Linkdown: 11/30/16

– A few more stops in the Carolina’s for Grant: Stephenson’s Bar-B-Q in Willow Spring, Skylight Inn in Ayden, and Sweatman’s Bar-B-Que down in Holly Hill, SC

– Robert Moss has an introduction to Georgia BBQ to kickoff Georgia BBQ Week, which Grant will surely love

– Coming to West Nashville soon from Pitmaster Pat Martin

– Daniel Vaughn of TMBBQ muses on a couple of easy rules for barbecue line etiquette

– From last month, Destination BBQ has an interview with Daniel Doyle of Poogan’s Smokehouse in Charleston

– The highly-anticipated Scott’s BBQ has broken ground at its Charleston location

– John Shelton Reed has a pretty out there barbecue theory on why Donald Trump carried the state of NC and I’ll just let him have at it

The latest, he told me the other day, was Hillary Clinton’s choice of a barbecue stop in Charlotte at the end of the presidential campaign. She and President Obama ate at the Midwood Smokehouse. It has a varied and upscale menu, but it is not a traditional barbecue eatery. Meanwhile, Donald Trump was buying one of those $3.50 barbecue sandwiches at Stamey’s in Greensboro.

“Maybe Clinton’s choice sold in Charlotte,” Reed said, “but the rest of the state was thinking Drumpf was eating at a real North Carolina barbecue stop, a big reason he won and she lost.

 

Hillsborough BBQ Company – Hillsborough, NC

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Name
: Hillsborough BBQ Company
Date: 11/22/16
Address: 236 South Nash Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278
Order: ¼ lb BBQ plate with mustard slaw and collards; ¼ lb brisket plate with red slaw and mac and cheese (link to menu)
Price: ~$25 (for two)

Monk: As long as we’ve been writing on this blog (4.5 years and counting!), Hillsborough BBQ Company has been at or near the top of my list of NC joints to check out. After finally getting the chance last weekend, I must report back that I left pretty darn disappointed.

It’s a cozier space than I imagined, nestled in the middle of a row of businesses off Nash Street in Hillsborough but despite a table of 10 being seated right before us, the Monk clan was able to snag 3 spots at the bar. There, we decided that the Mrs and I would each split a plate of different meats.

Mrs. Monk ordered the pork and I found I to be flavorful but on the dry side. Once the eastern sauce was added, it was much better. But still, nothing spectacular.

Brisket is available Wednesday to Sunday but mine did not appear freshly smoked; perhaps it was from a day or two back. It came out barely warm to start and the bark was decently peppery but once the meat cooled the fat congealed into a not-so-appetizing sight. Disappointing.

Between our two slaws, the mustard was the better of the two. The mac and cheese was not baked and seemed very basic – almost easy mac-ish. Mrs Monk didn’t think much of the bland collards either.

Across the board, the theme seemed to be that the ideas were ok but the execution was lacking. Service even fell off as a travelling soccer team and their parents filled the restaurant and our bartender completely disappeared, leaving the manager to have to step in just to take our check. Nonetheless, the food is what I’m judging Hillsborough BBQ Company on and in that respect, I must reiterate that after years of wanting to check it out, I was very very disappointed.

Ratings:
Pork – 2 hogs
Brisket – 1.5 hogs
Sides – 1.5 hogs
Overall – 2 hogs
Hillsborough BBQ Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Linkdown: 11/23/16

– North Carolina apparently smells like blackberry and barbecue according to Homesick Candles

– The Atlanta Journal Constitution blog has a first look at B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue

– Hickory Tree BBQ in Greensboro sells turkey barbecue, and not just for Thanksgiving

– Grant continues his tour of the NC Historical Barbecue Trail with stops at Switzerland Cafe and Speedy Lohr’s of Arcadia

– Marie takes a turn writing a chapter on Stamey’s  for Marie, Let’s Eat!

