The Lexington Collection
Dennis Rogers
  Oracle of the Holy Grub

Dennis Rogers, the Metro Columnist of the Raleigh News & Observer, has long espoused the "Holy Grub". Here are a few snippets of barbecue wisdom from his popular column. It should be noted in their reading that Rogers, a native of Wilson, retains a natural bias apparently acquired during his youth towards the eastern North Carolina style of pulled pork barbecue.

  Selected Works

Lissen up, before y'all come
(Free advice to prospective newcomers on how to get along when they get here.)
N&O, Tuesday, April 22, 1977

"Y'all is plural, there is no such thing as one grit and barbecue -- for the thousandth time -- is a noun. It is not a verb or an adjective. You cook a pig and you get barbecue. You grill steaks and burgers. You do not "barbecue" anything. So shut up about it."

Barbecue? Here's how to cook it.
(Response to a classified ad that read: "NC visitor desperately needs recipe for pork barbecue.")
N&O, Tuesday, April 12, 1996

"Your plight has come to the attention of the Oracle of the Holy Grub: me. I have dined on the swine in every barbecue joint worthy of the name and have the clogged arteries to prove it. I grew up within smelling distance of Parkers in Wilson. It occurred to me that since spring has arrived, there may be others out there from barbecue-challenged regions who would like to know how to cook a pig."

"The secret (of barbecue) is in the sauce. You would no more ask a barbecue man for his sauce than you would for the use of his dog, his motorcycle, or his wife...."

"Barbecue is more than what we eat in North Carolina. It is what we talk, brag and challenge each other about."

No need to panic over hog hype.
(Regarding the proposal to place a moratorium on hog farms in North Carolina.)
N&O, Saturday, April 19, 1997

"Now I eat a fair amount of barbecue, pork chops, pork tenderloin, streak o' lean, ham and Spam. I dine upon the swine from the nose to the toes, from the heels to the squeal. Only chitlins are safe when I pig out."

"Trust me, no one would be more concerned about a barbecue embargo than a fellow who once had Parker's in Wilson pack some pig in dry ice and air-freight it to El Paso. Son, I am serious about my pig."

Journal overlooks king of Q.
(On not being appointed the "barbecue editor" of the scholarly publication, North Carolina Literary Review.)
N&O, Tuesday, November 26, 1996

"I believed, as I am sure you did, that when the North Carolina Literary Review chose a barbecue editor it would be a scribe of unquestioned and impeccable credentials, an upstanding North Carolinian who could bravely see beyond petty regionalism, a swine laureate who would reveal to the hungry literati the truth and meaning of the Holy Grub."

"Not to put too fine a point on it, but the barbecue editor should be a person who knows his pork butt from first base."

"A selfless, humble person, a dedicated devourer of all things porcine, one who has proved that he knows everything about a pig from the squeal to the meal, the esteemed barbecue editor of the N.C. Literary Review must be all of these things. And it wouldn't hurt if he at least knew how to find B's Barbecue, the Shangri-la of Swinests, a joint so exclusive, elusive and way cool that it doesn't even have a phone or publish its address."

"In other words, the obvious choice for barbecue editor of the N.C Literary Review was ... ahem ... me."

"Well. Imagine my chagrin, indeed, my shock when Alex Albright, a pointy-headed professor of something or other at East Carolina University passed me up like a day-old can of Vienna sausages to name some guy (Bill Harmon) from -- hold me down, boys -- the University of North Carolina at, you guessed it, Chapel Hill."

"Not only did Alex pass on me, he offered it to a number of other people before Harmon would take it. But even in his desperation, after pseudo-scholars galore turned their noses up at this prestigious post, he turned to Chapel Hill, a community that, were it not for Allen & Sons, would be all but a barbecue-free zone and a place of cultural and culinary desolation."

"I, who have a Ph.D. in Pig have been shunned for some professor who publicly says there ain't no pig fittin' to eat this side of Troutman."

"Oh, the shame of it all."


The Lexington Collection