Putting NC BBQ on the Map...
With over 250 restaurants, shacks, and eateries, this road map will be the most comprehensive listing of NC BBQ joints to be found. Everything will be included on the NC barbecue spectrum, from those hole-in-the-wall, weekday-only heritage spots to the new-fangled, spiffed-up interpretations. Hey, we don't judge - we're leaving that up to you!
The NC BBQ map will resemble any other road map that you've used: around 18" x 28" flat, folded up into a typical 4" x 9" size for carrying around with you wherever you go. And you'll want to keep this map in your glove box, because it'll be handy any time you find yourself on the road in North Carolina craving a little 'cue. It's good for grabbing a weekday lunch, finding a perfect road trip meal, or planning an entire barbecue tour around your area of choice.
This will be an easy-to-use map that will be as practical as it is good-looking. We'll bring in some classic BBQ imagery through the map symbols and graphics. A symbol for each restaurant on the map will give you its basic BBQ facts in just a glance. Map symbols will designate 3 basic BBQ facts: (1) whether the 'cue is whole hog or made with part of the pig, (2) if it has Piedmont or Eastern style sauce, and (3) if its an eatery that smokes their meat the traditional way.
Turn the map over for a list of each restaurant with address, phone number, and hours, as well as a little North Carolina barbecue history. And if 250 barbecue joints aren't enough to satisfy your appetite, a list of annual NC barbecue festivals will also be included.
North Carolina's BBQ Culture:
When people think about barbecue, usually their state's favorite tradition is called to mind. For North Carolina, that means pulled pork and a sauce that involves vinegar and red pepper - a little tomato too, if you're in a certain part of the state. It means different things for different states. But the history of barbecue is as old as the discovery of fire, itself - the act of cooking slow and low over hot coals or smoky wood.
What we consider barbecue today got it start right here on the Carolina and Virginia coast when British colonists combined some of their own cooking techniques with what they saw Native Americans doing with their meat. The British introduced basting to the Native American technique of pit-cooking to help keep the meat moist, and they did this with either vinegar or butter. The addition of red pepper came from African slaves via the Caribbean, where they picked up a taste for peppers.
When the Scotch-Irish and Germans took up this form of cooking in the Piedmont region of the state, they too introduced some of their own traditions - tomatoes in the sauce (now seen more likely in the form of ketchup) and a topping of cabbage-based coleslaw. The coleslaw tradition has now spread all over the state as a common barbecue accompaniment.
What developed in this region so many centuries ago gave birth to other states' BBQ traditions, as these new Americans migrated and different settlers added in their own culture's influences. And of course, even in NC, there are places that bring in those influences across state lines, especially along the borders. Maybe they mix in a little South Carolina mustard, or they spice or sweeten the pork beyond just pepper flakes and tomatoes. But as long as they do pulled pork - the single thing that unites all NC styles, they'll all be included on the map.
Why We decided to Make a BBQ Map...
We're a guy and a gal from the tiny town of Mt. Pleasant, NC who have called this beautiful state home all our lives. We've grown up on barbecue and enjoyed it in every corner of the state, from our hometown joint to annual church and fire department fundraisers, to roadside eateries along our frequent travels. And we've devoured the history and heritage of NC 'cue as wholeheartedly as we have the hog.
While Paul works an 8-5 as a GIS Technician (mapper of sorts), after getting my start in the marketing/PR field, I now work from home part-time as a grant writer. I chose to do that to have the flexibility to travel and to flex my creativity. When asked, "What do you do?" I would consider "adventurer" part of that answer. I believe that every day can be an adventure, and I'm happy to be able to bring Paul along with me on many of those adventures, traveling the country, our state, and even our newer hometown - Charlotte, NC.
We've always loved working barbecue stops into our trips, not just for a fine meal, but also for the culture, the heritage, the people and places (a large part of why we adventure in the first place). We know there are lots of others out there who feel the same way, and that is evidenced by the many books published on the subject and websites out there with information on NC 'cue. We are grateful for those who have come before us to document the history and legends of NC's BBQ culture, but there is no NC barbecue map in existence. And a map is absolutely essential to approaching our state's fine delicacy as a traveler or adventurer.
It takes an immense amount of time and research to go through the current stack of resources out there to route BBQ stops into our travels, and beyond that, no current resource is comprehensive. They've taken more of a sampling than a full-on survey of NC 'cue, so you really do have to dig... and drive... to find some of these places. So building on my years of travel research, love of design, background in marketing and running my own business before this, and on Paul's cartographic skills, we decided to put our heads together and make a map. In short, we saw a hole in the market and decided to jump in!
