Our Favorite Posts from 2022

Monk: 2022 marked the ten year anniversary of the blog and its gone by in a flash. We’re going to take the rest of the year off in order to come out strong in 2023, but before we do we want to 1) wish you all a happy holidays and 2) spotlight one last time some of our favorite original content from 2022.

Without further ado…

Original Content

My summer kicked off with a weekly recap of all 8 episodes of the third season of “BBQ Brawl.” While I was happy to get through those two months mostly unscathed, I also checked out a few other barbecue streaming shows throughout the year featuring notable barbecue personalities like Michael Symon’s “BBQ USA,” “World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason,” and the third season of “BBQuest” which added Hardcore Carnivore’s Jess Pryles as a co-host.

We’ve done some updating of our Lexington rankings sadly due to closures but I already know I need to get back to Lexington to try Cafe 71 Smoke House BBQ, which opened this fall in the old Rick’s Smokehouse space.

I also am trying a new post format with the “best barbecue within an hour of [insert major city here].” I’ve started with Charlotte but will work on posts for both Raleigh as well as the eastern part of the state.

We also went to a few festivals this year! May was a busy month in Charlotte with both the Smoke & Grapes event at the Charlotte Wine & Food Festival as well as the successful first annual Carolina BBQ Festival hosted by Lewis Donald of Sweet Lew’s BBQ.

In November, I went to Charleston for the second annual Holy Smokes Barbecue Festival and had a grand time in the lowcountry.

I can’t wait to see what festivals I’ll make it to in 2023.

Reviews

We’re up to 327 reviews on the site now, and in 2022 we added 23 more. Not quite our most productive year, but still an average of nearly 2 per month.

Rudy got to finally try Noble Smoke in Charlotte in February, and left pretty impressed with a 4.5 hog review.

Speedy loved pretty much everything about the relatively new Bringle’s Smoking Oasis in Nashville, from the space to the bar to of course the food (in particular the beef rib and the brisket). Another 4.5 hog meal.

But from the looks of it, Speedy’s favorite meal of the year was at Prime Barbecue in Knightdale when he was back in North Carolina this summer. He gave it our prestigious 5 hog rating, the first since our most recent Jon G’s Barbecue review from 2021.

I got in on the 4.5 hog action with a couple of joints in the Carolinas: Lawrence Barbecue in Durham and Palmira BBQ in Charleston. At Lawrence, in addition to the fun atmosphere at Boxyard RTP and the Lawrence Barbecue-inspired beer from Trophy Brewing, the pork and brisket were highlights of the meal. At Palmira, I got to chat with owner and pitmaster Hector Garate and both the whole hog barbecue and hash and rice shone through.

And last but not least, I can’t forget my mini whole hog barbecue tour in eastern North Carolina in the spring, where I visited B’s Barbecue, Skylight Inn, and the original location of Sam Jones BBQ.

I did a brief writeup for The Smoke Sheet, which a version of showed up on the site as well.

With that, the 2022 posts are done for the year. But we’ll be back in January with all new content.

Happy Holidays and see you all in 2023!

The 2022 Barbecue Bros Holiday Gift Guide

Monk: Back for another year is our annual holiday gift guide. For you or the barbecue-obsessed person in your life, these are some of the best gifts available whether it be sauces or rubs or books or shirts.

Am I missing something? Comment below or email me at barbecuebros@gmail.com

Note: items in bold are personally recommended

Charlotte-area Barbecue Gifts

Craft Barbecue Seasonings and Hat from Weathersbeef Barbecue (link)

The Original Slow ‘N Sear from SnS Grills (link)

Slow ‘N Sear Grills – products under $50 (link)

Rub and Sauces from Fire of Coals (link)

T-shirts, hoodies, Matt’s Rub, sauces, and gift cards from Midwood Smokehouse (link)

Rub, sauce, gift cards, swag from Sweet Lew’s BBQ (link)

North Carolina Barbecue Gifts

Books

Hats, T-Shirts, Apparel

Accessories, Stocking Stuffers, etc.

Non-Native Barbecue Gifts

Books

Cookbooks, from pitmasters and food writers alike

Food History, Cultural Writing, and Photography

Hats, T-Shirts, Apparel

Accessories, Stocking Stuffers, etc.

Happy Shopping!

Holy Smokes Brought Pitmasters from All Over to the South Carolina Lowcountry

Monk: On a beautiful November afternoon, the Holy Smokes Barbecue Festival brought acclaimed pitmasters from across the US to South Carolina’s low country. In its second year, the festival moved to beautiful Riverfront Park in North Charleston amongst the remains of the old naval base. A beautiful setting for an alternatingly chilly and warm afternoon of barbecue, music, and good people.

