Warning: Hardcore barbecue pr0n follows.

This barbecue came from a shack behind a lighthouse 25 miles from nowhere, manned by two friendly metalheads who spend their entire lives smoking pork.

Directions: Come to Outer Banks. Drive toward lighthouse. Follow smell. Gorge. Repeat yearly.

This pulled pork is the archetype of pulled porks: it is the pulled pork on which our annual Smoke-a-Thon is based; Brian always gets it and studies it intently.  Sweetly porky, smoked for a thousand hours to tender perfection and drenched in classic Carolina vinegar-based sauce with nary a tomato within 10 miles. Barbecue, potato salad, baked beans, cornbread, and ice-cold Coke and a picnic table = best lunch ever, except for the monster swarms of flies.

But it’s totally worth it, and it’s either swarms of flies or bees. I’ll take the flies. I guess we could have gotten it to go, but I enjoy the ambiance – the shack, the lighthouse, the smoke smell in the air, the flying vermin. It’s part of the experience.

While Brian was engaging in his study of the pork, saying, “This is the best barbecue I’ve ever eaten,” I exclaimed, “I’m eating lima beans and I don’t mind!” Which I know doesn’t sound like high praise, but I really dislike lima beans – except in these baked beans, a mix of pinto and lima with hunks of bacon, molasses and I don’t know what else. Crack, or meth maybe, because I am officially addicted to these beans and I wish I didn’t have to travel 500 miles from my home to get them. I would ask if they ship overnight, but I don’t know if the Post Office or FedEx actually services the shack behind the lighthouse.

I get the ribs, because I think a truly great barbecue shack needs to be able to do fantastic pulled pork AND exemplary ribs. I don’t do potato salad with mayo, so I sidled up to the yams.

The ribs were awful.

Kidding! The ribs were killer. Not quite falling apart at the touch, but easy to rip apart with your hands. Perfect pink smoke ring. They’d been smoked for so long that the bones themselves started to break down and would crack in half when I went to pull the meat off.

The sauce they use is a little thicker and sweeter than the vinegar sauce – perfect for me, because true North Carolina vinegar sauce is too much for my delicate palate – and when combined with the smoke, makes a fantastic bark. The yams are too good to be true; I think they must just boil them in a vat of melted butter and marshmallows.

And then there was carnage. And we were sated for another year.

Today, I actually JUST ATE LUNCH and did not take any pictures. A tuna sandwich, made with tuna salad from a tuna that was caught and smoked this very day. I’m not going to lie, eating without a camera in hand has become somewhat disorienting, and that knowledge is itself disorienting.

Tomorrow: Who knows? It has not yet been planned, because: VACATION.