Jed Portman

A Bucket-List Barbecue Joint Goes Up in Flames

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJune 11, 2015

Last week, pit master Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque in Savannah, Georgia, served crowds larger and hungrier than any he had ever seen before. Not only was he profiled as one of five pit masters serving real-deal barbecue in the June/July issue of Garden & Gun, and included on our Barbecue Bucket List, but Southern Living had also named his joint one of the best in the region, and local media had followed suit. The sudden attention amazed the former welder, who traded his torch for tongs less than a year ago.

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Catching Up with the Lee Brothers

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJune 5, 2015

2015 has been a busy year for Matt and Ted Lee. The Charleston, South Carolina–raised brothers, cookbook authors, and mail-order entrepreneurs have kept a pretty low profile since they published The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen to critical acclaim two years ago. But in the next few weeks, they will debut a television series and host a two-night stage show with chef Edward Lee (no relation) of 610 Magnolia and MilkWood restaurants in Louisville. We sat down with the brothers between flights to learn a little bit more about Southern Uncovered, which premieres on June 14 on the Ovation Network, and “The Boiled Peanut Hour,” coming to the Actors Theatre of Louisville on June 19-20.

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A Last Supper for Seven Sows

By Jed PortmanGood EatsJune 3, 2015

“This is a celebration, not a funeral,” says Mike Moore, who is on vacation with a group of his former employees at a rented beach house outside of Charleston, South Carolina, instead of on the line at Seven Sows, his recently shuttered Asheville restaurant. For the past two years, as the streets around the restaurant filled with new spots to eat and drink, it was a comfortable place to pick over a plate of buttermilk hush puppies or a tray of raw oysters. But the chef has been busy with other projects, and he was ready to sell when a friend asked if he would.

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Discover North Carolina Barbecue

By Jed PortmanGood EatsMay 28, 2015

It’s safe to say that diners today know more about barbecue than any previous generation. Once, we ate whatever was nearby. Now, we drive hundreds of miles to visit the likes of Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas, and Scott’s Bar-B-Q in Hemingway, South Carolina. But amid the big names are hundreds of joints that have yet to earn national recognition. Sometimes for good reason, and sometimes only for lack of traffic or promotional funds. Those hole-in-the-wall spots have a friend in Amanda Fisher, who traveled across North Carolina with partner and fellow barbecue enthusiast Paul Bright to find the 434 joints on the Great NC BBQ Map, a guide to regional legends and hidden secrets alike.

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Lessons in Biscuit-Making from a Seasoned Baker

By Jed PortmanGood EatsMay 18, 2015

For the past few years, I’ve subscribed to a straightforward biscuit-making method, learned from a pastry chef friend. (Sorry, Grandma!) First, I put a stick of butter in the coldest corner of the freezer. When I wake up the next morning, I grate that frozen butter into a bowl of White Lily self-rising flour, and then add enough buttermilk to turn the dry mix into a soft but foldable dough, handling all ingredients delicately to keep the butter cold and the biscuits flaky.

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Five Questions With One of the South's Best Chefs

By Jed PortmanGood EatsMay 12, 2015

Last Monday night, Jason Stanhope won Best Chef: Southeast at the James Beard Foundation awards in Chicago. It was the first nomination for the executive chef at FIG restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, where he has earned a reputation as a hard-working but soft-spoken standout in a demanding field crowded with outsized personalities. The chef is back at work now, and he took a few minutes to talk with us about the honor.

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The South Wins Big at the James Beard Awards

By Jed PortmanGood EatsMay 5, 2015

The James Beard Foundation awards are probably the highest-profile in American food, and a win can elevate a chef to the heights of the industry. The South represented itself well at the awards ceremony last night. (And also at the Broadcast and Journalism Awards, on April 24, where Heritage, chef Sean Brock's seven-month-old cookbook, and Gravy, a quarterly magazine published by the Southern Foodways Alliance, both won big-deal endorsements.)

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A Dinner to Remember: Celebrating the Civil War's End

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 30, 2015

At the end of the Civil War, the city of Charleston, South Carolina, was starving. It had been years since even the rich had seen some of the dishes that locally renowned caterer and restaurateur Nat Fuller served to a group of war-weary diners in April of 1865, drawing upon his many connections in and outside the area. But perhaps more surprising than the fare on the table at his restaurant, the Bachelor’s Retreat, was the racial makeup of the restaurant that night. Fuller was a former slave, and he invited both white and black guests to the banquet. The dinner ruffled some aristocratic feathers at the time, and it also served as a modern-day inspiration for two culinary scholars who decided to bring its message of reconciliation into the twenty-first century—to a city that still needs it.

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The Art of the Beaten Biscuit

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 29, 2015

The beaten biscuit doesn’t disintegrate into buttery crumbs. It lacks the tang of buttermilk and the lightness of baking powder. It’s a dense holdover from the antebellum era that can require more than an hour of hard work, or a bulky, nearly extinct piece of equipment. Even so, devotees like chef Karl Worley of Biscuit Love Brunch in Nashville believe it’s worth the trouble.

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Case Closed on Pappygate? Not So Fast...

By Jed PortmanGood EatsApril 22, 2015

The sheriff always thought it was an inside job. In 2013, when the Buffalo Trace distillery reported that sixty-five cases of Pappy Van Winkle whiskey had disappeared from a secure area, it seemed likely that the perpetrators had access to the supply. Until recently, authorities couldn’t prove it. Then yesterday, a grand jury indicted a group of nine people in conjunction with the thefts. The likely ringleader, Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger, is indeed a twenty-six-year veteran of Buffalo Trace, where he worked on the loading dock. (Another one of the accused worked at the Wild Turkey distillery, which suffered similar losses.) Here are five more things you should know about the latest developments in the biggest bourbon theft in recent history.

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