Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ON SALE NOW!!!    
(everywhere and anywhere)

Some praise:

"The One True Barbecue is the whole hog of storytelling—sharp and witty prose, thoughtful interviews, and deep, humane insights into what makes these pitmasters cook." — Jami Attenberg, author of Saint Mazie

“With an anthropologist's eye and a glutton's appetite, Rien Fertel crisscrossed the American South on a pilgrimage to collect the wisdom of the great pitmasters, practitioners of the vanishing art of whole-hog barbecuing. Like all great food travelogues, you'll be tempted to consume this one in a single sitting." — Mark Adams, author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu

“I devoured this book the same way I do good barbecue—in one big sitting with enough left over for the next day. The One True Barbecue takes hog as its subject but is much more: history, sociology, race relations, economics,and land. Read this for a view into the South, then and now. It'll make your mouth water for more.” — Chris Offutt, author of My Father, the Pornographer

"Crackling with southern culture and history, Fertel's love for barbecue—from the pitmasters to the culinary traditions—is alive on every page. A joy to read and hog heaven for anyone who appreciates the nuances and delights of barbecue at its finest." — Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Devil in the Grove

"Some barbecue cooks who still cook whole hogs the old way are just stubbornly doing what their people have always done. Others have studied the tradition and are reviving it in unexpected places. Not surprisingly, all are interesting characters, as Rien Fertel shows us in this fascinating book. A superb documentarian with a wry sense of humor, Fertel also offers some thoughtful observations about authenticity, gentrification, and celebrity. This book should be read by anyone who thinks barbecue is about sticky red sauce." — John Shelton Reed, co-founder of The Campaign for Real Barbecue (TrueCue.org) and co-author of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue

"For anyone interested in the origins, history, methods and spectacle of whole-hog barbecue, this book is essential reading. And when Mr. Fertel says that “all barbecue writing is hyperbole,” he sets a standard that his writing wonderfully meets. Mr. Fertel leaves readers hungry not only for barbecue but also for the barbecue country he so engagingly maps." — The Wall Street Journal

"One Damn Good Book About American Barbecue." — Keith Pandolfi, Serious Eats

"Fertel’s book [is] devoted to underscoring the absolute impossibility of replicating the miracles that occur within the South’s most storied pits. . . . He's also a winning writer, blessed with the gift of being able to incorporate back stories and scenic details without making a fuss about it. He spends far more time in the company of people than food, but he’s good at conveying the joy of eating." — Hannah Raskin, Charleston Post and Courier

"A timely profile of what is arguably the oldest food tradition in existence. . . . It’s a book about food, sure, but it’s also about people and places and history — everything that makes barbecue what it is. And thanks in no small part to Fertel’s talent as a writer, it’s exceptionally readable. . . . The pitmasters and local legends he profiles — some of them, miraculously, alive; others long dead — jump off the page." — Deseret News

"It is the stories of the pit masters and their predecessors, told with a sympathetic and fastidious eye, that give this hog its wings." — Publishers Weekly

"Interweaving culinary and ethnographic history with vibrant character profiles and mouthwatering food writing, Fertel takes readers on an anthropological journey across back country roads and generations to unearth the rich legacy of this art." — Kirkus Reviews

Monday, November 12, 2012

Barbecue's "Golden Secret"

Melvin's  barbecue sandwich topped with the "golden secret" sauce. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus) 

Bessinger, certainly the most famous surname in South Carolina barbecue. Mustard sauce, Piggy Park. Icons of South Carolina history and culture and Bessinger family inventions.

One of fourteen children born to Mack Bessinger, restaurant patriarch Joseph Jacob, was known as ‘Big Joe.’ He moved from the family farm near Orangeburg to open the Holly Hill CafĂ© in 1939. There, together with the Sweatman family, he concocted a mustard-based barbecue sauce, owning to their shared German roots. That “Golden Secret,” as the Bessingers call it, became the state’s signature sauce.

Melvin Bessinger, like most of his ten siblings, followed his father into the barbecue business. In 1961, with another brother, Melvin opened his first barbecue restaurant in west Charleston. Three decades later, Melvin split off to found his own barbecue joint. Today, third-generation barbecue entrepreneur, David Bessinger, maintains the Bessinger family tradition.

— Rien Fertel/ The Barbecue Bus

Melvin’s Legendary Bar-B-Q
538 Folly Road
Charleston, SC 29412
(843) 762-0511

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Every Day of the Week

A sampling of the fare from the Brown's Bar-B-Q buffet in Kingstree, South Carolina. (photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)

Thomas M. Brown, Jr. is a farmer. He plants soy, wheat, hay, and oats to sell on the market. Additionally, he grows corn, squash, zucchini, and broccoli, okra, butter beans, collards, and cabbage for his restaurant’s massive buffet line. At Brown’s Bar-B-Q, these fresh vegetables are served in season alongside pilau rice and white rice, macaroni, yams, barbecue chicken and fried chicken, barbecue turkey and baked turkey, barbecue ribs, smoked ham, potato salad, coleslaw, and, yes, chopped barbecue.   

A motorcycle accident left a teenage Thomas Brown with a broken leg. Confined to bed and with a hot plate set up within reach, he learned to cook for himself. In 1981, he started serving takeout plates—rice and gravy, yams, barbecue—from a window on the family farm. A decade later, he built the dining room, as large as the buffet table is long.

At Brown’s Bar-B-Q, dinner, or lunch, is like Thanksgiving eating enjoyed every day of the week. The fresh vegetables, the variety of meats; all the desserts that can’t fit on one plate. It’s hard to keep track of all the gravies.

— Rien Fertel/ The Barbecue Bus

809 Williamsburg County Highway  
Kingstree, SC 29556
(843) 382-2753