What’s the last thing you fried?

Bologna! Fried is the only way to eat it — you have to get those crispy browned edges. Serve on white bread with some mayo. The best!

Speaking of whole hog, what’s one part of the hog you won’t eat? And on the flipside, what’s the first part you go to?

My go-to spot is the rib area right where it meets the shoulder. There’s something about that sweet spot that’s so juicy and flavorful. I guess my least favorite spot would be the very end of the ham, since it’s thicker and not quite as flavorful.

Being from Southeastern North Carolina, I’m extremely loyal to apple cider vinegar based whole hog barbecue. What makes your style of South Carolina barbecue unique?

My sauce is inspired by my hometown of Hemingway, S.C. It’s white vinegar-based with cayenne and black pepper, along with my other secret spices. My version of this sauce is at least 25 years in the making. I’ve been perfecting it all this time.

Ice Cube said, “Today was a good day.” You upped the ante and said, “Every day is a good day.” Can you please expound on that philosophy?

This is my personal belief to start off every day with a positive attitude. You made it through the day before, and now you have another chance to do great things. This applies to both my craft as a pitmaster and for my life as well. It helps me ignore any negativity and overcome the times when things get tough. I think to myself: “This isn’t a bad day. This is just a challenging part of a good day.” It also gives me the confidence to not take my time for granted and embrace learning new things.

Who’s Ella? And does she make the best banana pudding you’ve ever had? If not, who does?

Ella is my mama, and yes she does! Enough said.

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