Friday Find: Jim Noble Q&A from Cheshire Pork

In the video above, we also get to meet head pitmaster of Noble Smoke, Kelly O’Bryan. He’s a new face (for me at least) for Noble Smoke that I haven’t gotten a chance to meet yet but I hope to soon.

In addition to the video above, a separate Q&A with Noble is at the following link, which contains a tidbit about Noble Smoke starting to use skin-on pork butts from Cheshire Pork because “[t]he skin helps retain moisture and the size of them allows us to provide an even, smoky flavor.”

Description: We’re pretty excited about this Q&A blog post with none-other than Jim Noble of Noble Smoke in Charlotte, NC. Noble Smoke proudly serves #CheshirePork and as their Head Pitmaster, Kelly O’Bryan, says in the video below, “Cheshire Pork is the Rolls Royce of pork.“ Check out the video our team captured of what distinguishes Noble Smoke from other barbecue restaurants in the South East and then read about Jim’s barbecue style and why he chooses Cheshire Pork in the Q&A below.

Linkdown: 12/11/19

Monk: In a truly tragic and senseless act of violence, Scott Brooks, co-owner of Brooks Sandwich House in Charlotte, was killed early morning on Monday, 12/9 while he was opening the store for the day. In addition to being a thoroughly family-run restaurant (along with his twin brother David as well his niece Lauren), Brooks Sandwich House (opened in 1973 by his father C.T.) is an institution in Charlotte, a city of relatively few food institutions. While they are the place to find arguably the best burger in Charlotte, Scott along with his twin brother David should also be applauded for donating family land the city of Charlotte to help with its affordable housing crisis. Scott will truly be missed, and my thoughts are with the Brooks family.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover the family’s funeral expenses if you are so inclined; read the sweet words from his niece who also worked at the store below

Charlotte-based food writer Kathleen Purvis with a profound piece on the loss of Scott and what it means for Charlotte

Kathleen also attended the candlelight vigil Tuesday night in the rain

Along with hundreds more

Charlotte Five remembered Scott by revisiting their post from a series on siblings in Charlotte food from earlier this year

Other Charlotte folks weighed in as well

City Council member Braxton Winston spent time in Monday night’s meeting mourning the loss of Brooks but was unfortunately rudely interrupted by fellow councilman Ed Driggs

The Southern Foodway Alliance mourned the loss of Scott with the reposting of their short film profiling the restaurant, which is definitely worth a view

Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro – Lexington, NC

Name: Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro
Location: 4524 NC-150, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Regular chopped tray with “extra brown” and red slaw (link to menu)
Pricing: $

While my first two stops on the “Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor” were a bit mixed, my last stop unfortunately ended the mini-tour on a down note. I recall that Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro was at some point on the NC Historic BBQ Trail (which is how I became aware that there was another joint named Stamey’s) but that is no longer the case. Unfortunately, the Stamey’s in Tyro doesn’t compare in the least to the Stamey’s in Greensboro.

As a quick aside, while longtime owner Dan Stamey has been involved in a lawsuit due to similar naming, it apparently hasn’t been because of the Greensboro restaurant. In 1992, one of Dan’s other restaurants was Stamey’s Hog Rock Cafe and featured “pig-faced likenesses of Elvis, Tina Turner and The Rolling Stones” on the wall. Apparently, the name was too similar for the Hard Rock Cafe’s liking, and they sued owner Dan Stamey and forced him to change the name of the restaurant which resulted in a cost of $10,000. It was then changed to “Hog City.”

As for the barbecue, it was my least favorite of the afternoon. The extra brown on the barbecue was rather chewy and the barbecue was heavy on the dip. Curiously, no ramekin of dip was provided (the only one of the three that didn’t provide), but I wouldn’t have used it anyway.

Similarly, the hush puppies were not as successful as the previous two restaurants. I will note that this was the third different shape of hush puppy that day, with small orbs compared with the long cylinders of Arcadia Q and the more typical hush puppy shape at Tarheel Q.

One thing I’ve neglected on the past few reviews is the history and intertwining of these restaurants with other Lexington barbecue restaurants. This is worth pausing on for a bit. Dan Stamey’s father was Herman “Smiley” Stamey and the original owner of Smiley’s Barbecue on Highway 8 (which unfortunately will soon be closed due to highway expansion). The father of Roger Lohr, the former owner of Speedy Lohr’s BBQ of Arcadia (now Arcadia Q), was Herman “Speedy” Lohr and trained under the legendary Warner Stamey at Stamey’s Drive-In in Lexington and Old Hickory Barbecue, also in Lexington. Speaking of Warner Stamey, there is no direct relation between him and Smiley and Dan Stamey, but there is a belief that they are distant relatives.

