Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Some time ago, I had the odd honor of being a judge at the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue, one of the bigger meat-fests in the barbecue circuit. I can’t recall who won what, but I vividly recall walking up the stairs to my second-floor motel room, listening to two portly fellows loudly discuss the merits (and drawbacks) of possum and raccoon barbecue.
In that context, pairing wine instead of beer with barbecue seems a bit twee, sort of like playing Chopin nocturnes at a Nascar race, but what the heck. What are cliffs for but to fling oneself off of?