Thursday, December 9, 2010

Want to buy a N.C. barbecue battle?

When the Barbecue Battle Box arrived on my desk, packed in a cooler of freezer packs, I had to admit: Clever idea. It's $59 ($39 if you buy 10 or more for a "Corporate Gift Special") and it comes with 1 pound of Eastern-style pork, 1 pound of Piedmont-style pork, one bottle each of Piedmont Dip and Eastern Barbecue sauce, and two tubs of cole slaw, a red Piedmont style and a white Eastern style.

The battle idea is that you're supposed to decide which style of barbecue is better. But you know barbecue fans -- we spend our time deciding whether this particular sample is a good example of the art of True 'Cue.

So I microwaved the barbecue packages, called together a small coterie of seasoned co-workers (and ended up with a large coterie -- you try putting out a couple of bowls of barbecue at lunch) and we commenced to tasting.

The slaws were big hits, with everyone loving the white and slightly sweet Eastern style, and even barbecue-slaw dislikers saying they liked that version more than they usually do. The sauces were pronounced reasonable facsimiles of the real deals.

The barbecue was pronounced generally good, although there is no nitpicker like a barbecue eater. Several people wanted more smokiness, even though I reminded them that true N.C. 'cue isn't very smoky. We all agreed the textures were right, with the proper minced quality in the Eastern style and more shredded, chunky pork in the Piedmont style. The Eastern style, even before saucing, was noticably more vinegary.

Price-wise, we all thought $59 was a mite high, considering that a pound of either one usually runs $8 to $9 at most of the classic places. As several people noted, "For 60 bucks, you ought to get banana pudding and some white bread."

But still, I've run into pretty big barbecue fanatics from out of state who spend a lot more on a plane ticket, a rental car and several days hitting places like Skylight Inn and Bridge's. So if what you want is to get or give a taste of N.C., this is a pretty good way to do it.

Interested? Go to or call 866-617-4467.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the great blog. We did try to keep the styles as authentic and true to region as possible. Although the price of $54.95 may seem high, when averaged between 6-8 people, it starts to seem a little more reasonable. Plus, for those that follow us on Facebook (NC BBQ Company) we regularly offer deals and coupons.
And we also have plans to expand our existing product line to include an awesome hushpuppy mix (because we all know hushpuppies do not travel well) and other authentic sides. So thanks again for your review and valuable feedback as we always strive to improve our brand.

Rick Scott
The North Carolina Barbecue Company

marketingspeakerauthor said...

I got the Battle Box and really loved the BBQ. It seems like once the pouches were open, the BBQ seemed to expand and we even had leftovers. For me the convenience is worth the price to get the slaw and sauce without having to leave my house.

Anonymous said...

IMO $54.95 is WAY high for at home bbq. Maybe for 6-8 ppl in a restaurant, but not home. If you've never tried it and don't like it, ya can't hardly send it back. Seems like the only winner(?) in this "battle" here, is the company tryin' to justify the price and gettin' your $54 for a $20 meal. I like that one comment that "it starts to SEEM a little more reasonable" Overpriced is still overpriced.

Anonymous said...

I think anonymous is getting the idea wrong. This isn't something you'd ship to yourself for a typical dinner. This isn't fair to compare to a $5/meal like a fast food joint. There is expense in packaging and keeping the product cool. Go to any online store to ship perishable food like Dean & Deluca, Harry and Davide, etc and it costs a little more to get the fully prepared food. You are paying for convenience. Want someone outside you area to try NC BBQ or ship to someone who has left NC and misses it? This is a great way to go!

anonymous said...

To anonymous, I actually received a box of this bbq from a friend, and it is pretty good bbq. It actually is a lot better than some restaurants that try to pass as bbq joints. It was smoked, but not too much. We had three couples come over and we all had plenty to eat. It is meant as a dinner party companion. It sparked onversation, debate, and genuine entertainment, which is more than I can say for a lot of overpriced restaurants. Plus I didn't have to wait for the waitress to come fill up my glass, which contained beer, which you can't get in most bbq joints.
That said, I noticed on their website that they have a 100% money back gaurantee! Although it was a gift to us, I would, and will, be sending this to friends, family, and clients when the need arises. Great product!

Unknown said...

For our family, price is not a big deal when it comes to barbecue. As long as its insanely good, we'll eat it for whatever cost. That's how much my family loves grilled stuff. In fact, we use our trusted ol' charcoal bbq every weekend to cook our lunch and dinner. We've used a lot of charcoal barbeques before, but our current one is by far the most "talented". Each grill is perfect, believe it or not. But hey, we could use a rest day. Perhaps we'll have that NC bbq battle soon.