Ed Mitchell out of jail, back in business - BBQ Central

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Old 12-03-2007, 08:53 AM   #1
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Ed Mitchell out of jail, back in business

http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/l ... 69893.html



Posted on Mon, Dec. 03, 2007
Barbecue comes with a twist
Recipe includes free-range pigs, prison time and a rich heritage
By Martha Waggoner
Associated Press Writer
On a plate of barbecue prepared by pitmaster Ed Mitchell, you'll find more than meat and two sides.

Oh, sure, there's the barbecue: meaty, succulent, crunchy with cracklin' and popping with vinegar. Eastern North Carolina perfection.

But there's also a slice of barbecue history: Mitchell learned his art of cooking a whole hog from his elders. And there's a taste of barbecue's future: a meal he wants to make from free-range, hormone-free pigs rather than the cheapest feed lot animals available. Also included is a story: Mitchell is back working the pit only after spending time behind bars for tax evasion.

Surely such a meal qualifies as fine dining.

Not convinced? Then check out those sides: Brunswick stew with caramelized barbecue pork belly, jalapeno cornbread crackers and Russian red kale. And off to the side of the fancy space in downtown Raleigh's warehouse district, a "pig bar" where diners can sample delicacies from the entire animal.

"I felt with the population as large as it is and as diverse as it, that maybe we can eat a plate of barbecue with something besides a glass of iced tea and coleslaw and boiled potatoes," Mitchell said.

More than two years after his arrest on suspicion of embezzlement led him to close Mitchell's Ribs, Chicken & Barbecue in Wilson, the 61-year-old pitmaster whose culinary degree came from "Mother Doretha's University" is back with "The Pit." Working with Raleigh developer Greg Hatem, he's running an upscale restaurant serving a cuisine made famous in tar-papered shacks.

For Mitchell, as with all other masters of the eastern North Carolina style of barbecue, that means cooking a whole pig instead of just a pork shoulder. His barbecue is a blend of the different textures of the hog, melded into one flavor by a vinegar-based sauce.

"When you have a chance for all of that to hit your palate, then you really have a true taste of barbecue from the traditional state," Mitchell said.

Mitchell grew up fixing meals for his two brothers and other relatives on a wood stove, under the direction of a demanding teacher - his mother, Doretha.

"I used to hate it when mother would teach me how to do these things and tell me, at a certain time, I'd better turn that stove on and put that pot on, you'd better not scorch these beans, you'd better not overcook the collards," he said.

He eventually started to head out with the men when they left for all-nighters to cook pigs. He was 14 when he cooked his first pig solo. .

He left home for Fayetteville State University, earning a degree in sociology before starting a career at Ford in Boston. His father's death in 1991 brought him back to North Carolina, where he fell back into fixing barbecue.

It was while running his restaurant in Wilson that he announced plans in 2003 to build a network of small farmers to breed free-range pigs with the right taste for his 'cue. Mitchell believes his tax problems stemmed from those plans, which Edge said could pose a threat to industrial hog butchers by proving you can profit from a pig raised on a pasture.

In 2005, Mitchell's closed after authorities charged him with embezzlement. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges of tax evasion and served a 30-day jail sentence on weekends.

He still hopes to reopen Mitchell's Ribs, Chicken & Barbecue, but for now is focused with Hatem on transforming a cool, modern interior of the previous restaurant into a brightly furnished barbecue palace.
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Old 12-03-2007, 11:15 AM   #2
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He's open now, but in Raleigh instead of Wilson.
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Old 12-03-2007, 11:16 AM   #3
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Now if that don't have the makings of a great country song...Prison and BBQ...
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:33 PM   #4
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The Pit


formerly Nana's Chophouse. Re-opening on November 26 as The Pit.



Hours of Operation: Mon-Weds (5-10 pm), Thurs-Sat (5-11 pm), bar until 2 am

Contact:
328 W Davie St
Raleigh, NC 27601-1746
Phone: (919) 890-4500
thepit-raleigh.com
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:11 PM   #5
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The Pit, Raleigh NC. Okay, I've gotta start planning BBQ Tour 2008.

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Old 12-03-2007, 01:23 PM   #6
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I've been there, to his new place.... , while it was still opened as Nana's..there will be a spot in the rear of the large dining room, you can see the pit where the hogs will be smoked... in a good spot as far as night life goes, in the warehouse district... I wish him well.. He's one of the good guys!!!!
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:49 PM   #7
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indeed he is Bob, even has a following in New York from the big festival he cooked for for years.
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:48 PM   #8
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http://www.newraleigh.com/articles/arch ... o-the-pit/

Nana’s Chophouse Switches to Ed Mitchell’s Pit
Everything but the Squeal. Some may squirm at hearing this phrase, but the newest restaurant to open in The Warehouse District has the phrase in large script on its menu and are dedicated to this slogan in their BBQ. The Pit opened its doors last night for dinner in what used to be Nana’s Chophouse. Nana’s closed just over a week ago, all the signage on the front was taken down (side signage still remains) and a new sign hangs above the front door stating: The Pit: Authentic Barbeque, Whole Hog, Pit-Cooked, Ed Mitchell Pitmaster. For many folks who have lived in Eastern North Carolina for more than a few years, the name Ed Mitchell may be synonymous with the word BBQ.

Ed Mitchell (photo by Dean M. McCord) was the owner and pitmaster of Mitchell’s BBQ in Wilson, North Carolina and was close in fame to Wilbur’s BBQ in Goldsboro, until it closed in March, 2005. As soon as the doors closed, Mitchell was already speaking about the next BBQ joint he was going to open. At first, he had hopes of opening Mitchell’s in another location in Wilson, but soon after, his dreams switched to Raleigh, North Carolina. The Pit is a collaboration between Mitchell and local downtowner Greg Hatem, who owns the building. The Pit is Whole Hog BBQ which is “pit-cooked all night over hickory or oak coals, basted with a homemade vinegar and pepper sauce, pulled from the bone, chopped and served hot.
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