Friday Find: Burger Mary breaks down smokers for ya

Jess Pryles (aka Burger Mary) gives a breakdown of the different types of backyard smokers. Which just so happens to be very helpful for the Barbecue Bros, seeing as how we are in need of a new smoker.

Filmed for the Australasian Barbecue Alliance, I run through some of the different types of bbq pits and smokers out there, and how they work. Do you know your offset from your water smoker?

Monk

Linkdown: 8/26/15

– You remember how Tyson Ho built  a barbecue restaurant in Brooklyn? He checks in with a retrospective nearly a year after it opened; if you want to catch up on the entire blog series (and I recommend that you do), check it out here

– Blasphemers!: Stamey’s food trailer was stolen from their lot Monday night

– A fire has damaged Bill Ellis’ Barbecue in Wilson but at least there’s this nugget:

“I took my plate with me,” Mangum said. “I was too hungry to just leave my good plate.”

Mangum stood beside Lisa Woodard, who was in her car looking at the smoke.

“I am as hungry as I can be,” Woodard said. “I just paid my money and they told us to get out.”

– Luella’s Bar B Que in Asheville is getting a second location in Biltmore Park Town Square

– A Charlotte vs Raleigh restaurant smackdown includes a short profile on Frank Scibelli (restaurateur behind Midwood Smokehouse) as well as a head to head barbecue smackdown between Bill Spoon’s in Charlotte and Clyde Cooper’s in Raleigh

– Marie, Let’s Eat! has been exploring Alabama barbecue this year and his latest stops on the blog are Pruett’s BBQ & Catfish in Gadsden and Ray’s Bar-B-Que in Atalla

A guide to Houston BBQ from TMBBQ

– Buxton Hall opens this Friday and I couldn’t be more excited to check it out at some point – I believe its been more than 2.5 years since its first iteration Buxton Hill was first announced, then with Rodney Scott as a partner

Buxton Hall is coming. On Aug. 28, the whole-hog barbecue restaurant will throw open its doors, permitting access to chef Elliott Moss’ wood-smoked ‘cue and farm-driven sides, all served in a cavernous former skating rink.

Austin Barbecue Joint Big Board – August 2015

With the explosion of popularity in barbecue nationally (particularly with brisket), there is an abundance of options for eating in Austin and the surrounding areas.  How do you sort through all the options? We’ve got you covered.  There are so many new places opening up all over the city, and we’ll add them to the list as we try/vet them.

  1. La Barbecue
  2. Louie Mueller (Taylor, TX)
  3. Franklin Barbecue
  4. Black’s Barbecue (Lockhart, TX)
  5. Kreuz Market (Lockhart, TX)
  6. Lamberts Downtown Barbecue
  7. Micklewaith Craft Meats
  8. Stiles Switch BBQ (re-review)
  9. Freedmen’s Bar
  10. Terry Black’s Barbecue
  11. Blue Ox Barbecue
  12. Stubb’s Bar-B-Q
  13. Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q
  14. The Salt Lick (Driftwood, TX)
  15. Live Oak Barbecue
  16. Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que
  17. The Green Mesquite BBQ

Where should we try next in Austin or the surrounding areas? Leave a comment below to let us know.

For your reference, Charlotte Rankings are located here

Linkdown: 8/19/15

– Charlotte restaurateur Jim Noble is getting into the barbecue business and while its still a ways off (no name or location yet), I’m very much encouraged

First, he needs to secure a Charlotte site that’s close to Interstate 77 with easy access. Most importantly, the restaurant needs to be in a space that allows the barbecue to be slow-cooked over wood, Noble adds.

– Jim Noble had previously mentioned the upcoming barbecue venture in an interview in Food Republic in April from friend of the blog Sarah Crosland, stating “[b]arbecue is a passion with my heart”

– Robert Moss has details on the upcoming Durham barbecue restaurant Picnic  from Wyatt Dickson (the barbecue man) and Ben Adams (the chef)

-A review of Moss’s latest barbecue book, Barbecue Lover’s The Carolinas

– Barbecue beer pairing: Charlotte Five (well, really OooWee BBQ) says IPA’s in the fall/winter and pale ales in the spring/summer

– Barbecue beer pairing, pt 2: Garden and Gun has suggestions from several southern bottle shops including a scotch ale,  a smoked porter, an amber, and a brown ale

“Most people will suggest a smoked beer. I find that the pairing of smoked beer and smoked meat works for about three bites, and that is not how I or any normal person eats ribs or pulled pork. I like to introduce softer, maltier beers that can balance the salt and set up a nice platform for the smoke to dance on.”—Brandon Plyler, Charleston Beer

The 112th Charlotte Picnic is this Friday and features hickory smoked chicken and pork, but that’s Charlotte, TN not Charlotte, NC

-From an earlier issue of Garden & Gun earlier this year

 

– Press release on the special train stop on October 24 for the Barbecue Festival

 

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew – Austin, TX (RE-REVIEW)

Name: Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew
Date: 8/5/15
Address: 6610 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78757 (Link to menu)
Order: ½ pound of smoked prime rib, 1 jalapeno cheddar sausage, side of potato salad and creamy cole slaw.
Price: $17.00

Rudy: Speedy and I had previously visited Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew but they were advertising their smoked prime rib, which they only offer on Wednesdays, and the idea of barbecue smoked and flavored prime rib drew me in. I won’t go into a full review, since Speedy and I already covered most of it, which hasn’t changed.  

