GRAND CHAMPIONS: The title of 2016 Grand Champion of the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival went to Brickhead BBQ, led by pitmaster Joe Loth of Linn Creek, Mo.

In photos: 2016 Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival

The Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival celebrated its 23rd year June 10-11 in Tryon with visitors from North Carolina and beyond coming together to enjoy cold brews, ‘cue and live music. More than 60 barbecue teams from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee were on hand to compete in categories […]

CUTTING TO THE CHASE: Joe Ervin of Neanderhogs Up in Smoke BBQ of Greer, S.C., prepares for battle in the 2014 Blue Ridge BBQ Festival competition. Photo by Cindy Kunst

No holds barred: Blue Ridge BBQ Festival sees both fierce and friendly competitio­n

By the time we come down from the clouds that cling to the mountains, and pull into Tryon, the rain is hot on our heels on a Friday afternoon. Not good news for the 73 competition barbecue cookers that have come from as far away as Texas and Missouri to try their hand at yet another trophy, this time at the recent Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival.

12 Bones Smokehouse  Photo by Cindy Kunst

Smoky, smoky mountains: The changing face of North Carolina barbecue

“Write about the succulent glories of Tar Heel barbecue at one’s own peril,” advised Rosemary Roberts of the Greensboro News & Record, adding, “It’s much safer to take on the National Rifle Association.” Barbecue is North Carolina’s love, lust and food of choice. Heck, it might as well be our state religion. And if love, religion and food are the three most common causes of rifts, rivalries and wars, barbecue is also a battleground.

Bar Beat: Ruby’s

When you think “bar,” serene Haw Creek may not be the area of Asheville that first comes to mind. But local institution Ruby’s BBQ Shack has had a full bar since it got a liquor license at the beginning of this year. Photo by Jonathan Welch That makes Ruby’s a pretty versatile place, as the […]