Randy's Restaurant – Lexington, NC

Name: Randy’s Restaurant
Date: 1/21/20
Address: 3129 US-64, Lexington, NC 27292
Order: Chopped barbecue tray with hush puppies, red slaw (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Monk: Three barbecue restaurants in on this latest Lexington run, and this was the worst of the bunch. Randy’s Restaurant is on the side of highway 64 just off I-85 in eastern Lexington. While it it says on the sign above the restaurant “Lexington style BBQ” it really is more of a country style cooking diner. In theory, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have good barbecue.

…Except in the case of Randy’s, it actually does. The lukewarm chopped pork had a bad taste and no hint of real smoke. It did have a hint of something bitter and off in the after taste, and unfortunately I suspect that I may now know what liquid smoke tastes like in barbecue. This truly was one of the worst barbecue experiences I’ve had in recent memory, going back at least a couple of years.

Not much better can be said for the minced slaw or the hush puppies, which were almost certainly from frozen. I politely boxed up 90% of my food with the ready-made excuse that I was full in case the waitress inquired (she didn’t). I would promptly toss that box of leftovers as soon as I hit the parking lot.

I can’t speak to the other food on the menu, but avoid Randy’s Restaurant for barbecue. On the plus side and looking at the big picture, another barbecue restaurant down and I’m getting closer than ever to publishing my Lexington barbecue big board. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for that.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 2 hogs
Pork – 1 hog
Sides – 1 hogs
Overall – 1 hog

Friday Find: Armenian-influenced Texas barbecue on "No Passport Required"

Link to Episode (Skip ahead to 32:29 to 38:00; expires 3/15/20)

Chef-turned-pitmaster Arthur Grigoryan fell in love with Texas barbecue after a visit to Franklin Barbecue with his girlfriend some years ago. Since then, he has been on a mission with III Mas BBQ (pronounced “3 Mas” and named after the working-class district where Grigoryan’s dad grew up and worked in the meat business in Yerevan, Armenia) to fuse flavors from his native Armenia in a series of monthly pop-ups in his parent’s backyard in Sherman Oaks, CA.

That means barbecue sauces made with pomegranate molasses and rubs for brisket and beef ribs that include Aleppo pepper, fenugreek, and paprika. Grigoryan even smokes the meat in his offset Yoder Smoker over different kinds f woods which include red oak and almond wood.

For more information: iiimasbbq.com

Full Episode Description: Host Marcus Samuelsson arrives in sunny Los Angeles to meet with Armenians influencing the city’s food scene. Armenian food is diaspora food — the community is widespread, building homes in countries like Turkey and Syria following the Armenian Genocide.

Link to Episode (Skip ahead to 32:29 to 38:00; expires 3/15/20)

Linkdown: 2/19/20

The Takeout explores Santa Maria-style barbecue and the history of tri-tip in their latest “Acquired Tastes” column

John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog reviewed a few barbecue restaurants recently: he found great brisket at 2Fifty Texas BBQ in Riverdale Park, MD, good ribs (but not much else) at Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q in Douglasville, GA, and left The Original Leo and Susie’s Green Top Barbecue in Dora, AL disappointed

The evolution of the Texas beef rib from J.C. Reid (paywall)

Aaron Franklin’s latest venture isn’t about barbecue

Feges BBQ is opening a second location in the Houston area

Meanwhile, Ronnie Killen is opening another barbecue joint in The Woodlands area of Houston

Grape jelly in barbecue sauce? Apparently so in some regions of Georgia

This short list of eight black-owned barbecue joints in Houston includes Gatlin’s BBQ and Ray’s BBQ Shack

Interesting story, on a potential origin of hush puppies, but according to historian Adrian Miller its 50/50 whether or not its actually true

Legalize Barbecue

Kerley's Barbecue – Lexington, NC

Name: Kerley’s Barbecue
Date: 1/21/20
Address: 5114 Old U.S. Hwy 52, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Chopped barbecue tray with hush puppies, red slaw (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Monk: Down the road from Rick’s Smokehouse is another barbecue joint, Kerley’s Barbecue. Kerley’s opened in 1978 and certainly looks the part of a classic NC barbecue joint. Unfortunately, looks are deceiving in the case of Kerley’s as the brick pits in the back corner of the large brick building sit dormant, having long cooled.

And unfortunately, you can taste it in the barbecue that Kerley’s serves. Whatever gasser they use doesn’t impart a lot of smoke onto the chopped pork that came with my tray. As a side note, shouts to the the waitress who allowed me to order a smaller-sized kid’s tray even though she wouldn’t have realized I was on lunch #2. And this way, I didn’t have to feel nearly as bad if I were to not finish anything.

The red slaw was minced finer than I’d prefer and was on the sweeter side. A large tray of their small orb-shaped hush puppies was filled to the brim and those pups were the best ones I had that day. And the ramekin of sauce that came with the tray had a pronounced vinegar kick, even more so than a typical dip.

I’m not sure when Kerley’s Barbecue made the switch over to gas (or for what reasons), but as a North Carolina barbecue purist I certainly wish they hadn’t. When in Welcome, I’d recommend you head to Rick’s Smokehouse instead.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs