A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 10, 2008
Mr. Brown ("Mr. Brown Goes to Town") & Miss White (BBQ terms for light/inside and dark/outside meat)

"Mr. Brown” means the dark, smoky outside of pork barbecue, and “Miss White” (sometimes “Mrs. White” or “Ms White") means the light, moist inside of pork barbecue. Leonard’s Pit Barbecue began in Memphis, Tennessee in 1922, and a sign outside showed a pig with the words “Mr. Brown Goes to Town.”

The terms “Mr. Brown” and “Miss White” are popular in Memphis barbecue and in North Carolina barbecue, but have spread somewhat to the other states that are famous for barbecue, such as Texas.


The Lexington Collection
A brief history of North Carolina pulled-pork barbecue.
(...)
Barbecue
The dictionary will also tell you that the noun “barbecue” has at least four meanings:
1. a framework to hold meat over a fire for cooking
2. any meat broiled or roasted on such a framework
3. an entertainment, usually outdoor, at which such meat is prepared and eaten.
4. a restaurant that makes a specialty of such meat.

Indeed, barbecues have long been a popular social occasion in the South. But, done in the traditional way, the making of barbecue was hard work. A pit was dug in the ground the day before the gathering and filled with hardwood. The wood was burned down to coals before whole hogs, skewered on poles, were hung over the pit. The pitmasters sat up through the night, turning the hogs on their spits. The following afternoon when the guests arrived, the crisp skin—Mr. Brown—was removed and the cooked meat—the divine Miss White—was pulled in lumps from the carcass before being slathered with a favorite finishing sauce. That’s why, to this very day, a social affair centered around pork barbecue is affectionately called a Pig Pickin.

The Lexington Collection: BBQ Lingo
Miss White The light, moist inside of pork barbecue.
Mr. Brown The dark, smoky outside of pork barbecue.

Amazing Ribs: Glossary of barbecue terms
Bark. A brown crunchy crust that forms on some barbecue caused by seasonings from the rub and the maillard reaction. Some people, like me, really like this.
(...)
Mr. Brown. See bark.
Mrs. White. The meaty inside of the barbecued meat. Opposite of Mr. Brown.

GoTricities
Memphis a Mecca for barbecue
By Fred Sauceman

MEMPHIS — This is a city that celebrates slow food. Pork shoulders and ribs are smoked for hours by patient pitmasters who have practiced the sweaty craft for decades. All over Memphis, they tend the fires behind cinder block buildings, converted gasoline stations, decaying shopping centers, and in slick new buildings, too.

“If you have to have your beeper attached to your belt or your cellular phone, you have no business going outside to cook barbecue,” says Dan Brown, owner of The Original Leonard’s Pit Barbecue, whose founder, Leonard Heuberger, devised the “Memphis way” of serving a barbecue sandwich: chopped pork shoulder, blended with a spicy and tart tomato-based sauce, and topped with mustard coleslaw.

Brown has moved the business a good ways south of downtown, in an area dominated by car dealers, but the original sign is still posted outside. It features a neon-lighted pig, dressed in top hat and tails, with the slogan “Mr. Brown Goes to Town,” a cryptic reference to another Memphis tradition, mixing in crunchy, blackened outside pieces of pork on every sandwich. Inside the restaurant, plastic pigs dine at a trough of seed corn in a hog farm diorama.

Google Books
Roadfood
by Jane & Michael Stern
New York, NY: HarperPerennial
1992
Pg. 413 (Leonard’s of Memphis, TN):
..."Mr. Brown Goes to Town.” For years, we were perplexed by what Mr. Brown was supposed to signify until one day about a decade ago, a Leonard’s waitress named Loretta explained, “Mr. Brown
was the term used for brown-meat barbecue. It is the outside of the shoulder that gets succulent and chewy from the sauce and the smoke in the pit. The inside part of the roast, which is moist but has very little barbecue flavor, is known as Miss White. People in Memphis used to ask for plates and sandwiches of ‘Mr. Brown and Miss White.’”

Google Books
Webster’s New World Dictionary of Culinary Arts
by Steven Labensky, et al.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
2000
Pg. 298:
Miss White American southern slang for the light, moist interior pieces of pork barbecue. See Mr. Brown.