Linkdown: 11/16/16

– Kings BBQ in Kinston has reopened for the first time since Hurricane Matthew

– A trip to Raleigh should include a visit to The Pit, says this writer for the Columbus Dispatch

– Dallas News documents a roadtrip to Lexington for The Barbecue Festival and then to Asheville for Buxton Hall Barbecue

– Daniel Vaughn with a little shade for David Chang’s ssäm

– Grant visits Nooga-Q Smokehouse in Chattanooga and likes the chicken a lot more than everything else he tried

– Poogan’s Smokehouse has been open for one year in Charleston’s East Bay

– How John Lewis made his way from Texas to Charleston

The Mallard Creek Annual BBQ – Charlotte, NC

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Name
: The Mallard Creek Annual BBQ
Date: 10/27/16 (4th Thursday of every October)
Address: 11400 Mallard Creek Road, Charlotte, NC 28262
Order: BBQ plate with brunswick stew, slaw, and applesauce (link to menu)
Price: $10

Monk: After going to the Mallard Creek Annual BBQ for each of the past three years, I figured it was time for an official review. Now in its 87th year, the Mallard Creek BBQ is by far the oldest barbecue institution in Charlotte (admittedly a city of very few old barbecue institutions). Its a one-day annual event on the fourth Thursday of every October where barbecue and local politics mix, though the politics won’t get in the way if you just want barbecue. My pro tip for any first-timers is to take a late lunch and go after 2pm when there is no line, otherwise you might be in the car for awhile.

Every year, literally tons of barbecue is smoked by an army of volunteers and this year was no different with 14,000 pounds of pork smoked. I’ve been both in mid and late afternoon and the coarsely chopped pork is always moist, a tribute to the whole operation. Add the table-side hot sauce, a spicy vinegar-based sauce (skip the other, ketchup-based one) and pile with slaw on a slice of the Merita bread loaf on every table and you’ve got a nice open-faced sandwich. On this recent visit, I did this twice and had ample amounts of pork left over.

Really, the Mallard Creek Annual BBQ is probably more well known for its brunswick stew though its not the typical brunswick stew. Per Kathleen Purvis, instead of potatoes it has rice. Instead of shredded chicken and beef, it has ground-up chicken, beef and pork. Instead of lima beans, it has only corn and tomatoes.  I’m still no expert on the dish but I would go so far as to say its one of the best versions of the dish I’ve had. On the October days when the weather is a little more brisk, its a very welcome dish. Though it was a little on the warmer side this year.

It is my opinion that any true barbecue fan in the Charlotte area should make it a point to go to the Mallard Creek Annual BBQ at least once. Other publications have covered its history much more extensively, but in short its a great event put on by the folks of Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church. You should go.

Ratings:
Pork – 3.5 hogs
Brunswick Stew – 4 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs

Friday Find: Barbecue in America: Orangeburg, SC

The second in the series from Made Man and Dhani Jones. He visits Sweatman’s BBQ and Duke’s Bar-B-Que and also meets with Lake High of the SC Barbecue Association.

Think you know the story of smoked meat? In part 2 of BBQ in America, host Dhani Jones heads to legendary Orangeburg, South Carolina, to get educated about mysterious Carolina Gold sauce, meet a BBQ historian, dig into some delicious whole hog and more! Brought to you by Kingsford.

Linkdown: 11/9/16

– Ed Mitchell is no longer opening a stall at the upcoming Morgan Street Food Hall & Market in Raleigh but the News Observer has more information on his food truck which can be booked for holiday events

– A list of Charlotte barbecue joints from Charlotte’s Got A Lot; I think ours is  a little more comprehensive

– Grant visits Smokin’ J’s BBQ, another no-frills joint in Knoxville

– The When Pigs Fly BBQ Festival is this weekend in Fayetteville and features a whole hog competition

– Summerville, SC is getting a new whole hog barbecue joint in the second location of Swig & Swine

– Elliott Moss is going on a book tour for Buxton Hall Barbecue’s Book of Smoke: Wood-Smoked Meat, Sides and More, and is making a stop in Charleston

