Well, I guess folks actually do check out the web site. I received this email from our server at Bridges BBQ. I wanted to make sure they had a chance to respond to our review to be fair to the fine folks in N.C.:
I thank you for your interest in BBQ. The Bridges review, overall, was good but I feel that I need to clear up some misconceptions.
1. The sauce at Bridges has never contained molasses. As far as I know, there isn't even molasses in the building, even to eat on hot biscuits with butter.
2. There is no horseradish in the slaw. It is a popular misconception perceived by the most discerning BBQ tasters. It is the combination of ingredients with the cabbage (along with how "peppery" the cabbage is ) that creates that particular flavor. Cabbage develops a different, stronger flavor at certain times of the year.
3. There are actually 3 different regions for BBQ in North Carolina. What you refer to as "N.C." BBQ is actually Eastern Style. Usually whole hog basted with a sauce made primarily of vinegar and hot pepper.
Moving westward there is Lexington or Piedmont style. Still with more vinegar and pepper but containing a tomato addition in the sauce. More Shoulders or Boston Butts are used than whole hog. You will also find the introduction of the Red BBQ slaw which was actually born in Shelby but made it there by way of Warner Stamey of Stamey's BBQ. Warner Stamey was in the BBQ business in Shelby in the late 30's early 40's and his family moved to the Lexington area during the war to work in the ship building business and opened Stamey's BBQ
.Then there is Western style which has more tomato in the sauce, and is the birthplace of the red slaw. None of the sauces are "sweet" but usually contain sugar. You will find that the farther west you go, the more tomato and sweetness you will find in the sauce.
Even though the styles are different in taste and texture there is one common denominator...traditional N.C. BBQ is cooked with a direct fired method as opposed to smoking. With direct- firing, the meat is roasted over hardwood coals which results in the skin on the shoulders turning a rich, golden brown giving the meat a milder smoke flavor. Smoked meat will have a richer smoke flavor and is usually associated with BBQ even farther west, as in Memphis and K.C. . Because of "Open Burning Laws" in N.C., some municipalities have banned open pit burning and smoking has become more prevalent. Older, direct- fired establishments have been grandfathered in where as newer ones have to go to enclosed smokers.
As someone who has been in the BBQ Business for over 30 years (and have eaten it much longer than that) I truly appreciate your interest.!! Right now, BBQ is hotter than ever (pardon the pun). Everyone has their own personal style preferences... molasses or no molasses, smoke or direct- fire, mayo, mustard, or ketchup in the slaw... but I am sure that QUALITY is the consistent factor that you will be looking for in your quest for BBQ and hope that's what you found when you visited us at Bridges' BBQ Lodge.
(your server at Bridges')
THANKS for the NC BBQ lesson. I'm becoming more "edjuhmuhcated" every day about this BBQ stuff.
As for Bridges, like I said - they are a member of the Q brotherhood and I'd stop by there in a heartbeat just to have another meal with them. I would definitely say they strive for quality food there and recommend you try them out for yourself.
I also want everyone to know that we are not on a "Quest" to run anyone down and don't mean to offend on purpose. We know that the best Q out there is in the tastebuds of the beholder and you can't judge a place based on just one meal on one particular day. On the other hand, this is my dadgum web site, and I aim to tell it like I see it. That could mean a BBQ resturant owner gets upset. Just start making better Q and we'll all be happier... ;^)
I am sure Bridges is confident enough to handle it if some little podunk guy like me says a derogatory remark or makes an incorrect assumption about a recipe - since they have been in business almost as long as I've been alive. But there are probably some other people who can't handle it. My purpose is just to keep trying enough Q to determine what I think is really good and not so good. What I am finding is that its like anything else. There is a lot of it around and a lot of it is not that great. But the outstanding ones need recognizing. Thus, the reason for my Quest for Q! And what a great Quest it is....