Friday, 18 July 2014

The Pit

Three people sitting at The Pit, Raleigh, NC
Barry Campbell, wifey and myself
One of the purposes of this trip is to get some insight into different BBQ business models and what makes them popular and presumably successful. On one end, there is Allen & Son BBQ, a fishing shack off the newly-paved state highway 86; on another, there's The Pit, a flashy city BBQ restaurant with a visible wine cooler, upscale décor and a good looking local crown. For a Friday night, this made sense and for what The Pit does, it does it well.

We had the very good fortune of dining with Barry Campbell, who I worked with at Summit Systems in NYC, and had not seen in what we realized was 14 years. The Pit was on my itinerary for Friday night. Barry also suggested so the stars were aligned. And Barry picked up the tab so super duper thanks to you old buddy!

Allen & Son Bar-B-Que

Allen & Son Bar-B-Que
Allen & Son Bar-B-Que
We have finally crossed the BBQ divide to the Eastern-North-Carolina style barbecue. And that divide means two things:

1. Whole hog BBQ. The full hog is cooked over a pit and all the meat is chopped together to blend the flavors of the different cuts of the pork. This gives a much more robust flavor, which is at times lacking in the West, as evidenced by what appeared to be the complete removal of the outer crust at Gary’s BBQ.

2. The complete removal of any tomato-based products from any of the sauces. Vinegar and pepper reign supreme out east. And when it comes to whole hog barbeque, Allen & Son Bar-B-Que is the real deal. Some say the best in the state. They certainly are very highly rated and given the lunch I had, there is no question why. The building and interior look like someone’s uncle’s fishing cabin, and the uncle died 45 years ago and no one bothered much to update the place. This truly was a BBQ shack.