Name: Southport Smoke House
Address: 1102 N Howe St, Southport, NC 28461
Order: Lunch portion pork and brisket, small red slaw, and sweet tea (link to menu)
Like Duke’s Old South BBQ in Leland, Southport Smoke House is another joint by the coast that is cooking over wood. Based on what I’ve read online, it looked fairly promising so we took the ferry from Fort Fisher across the Cape Fear River to Southport so I could check it out for myself (Mrs. Monk opted not to have barbecue for the second day in a row – pfft).
On the website for the restaurant, it claims to have “the finest wood smoked bbq this side of Texas” which is just a weird thing to say in North Carolina. But the restaurant definitely does have a Texas bent to it – in addition to pulled pork it has brisket, sausage (labeled as “Kreuz” in the restaurant so possibly shipped in from Lockhart), and ribs on the menu.
Had the sausage not already sold out (at 12:30 on a Thursday, which is kind of impressive), I would have gotten it as well as pork and brisket for my lunch that day. Instead, I stuck with just pork and brisket and although they don’t have a combo plate, the lady who took my order suggested I just get lunch portions of the two meats. Done.
I could taste the hickory wood smoke in the pork, particularly the bark, but it was a tad bit dry. Southport Smoke House has several house sauces available (with a sign promising more to come), so I tried the pork with Lexington (of course), Eastern, and “NC Tangy.” The Lexington sauce came off best for me, with the Eastern coming second, and the NC Tangy barely registering. Whatever the case, although the pork had good smoke it definitely needed some sauce, whichever one the eater may have preferred.
The brisket was sliced (or chopped if you prefer) to order and had a slight smoke ring as well as a decent tug to it. It also wasn’t completely overdone, so it had that going for it. The restaurant had only been up and running for a little over a month at the point where I visited, but both the brisket and the pork showed a fair amount of promise.
The red slaw was a decent Lexington imitation and not too much more to be said about it. Southport Smoke House doesn’t offer hush puppies, which again is a more Texas way of doing things, and instead each dish came with a couple slices of Sunbeam sliced bread. I think its a shame they don’t offer hush puppies and I’d love to see them on the menu eventually.
Southport Smoke House only opened back on April 18 and I would imagine that they are in some ways still working out the kinks. However, like the pork and brisket, the restaurant itself shows a lot of promise and I’d love to check this place out in another 6 months or year once they really get going. Definitely a joint worth keeping an eye on.
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 3 Hogs