Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mitchell wins

I hope you watched Bobby Flay’s “Throwdown” Wednesday night, featuring Wilson’s Ed Mitchell.
Mitchell, who previous operated a barbecue restaurant on U.S. 301, is now pitmaster at The Pit in Raleigh. Food Network personality Flay showed up at The Pit in March and challenged Mitchell to a ribs and beans throwdown.
Mitchell won, as the crowd knew he would. The two local judges thought his dishes were more representative of eastern North Carolina cooking.
During the show, Mitchell and Flay made their rib dishes. Some of their techniques were the same, but most showed a difference in style from the cut of ribs to the cooking method. Flay favors low and slow cooking for his ribs; Mitchell goes for hot and fast, cooking his in a fraction of the time it took Flay, who first smoked his St. Louis-cut ribs. But both used a combination of eastern and western N.C. barbecue, using both vinegar and tomato in their sauce.
Audience members liked both men’s ribs and gobbled up the samples that were passed around.
Mitchell’s beans were also more representative of baked beans served in this area, starting with a healthy helping of bacon. He also let slip his secret ingredient: moonshine! Mitchell’s recipe for baked beans, using beer instead of moonshine, is posted at the “Throwdown” site on Food Network’s Web site.
Mitchell has a remarkable camera presence. My family was impressed with his ease with the television crew. He certainly did North Carolina proud in this 30-minute television show.
I just wish The Pit were even closer to home. My mouth is watering for a taste of those ribs!
If you missed the show last night, you can see it again June 6 at 4:30 p.m. on Food Network.

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