Randall Kenan explains why eastern NC whole-hog barbecue is the only true barbecue. I must disagree with him, however, when he insists that “the cooked meat should be chopped,” because among my fondest memories are the yearly UNC-CH grad-student “Pig Pickins” hosted by Professor Weldon Thornton at his home. Being an early-bird type, I always volunteered for the dawn patrol and would arrive at 4:00 a.m. to find the pig already cooking over the constructed pit. Our job: keep it basted and watch the fire. Breakfast turned up at some point, along with coffee courtesy of Mrs. Thornton. At the end of the day, half the fun was “picking” the now unbelievably tenderized barbecued pork. And the sight of some of our usually dignified professors–Erika Lindemann was especially enthusiastic–wrist deep in pork was priceless!

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