Nineteen years ago, at the 1992 Republican National Convention, a barbecue taste-off pitted beef tenderloin from Joe Allen's Bar-B-Que of Abilene, Texas, against pulled pork from Kings Restaurant in Kinston, N.C. Perry, then the agriculture commissioner of Texas, sampled the Carolina barbecue and declared, "I've had road kill that tasted better than that."...Last month, a new generation of News & Observer reporters stumbled on the quote in the Reeds' book and thrust it back into the political limelight, announcing to the world that Perry was on record as saying that North Carolina barbecue tastes worse than road kill.
The reaction in North Carolina was swift. Newspaper columnists declared Perry unfit for office and demanded a retraction. A representative of the Smithfield's Chicken N' Bar-B-Q chain mailed Perry 2 pounds of pork barbecue and an open letter encouraging him to "revisit your experience with Eastern North Carolina Bar-B-Q and … rectify your statement."...So far, there has been no official response from the Perry campaign, and that doesn't bode well for his electoral prospects. Just ask Rufus Edmisten, who ran for governor of North Carolina in 1984. Late in the campaign, after eating barbecue at rallies three times a day for almost a year, he broke down at a public feed in Raleigh. "We haven't had any of the damnable barbecue," he proclaimed. "I've eaten enough barbecue. I am not going to eat any more!" The quote ran in local newspapers, and Edmisten lost by almost 200,000 votes.
When asked to comment on Perry's chance to recover from his similar gaffe, Edmisten told the Raleigh News & Observer: "He's had it. He's done. He's beef toast."
As a man who considers BBQ to be his "other woman," I'd have to agree with North Carolina. Surely in Austin Rick must take that half hour drive out to old Saltlick to eat in the big building -- feed, really, with all the barbecue brisket, ribs, chicken and pork that fills those long tables and hungry bellies.
Here in Los Angeles I recommend the incredible Memphis style of JR's Barbecue at 3055 S. La Cienaga, a freestanding one-story building on the West side of the road before you hit Target. It's the most fun -- like most BBQ places -- to go with a group of six or more. Then you can order either the Small Tray or Large Tray, and the small one is good for up to eight people:
Slab Pork Ribs
1/2 Slab Beef Ribs
1/2 Pound Sliced Beef
1/2 Pound Beef Links
1 Pound (!) Rib Tips
Pint Baked Beans
Pint Salad or Cole Slaw
Have it with a Tiger Woods and finish with either the Sock-It-To-Me Cake or the 7up Cake. Or one of the seven other delicious desserts.
I'm with North Carolina. Road kill? Really? But I'm not offended.
Unless Gov. Perry disses JR's.