Southern Agenda

All ’Cued Up

Ribbons of meat-scented smoke draw crowds who come for flame-crisped links of Alabama-made Monroe smoked sausage, shreds of tender pulled pork soaked in sweet, subtly spicy tomato-based sauce, and ribs slicked in the same, all alongside silken collards, cornbread planks, and gooey mac and cheese. At the Hog Days of Summer in Montgomery (August 27), pitmasters and cooks from area restaurants gather to throw the tastiest party of the year. A group of childhood buddies host Hog Days in honor of a friend who died of cancer, and its proceeds help area families struggling with the staggering costs of treating pediatric brain cancer. At downtown’s historic Union Station Train Shed, the James Beard Award–winning New Orleans chef Ryan Prewitt (who married a Montgomery gal) serves chicken thighs smothered in Alabama white sauce, and from a mobile pit, Hill Lubin, co-owner of Moe’s Original BBQ, makes dry-rubbed St. Louis–style ribs. James Bethune, pitmaster at Brenda’s Bar-B-Que Pit, Montgomery’s oldest barbecue joint, would rather transport finished food than feel the burn on-site—he smokes his ribs and chickens at Brenda’s and then hand delivers them. “Our pit is seasoned by the eighty years we’ve been here,” he says. “That adds a taste that can’t be duplicated.”