- Tuesday, 29 November 2022
- Written by Pitt Dickey
Is nothing sacred?
Stay tuned to learn the disappointing answer. Misquoting Neidermeyer’s opening statement at the trial of the Deltas in Animal House, a recent event of dietary disrespect and ignorance occurred at a sacred ancient temple of NC BBQ which was so loathsome that “the acts of culinary perversion were so profound and disgusting that decorum prohibits listing them here.” Naturally I shall go ahead and list them anyway.
This profane act of defiling and criticizing NC BBQ cannot be ignored. To quote the philosopher of the sea, Popeye: “That’s all I can stand. I can’t stands no more.” The time has come to leap athwart the bow of history and shout “Enough!” The two readers of this column know that I make every effort to remain neutral, beige, and boring in my opinions and observations. But I cannot let this travesty go unremarked.
Breaking my silence on current events, I follow the edict of Martin Luther, who after nailing his 95 theses to the church door in 1517, was deemed a heretic. Four years later in a church trial when threatened with excommunication and burning at the stake, he was offered amnesty if he would just recant his beliefs.
Martin Luther refused to do so, saying: “Here I stand. I can do no other.” The Holy Grub of North Carolina has been insulted by a Phillistine from north of the Mason-Dixon line. It is my sacred duty to defend NC BBQ.
Damn the cholesterol, full steam ahead.
Return with us now to November in a capital city in a southern state. Let us call that city Raleigh. It was a normal day towards the end of a normal lunch hour. Suddenly, a crime wave was identified at a famous local restaurant. Let us call that restaurant Clyde Cooper’s BBQ.
A woman, possibly from New Jersey, who we shall call Karen, ordered a plate of Clyde’s BBQ to go. Karen is a special kind of lady. A lady of exquisite breeding, unfounded egotism, and culinary misinformation. Karen is a lady who owns a cell phone. Karen knows her rights. She even knows the number of 911.
When Karen opened her box of BBQ, she was stricken with revulsion and disbelief. The BBQ inside was pink. Pink, the color of impetigo. Pink, the color of pink eye. Pink, the color of flamingos. Pink, the color of Pepto Bismol. She was stricken with mental pain and crippling emotional anguish.
This pink BBQ was not properly cooked. Trichinosis lurked in her Styrofoam box. Botulism was just a forkful away from her delicate constitution. As Colonel Kurtz said in Apocalypse Now: “The horror. The horror….”
Karen marched herself right back into Mr. Cooper’s café and demanded fully cooked BBQ or a refund. The owner explained the BBQ was pink because it was smoked BBQ.
Smoked BBQ is pink, not grey. It is smoked for over 12 hours at 250 degrees. It is done even though the smoke turns it pink. Cooper's has been smoking BBQ for over 75 years and knows pig. A refund was denied and Karen was given chicken as a substitute. Was this enough for Karen? Not a chance.
Karen sashayed out the door. She did what any Karen would do. She called 911 to report a BBQ emergency. According to press reports, a Raleigh police officer was dispatched to the scene of the crime to investigate. The officer entered Cooper's, briefly discussed pink BBQ, and according to the owner of Cooper’s, “He walked out- Kind of had a little smirk on his face.”
The officer spoke with Karen, but made no arrests of the cooks and left. Karen left a cranky one-star review on Google writing: “Worst customer service I ever had in my life. Barbecue was very pink and had lots of fat in it.”
Karen was interviewed later by WRAL, telling the TV station that “she did not regret calling the police and is considering filing a lawsuit against Cooper's.”
Imagine a NC jury brought up eating the holy grub, hearing a case brought by Karen who clearly knows nothing of our history and even less about what makes good BBQ. You can tear down our statues. You can fill Cary with Yankees. But by all that is Holy, you cannot defame our BBQ.
Where does it end? It never ends. Another NC food related lawsuit is winding its way through the California courts. A disgruntled man in Los Angeles filed a class action lawsuit against Texas Pete hot sauce claiming he was misled into thinking Texas Pete was made in Texas. The label on Texas Pete clearly states it was made in Winston-Salem, NC. His complaint alleged he would not have bought it if he knew its origin, stating that Texas Pete “knowingly capitalized on consumers’ desire to partake in the culture and authentic cuisine of one of the most prideful states in America.” Only a money poultice can make him regruntled again.
What have we learned today? Once again, very little. You can lead Yankees to food, but you can’t make them eat. Dare to strike back, put some Texas Pete on your next BBQ sandwich.