We’re not quite sure what happened, but there has literally (ok, figuratively) been an explosion in followers over the past few days.
In any case, welcome! Feel free to peruse our reviews of all barbecue restaurants (including our rankings of Charlotte-area joints) and check out our progress to review every joint on the NC Historical Barbecue Trail. Also, you are free to ask us a question on barbecue or even just life.
We received the following submission from someone calling himself “McLovin”:
Me and my wife decided to go have lunch on a Saturday at Smiley’s. First of all the claim that it is good food is a whole lie….I’ve had better. My wife ordered their chicken salad sandwich. It was HORRIBLE nothing special just in a regular burnt sandwich bread and their chicken salad didn’t taste good. we took one bite and told the lady at the cash registered that we did not eat the chicken salad sandwich and was told we had to pay for it anyway. You and I know well that when something does not taste good customer does not pay for it. We felt they were rude and greedy. Since then we have told our experience to our family and friends to avoid a bad experience. Bottom line is DONT EAT THERE!!!
After spending way too much time trying to figure out why an eight year old is married (age guess based on grammar skills), I decided to reply to our loyal reader McLovin’ to explain our positive review of Smiley’s. It appears that we had a much better experience than the dear reader. I think the main reason behind it is that we aren’t dumb. Seriously - who goes to any restaurant in Lexington and orders a chicken salad sandwich? I can’t stress enough how bad of a decision that was. It really calls into question every other decision your wife ever made (marriage vows included). So yea - if you want chicken salad, don’t go to Smiley’s. If you want great barbecue, then go on over and have yourself a great meal.
As for your assertion that you shouldn’t have to pay for food that doesn’t taste good, there’s a billion dollar health food industry that has something to say about that. So sorry the “greedy” folks at Smiley’s kept the outrageous $4.25 they charged you for your chicken salad sandwich, but next time, man up, order a real meal, and you’ll have a better experience.
Thanks for reading!
Kind of a light week in barbecue news…
- Sign the True ‘Cue Pledge today
- Here’s a recipe for brunswick stew from Poplar Tent Presbyterian Church in Concord, NC that includes rice as opposed to potatoes
- 3 suspects sought in a Currituck County barbecue restaurant robbery
To placate his wife’s North Carolina family, he [Hugh Mangum] fused that style with Texas to arrive at “Texalina” — but what has emerged is uniquely NYC.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Barbecue Bros!
- A nice little article from The Elon newspaper entitled "The BBQ State: Unique origins of barbecue define North Carolina history, culture" which also includes a neat interactive timeline
- The BBQ Jew has some thoughts about City Barbeque coming to Cary
- The Pit Durham opened yesterday and will be open on Thanksgiving
— The Pit Durham (@ThePitBBQDurham)
Name: Q Barbeque
Location: 2077 Walmart Way, Midlothian, VA 23113
Order: Three meat plate (pork, brisket, ribs) with two sides (collard greens, hush puppies), Cheerwine (link to menu)
Speedy: So the other weekend, I went up to visit the bro in DC. As I was driving up, I thought this was a great opportunity to stop by Q Barbeque, a small Richmond based chain owned and operated by pitmaster Tuffy Stone. As a big fan of BBQ Pitmasters (and because of Tuffy’s recent win at the Jack Daniels barbecue contest), I was super excited to try it out.
Due to some pre-meal research, I had read about what a Q Barbeque restaurant looks like, but I can’t say that seeing a barbecue restaurant in a strip mall that basically looks like a Chipotle instills much confidence that it will be any good. I will say that Q Barbeque is EXTREMELY clean and organized. After placing your order and paying at the counter, you’re given a number and a cup to get your drink and find a seat.
In order to try as much as possible, I ordered the three meat plate with two sides and got a drink to go with it. When filling my drink, I was pleasantly surprised to find Cheerwine in the fountain - the meal was off to a good start. After a short wait, the food was brought out to my table.
Monk: Nice touch to have Cheerwine available, and in the fountain no less. Definitely unexpected for a joint in Richmond.
Speedy: I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of portion, but the sizes were decent. The three meat plate was too much for one person, but probably not enough for two. The plate came with three rib bones, a small portion of pulled pork, and a small portion of chopped brisket. Along with the sides, a bun and a pickle spear were also included. Everything looked really appetizing - the ribs were cut perfectly and the pork and brisket were both uniform in color and pull/chop. The only thing left to do was dig in.
Monk: Over $20 for one person with no beers seems pricey, but I guess if you get more than a meal’s worth of food it’s not so bad.