Our Team: We are partnering with a fantastic team of other Carolina locals to create one light and easy-to-use map of every single damn barbecue place we could find in this great state! And here is the line-up:
- Raleigh-based Good South will be our graphic design team for the map and logo. They are most well-known for their label design for Slingshot Coffee Company's Cold Brew bottles, featured on Buzzfeed's 34 Coolest Food Packaging Designs of 2012. We are over the moon to be working with this talented, South-loving duo!
- Map-printing extraordinaire, Meredith-Webb, has been an innovator in its industry for over 50 years, and now they will be able to add The Great NC BBQ Map to their list!
- Witty wordsmith, Nikki Mueller of Not Made in China, will be creating Kickstarter-exclusive swag featuring her zippy quip "I got my pork pulled in North Carolina." I met Nikki through the group for crafty entrepreneurs I founded, Crown Town Handmade.
- And as you've witnessed above, we've already secured the creative genius of Stephen Davis at Fast Ship Visual Media, who filmed and edited our awesome Kickstarter video.
The Genius of Kickstarter
We know that many of you are new to Kickstarter, so thank you all for making it here to take a look around. Basically, through this page you can help to launch our project by pledging money and get a pretty cool reward for doing so. Just browse the levels to the right and see what you're interested in.
We only get the funds pledged through Kickstarter if we meet our $10,000 goal (and your card gets charged only if we do). That gives us both a peace of mind - us, that we'll have enough money in hand to get going; you, that once your card is charged, the project will happen and you'll get your reward.
A Note About Rewards... I think we've provided you all with some pretty stellar rewards for helping to back this project. I hope you agree! If you want to basically just pre-order maps, that's an option we give you. But if you want something fun and creative - and maybe even a little adventurous - you have that too. We've posted more info about our East vs. Piedmont launch party (the $100 pledge reward) in one of our updates, so check that out for some exciting developments. Note that aside from the map itself, these awards really are exclusive to our Kickstarter campaign, so get 'em while you can! You only have 30 days!
Our Budget & What You're Helping Us Achieve
The $10,000 budget will cover the cost of map design, printing, and packaging for this first round of maps, as well as general start-up costs, such as web domain and hosting, licensing, and fees/costs associated with Kickstarter. (Those awesome rewards don't pay for themselves!)
We have researched every single cost associated with creating this map and launching what is to become our very own niche map publishing company (YES! That's the even bigger news!). And then we researched it again. And then we checked the numbers one more time to be sure. Beyond that, we've polled friends, read stacks of books, done market research, and met with small business advisors to review our business plan. In other words, we've done every single thing short of consult a psychic to be sure that we can make a map with $10,000.
As the Kickstarter campaign progresses and after it concludes, we will keep you up-to-date on the progress of the project. We've already done a lot of legwork going into this and invested some our own personal funds, but we need those pledges in order to pass everything off to the graphic designers and then the printer. As soon as we hit our goal, we are ready to hit the ground running!
The Stretch Goal... We will be grateful for every dollar you pledge to help us meet our $10,000 goal! So. Grateful. Ideally though, you all will believe in this project as much as we do and help us rocket past that goal so that we can do even more with this project. Going past $10,000 would mean an even bigger launch, allowing us to attend local festivals and events to promote the map, and perhaps even creating an extended line of themed products and goodies available to you via our website. This will also help us launch even faster into the wholesale phase of this project, offering the map to BBQ joints and shops to sell to their pork-loving customers. And if you really lay on the big bucks, it will help us be on the way to phase two - turning the map into an app.
Beyond Kickstarter... As I mentioned, this project will help launch our niche map publishing company! With your help, The Great NC BBQ Map will be the start of something amazing. We have plans to go on to map the other great barbecue states, and beyond that, the ideas go on and on. While we've traveled, we've noticed other things missing from the map world that we're just dying to create! So please go ahead and make our acquaintance on Facebook and Instagram, and bookmark our website. We do hope to keep in touch as this great adventure continues.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge we face is not leaving anyone out of the map. We want to be sure we include every NC-style barbecue establishment in the state, and that takes some digging. So far, we've spent about a year researching using quite a variety of resources and methods and have over 250 restaurants catalogued. We'd love to hear about your favorite finds, too, just in case there may be that one back-road spot with no sign or phone number that's only open Tuesdays and Fridays that we may have not uncovered yet. So please drop us a line via our website using our "Submit a Restaurant" form at www.thegreatbbqmap.com. We do appreciate it!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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