Tag Archives: Lexington NC

In the Trenches: Competing at a KCBS-Sanctioned Competition

It all started in early 2010.  A couple of friends and I heard of a charity BBQ cook-off going on in Charlotte, and we decided to enter.  We entered 2 of the 4 categories and ended up taking 2nd place in both categories.  The competition bug bit me.

Fast forward almost a year, and I get another opportunity to help out on a competition team.  This time, the stakes are much bigger.  About two weeks ago, I got the opportunity to be a part of the Sir Porkalot BBQ team (@SirPorkaLot on Twitter) that competed at the BBQ Capital Cook-off in Lexington, NC (a KCBS-sanctioned competition).  I arrived with huge ambitions and an eagerness to learn.

There were a lot of well-known BBQ teams present at this competition, so I admit to being a bit starstruck.  Every one of the teams that I spoke with were very down to earth, friendly, and welcoming.  Even one of the most famous people in terms of competition barbecue (Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke) took time out to talk to me for at least a good 10-15 minutes.  Again, BBQ people are some of the friendliest on the face of this planet.

In short, many good times were had.  The banter flowed (as did the beer).  The food was excellent.  The sleep… well, there wasn’t much of that going on.  Overall, it was a great experience!  Anyone who can cook four different kinds of meat overnight to turn in at 30 minute intervals the next day has all the respect in the world in my book.  And even though the team may not have placed where we liked, I feel it’s a one-of-a-kind experience to be an active team member!

Oh yeah, don’t think for one minute that I forgot to go and take pictures!  There are several of those, but I’ve uploaded them to Facebook.  So you can view the pictures here.  And if you haven’t added me on Facebook, add me here!

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NC BBQ Tweet-Up at Lexington #1

Lexington BBQ #1

Lexington BBQ #1

As I mentioned in my previous post, today I got to meet up with several great people this afternoon.  I traveled about an hour northeast on I-85 to meet up with Cyndi (and her son), John (and his son), and Fred (who won a Masterbuilt smoker giveaway on Cyndi’s blog).  Our destination: Lexington BBQ #1.  I think this section of the blog entry can be best said in pictures rather than words:

The gang (from left to right): Fred, Cyndi, John, me

The gang (from left to right): Fred, Cyndi, John, me

John and his son chowing down

John and his son chowing down

Cyndi cheesing it up

Cyndi cheesing it up

Fred enjoying some chopped pork

Fred enjoying some chopped pork

John about to "anoint" Fred with Carolina Treet

John about to "anoint" Fred with Carolina Treet BBQ Sauce.

BBQ ABUSE!

BBQ ABUSE!

After John and his son left, the rest of us were treated to a nice surprise.  While making conversation with an employee, he told us that we could ask for a tour of the smokehouse.  We got to talk with the Ricks, who were the pitmasters manning the fire that afternoon.  Below are some pictures of that tour.

Sweet sweet smoke

Sweet sweet smoke

The smokehouse

The smokehouse

The wood pile

The wood pile

Tending the coals inside the smokehouse

Tending the coals inside the smokehouse

FIRE!

FIRE!

Tending to the meat

Tending to the meat

All in all, it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.  I got to reconnect with friends I haven’t seen in a few months, and I got to meet a fellow Twitterer face to face.  In my opinion, it’s definitely worth a repeat performance!

Review: Lexington BBQ #1 — Lexington, NC

Today I had the opportunity to meet up with some really great people today at Lexington BBQ #1 in Lexington, NC.  I will talk about that in a different blog post.

The first thing I observed about Lexington #1 is that YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE!  Google Maps Navigation failed me on the address that I found on Yelp, instead trying to put me at a different restaurant.  I wondered if it was some kind of conspiracy.  However, the next address I found for it was correct.  I arrive to an extremely full parking lot and a mad dash in an attempt to find an open spot.  Clearly people love this place.

Lexington BBQ #1 Signage

Lexington BBQ #1 Signage

Once we all get seated, our waitress comes around to take our orders.  While there were burgers and other items on the menu, we came there for one reason: pork!  At Lexington BBQ #1, they serve BBQ three different ways: chopped, coarsely chopped, and sliced.  I ordered the large coarsely chopped BBQ tray with hush puppies and asked for extra “brown” (which is the outer bark from the pork shoulder).  Shortly after ordering, out comes the food:

Lexington BBQ #1 Coarsely Chopped BBQ

Lexington BBQ #1 Coarsely Chopped BBQ

Coarsely Chopped BBQ -- Close-Up

Coarsely Chopped BBQ -- Close-Up

Coarsely Chopped BBQ -- Close-Up 2

Coarsely Chopped BBQ -- Close-Up 2

The pork was presented in a tray that was about the size of a 3×5 note card, and about 3/4 – 1 inch deep.  I was immediately pleased at the amount of “brown” that was in my tray, because this gave promise to lots of flavor.  As I took bite after bite, I was not disappointed.  The pork was very flavorful and moist — not dry in the least bit whatsoever.  The only thing that was somewhat disappointing was that the pieces of brown were a little tough to chew.  The flavor it brought out, however, more than made up for it.

One of my former co-workers recommended to me one time that if I ever went to a BBQ restaurant in Lexington, ask for an extra cup of dip.  In Lexington, dip is a thin mopping sauce that contains very small amounts of ketchup and sugar to go along with the vinegar and other spices.  I’m very glad that I did.  Adding a small amount of the dip to my BBQ really enhanced the flavors of the pork.

Lexington BBQ #1 Hush Puppies

Lexington BBQ #1 Hush Puppies

The hush puppies were delicious!  They were very crunchy, flavorful, and (best of all) not greasy.  I could have made myself completely full just on the hush puppies alone (which I nearly did).

Lexington BBQ #1 Slaw

Lexington BBQ #1 Slaw

Normally I am not a fan of red slaw.  I usually find it a bit too tangy.  However, this slaw complemented the rest of the meal well.  It was very crunchy with just enough tang to act as a perfect side to the slaw.

Lexington BBQ #1 Peach Cobbler

Lexington BBQ #1 Peach Cobbler

I even left enough room for peach cobbler.  The peach cobbler was good, but nothing really outstanding.  It just didn’t have that “wow” factor, in my opinion.  Plus, I’m still trying to figure out where in the world they were able to find a rectangular ice cream scoop.

All in all, the food at Lexington BBQ #1 was worth the drive up from Charlotte.  The fact that I got to partake of the BBQ with a great group of people made it even better!