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.
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.
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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...