How to Find True 'Cue Certified BBQ Joints

Cooking over Wood the Old Fashioned Way

By Robert F. Moss

Back in 2013, two barbecue devotees from North Carolina, Dan Levine and John Shelton Reed, teamed up to launch the Campaign for Real Barbecue. Levine, a.k.a. Porky LeSwine, is the proprietor of the BBQ Jew website and Reed, a retired University of North Carolina sociology professor, is author of Barbecue: A Savor the South Cookbook and co-author of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue.

The Campaign aims to celebrate and promote the long tradition of cooking barbecue over real wood coals, and to that end has established the True 'Cue Certification Program to recognize restaurants that cook on pits that use solely wood for their heat. The program's "Regional Smoke Detectors" visit barbecue joints in their areas and inspect them to ensure the pits are burning real wood—and maybe eat a few pounds of good barbecue while they are at it.

We've created the map below to show all of the restaurants that have (so far) received the True 'Cue Certification. To date, the Campaign has certified restaurants in North and South Carolina and Kentucky. As they continue into other states, we'll add them in.

For more information on the True 'Cue initiative, visit the Campaign for Real Barbecue's web site.
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About the Author

Robert F. Moss

Robert F. Moss is the Contributing Barbecue Editor for Southern Living magazine and the author of numerous books on Southern food and drink, including Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, Southern Spirits: 400 Years of Drinking in the American South, and Barbecue Lovers: The Carolinas. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina.