We’re certainly behind the curve on this news — the great Dixie Barbeque of Johnson City, Tennessee is closed permanently, and has been closed since the first of the year. Alan Howell simply decided to retire. It was no surprise – folks knew that December would be their final shot at his famous pulled pork and filled the place in record numbers all month. Today, there’s a “for sale” sign on the shuttered building. Mark Rutledge, writing for North Carolina’s Daily Reflector, mourns Dixie’s absence from his life: “Barbecue is not my religion, but if it were, Alan Howell . . . would be my preacher.”