In West Tennessee, whole hog barbecue is a dying art, but pitmaster Pat Martin is working to change the story. How We Eat visits Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville this week to learn about the smokey tradition, how it differs from other barbecue methods around the country, and what Martin and his team are doing to preserve the practice.
The journey to becoming an authority on whole hog barbecue has taken Pat Martin around the world. As his empire here in Nashville grows, the pitmaster keeps a steady eye on the future while still holding hard and fast to his roots.
Pat Martin believes there are no secrets in barbecue. He’ll tell you over and over again, likely because it’s the primary reason he’s where he is today. The owner of four Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joints and a massive new restaurant headed for downtown in early 2016 learned every trick of his trade because somebody else shared it with him.
Along the way, he’s shared what he knows right back and even established his own pitmaster training program in order to pass down his knowledge to a select group of up-and-coming hog handlers. His reason? He believes that West Tennessee whole hog barbecue—the style of barbecue that Martin came up around—is a dying art. Henderson, Tennessee, the town where Martin first discovered an entire pig in a pit, once had 12 whole hog joints. Today, he tells me, there are only two.
Courtesy of NashvilleLifestyles.com