When I was just starting this whole podcast thing, one day I received a note from a chef. He told me that he loved the podcast and loved what I was doing and to keep up the good work. That chef was Matthew Register of Southern Smoke BBQ in Garland, NC. It was one of those days that I really needed to hear that someone was listening, and it meant a lot to me since I didn’t know him or how he’d found the show. When we met in person at Lambstock, it soon became obvious that he not only wanted to be a listener, he wanted to be a guest, and although I was flattered, I didn’t know if that would ever happen because I hadn’t had his food and had set a high standard of BBQ coverage interviewing greats such as Sam Jones and Tyson Ho. Little did I know how clueless I was. Over the next year, each time I heard about Matthew or interacted with him, I was more and more impressed. He became one of the most passionate and motivated chefs I’ve met, passionate maybe because he came a little late to the cooking party, but just happy to be among the barbecue family. These days, I know his food speaks for itself, and that his restaurant deserves to be the barbecue destination that it’s becoming in Garland. And although the barbecue is a great example of Eastern NC ‘cue, I just want as much of his collard soup as I can eat, along with a side of Mexican street corn and a scoop of coleslaw. Matthew is a rising star in the great tradition of NC barbecue doing things his own way, and so I’m thrilled to introduce him to you.