Harvard Magazine (September 2002)
SAM FARTHING ‘91. Database marketer, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Two things make Sam Farthing just as happy as any success he’s ever had at work: his family, and a good, old-fashioned pig pickin’. This fascination with pork is something Northerners may just not understand, he says, laughing. “What the good barbecue restaurants do is chop up a little of Mr. Brown, the crusty outside of the pig, and a little Miss White, the tender white loin meat, and you get a nice flavorful sandwich, the best of both worlds. It resonates,” says the Virginia native. “When you get a good pig, it’s like wine. It stays with you.”

GRILL DOME’s Discussion Board
MemphoManiac
Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 06:37 pm: 
My Mr. Brown turns out sorta crispy, but not overly. I like a mixture of the Mr. Brown and the Miss White. Some people prefer one over the other. There’s at least one restaurant I know of in Memphis that will ask you if you want your sandwich Mr. Brown or Miss White. For most places, and I would guess most people, there’s no distinction.

Discuss Cooking Forum
Raine
04-07-2005, 10:37 AM
(...)
Indeed, barbecues have long been a popular social occasion in the South. But, done in the traditional way, the making of barbecue was hard work. A pit was dug in the ground the day before the gathering and filled with hardwood. The wood was burned down to coals before whole hogs, skewered on poles, were hung over the pit. The pitmasters sat up through the night, turning the hogs on their spits. The following afternoon when the guests arrived, the crisp skin - Mr. Brown - was removed and the cooked meat - the divine Miss White - was pulled in lumps from the carcass before being slathered with a favorite finishing sauce. That’s why, to this very day, a social affair centered around pork barbecue is affectionately called a Pig Pickin.

ZAGAT Buzz
July 18, 2006
The ABCs of BBQ
By Caren Weiner Campbell
(...)
Style/region: North Carolina (Western) – aka Lexington-style
Preferred meat/cut: Pork – typically pork shoulder, which is pulled or chopped after cooking. It’s often served in chopped form in sandwiches or on platters.
Sauce/seasoning: Basted and served with a sauce (or “dip") made of vinegar, ketchup, water, salt and pepper plus a touch of tomato sauce (the latter distinguishes it from Eastern NC–style sauce).
Etc.: Slang terms pertaining to both Eastern and Western NC–style barbecue include “Miss White” (the lighter, moister meat deep inside the slab) and “Mr. Brown” (the dark, smoky surface meat).

WhiteTrashBBQ
Thursday, July 27, 2006
BBQ Lingo: Cook Like a Man
(...)
Ms. White: The moist, meaty inside of pork barbecue. (The other white meat - the white meat from a pork butt)
Mister Brown: The dark smoked outer part of pork barbeque. (The outer layer of a pork butt aka the bark)

Google Books
Real barbecue: The Classic Barbecue Guide to the Best Joints Across the USA
by Vince Staten and Greg Johnson
Guilford, CT; Globe Pequot
2007
Pg. 86:
Leonard’s Pit Barbecue
Leonard Heuberger, the man who put the Leonard in Leonard’s, is acknowledge as the creator of the Memphis-style barbecue sandwich: chunks of (Pg. 87—ed.) pulled pork, mounded on a bun, covered with vinegar-and-tomato sauce, and crowned with coleslaw. Leonard’s neon pig—MR. BROWN GOES TO TOWN, it says—was a beacon on Bellevue beginning in 1922.

Cookshack - BBQ Pits
Pork Butt 101
The Smokin’ Okie
Sunday, March 11, 2007
My suggestions for Pulled Pork
Once you’ve cooked it (remember cooking is a whole nuther lesson about vinegar mops), let it sit for 10-15 min (you always let the meat you cook sit for a few minutes to let the juices settle). You can then pull (you can pull with your fingers, you can pulled with forks, you can pull whatever you got, you just pull). Some actually like it sliced, but you have to cook it only to 180 to do that. Now, when you’re pulling, look for “Mr. Brown and Mrs. White” in the pork, there will actually be two slightly different colors of meat, hence the names. Look for these and taste them, they WILL be different. Some swear by the Mr. Brown. If you didn’t cook in foil (you didn’t did you—shame on you) then you’ll also have some “bark” this is also something many pork pullers look for and eat. When done right it’s not all dried and crusty, it just has a firmer texture and not quite dried out. So, now you have this huge mass of pulled pork.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, January 10, 2008 • Permalink