Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to Barbecue Smackdown 2018! Tonight’s event looks to be one for the ages.
You’ve heard of the Thrilla in Manila? The Rumble in the Jungle? Well, they’ll soon be talking about the Wrangle in the Triangle. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s bout, pits two up-and-coming rookies trained in the New School of Barbecue.
These brash upstarts don’t limit their repertoire to a single region’s barbecue style. Instead, taking advantage of the more precise temperature control of modern hybrid smokers, they cook North Carolina pork, Texas brisket, and pretty much everything in-between. They round out their offerings with appetizers (unheard of in a traditional barbecue joint), an updated selection of sides and a well-stocked bar. Their respect for tradition is obvious, but make no mistake about it: these guys are out to prove that the old ways aren’t the only ways.
So without further ado, let’s get on with the action.
In this corner, setting up camp in the former Alivia’s building across from Brightleaf Square in Durham. . . the Durham Deadeye, aka Maverick’s Smokehouse & Taproom! Trainer Fergus Bradley, who also owns the James Joyce Irish Pub a few doors down, has his team in fighting form, using a gas-fired smoker with an offset firebox burning hickory or sustainable sugar maple logs, depending on what they’re cooking.
And in this corner, hailing from the heart of Glenwood South in Raleigh. . . the Glenwood Gladiator, Southern Charred! A promising rookie with a smoldering hot arsenal of weapons that includes hickory, mesquite and cherry in an electric cooker, Southern Charred is managed by the Bunch of Fives Hospitality Group — whose name, fittingly, is old British slang for a knuckle sandwich.
And there’s the opening bell!
Maverick’s Smokehouse & Taproom
900 W. Main St., Durham
510 Glenwood Ave., Suite 101, Raleigh