The Great Divide: Eastern Vs. Western NC Barbecue

The Great Divide: Eastern Vs. Western NC Barbecue

Vinegar-based or tomato-based?
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Across America, especially in the South, barbecue is a dietary staple of game day, family reunions and Sunday dinner. Small town barbecue joints, annual church "Pig Pickin's" and washing down your barbecue sandwich with an ice cold sweet tea while tailgating are all integral to life in the American South. Barbecue is familiar and classic, a comfort food, but despite this it's not as simple as it seems.

Barbecue varies from state to state and even regionally within states. Being raised in North Carolina has made me quite sensitive to these variations. From the day I learned to chew food, I was fed Barbecue and repeatedly lectured on the two varieties of this seemingly sacred pork product. I was taught that there is Eastern North Carolina barbecue and Western North Carolina barbecue. After a while, I began to notice that people from the Eastern and Western parts of the state both seemed fiercely proud of their variety of Barbecue. My family, being from the East, holds a unwavering preference for Eastern style. Both the East and the West claim their barbecue is undoubtably the best. While interviewing him for this article, my Grandfather perfectly exemplified this by simply stating, "If it's from the east, it tastes good, if it's from the west, it tastes bad." I have always found this age old competition fascinating. Having tried both types of barbecue, and finding them both delicious, I was inspired to do some research in order to find out which variety was truly the best.

To conduct my research I consulted my Great Aunt and Uncle, Dr. Frank Dawkins and Dr. Karen Dawkins, who recently became certified BBQ judges for the North Carolina Barbecue Society. (The fact that there is an entire society devoted to Barbecue demonstrates just how seriously North Carolinians take their BBQ.) The first thing I asked them was to explain the difference between Eastern and Western style.

They explained that Eastern style BBQ (pictured below) is made with a vinegar-based sauce that usually also includes sugar and red pepper. This variety is made with meat from many different areas of the pig.

Then they explained that Western-style BBQ (pictured below), also called Lexington style, is also made with a vinegar based sauce but that sauce includes a tomato or ketchup component. Western BBQ is usually sweeter, redder in color, and made only with pork shoulder.

After learning the difference between the two types of NC barbecue, I asked them as certified Barbecue Judges how they evaluate the quality of BBQ. They told me that BBQ judging is pretty subjective but overall BBQ is judged on three things: taste, tenderness, and appearance. I then proceeded to ask them the big question, Which is better, Eastern style BBQ or Western style BBQ? Their answer was that there is no real way of telling. They said because people seem to favor the barbecue from their hometown or region, Eastern style wins in the East, and Western style wins in the West, because the judges for competitions in the East are usually from the East, and judges for competitions in the West are usually from the West. I appreciated the honesty of this answer, but I realized I had to deem my research inconclusive.

It was difficult to accept that I will never know which style of barbecue is truly the best, but at least I am now very educated about regional pork flavors. My hope is that one day the people of North Carolina will accept that all BBQ is delectable and be united by their love of pork.

Cover Image Credit: Epicurious

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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7 Reasons Starbucks' Coffee Is 100 Percent Superior To Dunkin Donuts Coffee

Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?

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There has been this controversial debate on whether Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts is the better option when it comes to getting one of the best coffees. As a lover of the White Chocolate Mocha, I can not begin to fathom how someone would be willing to go to Starbucks' competitor, Dunkin Donuts. Here are 5 reasons why you should kick Dunkin Donuts to the curb and let Starbucks into your life!

Study Spot

What better place is there to study than Starbucks! The comfy couches allow you to relax and do your homework peacefully.

The Holiday cups

During the Christmas season, Starbucks comes out with creative cups design for the most wonderful time of the year!

Frappuccinos> Coolatta

Frappuccinos definitely rule over the Coolattas that Dunkin provides.

More menu options

Starbucks provides way more coffee drinks than Dunkin. And the best part is that you can customize your own coffee/latte/tea. Anything you name, Starbucks has it.

The Lactose intolerants are certainly welcomed at Starbucks!

One of my friends is Lactose intolerant and she tells me that Starbucks has dairy-free options.

Best food quantity

Does Dunkin Donuts sell cake pops? I don't think so.

BEST Quality Coffee

Starbucks has the top quality coffees and lets be honest Dunkin Donuts coffee tastes burnt

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