Recently, I was having lunch with Carey Bringle of Peg Leg Porker at Pat Martin’s BBQ Joint in Nolensville, TN. Peg Leg Porker will be at Memphis in May as they usually are, and we began to talk about the difference between MBN competitions and KCBScompetitions. Our conversation got me thinking a little bit. You see, Carey’s position is that the presentation that is part of MBN competitions is really the essence of BBQ, more so than the nondescript Styrofoam box that’s judged blindly in KCBS competitions.
The more I ponder it, I think he’s right. I walk into BBQ joints every chance I get and I eat BBQ. No offense to great BBQ joints like Pat’s or 17th Street, but I often walk away thinking that I can cook just as good. In fairness, I’m not cooking for the masses (usually). But is BBQ really just about the food? Or is the enjoyment of my own BBQ a result of the experience, the tradition, the stories told around the BBQ pit, or maybe just the satisfaction of doing it myself?
I can enjoy good food in a restaurant. But if you believe that BBQ is the sum of all those things I mentioned previously, you can’t get BBQ in a restaurant.