Barbecue has a history and a long association with blues music and jazz music and roof-shakin', foot-stompin', Southern-tinted rock-and-roll music. It has a sweet Sunday morning side -- all gospel hymns and stately women in enormous hats -- and it has a dark and dirty Saturday night side as well. Barbecue spent generations living in the swamps and shanty towns, smoked up in backwood pits by three-tooth geniuses who'd just as soon run your gears with their hog-skinning knives as tell you what was in the dry rub. When it came to eating, it got trucked out in probably equal measure to church picnics and shotgun shacks; was forked up and devoured by equal numbers of God-fearing Charlie Churchmice and white-lightning rummies, sucking bones and licking their fingers in dark, tin-roof juke joints that stank of cigarettes, stale beer, ripe sweat and original sin.
In both settings, there was music--growling guitar masterpieces about fun, fighting and fucking rolling late on a Friday night and hymns in praise of Jesus on Sunday afternoon. Good barbecue--serious, secret, hoo-wee and slap-your-mama good--and good blues, jazz and Jesus music came up together in beautiful American harmony and synchronicity. For the one, all you needed was a pit, some sticks and a Zippo. For the other, a pawnshop guitar and something to howl about. And both the music and the meat were made for the same reason: to feel good for a little while after feeling bad all week long. That's what barbecue is all about: feeling good for as long as your appetite holds out, feeling good for as long as you carry a little sauce under your nails and the scent of pit-smoke in your hair. In as much as blues music is about a good man feeling bad, good barbecue is more about bad men eating good.
And while The Q Worldly Barbeque, which I review this week, might be missing a little of the sex and sin endemic to the best barbecue in the world, it does have one thing that no other place in the city has: proper Carolina tidewater barbecue.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
I review the Q in Cafe this week. And in Bite Me, there are more musings on the corn fritters and whiskey list at the Q (impressive, to say the least). And then there's some news about Park Burger, which finally opened this past weekend, and its place in the spectrum of East-Coast-versus-Midwest restaurant innovations.
Also this week, I get to Shead's (the new one in Aurora) for the small ends and peach cobbler I've been craving since the location on East Hampden closed years ago.
It's the perfect weather for talking (or reading) about barbecue, isn't it? The only thing better would be eating barbecue. So tomorrow, why not run out, get yourself a rack or two of pork ribs, a copy of the paper, and then take the rest of the day off. It's cool. Just tell your boss I said it was okay...