Stamey’s BBQ of Tyro has been in business since 1973 and was not thought to last very long in that small unincorporated area west of Lexington which for a while didn’t even have a stoplight. While I wasn’t the biggest fan that day, they have served their community for over 46 years and it doesn’t seem like that will stop anytime soon.

Final Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor Rankings

Barbecue
1 – Tarheel Q
2 – Arcadia Q
3 – Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro

Hush Puppies
1 – Arcadia Q
2 – Tarheel Q
3 – Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 2 hogs
Sides – 2 hogs
Overall – 2 hogs

Stamey's Barbecue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Barbecue Bros Holiday Gift Guide 2019

Note: a version of this post was posted in December 2018. It has been updated as of December 2019.

Monk: Posting this a bit earlier this year. Here’s some gift ideas for the barbecue lover in your life. Or perhaps you if you want to treat yo’ self. The bolded items are the ones I can personally recommend. 

Books

Cookbooks, from pitmasters and food writers alike

Food History, Cultural Writing, and Photography

Hats, T-Shirts, Apparel

Accessories, Stocking Stuffers, etc.

Happy Shopping!

Linkdown: 12/4/19

Ed Mitchell back: The Preserve opens this spring with restaurateur Lou Moshakos, Lou’s daughter Amber, and Ed’s son Ryan

More on The Preserve

Midwood Smokehouse Executive Pitmaster Matthew Berry on how he works

Noble Smoke and Sweet Lew’s BBQ make Charlotte Agenda’s list of 25 best new restaurants in Charlotte

Art’s BBQ and Deli in Charlotte will officially close after it’s last day of service on December 20

Fox Bros Bar-B-Q will be collaborating with Taqueria Del Sol for brunch on the 15th, with proceeds benefitting Hogs for the Cause and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

John Tanner’s BBQ Blog has made recent stops at Noble BBQ in Portland and Rocklands Barbecue in DC

White Wolf Spices will be donating 10% of sales through the end of the week to help out Ryan Cooper aka BBQ Tourist

Barbecue-flavored vodka? Barbecue-flavored vodka.

It me

Tarheel Q – Lexington, NC

Name: Tarheel Q
Location: 6835 West, US-64, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Regular chopped tray with “extra brown” and red slaw
Pricing: $

The second stop on the “Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor” (it’s going to be a thing) was Tarheel Q, just 9 miles away from Arcadia Q (although more directly on Old Highway 64) and also owned by Leon and Becky Simmons. Based on this visit, Tarheel Q definitely has its own set of customers, as indicated by a packed dining full of workers, locals, and maybe a few out-of-towners like me.

On that day, I wasn’t yet aware that Arcadia Q and Tarheel Q were owned by the same husband and wife duo (though looking back there were definitely clues in the logos of each as well as the use of a #GR8BBQ4U hashtag), but I also never would have guessed based on the barbecue. Tarheel Q’s barbecue was fresher and tastier than the tray that I had just had at Arcadia Q. The smoke flavor was more intense, and I preferred this pork by far. I’m curious if the barbecue at Arcadia Q is smoked on site or is perhaps trucked in from Tarheel Q (my experience that day might suggest just that, but this would be me speculating).

The hush puppies, however, were a different story. I preferred the hush puppies at Arcadia Q, though the ones at Tarheel were still above average, with the shape being more typical. As was the case at Arcadia, the red slaw was fine.

As I was leaving, the smokestacks were going full bore as more wood and pork was being added to the brick masonry pits out back. Any experienced barbecue traveler know this is a welcome scene, in the middle of the day and on this day, Tarheel Q definitely had the upper hand of the first two places I tried on the Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor.

Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor Rankings (so far)

Barbecue
1 – Tarheel Q
2 – Arcadia Q

Hush Puppies
1 – Arcadia Q
2 – Tarheel Q

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 4 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs

Tar Heel Q Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Linkdown: 11/27/19

More on Wyatt’s Barbecue, coming to downtown Raleigh in late 2020

Pork belly burnt ends were first served at Fort Worth’s Heim BBQ, writes Texas Monthly BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn

Photographer Kelly Yandell has some photos from the TMBBQ Festival earlier this month

Wood’s Chapel BBQ makes Thrillist Atlanta’s list of Best New Restaurants of 2019

Doug Saul’s BBQ and Seafood in Nashville, NC has temporarily closed due to salmonella, the first such incident in its 42 years

Boulevard Barbeque is coming to Morganton later this year or early next year, and will be smoking all the meats on a gas-assisted Old Hickory

