There are as many arguments over what makes good barbecue as there are ways to spell it. But one thing is clear: Nothing says state pasttime like a pig pickin', and no one knows a pig pickin' better than UNC-TV's Bob Garner.
Bob Garner's Guide to North Carolina Barbecue is an exhaustive review of the best 100 barbecue joints in the state. And with projects such as the popular book and television shows North Carolina Barbecue: Flavored by Time and A North Carolina Pig Pickin' already under his belt, Garner undoubtedly deserves his title as "the barbecue man."
Complete with an academic analysis of where Piedmont-style barbecue first began (Salisbury versus Lexington) and the seven distinct barbecue regions of the United States (North Carolina claims two), the guide is equal parts serious food appraisal and anthropological study. But Garner isn't afraid to apply a tough standard to his barbecue, and doesn't gloss over the flaws of even his favorite restaurants.
You can chat with Garner today at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Durham or catch him Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh. Both events will feature signings, discussions and, best of all, samples from the local joints highlighted in the book.