Name: The Smoke Pit
Address: 796 Concord Pkwy N, Concord, NC 28027
Order: Pork, brisket, ribs, and sausage combo with bbq slaw, fries, cornbread, and drinks (link)
Monk: After a very promising initial impression of The Smoke Pit, I knew I had to revisit with Speedy to get his take and confirm just how good it was – or at least how good I thought it was. Also, with him there it would allow us to order a 4 meat combo and try more meats without me having leftovers for the next week. Luckily, Speedy was getting his car serviced in Concord so we had the perfect opportunity. Spoiler alert – it was better than the last time.
Speedy: I’m a skeptic at heart, so even though Monk and I have pretty much the similar taste in a lot of things (barbecue, music, women – what up Mrs. Monk?), I had to try the Smoke Pit for myself to see what the fuss was about. First things first, the Smoke Pit is attached to a butcher shop – a great sign if I’ve ever seen one. Secondly, it’s just a classic ‘cue joint where you wait your turn, order, sit down, and wait for someone to bring the food to you. The menu is solid, but with so many meats, can they all be good? Time to find out.
Monk: The large portion of chopped pork was just as smokey and moist as I had recalled from my first visit in November. It was nice to see that consistency didn’t seem to be an issue here. The sausage, a meat I had not tried yet, was a house made sausage that had good flavor but which I found to be a little dry. I’m certainly no expert when it comes to sausage, but perhaps it needed some more fat as part of the grind? Still, while it was the least successful of the meats on that day, it was still above average.
Speedy: The ribs were ordered dry, but came out glazed, but not overly sauced by any means. The big, meaty spare ribs were cooked well and had a nice bit and good flavor. I thought they could’ve stood to be seasoned a bit more and I always prefer St. Louis cut when I’m eating spare ribs, but overall, these were pretty good. I can’t say the same for the brisket, though, because it was incredible. My disdain for NC brisket is well documented, so my expectations were pretty low, but one bite of the moist, flavorful meat changed everything. The brisket had the perfect amount of bark, was not too fatty, but not too lean either. And there was just enough smoke on the meat to let you know it was there without overpowering the flavor. I won’t go so far as to say this is the best brisket I’ve ever had, but I’d stack it up with most any Texas joint I’ve been to and it far outshines anything I’ve had east of the Mississippi. While the other meats were in the solid to good range, I can guarantee that I’ll never visit the Smoke Pit without getting an order of that brisket. My mouth is literally watering as I type this.
Monk: After my first visit and subsequent photos on Facebook, the manager/owner Joey said to let him know next time we were in, so we asked for him at the register and towards the end of our meal he came out to chat and give us a tour of the facilities. He first walked us back to the two Southern Pride smokers (a third is on the way to handle additional capacity) and let us know that they smoke 24 hours a day to handle demand. On one smoker they would sell out around 2pm while now with two they are able to make it until about 6pm. The Southern Prides are rotisserie smokers that allows them to smoke using a variant of hickory wood (I forget exactly which). He then let us peek our heads next door into the butcher shop (which he also owns) and the walk-in freezer filled with the thousands of pounds of meat that they will finish smoking that day (they will be expanding the walk-in soon to handle capacity)
Speedy: I will say that Monk was wrong about one thing – we still left with a week’s worth of leftovers. In the case of The Smoke Pit, that turned out to be a good thing.
Speedy post script: I needed to add here that I had also had a co-worker sing the praises of the Smoke Pit. Since I threw him under the bus a bit in a review a few years ago, I needed to say D – you totally redeemed yourself! Looks like you’ve been in the South long enough that your ‘cue recommendations need to be taken seriously.