With the sad news that the annual Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival in Tryon has been cancelled, apparently permanently, barbecue fans may need a new occasion. If you can get over to Durham on Jan. 30, you can go to Pork & Pinot. Yes, pinot noir as in wine. Yes, pork as in barbecue. Debbie Moose's blog has details.
As long as we're thinking about barbecue (and is there ever a time when I'm not thinking about barbecue, no matter how subliminally?), I added a new blog link lately that is a ton of fun to read: BBQ Jew. Don't let the name stop you. The humor of these particular Chosen People is choice, and they post reviews of barbecue restaurants around the state.
And now, finally, let us bow our heads at the passing of the Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival. Truly sad news. I was a judge many, many times over the years. I shall see it in my dreams: A verdant valley with a mountain on one side and a picturesque rocky stream along the edge, filled with barbecue teams, cookers and carnival rides. Smoke rising above the rigs, the old hut on one side filled with the crazy cacophony of barbecue judges waiting to see if they got lucky enough to be assigned the whole hog category. The nice volunteers in aprons who used to sneak us extra servings of Italian ice between rounds of barbecue.
And my drives home on U.S. 74 at the end of the day, pinching myself to keep alert with the fat from a pound worth of pork trickling through my brain. Those, I shall see in my nightmares.