– Buxton Hall gets a nice write up in this month’s Our State Magazine

Full Service BBQ – Knoxville, TN

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Name: Full Service BBQ
Date: 10/20/16
Address: 104 Cedar Ln, Knoxville, TN 37912
Order: Big Boy Box (pork, brisket, ribs, sausage, chicken) with fries and beans (link to menu)
Price: $18

Monk: On this year’s annual guys trip, Speedy and I (no Rudy this year, unfort) and the crew coming up from Atlanta were passing through Knoxville around lunchtime, so I solicited the advice from Grant of Marie, Let’s Eat!, the perfect man to ask for barbecue recommendations around the southeast (seriously, he knows his stuff). His first choice, Sweet P’s Barbeque and Soul House, was too far south and out of the way, so we went with his #2 in Full Service BBQ with their Knoxville location being perfect for us just off I-75 on our way to Lexington for a weekend of the bourbon trail and horse racing.

Speedy: And let me tell you – if we didn’t know we were in Tennessee before we got to Full Service, we sure as heck knew it when we got there. There’s no inside seating at Full Service – just places to park your car, picnic tables (complete with napkin logs), and a walk up order window. I thought I was in heaven. That is until I found out that we had just missed smoked wing day (Wednesdays) and were a little too early for burnt end day (Fridays). So while that was a bummer, I was still pumped to try the aptly named Big Boy Box, which I split with Monk, since we’re only medium sized.

Monk: You know I always like a good napkin log. Instead of going meat by meat and offering up our critique, let’s focus on the best meat at Full Service. That ok with you, Speedy?

Speedy: I like it when you spice up our relationship, Monk. So the best meat at Full Service is the brisket.

Monk: By a country mile.

Speedy: By a Tennessee mile. Or maybe a Texas mile is more appropriate. We didn’t get offered a choice of fatty or lean briskets, but what we got seemed like the flat, or lean side. Even so, it was moist, flavorful, and cooked nearly perfectly. It had the tug that you want, the peppery bark, and the juices flowing throughout. All in all, a great brisket, especially from outside of Rudy’s hood.

Monk: It was pretty clear to us from speaking with the person who took our order that the brisket is what they take the most pride in at Full Service. Maybe “after thought” is too harsh for the other meats, but in descending order they ranked ribs, chicken, pork, sausage. And all far, far below the brisket. As for the sides, the fries were fresh with a nice seasoning salt and the beans were solid.

Speedy: Totally agree. I actually thought the sausage and pork weren’t even passable. Had we only tried those two meats, this would rank as one of the lowest we’ve reviewed. But you know what they say, Monk – it only takes one good meat to make a good barbecue restaurant.

Monk: Who says that, exactly?

Speedy: We do, Monk. We do.

Monk: Fair point…Speedy recalled that Full Service BBQ had been mentioned in Johnny Fugitt’s book The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America, listed as part of the other 75 (though he, like Grant, went to the Maryville location). And when I went back to the book, I realized that the brisket was #3 on his list of “10 Best Briskets Outside of Texas (better than 99% in Texas)” (FYI Midwood Smokehouse which was #6 on the list). That might be a bit high for me, but it was a good brisket nonetheless.

Speedy: Overall, I would go back to Full Service BBQ for one reason and one reason only: brisket. And to try the burnt ends. So, maybe two reasons. But I’d recommend that anyone get the chance head through to try that beef.

(For another review, check out Marie, Let’s Eat!)

Ratings: 
Atmosphere – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 2 hogs
Brisket – 4 hogs
Sausage – 1 hog
Ribs – 2.5 hogs
Chicken – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs
Full Service BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Full Service BBQ

Friday Find: NC Now on Lexington’s Barbecue Discovery

UNC TV’s NC Now visited Lexington, NC last year after the discovery of a barbecue pit at the renovated Town Hall building.

For most North Carolinians the words “barbecue” and “Lexington” go hand-in-hand. While many of us have had the chance to enjoy a plate of barbecue in Lexington, we may not know much about the history of it. Producer Katherine Johnson explains why a recent unique discovery is creating renewed interest in the history of Lexington’s barbecue, and how that history lives on today.