Name: Queen City Q (Concord)
Address: 8524 Pit Stop Ct NW, Concord, NC 28027
Order: Big Q platter (pork, brisket, sausage) with eastern NC bbq slaw and hush puppies (link)
Monk: Ever since our last official review of Queen City Q nearly 4 years ago (and two weeks into starting this blog), they’ve been in full on expansion mode. There is now an additional 3 locations – Concord, Matthews, Ballantyne – and they have become the official barbecue of several local sports teams – Hornets, the Knights minor league baseball team, and the Checkers minor league hockey team – which means that they have an expanded presence in each of the respective stadiums or arenas. They’ve also since severed their relationship with Dan “Boone” Gibson, who has gone on to have (in our mind) the best barbecue in the Charlotte area from his own food truck. With all of these changes, is the barbecue still any good at the expansions? I checked out the Concord location (across the street from the Concord Mills mall) to see for myself. I will saw that even though the last official review was 4 years ago, I’ve certainly been to the original 6th Street location several times since – particularly since dads eat free on Father’s Day.
I ordered the Big Q platter and chose pork, brisket, and sausage as my meats. When it came out, the platter was more or less a not-great looking heap of brown meats. The best one of the 3 (and pretty good in its own right) was the sausage. The sausage (not sure if its housemade or not) is split in the middle and finished on the grill. It paired well with the SC mustard I requested on the side. The eastern NC pork was an unflattering shade of brown and just generally lacked flavor. Even adding “Lexington dip” table sauce didn’t help it much. The brisket was plain bad. Now, Queen City Q has always had a slightly unorthodox way of preparing the brisket in that they smoke it, finish it on the grill, and then douse with one of their sauces. In this case, it presumably comes drenched in sauce to hide the fact that it was not smoked very well and had a rubbery consistency.
Speedy: Like Monk, I’ve been a pretty consistent customer for the 6th Street location, especially before Hornets games. I’m really surprised by this review, as my experiences at the mothership have always been solid. I agree that the sausage is the best meat, but I’ve been known to order about anything on the menu. I will say that my second favorite meat at QCQ has been the ribs, which Monk did not order. But still – sounds like a disappointing visit.
Monk: …Seems like a textbook case of an “official re-review is in order” if you ask me.
As for the sides, the eastern NC slaw was nothing you would expect it to be – it contained no mayonnaise and even had a reddish tint to it. In fact, I think they have simply mislabeled it since it’s a Lexington-style red slaw – that or they do not know the difference. The hush puppies were slightly burnt so even though the insides were fluffy the outside left a bitter taste in my mouth. They also threw in a piece of Texas toast which was, you know, toast.
If this is a sign of where this local restaurant chain is headed (as opposed to a one-off bad experience), I may have to move Queen City Q way down in the rankings in light of this visit. Very disappointing.
Atmosphere – 3 hogs
Pork – 2 hogs
Brisket – 1 hog
Sausage – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 2 hogs
Overall – 2 hogs