I opted for the meat and two sides combo, plus added a jalapeno cheddar sausage.  I had big expectations for the prime rib, and was pretty much let down. Maybe the piece I had was overcooked for my liking, but I expected so much more. The outside had a little bit of flavor, but the smoke and seasonings never made it inside the meat, leaving the bulk of the meat pretty flavorless. The outside bites were fine, but did not make up for the lack of taste on the inside.  

The sausage, same as last time, was grea Juicy and plenty of flavor, and sure made me glad that I added it to my order. The potato salad was really good and worth getting in the future. However, I was not a big fan of the creamy cole slaw. That is not that big of a problem, because Stiles, unlike many Texas barbecue restaurants, offers multiple side order options other than just beans. So there are plenty of other options to choose from in the future.  

Stiles Switch is still a very good and above average barbecue place (as noted by their top 50 ranking by Texas Monthly) but in the future I will stick to their brisket, sausage, and their beef ribs.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 4.5 hogs (half hog bump for the free beer)
Prime Rib – 2.5 hogs
Sausage – 4 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs
Click to add a blog post for Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew on Zomato

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Linkdown: 8/12/15

– Move over Austin, Is Houston the hottest barbecue market in Texas?

– The Drawn Cutlass has a review of the new Queen City Q location in Matthews

– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits Rib & Loin in Hixson, TN

– This “complete” list of Charlotte food trucks includes several we’ve reviewed – Smoke & Go, OooWee BBQ, Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que – but  of the writing of this post somehow omits the best of the bunch, Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen

– Downtown Charleston is getting its 8th barbecue restaurant soon, Poogan’s Smokehouse

– Speaking of new barbecue joints coming to Charleston, Charleston Magazine has a quick conversation with John Lewis (via)

– Well?

– Johnny Fugitt’s top 25 barbecue restaurants (as detailed in The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America) here

– TMBBQ has their list of a few more influential barbecue pitmasters that just happen to be black in response to this list of all white barbecue pitmasters and personalities

– Speaking of TMBBQ, Texas BBQ Treasure Hunt researches 40 years of lists from the publication

– Charlotte’s South End neighborhood is getting a Korean barbecue restaurant called Seoul Food Meat Market in the coming months, and the description is somewhat reminiscent of Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta

Esthetically, it will look like American traditional Southern barbecue ribs: It will look the same but it will taste like Korean food.” So beef ribs will be seasoned as the Korean kalbi and bulgogi, pork ribs like the Korean spicy pork, slaw will be kimchi slaw, and wings will be fried, but in rice bran oil, making them healthier, and crunchier, than most, says Chun.

 

Louie Mueller Barbecue – Taylor, TX

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Name: Louie Mueller Barbecue
Date: 7/18/15
Location: 206 W. 2nd St., Taylor, TX
Order: 1 & 1/2 Lb Moist Brisket, 2 Jalapeno Sausages, ¼ Lb Turkey, Peach Cobbler, 3 Teas (link to menu)
Bill: $55

Rudy: I had already visited and reviewed two of the top 4 barbecue places in the state according to Texas Monthly BBQ so I figured it was time to make the short drive to Taylor and review Louie Mueller Barbecue, who was also ranked in the top 4. This is the second time I have eaten at Louie Mueller’s, but the first time reviewing what is considered one of the grandfathers of central Texas barbecue. To give you an idea of the history and excellence that is on hand at LM’s: they won the James Beard Foundation Award for excellence, becoming the first Texas barbecue restaurant to win that award. They also are the family where many of the best Texas barbecue restaurants find their roots. The expectations for LM’s was off the charts.

Monk: Wow, they certainly fit the bill of a legendary Texas joint. The family tree aspect almost sounds similar to Warner Stamey and his legacy in Lexington-style barbecue in NC.

Rudy: LM has been in their current location since 1959 and have a great, great atmosphere. They have a large open seating area near where you line up to order, but they also have a great seating area attached that is basically a large screened porch. It has such a classic feel, which makes sense considering how long it has been in that building. Even though it is a top notch barbecue spot only 30 minutes from Austin, both times I have gone to LM’s the line is never more than 10-15 minutes. That immediately skyrockets it’s rating on my board because I have no desire to wait for hours upon hours for barbecue that is on the same level as one that takes 15 minutes to get (even on top of the hour round-trip drive).

