Dispatches: Day One & the Pik-n-Pig

Left Philly at 5:15 yesterday morning to make it to Southern Pines, NC, in time for a 4 pm reading at the Country Book Shop. This is my week for touring NC with the paperback of Pig Candy, and I’m concentrated in the Triangle Area of Raleigh-Durham, Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill, with side trips to Pittsboro and Asheville.
The 9-hr. drive was arduous: blinding rain through DC and VA — my only salvation was an audible.com version of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and a to-go cappuccino lovingly made in the half-dark of night by John, the beloved husband.

I met with a wonderfully warm welcome at the book store (and a spread that included GS Thin Mints cookies), but then my host, Kay Grismer, took me to a local mecca of meat: the locally renown Pik-n-Pig in Carthage. img_3388

This is hickory-smoked bbq at its best (and some mighty fine hush puppies w/jalapeno butter on the side). Two sauces (best mixed together) in squirt bottles on the table: one was spicy and the other honey. Both had tomato in them — is that kosher in NC? The place is obviously a destination restaurant of the ultimate sort; it’s next to an airstrip, and people fly in just to eat there. I would.

I spotted this little jasper outside (photo above) and thought: John’s next birthday…