Monk: Tyler Harp of Harp Barbecue has been turning heads with his Texas-influenced barbecue, and Kansas City’s Flatland spends over a day with him as he smokes the meat for a serving at Crane Brewing Company in Raytown, MO.
Description: What does it take to cook barbecue only with wood? We spend the day with Harp Barbecue to find out. Hard-core barbecue enthusiasts define craft barbecue as cooked only using wood, served fresh daily, never reheated and cut to order. And they say there’s only one place really doing it right now in the Kansas City area.
Thrillist recently listed Harp Barbecue as one of the 33 best BBQ joints in America. Locally, 435 magazine recently named Harp Barbecue Kansas City’s number one barbecue spot.
We’re FlatlandKC.org, KCPT’s digital magazine, a destination for local and regional storytelling in and around Kansas City.
Tomorrow night, UNC Press is hosting an online discussion with Adrian Miller, whose book comes out at the end of the month. Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue is my most-anticipated book of the year and I can’t wait to have it in my hands in a few weeks. The cost of the event is $15 and it benefits the Boston Book Festival.
Description: Just in time for the start of barbecue season, we’re eager to sink our teeth into award-winning food historian Adrian Miller‘s new book Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue. In this special pre-publication event, we’ll sit down with Miller—winner of the James Beard Book Award for Soul Food and a consultant on Netflix’s Chef’s Table BBQ—to hear the stories of how Black barbecuers, pitmasters, and restauranteurs helped develop this cornerstone of American foodways and how they’re continuing to influence American cuisine today. And, since Adrian’s book includes more than 20 authentic recipes, we might get some tips on how to make the most of our own adventures with the grill or smoker at home!
Smoke Show BBQ is a new Texas-style barbecue pop up in the Charlotte area from transplanted Texan chef Brandon Belfer who has worked at fine dining spots The Stanley, Crunkleton, The Asbury, Kindred, and Hello, Sailor
Charlotte-based Mac’s Speed Shop finds itself coming out of the pandemic in a strong position for growth
Roddey’s BBQ has changed their lunch hours in Rock Hill to Fridays only
Olde Mecklenburg Brewing’s Southern Spring Fest will feature smoked pork and brisket in addition to the oyster po boys and crawfish
Christopher Prieto of Prime BBQ in Knightdale has joined the previously announced pitmasters for the Inaugural Pinehurst Barbecue Festival
Distant Relatives is a new barbecue trailer in East Austin serving “modern African American barbecue” and is already making waves
Beaumont-style links are making a comeback
Speaking of Beaumont, craft barbecue is catching on there
Name: Jon G’s Barbecue Address: 116 Glenn Falls St, Peachland, NC 28133 Order: 1.5 lbs brisket, 0.5 lbs pork, 0.5 lbs bacon burnt ends, 1lb rib, 2 Cheerwine hot links, jalapeno cheese grits, apple crisp (link to menu) Pricing: $$
Speedy: Finally, I was in the Charlotte area on a Saturday and able to make it to the Jon G’s Barbecue brick and mortar location, after Monk’s continual praise and an impressive experience with the food truck a few years back. As a non-NC resident, I am only able to pop in and out of Charlotte a few times a year, and Saturday’s are not always convenient times for a trip over to Peachland, so I have one plea: give the people what they want! More barbecue! But I digress.
Monk: I’m pretty sure Speedy gets it now, but even though they are only open Saturdays it’s not like Garren and Kelly are sitting around the rest of the week between prep, catering gigs, and the food truck. Plus, the Saturday only aspect makes it more of an experience.
Speedy: After loading up from Charlotte around 9:15 AM, we arrived at a small building off highway 74 with a picnic shelter out back around 10:00 and found our place in line for the 11:00 opening. Even an hour early, we were about 10th in line, but we didn’t mind the wait, as we were greeted with a cooler full of (free) Burial beer. A nice touch.
Monk: You know I love free beer and the fact that it’s one of my favorite breweries (NC or otherwise) only adds to it. We each grabbed and beer and joined in on the tailgating atmosphere. This is the one thing I try to convey when convincing anyone to make a trip to Peachland – it’s an experience that’s worth the trip. After all, Saturdays are for the boys!
Speedy: Let’s start with the brisket and not bury the lede. Similar to my experience with Jon G’s food truck a couple years ago, the brisket was fantastic. With apologies to both Jim Noble and John Lewis, this is the best brisket I’ve had in the Carolinas, and rivals Owlbear for the best outside of Texas. The peppery goodness pleased me greatly. I was actually a little worried about the brisket when I saw that Jon G’s uses a rotisserie smoker instead of the Texas standard barrel offset, but it worked out just fine.
For some reason, Jon G’s brisket is still ever so slightly behind my personal Holy Quadrumvirate of brisket (Franklin’s, La Barbecue, Pecan Lodge, Killen’s) but maybe because there’s just something different about eating brisket in Texas.
Monk: Of course that rotisserie smoker is an Oyler from Texas-based J&R Manufacturing, but I get Speedy’s concern when it’s not coming from an army of offset smokers made from old propane tanks (like the original Jon G’s smoker).
I don’t always get the pork at Jon G’s, but that’s not to say they don’t do a good job with it. And on this visit, it was up to par even if it’s not what we were there for.
Speedy: As you loyal readers know, I’m very much a rib man. When I visited the food truck ribs were not on the menu, so I had been salivating thinking about ribs the whole drive over. The dry ribs served at Jon G’s were seasoned well and cooked nearly perfectly. I don’t think I’d change a thing and would consider this a must order meat.
I think they’ve really dialed in their Cheerwine hot link but I know Garren is really high on their newish Cheesy-Tex sausage made with cheese from Brown Creek Creamery in nearby Polkton So I’ll have to try that next time around when I’m not around Speedy, who is unyielding in his lack of tolerance for lactose.
Speedy: The bacon burnt ends were a special of the day. They had great flavor, as expected, but weren’t totally consistent. There were a couple pieces in our order that were a little dry. Overall, I’d still order again, but in a near perfect meal, this was my nit to pick.
Monk: My experience with smoking my own bacon burnt ends is that the variance in cubing leads to some getting overdone while they larger ones cook through. Unavoidable but understandable.
The jalapeno cheddar grits had a little more heat than usual on this visit, which was not unwelcome. Speedy ordered the apple crisp which I’m not sure I’ve ever had from them. It’s a simple but delicious way to end the meal.
Speedy: Like all Texas-style Barbecue, it’s not something I can eat every day, as I was left with a bit of a gut bomb later in the day. So maybe Jon G’s has it right with the Saturday only thing. But overall, Jon G’s Barbecue is ridiculous. One of the best barbecue meals you’ll get anywhere. If you get the chance, don’t just stop by; make a plan to get there early and spend a Saturday morning out there.
Monk: Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue is released later this month on April 27 on University of North Carolina Press and ahead of the book’s release he catches up with Kevin’s BBQ Joints to discuss his viewpoint on barbecue as well as his research on the book.
If you are on the fence whether you should buy a book that celebrates the black (an native American) contribution to barbecue, Miller himself puts it best: “I’m definitely not trying to say white people can’t cook barbecue; I’m saying that there’s enough room at the cookout for everybody.”