I only have 2 knocks on LM. One is the set up they have for drinks (you get them while you are standing in line) makes it hard to get refills because you have to swim through the line. The second is the fact that it is BYOB, but there is no way of knowing that.  It isn’t listed on their website and there is no sign telling you this. However, I did count at least 19 beer signs around the restaurant, so you can understand my surprise and disappointment when I was told that they didn’t serve beer there and I had to bring my own.

Monk: Being BYOB certainly didn’t help you on this trip but now that you know it, that’s great. Will be nice the next time you stop in for sure.

Rudy: On to the food. The brisket. Oh. My. God. It was amazing. AMAZING. Perfect amount of seasoning, not too overpowered with salt or pepper. Fat was perfectly rendered, so it just melted in your mouth. Tender, but didn’t fall apart. I really can’t heap enough praise on the brisket. They provide a side of sauce that can be used as a compliment, but it is not needed in any way. Plus, they cut you a sample of the brisket when you order, so you immediately up the amount that you are planning on ordering. They haven’t been in business this long without knowing a few tricks.

The sausage left a little to be desired. The first time I came to LM’s it was really juicy, but this time it was a little dry. I have given it a lower rating, based on this visit, but I’m willing to give it another try on my next visit to break the tie.

Monk: Since *spoiler alert* you didn’t give them 5 hogs, I wonder if a better sausage next time would put them over the top for you?

Rudy: Absolutely, because everything else was over the top good – even the turkey. That’s right, this was the first time I ordered turkey at a barbecue restaurant. I just have a hard time ordering it and like to stick to brisket, sausage, and ribs. But with Rudy Jr. along for the ride, I figured I would feed it to him. It was a huge hit. He ate the entire thing and was asking for more. I tried a piece and was surprised at how good it was. The meat had great flavor, but most importantly was extremely moist and not dried out as I have seen at other places.

Lastly, we finished it off with peach cobbler and ice cream. It was a bit heavy on the breading and low on the fruit, at least the serving we got, but it was still so good. It was obvious that it was homemade and delicious.

Speedy: I’m a little late to this review party, but I just wanted to chime in that this sounds incredible. Plan on taking a trip next time I’m in town, Rudy.

Rudy: Overall, Louie Mueller lived up the the high expectations and showed why it is always ranked as highly as it is. There is no doubt that I will be making the short drive back up there in the future, and I’ll make sure I bring my own beer next time.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance –  4.5 Hogs
Brisket – 5 Hogs
Sausage – 3.5 Hogs
Turkey – 5 Hogs
Cobbler – 4.5 Hogs
Overall – 4.5 Hogs
Click to add a blog post for Louie Mueller Barbecue on Zomato

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Friday Find: There Ain’t No Party Like a Barbecue Party

From a couple months back, here’s a behind the scenes video from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party, courtesy of Nick Solares and Eater.

The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party came to New York on June 13 and 14 for its thirteenth annual festival. And while 140,000 attendees showed up to eat some of the best barbecue from across the country, when you’re professional carnivore Nick Solares, you beat the crowds — and head over the day before.

Monk

Linkdown: 8/5/15

– Food and Wine has must-see spots to check out in Charlotte if you only have a day, and Midwood Smokehouse makes the list

6 p.m.: Midwood Smokehouse. No trip to the South is complete without a stop for BBQ and Midwood Smokehouse is easily the best joint in Charlotte. People swear by the pulled pork and ribs, but I can’t get over the brisket and burnt ends. Temper your animalistic cravings, though – this is just a stop for hors d’oeuvres.

– Follow the SC Trail to Fort Mill BBQ Co.

– ICYMI, Queen City Q’s second location is now open in Matthews

– 10 joints in NC that will “leave your mouth watering”; three Triad joints make the list as does two Triangle joints

– Vote for the NC barbecue trail in the 10 Best’s Best Food Trail poll

– Baltimore City Paper’s BBQ issue is online and it includes an article on how pit beef became a symbol of barbecue

– Remember the salmonella outbreak at Lexington’s Tarheel Q? Well, they now face a wrongful death lawsuit as a result of it

– The Fayetteville Observer has 5 eastern joints where NC is an art

– A classic SC joint goes Texas with brisket

– From Ricky Scott (as opposed to Rodney)

Photos: Chelsea/PSG tailgate PLUS help the Bros pick out a new smoker

A few weeks back, an international club soccer friendly once again came to Charlotte in the form of Chelsea Football Club vs Paris-St Germain. So while we have varying levels of interest in international club soccer, Speedy (less interested) and I (way interested) took the opportunity to tailgate and smoke a couple pork butts and five racks of ribs. We think it was one of our best smokes yet, but unfortunately, we took a calculated risk to leave the smoker overnight only for Speedy to come back in the morning to find that it had been removed from the parking lot (silly bros).

So we turn to you, dear readers, to help us find our next smoker. For your reference, the model we previously had was this Dyna-Glo offset smoker.

What sub-$500 non-gas/non-electric smoker do you recommend? Feel free to leave suggestions with links and reasoning in the comments.

Monk