Speedy: I agree with that, but there was no reason for me to order that much food for just myself except for the fact that I owe it to the readers to sample everything. Well everything except the chicken. Hopefully none of our readers would even think about ordering chicken here.
I first tried the pork without any of the optional sauce on the table. I was worried that it would be dry, but it really wasn’t at all. It had a bit of smoke flavor, but lacked the tanginess that I like that comes along with a vinegar based dip. Overall though, I was pleased with the flavor. I did add some of the spicy sauce to see what it tasted like, and I didn’t think it really added much.
Next I tried the ribs. They were lightly sauced and cooked almost perfectly. The ribs were tender, but not so much that they fell off the bone. Whatever rub was used was fantastic. I think these ribs were probably the third best that I’ve ever tried - behind only Rendezvous and 12 Bones. The ribs didn’t need any additional sauce at all. In the end, I was disappointed that I only had three bones.
Monk: Wow, that is some high praise.
Speedy: The final meat on my plate was the beef brisket. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no brisket expert, but I have eaten brisket at several places in Texas. And maybe I don’t know what beef brisket is “supposed” to taste like, but I can’t say I’ve ever had better brisket than the portion I had a Q barbeque. It was tender, perfectly seasoned, and required no additional sauce. In fact, I didn’t want to put sauce on for fear of affecting the taste. I just can’t say enough about how good this brisket was. It is literally so good that I will likely play a role in my fly or drive decision next time I head up to DC. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Usually, we just glaze over the sides here, which is appropriate for the hush puppies (which were fine, but not worth talking about). However, the collard greens were superb. They tasted more of pork than greens thanks to the bacon cooked in. I’m sure these collards are terrible for you, but it’s really what barbecue sides should taste like.
My first thought after the meal was to text Monk to tell him how good it was.
Monk: …which I can confirm he did. Thanks for thinking of me, Speedy!
Speedy: My second was that of fear. Q Barbeque looks like a place that would cook with gas (based strictly on appearance), so I was concerned that my credibility would come into question for gushing so much over not true barbecue. However, I drove around the side of the building to check it out as I was leaving and was very pleased to see a large pile of wood, which I’m assuming was for cooking. I definitely tasted a good amount of smoke in my meal, so it tasted wood smoked.
Monk: If this is true (and it sounds like there is no reason to believe otherwise), I am glad to learn that Tuffy isn’t taking any shortcuts. Now, off to plan my next trip up to DC via Richmond…
Speedy: Overall, I was very pleased with my meal at Q Barbeque. I knew Tuffy Stone was a great competition pitmaster, but I’m happy to report that it definitely translates to the restaurant. If you’re in the Richmond area, Q Barbeque is not to be missed.
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Brisket – 5 hogs
Ribs – 4.5 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4.5 hogs
So pumped to attend tonight’s Southern Supper at Midwood Smokehouse with guest pitmaster Sam Jones
Jones and Barry plan to engineer a 3-course “throwback” barbecue dinner which will include local brews and beers from NoDa Brewing Company, southern hors d’oeuvres of pimiento cheese and smoke jalapeno dip, house salad, the whole hog (of course), old-fashioned warm apple cobbler with cinnamon ice cream, and other sides (hush puppies, collard greens, mac&cheese, etc.).
- Engineering consulting firm WK Dickson has turned the site of the former Melton’s Barbecue in Rocky Mount into a park, fittingly named Barbecue Park
- Why was the BBQ sandwich not named NC’s best sandwich? Instead, BusinessInsider.com picked the Carolina burger
TrueCue.org seeks to educate people about real barbecue—meat slow-cooked over wood or charcoal alone, without the assistance of gas, electricity or any other heat source—by certifying and promoting businesses that produce it. Why do we care? Because real barbecue is rooted in taste, tradition and a sense of place, three things increasingly lacking in today’s world. We think the world will be a better place when there is more real barbecue in it.
- Speaking of cooking real barbecue over wood, The Pit Durham opens next Tuesday
— The Pit Barbecue (@ThePitBBQ)
A very happy birthday to Mrs. Monk!
- Clyde Cooper’s celebrates 75 years
- BBQ Snob’s impressive BBQ Google Map
- A story about Tuffy Stone’s recent win at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue contest; in related news, Speedy stopped by a Q Barbeque in Richmond last weekend and was a big fan (review forthcoming) (via)
- More details on True ‘Cue, aiming for a 2014 launch