John T. Edge, the unofficial king of Southern food, has penned an elegiac ode to South Carolina's Scott's BBQ in today's NY Times, and local photographer Peter Frank Edwards gets serious play with an excellent slide show of his pictures of the back country pit-house.
Scott's is a legendary whole hog mecca in Hemingway, S.C., a place Jeff Allen trekked to a few years back for a City Paper cover story on the subject. When Edge was in town a few weeks ago, all his local associates — mainly members of the Southern Foodways Alliance, which Edge helms — knew he was here and what he was doing. But we couldn't officially know about it because his assignment was top secret. We don't mind keeping a secret like that, and the piece in today's paper is astonishingly good, particularly because of Edge's prose. He has a way of bringing food and culture to life:
"Visitors took side trips to the smoke-shrouded pit house where pigs lay splayed and sauce-puddled. They stared down into the mop sauce bucket, where sliced lemons bobbed.
"They ogled the five-foot-tall burn barrels, where hunks of wood the size of footstools flame, then smolder, then break down into the coals that Mr. Scott and his colleagues shovel into the pits. They traded theories about the barrels' construction, about how the coal grates within are formed by piercing the steel barrels with a crisscross of truck axles."
Now, I don't know about you, but a smoke-shrouded pit house brings a vivid image to mind and it totally makes me want to eat some 'cue. Road trip anyone?