Big Pig Battle

Boy did we eat like pigs in D.C. over the weekend. Well, actually we ate those pigs, not necessarily like pigs, but I did find barbecue sauce on my nose, my shirt and in my fingernails! And as much as I hate to get dirty - it was totally worth it. SO TASTY.

Barbecue can be a touchy subject in North Carolina: East vs. West and all that jazz. Eastern style is vinegar-based, and Western-style is tomato-based - both good in their own right. (Oh! And when I say barbecue I mean the smoked, chopped/sliced/pulled pork kind doused in sauce. Not the kind of food cooked on a barbecue, or a grill, as we call it. It's gotta be pork!) We hit the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle on Saturday, and being the good North Carolinians we are (or were, in Jacqui and Trey's case), we found the Carolina-style tent. But it was South Carolina style, which means it's a mustard-based sauce.

Confused yet?

I've had the South Carolina kind before, and I wasn't thrilled with it that time. These people, however, knew what they were doing. (They hailed from Fort Mill, S.C., and Charlotte, N.C., which is so close to S.C. you can just about choose what you want to be!) We had ribs, pulled pork with sauce, baked beans, corn and a roll. The veggies? Eh. Totally canned. The bread? Soft, but straight from Food Lion. The pork? Omigod. I was sure that with the hundreds of thousands of people hanging out (or so it seemed) the pig would be dry and overcooked. Boy, was I wrong! It was some of the best cooked barbecue I'd ever tasted - and it was good even without the sauce, but of course I poured it on. And the ribs? They had a dry rub on them, which I don't know much about, but they were moist and meaty and great. It was a well-spent $12 (it fed us both). We almost cleaned our plate - as you can see!

On our way to the festival I asked if everybody was ready for some BBQ. Trey said he knew of a man who would go out of his way for BBQ, because barbecue and barbeque just aren't the real thing. I'd say we found true BBQ on Saturday - in D.C. of all places. Crowds and trouble finding a darn drink be damned - that was some tasty pork!

A few links for you:
* Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce
* Western North Carolina Barbecue Sauce (Scroll down to find)
* South Carolina Mustard-Based Barbecue Sauce
* Bob Garner's Guide to North Carolina Barbecue (Brad's uncle's restaurant is included!)
* Lexington, N.C., Barbecue Festival
* A Short History of N.C. Barbecue