BOARD MEMBERS OF THE NCBS®
Founder and CEO
Early is the founder of the North Carolina Barbecue Society
(NCBS). Jim is also a trial lawyer and Superior Court
mediator. In September 2007 he closed his law office to
devote full time to NCBS. He lives in Winston-Salem, North
Carolina. Jim is also the author of what many call the
definitive book on North Carolina barbecue, The Best Tar
Heel Barbecue Manteo to Murphy. He speaks nationally and
internationally to lawyers, doctors and business personnel
on ethics, professionalism, quality of life issues and
stress management. Jim is an experienced hunting and fishing
guide and outfitter and leads parties to venues such as
Alaska, Montana, the Bahamas, Scotland, South Dakota and
Africa. Jim is also a gourmet cook and has taught numerous
cooking classes for local colleges, businesses, etc. and his
meals run the gamut from black tie to kicked back around the
campfire. Jim has written numerous cooking articles, several
books and shares proceeds from his current books with
Special Olympics North Carolina and Feed the Children. For
more about Jim see www.jimearly.com.
VP and Board Member
Bridges-Webb is a stunning looking woman who looks as though
she may have just stepped off the cover of Vogue magazine.
That may have happened had Debbie not given up her modeling
career at age 19 to help "Mama B" with the family business.
Debbie grew up with Bridges Barbecue Lodge. She started
waitressing at age 16, worked in the kitchen, prepped food,
washed dishes, chopped cue, hauled wood and even fired the
meat. There is no aspect of running a top flight BBQ Pit
that is a stranger to Debbie Bridges Webb.
is you cannot tell someone how to do it if you can't do it
yourself. With "Mama B" as a mentor Debbie honed her skills.
In the years before her death, "Mama B" would come in to
"check" on Debbie to see if she was doing it right. She was.
Debbie has been the driving force behind Bridges Barbecue
Lodge for the last 30+ years. In this time Bridges Barbecue
Lodge has received numerous accolades. The Lodge has been
featured in Barbecue Road Trip by Michael Karl Witzel,
Gourmet Magazine, BBQ Joints by David Gelin, Road Food, Eat
Your Way across the U.S.A. , and Popular Plates BBQ by Jane
& Michael Stern to name a few. Bridges Barbecue has also
been featured in a number of BBQ books including Holy Smoke
and The Best Tar Heel Barbecue Manteo to Murphy. NCBS is
pleased to have Debbie Bridges Webb, one of the First Ladies
of BBQ, join our Board of Directors.
Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC is the trailhead of The North
Carolina Barbecue Society Historic BBQ Trail. This iconic
BBQ Pit traces it's roots back to the early 1800's. The
Inn's Founder Pete Jones at the tender age of 7 years
started cooking 'cue with his Uncle Emmit in 1935. In 1947
Pete ventured out on his own and opened a curb-service diner
near the airport and called it Skylight. The rest is
history. Pete became a legend and the Skylight Inn became a
destination BBQ Pit.
Samuel Jones, "Sam" to his
friends is the grandson of Pete Jones. Sam was weaned on a
porkskin and has been working in the family business since
he was a child. To say that the Jones family has remained
wedded to the traditional way of cooking whole hogs over
wood coals like Skilten M. Dennis (b. 1842) is like calling
The Grand Canyon a ditch. Sam is now the face of the
Skylight Inn and the logo on his shirt says it all -
Sam Jones has risen to national acclaim
as a Pit Master. Yes he has had 25+ years of training under
the family umbrella with the Legend, but Sam has been
cooking pigs on his own for number of years now and he does
it ever so well. Sam was picked as one of the top 10 Pit
Masters by Southern Living Magazine. He was chosen to be a
member of Fat Collective, a group of James Beard winning
chefs, writers and some of the Pit Masters in the BBQ
industry. Sam recently was one of the Pit Masters at the
2013 Big Apple BBQ Block Party (NYC). And Sam is one of our
NCBS faculty members and cooks the whole hog portion of our
NCBS BBQ Boot Camps. Sam cooks one of the best whole hogs on
the planet (any planet) and we welcome him to our Board.
Chef Clay White
Thomas White is a native to the NC Sandhill's region born
and reared in Fayetteville, North Carolina. His love for
preparing food grew as he spent hours in the kitchens of his
mother and grandmother during his childhood. This love
became a passion and he enlisted in the U.S. Army to help
pay for future culinary school training. This move led to a
two year deployment in Germany and also placed him on the
front lines in Iraq during Operation: Desert Shield and
Desert Storm, earning him multiple awards and commendations
for his service.
