the traditional ways of doing things such as making wines, cheeses, etc. that have historical significance to particular areas. Barbecue is a significant part of our culture. Very few places are still cooking with wood or charcoal over open pits. The stories, the methodology of cooking and the folklore retained by the present living pit masters will be gone if not preserved in some fashion for future generations to enjoy. Most of these men are in their 60s and have been plying their trade for 30-40 years. In all likelihood, at their deaths, many if not most will be replaced with electrical or gas cookers. We need to preserve this body of knowledge and we need to have young pit masters to carry on this tradition.
It is the goal of NCBS to promote events like the Tar Heel Barbecue Classic. The Classic would start as a two day event for the public and hopefully become a three, four or five day event much akin to Memphis in May and be held in conjunction with hot air balloon festivals, World War II war bird fly-ins, music festivals, rodeos, horse shows, sports events, etc. In addition to promoting existing barbecue festivals, NCBS would also promote the best beach party on the east coast on an annual basis. This event would take place in early fall. It would be called the Lost Barbecue Party and produced at or near Manteo on the outer banks.
North Carolina needs the North Carolina Barbecue Society and NCBS needs the help of men and women with vision, high energy levels, a penchant for thinking outside the box and a passion to promote this great state. We need the help of state agencies who are in a position to assist with this project as well as various chambers of commerce across this state and those service organizations that could provide “worker bees” necessary to bring NCBS and all it would represent to the people of North Carolina and our visitors from out-of-state.
Membership in NCBS is only $35.00 per year. Membership would entitle one to a membership card, certificate, window decal and monthly issues of NCBS Pig Tales® the voice of NCBS. Other benefits would be preferred status for grilling/cooking classes, BBQ judge training, etc. along with direct input to the NCBS Board as to where members would like their society to go and how they would like for it to get there.
We need some of your time, energies and funds to further the goals of NCBS (aka “The Fun Tribe”) to wit: to cook and eat barbecue as often as possible, preferably in the company of good friends and to promote the Old North State as the “Cradle of ’Cue.”
Keep the fires burning!
President & CEO