Charlotte couple puts N.C. BBQ on the map

Press Release

From The Great N.C. BBQ Map:

Charlotte, NC – A native North Carolina couple is cataloguing every barbecue restaurant in the state to create the most comprehensive guide to NC’s biggest food obsession. With over 250 restaurants, shacks, and eateries, The Great NC BBQ Map will include everything from those hole-in-the-wall heritage spots to the more modern interpretations in a printed road-map format.
On February 26th, creators Amanda Fisher and Paul Bright launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to raise the $10,000 needed to take their concept to print, covering printing, graphic design, and basic start-up business costs. They must meet their $10,000 goal in order to get even $1 of the funds pledged, which is the basic all-or-nothing concept behind Kickstarter.
Anyone can pre-order The Great NC BBQ Map at for $9, but the duo is teaming up with other North Carolina businesses to offer exciting Kickstarter exclusive rewards, all of which come with the barbecue map.
A $100 pledge will buy you a ticket to the summer launch party at NoDa Brewing Company, which will include brews and barbecue, as well as lots of themed swag and activities. You can have NC ‘cue delivered to your door, or gather up 21 friends or coworkers for a barbecue tour around the Charlotte area.
The most exclusive package up for grabs is a private daylong tour of Lexington barbecue restaurants, taking you to the heart of the state’s barbecue heritage and giving you a behind-the-scenes look at some of those legendary places. Lexington is home to some of North Carolina’s oldest barbecue restaurants and what barbecue lovers know as Piedmont style (also called Lexington or Western style).
Lexington is certainly where most of our minds go when we think about North Carolina barbecue, but our state’s tradition actually got its start on the coast. Colonists encountered the Native American technique of pit-cooking, and they brought their British basting to the equation, which they usually did with vinegar. The addition of red pepper came via the Caribbean. And there you’ve got your Eastern- style barbecue.
When the Scotch-Irish and Germans took up this form of cooking in the Piedmont region of the state, they too introduced some of their own traditions – tomatoes in the sauce (now seen more likely in the form of ketchup) and a topping of cabbage-based coleslaw. They also smoked pork shoulder instead of the whole hog and chopped or sliced their barbecue, instead of keeping with the East’s tradition of pulling the pork.
Now you’ll find a mix of Eastern and Piedmont styles all over the state, with some other influences blending in around the borders. But The Great NC BBQ Map will make these distinctions easy to understand, while outlining the history of NC ‘cue. A symbol for each restaurant on the map will give
you its basic BBQ facts in just a glance. Map symbols will designate three basic facts: (1) whether the barbecue is whole hog or made with part of the pig, (2) if it has Piedmont or Eastern style sauce, and (3) if its an eatery that smokes their meat the traditional way.
Not only will the map be useful for tracking down that perfect pork when you’re on the road, but Fisher and Bright encourage people to use the map to put together their own BBQ tours. Fisher has done this, herself, for private groups in different parts of the state, including a tour that highlighted Charlotte-area restaurants, a group of joints she considers often forgotten.
“There are so many North Carolina barbecue books out there that do a great job of detailing our state’s barbecue heritage and profiling some of the most legendary spots and their pit masters. I love those books for those reasons. But when they get to listing out the restaurants around the state, there is so much they’ve left out. And Charlotte and some of the surrounding towns are major blank areas,” Fisher said.
“The Old Hickory House, Kyle-Fletcher’s, Bill Spoon’s, and R.O.’s are a few that come to mind. And some of those have been around for 50 or more years. They’re just as legitimate as other places you always hear about. And the same goes for other barbecue restaurants out there in other towns.”
Amanda came up with the concept behind the map out of frustration when planning her own road trips: “There is just no one source out there that has it all. And there’s not one single map – nothing that’s easy to use when you’re on the road.”
Amanda is bringing her arts and business background to the project. She ran her own line of redesigned vintage clothing and housewares, Verabelle, for five years, and has worked in the marketing/public relations field and non-profit sector. But Amanda’s real passion has always been in traveling, or adventuring, as she calls it: “I believe that every day can be an adventure, whether that’s on the road, or in your own backyard.”
Along with Paul Bright, Amanda’s life and business partner and the project’s cartographer, the duo will use this map and the Kickstarter campaign to springboard into their own niche map publishing company. Their goal is to encourage others to find adventure in the everyday and in the extraordinary, using their own adventures as inspiration.
The two have traveled all over the country, both together, solo, and with others. Amanda even braved a month-long Route 66 road trip with her dad, sharing a bed in a tiny RV a few winters ago. Together, Fisher and Bright do a lot of backpacking through National Parks out West and road-tripping through their native Southeast.
“We have a whole list of ideas for more maps,” Bright said. ” As we travel, we’ve noticed a lot of things missing in the world of maps and even in just the travel, guidebook genre, in general.”
“We’ve already started work on a Charlotte adventure map,” Amanda revealed. “And of course, there will be more barbecue maps to come.”
The Great NC BBQ Map will be like any other road map you’re familiar with: around 18″ x 28″ flat, folded up into a typical 4″ x 9″ size for carrying around wherever you go. Graphically, though, it will be something you’d be just as happy hanging on your wall.
For the map’s design, Amanda and Paul are working with another North Carolina creative duo, Chris and Elizabeth Boyette, who comprise the Raleigh-based husband and wife design team Good-South. Good-South is most well known for their label design for Slingshot Coffee Company’s Cold Brew bottles, featured on Buzzfeed’s 34 Coolest Food Packaging Designs of 2012.
Good-South isn’t the only designer Amanda and Paul are bringing to the project. Nikki Mueller of Not
Made in China will be providing her “I Got My Pork Pulled in North Carolina,” buttons, bottle openers, and magnets as part of the project’s Kickstarter rewards. Amanda met Nikki through Crown Town Handmade, a group for Charlotte’s crafty entrepreneurs that Amanda started back in 2009.
“We really wanted to bring together a lot of great North Carolina minds for this project to give the map a great southern feel,” Amanda said. “When you look at this map, it’s going to get you excited about North Carolina barbecue.”
To get your map and any of the other exclusive Kickstarter rewards Paul and Amanda are offering, go to by March 27th. The Great NC BBQ Map will be available this summer.

About Hayley Benton
Current freelance journalist and artist. Former culture/entertainment reporter at the Asheville Citizen-Times and former news reporter at Mountain Xpress. Also a coffee drinker, bad photographer, teller of stupid jokes and maker-upper of words. I can be reached at hayleyebenton [at] Follow me @HayleyTweeet

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