After a four year stint in the Army,
Clay married his grade-school love, Teresa and they settled
in Pinehurst, NC. Clay continued to pursue his love of food
by starting a small catering with menus of NC Barbecue and
other local favorites. He continued teaching himself fine
dining and more refined cooking methods to achieve the level
of a chef. After working in multiple restaurants and other
catering businesses, Clay decided to take on Culinary
School. He graduated Cum Laude. After graduation, Clay
enlarged his business and began catering on a much grander
Chef Clay has taught in a college culinary
program. Always desiring to be a student, Clay's love of the
food industry led him to pursue a number of certifications
including a Servsafe Instructor, Level One Sommelier, Tips,
Food Cost Control, and Certified Culinarian. He is also a
certified Judge and Table Captain for the KCBS, NCBS and
often a competitor. Currently you can find Chef Clay
catering to the masses and celebrities, cooking and judging
BBQ, teaching food safety and continuing to travel the
globe, learning all he can about the world's food and
NCBS is pleased to have Chef Clay
White on our board. Welcome Chef Clay.
Grady is the co-owner (with his wife Gerrie) of Grady's
BBQ in Dudley, N.C. Grady's BBQ is one of the Historic
BBQ Pits on The NCBS Historic BBQ Trail. Steve is a
legendary Eastern North Carolina Pit Master and has
cooked over 14,000 whole hogs. Steve was one of the
Class of 2008 NCBS Wall of Fame inductees and has been
showcased in a number of newspapers and magazines. See
the USA Today article on the News and Events link on
this website. Also see Grady's BBQ on the NCBS Historic
BBQ Trail on the BBQ Trail link on this website.
Steve grew up on a farm and has raised pigs and been
around pigs all of his life. As a boy Steve learned to
cook pigs the old fashioned way on pits with live coals.
Steve never departed from his up-bringing. Thirty-five
(35) years ago Steve left his job at the lumber yard and
opened Grady's BBQ in Dudley so he and his wife could
work together. Since Grady's opened, Steve has adveraged
cooking about 10 whole hogs a week , fifty-one weeks a
year. Steve and Gerrie also do catering in addition to
the cooking at their permanent location at the
intersection of Arrington Bridge Road and Sleepy Creek
Road outside of Dudley.
We are pleased to have
Steve bring his vast cooking experience and sage wisdom
to our board. And in addition we can tap into Gerrie's
considerable skills in the kitchen and have the pleasure
of her million candle watt smile at our events.
Wooten is a resident of Oak Island, NC. He is an avid
boatman and fisherman. Bobby's skills on the water are
exceeded only by his skills at the grill. If it swims, Bobby
will catch it. If he catches it, he will cook it. If he
cooks it you hope to be on the invitation list. Bobby has
been on the NCBS staff for many, many years. He helps put up
our camps, handles registration, works in the kitchen and
generally jumps in and helps whomever he sees needs a hand.
I cannot think of anything about our camps this
multitalented man cannot do.
Bobby has not only
helped make our camps run smoothly, through his efforts he
has helped NCBS secure sponsors to help fund our events and
provide the funds for the $50,000 we offer in scholarships
to disabled Warriors and First Responders of North Carolina.
NCBS is indeed indebted to this man.
It is with
great pleasure that NCBS adds Bobby Wooten to its Board.
March 2017 I had the privilege of spending some time with
Donnie Boltz. He is a fascinating man. Donnie has appeared
before Congress as a spokesperson for the small business
man. He supports and works with many conservation and
charitable groups locally including SUFS. He creates the
recipes for his restaurant Fish Bites. He is the congenial
host at his restaurant that make everyone feel at home. I am
told that every now and then he takes a nap, although I
found no proof of this.
I am pleased to say Donnie
and I have become "Buds". Donnie agreed to be one of our
instructors at the Wilmington camp September 30th, 2017. He
did an outstanding classes on seafood. Donnie agreed to
share how he makes his fabulous New England Clam Chowder. He
also did a class on how to properly filet a fish and how to
make some of his scrumptious sauces.
In addition to
creating the recipes for his restaurant and teaching his
chefs how to make them, Donnie makes the desserts for Fish
Bites. Fresh is a hallmark of Fish Bites. Donnie has his own
boats, his own fresh fish market and his own oyster beds. If
it is fresher than Fish Bites, it is still swimming. Fish
Bites IS a 100 mile restaurant.
NCBS is privileged to
have this talented man on our faculty and Board. Welcome
NCBS is dedicated to supporting
our warriors through
scholarships and attendance
at our BBQ Boot Camps.
NCBS is dedicated to supporting
scholarships and attendance
at our BBQ Boot Camps.
NCBS was recently asked to go to the
Dominican Republic and help put on an event for the U.S. Embassy in
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