New Zion Church BBQ in Huntsville, TX has closed after 53 years

Just gonna leave this here:

Arcadia Q – Lexington, NC

Name: Arcadia Q
Location: 8000 N, NC-150, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Regular chopped tray with “extra brown” and red slaw
Pricing: $

Monk: Lexington, NC is mentioned in some circles as the “barbecue capital of the world” with its ratio of roughly 1 barbecue restaurant per 1,000 residents. However, up to this point I’ve mostly focused on Lexington Barbecue and more recently, the Bar-B-Que Center on my barbecue visits to the city. Recently, I’ve decided to expand my horizons to see what else the other 16 or so barbecue options in Lexington have to offer. On a Friday in November, I decided to take on three Lexington barbecue restaurants on what I have dubbed the “Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor:” Tarheel Q, Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro, and my first stop, Arcadia Q.

Arcadia Q was known until recently as Speedy Lohr’s BBQ of Arcadia before owners Roger and Lisa Lohr retired earlier this year and reached out to Tarheel Q owners Leon and Becky Simmons to see if they’d be interested in opening a second location of their restaurant. Both Simmonses worked for the Lohrs approximately 25 years ago, and Tarheel Q is located just 9 miles southwest of Arcadia, just off Highway 64. The result is the now-renamed Arcadia Q.

For my tour of three barbecue joints on the Highway 150 Corridor of Barbecue, I decided to make the same order at each restaurant as a means of comparison: a regular chopped tray with extra brown, red slaw, and hush puppies. I did order a Cheerwine at Arcadia Q before deciding that would be the only soft drink order of the day because as much as I like Cheerwine, I didn’t want the empty calories along with all the food I’d be eating for lunch that day.

The hush puppies at Arcadia Q were a shape I hadn’t come across at a Lexington-style barbecue joint before. They were longer cylinders than the typical hush puppy, as if perhaps they were squirted out of an icing squeeze bag directly into the fryer (this is only my speculation). They are somewhat reminiscent of the shape of corn sticks in eastern North Carolina joints like Parker’s, though I don’t have any personal experience with those (yet). Regardless of the curiosity of the shape, these were my favorite hush puppies of the mini tour.

As for the barbecue, I didn’t get a lot of smoke on it and the temperature was slightly lukewarm. Unfortunately, the outside brown was chewy and tough and not until I dug into the tray below the top layer of outside brown did I start to enjoy the texture of the barbecue. Of all the red slaws I tried that day, none really stood out more than the other so I won’t be commenting too much on them other than the say that they did the job they were supposed to.

So my mini-tour on the “Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor” (it’s going to be a thing) was off to an inauspicious start at Arcadia Q. From here I would head southwest along the aforementioned Highway 150. Of my next two stops, one was a bit better and one was a bit worse. Which would be which? Tune in next Monday to see…

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs

Speedy Lohr's BBQ of Arcadia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday Find: Jerry Stephenson of The Redneck BBQ Lab on the NC F&B Podcast

The NC F&B talks with Jerry Stephenson, who along with his sister Roxane runs The Redneck BBQ Lab in Benson in Johnston County in eastern NC. During the discussion, he discusses how he got started in the restaurant business, his philosophy and approach to barbecue, as well as his appearance on Chopped earlier this year.

Description:

Why go to Johnston County for BBQ? Redneck BBQ is scientific, it’s
for “people who were picked last at dodgeball.”  It doesn’t matter how it’s supposed to taste, what matters is how does it taste? 

Jerry Stephenson isn’t scared of anything, except for maybe his Momma’s opinion of his food, listen into find out if she likes his BBQ.

Also in this episode;

Banana Pudding Cannoli

Ugly Drum Smokers

Redneck Science 

Linkdown: 11/20/19

Robert Jacob Lerma to the rescue: You may have heard that Ryan Cooper (co-founder of The Smoke Sheet aka @BBQTourist) has fallen ill recently, and Lerma is coordinating donations to help pay for medical bills if you are so inclined.

Wyatt’s Barbecue is bringing more whole hog barbecue to downtown Raleigh from the barbecue man behind Picnic, Wyatt Dickson

Chef Jake Wood of Plates Neighborhood Kitchen is also opening a new barbecue restaurant in Raleigh next year, Lawrence BBQ

The best barbecue in DC

Breakfast at barbecue joints in the Carolinas is a little different than the newer Texas trend of barbecue for breakfast

Hometown Bar-B-Que is doing a pretty dang good pastrami, apparently

Some details on Dr. Howard Conyers’ forthcoming barbecue book

10 years on the Texas barbecue trail: The Texas BBQ Posse looks back