Name: 521 BBQ and Grill
Address: 7580 Charlotte Hwy, Indian Land, SC 29707
Order: Monk: Combo plate with pork and sausage, fries, hush puppies, red slaw, and beans; Speedy: Rib tray with fries and hush puppies (link to menu)
Price: Monk: $13.50; Speedy: $15-ish
Monk: At this point in our Charlotte barbecue journey, we are starting to run out of places in Charlotte proper to eat and rank. Even still, I didn’t think we’d have to go to a place that is at least 50 minutes away from my house. To be clear, Indian Land is just south of Fort Mill, which isn’t all that far from Charlotte. And we were in the area to go to a pumpkin patch with the Monkette. But realizing it was going to take upwards of an hour with traffic to get home when I meant to go to the other, closer location (to use a Livingsocial coupon before it expired) was a little disheartening. But I’m getting ahead of myself. So, 521 BBQ and Grill.
Speedy: Monk mentioned this trip to me earlier in the week. But I don’t have any mini-Speedies running around, so the pumpkin patch was out of the question. Fortunately, 521 BBQ and Grill is just down the road from the best whiskey store in the area! And I take any excuse I can to check out what new scotches they’ve stocked. So I was in!
Monk: 521 claims to rub and cook the pork butts nightly for 14 hours but unfortunately the pork lacked a significant amount of smoke (possibly signifying that it was cooked by a gasser? Update: or possibly they use a FEC 150 wood pellet smoker like the Tega Cay location?), though it was tender and moist. Adding the table sauce added some zip to the barbecue and would be my recommended way of eating.
Speedy: The ribs were big, meaty baby-back ribs, and they had decent flavor. I enjoyed the sauce that was served on the ribs, and the tenderness was right, but I do like a bit more smoke flavor and more presence of a rub on the meat. They were finished on the grill, which is not my preference, as I think the grill char takes away from the meat flavor. I also prefer ribs to be cooked without the membrane, which was not the case here. Overall, the ribs were fine, but I don’t think I’ll be making special trips down to Indian Land just for the ribs.
Monk: The sausage is also finished on the grill and is pretty good, but if I had to guess it is commercially bought instead of being made in house or from a local vendor. It was fine, but I wouldn’t consider it an essential order based on this visit.
Speedy: I also ordered some wings, which were fried, so not really barbecue. I ordered the hot wings, but got a mustardy sauce, which actually worked pretty well. If you’re a wing fan, they’re worth trying, but again, not worth a special trip.
Monk: Of the side items, the hush puppies were best and appeared to be scratch made. I liked them and wish we had a table basket of them instead of just a couple that came with my plate. 521 BBQ offers a choice of red or white slaw, but the red slaw was a little too ketchup-y and needed more vinegar.
Speedy: Overall, 521 BBQ and Grill is a decent meal. I don’t think it’s worth going out of your way to check out, and it ended up being a pretty expensive trip for ole Speedy (not due to the barbecue, but rather the two bottles of scotch I ended up with on my way there). So next time, Monk, see if you can find a pumpkin patch a little closer to home.
(For another review of 521 BBQ and Grill, check out Big Wayner BBQ)