Name: Midwood Smokehouse
Location: 1401 Central Avenue, Charlotte, NC
Order: Pig Out Combo Platter (chopped pork, beef brisket, St. Louis style pork ribs, and hickory smoked sausage), bbq slaw, bbq baked beans, and hush puppies (link to menu)
Speedy: Happy two year blogaversary, Monk!
Monk: And a happy blogaversary to you too, Speedy! What is the present for a two year blogaversary? Bacon?
Speedy: Might be a little early for that. Let’s call it the hushpuppy anniversary.
Anyway, Monk and I have a few spots in our Charlotte that are kind of go-to spots for a nice barbecue meal. We probably frequent Queen City Q and Midwood Smokehouse the most, but I’d probably consider Midwood Smokehouse my favorite in Charlotte. When Monk recently moved a food truck ahead of the Smokehouse on the Charlotte Big Board, I thought it was time for a re-review. The reasons for the re-review are two-fold: 1) our initial review was completed shortly after starting the blog (I mean, we ordered smoked turkey for chrissake), and I think Midwood itself has improved, including adding their awesome burnt ends to the menu full time (or so we thought).
Monk: To clarify, they do have burnt ends on the menu full time but they don’t allow you to choose that as one of the meats in the combo platter we were ordering. Which didn’t matter anyways, because they happened to be out of them that night. Undeterred (well, mostly me, not so much Speedy), we chose our four meats for the Pig Out Combo Platter – chopped pork, brisket, sausage and St. Louis ribs. No smoked turkey this time!
Speedy: I’m not sure if my take on this meal was colored by the lack of burnt ends, but the overall experience was not as good as I was expecting. The pork is very good, but I remember it having a considerably smokier flavor. Don’t get me wrong – you could still taste the smoke, but it used to be the smokiest pork I’d ever tasted, which I actually liked. The brisket was actually better than I remember. Monk and I ordered a mix between fatty and lean, which was a mistake. The fatty brisket was awesome, and included a really nice bark, but the lean was pretty dry. It’s still among the best brisket that I’ve found in NC, but shying away from the lean is the right play.
Monk: Fatty is definitely the way to go, and I agree that the brisket has improved considerably in the two years since our last official review. I may go as far as to say it just may be the best brisket in Charlotte. Although after eating a few slices I noted to Speedy that it seemed a little dry only to realize that was because he had taken all of the fatty slices! Et tu, Speedy?
The sausage had a nice snap and great flavor, but I assume that it’s not made in house. I haven’t heard or read otherwise so can’t be sure, but in any case it’s still a very solid sausage for North Carolina. Ribs are less so my jam than Speedy, but they had a good amount of tenderness and provided the right amount of tug, not falling off the bone with each bite.
Speedy: Rating barbecue restaurants can be hard. This was certainly not the best meal I’ve had at Midwood Smokehouse, but that’s what separates the good from the great. Overall, this was a good meal from a very good joint. But I just can’t say it was great…
Monk: We experienced this last fall at one of our favorite joints ever, Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby. We went in fully expecting a slam-dunk 5 hog review but that particular experience didn’t measure up, so we just couldn’t do it. Still, Midwood Smokehouse is our favorite brick and mortar barbecue joint in town, and I think I can speak for Speedy that we would highly recommend it to anyone looking for good and occasionally great barbecue in Charlotte.
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4 hogs
Pork – 3.5 hogs
Brisket – 4 hogs
Sausage – 3 hogs
Ribs – 3 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3.5 Hogs