The pitmasters were spread across four food “villages” and collaborated on dishes together. Walking in, the first villages you come across are the Traditional and Texas Villages. I started my day off at the Traditional Village with plates of whole hog two ways with cracklins, pit chicken, and a rib with side of hash and rice. The highlight for me was the whole hog and the hash and rice, both likely heavily influenced by Rodney Scott.

Fifteen minutes into the festival and I was already starting to get a little full. Uh oh. From there, friend of the blog Handsome Russ and I wandered towards the music stage and the Coastal Village. After taking in a few songs from Laurens, SC native (and Clemson fan) Warrick McZeke we tried plates of smoked oyster stew from Evan LeRoy and Matthew Register, smoked swordfish over rice from Elliott Moss and the Home Team BBQ guys, and shrimp and grits from Leslie Roark Scott from Ubon’s and local chef Jamie Hough. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the smoked swordfish and rice dish.

In addition to his fantastic oyster stew, a highlight of the festival was catching up with Matthew Register of Southern Smoke as well as his crew of Rodolfo and Cray. I spent a good amount of time chatting with those guys not only about barbecue but of course the usual soccer and college football banter. Great group of guys and I always enjoy catching up with them. I even got a chance to meet Matthew’s collaborator Evan LeRoy briefly and hope to get back to try out his barbecue again soon (my review of a visit during a smaller Sunday menu here).

From there, I really slowed down on food and focused in on the music stage where Asheville, NC’s Travers Brothership absolutely slayed the middle timeslot. As for the villages, I was in eyeshot of the New School Village and after an initial rush the lines mostly died down and the portions got bigger. By the time I stepped up, the smoked sirloin taco was sans tortilla (they had apparently run out) and I tried a fried hawg bawl, skipping the giant tri-tip sandwiches that were being put out as this particular village signaled that they were starting to get rid of food. Forgot to take any photos of my food though.

The Texas Village consistently had the longest lines and by the time I had worked up enough appetite to meander over as my fourth stop, they just had the cheese hominy sausages left, which packed a nice kick.

So I didn’t get to all of the food but next time around I’ll have a better plan going in. But all in all, the Holy Smokes Festival was a great success. In addition to chatting with the aforementioned Matthew Register and Evan LeRoy, I met Rodney Scott at his famed double burn barrel as well as Trey Dutton (and his wife Ellen) of Southern Keep, a childhood friend of Handsome Russ who makes some great-looking artisan jams and pickles in Charleston. I also picked up a beautiful handcrafted oyster knife from Middleton Knives, who was one of the vendors there.

Until next year, Holy Smokes!

Best barbecue within an hour of Charlotte – October 2022

Monk: The most recent update to the Charlotte Big Board was all the way back in 2019 (and is long overdue), but for this list I wanted to broaden my horizons a little bit. Look for future lists for the Research Triangle and eventually eastern North Carolina.

In alphabetical order:

The Barbecue Center, Lexington

The Barbecue Center is in my top 5 (maybe top 3) of barbecue joints in NC. 900 N Main St, Lexington, NC 27292 facebook.com/barbecuecenter

Link to review

Bar-B-Q King, Lincolnton

At 50 years young, Bar-B-Q King continues to feed it’s community while also making itself worthy of a barbecue pilgrimage for any serious barbecue fan. 2613 E Main St, Lincolnton, NC 28092 barbqkingnc.com

Link to review

Backcountry Barbecue, Lexington

With Rick’s Smokehouse closing earlier this year, Backcountry Barbecue takes the mantle of most underrated barbecue in Lexington. 4014 Linwood-Southmont Rd, Lexington, NC 27295 facebook.com/Backcountry-Barbeque

Link to review

Jon G’s Barbecue, Peachland

Barbecue Saturdays in Peachland are a barbecue experience without parallel in North Carolina. Grab a crew, a cooler of beer, and some tailgate chairs and make a half day (or more) of it. 116 Glenn Falls St, Peachland, NC 28133 jongsbarbecue.com

Link to review

Lexington Barbecue, Lexington

My first, my last, my everything. 100 Smokehouse Ln, Lexington, NC 27295 lexbbq.com

Link to review

Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge, Shelby

On many days Red Bridges could be considered my favorite barbecue joint in North Carolina. 2000 E Dixon Blvd, Shelby, NC 28150 bridgesbbq.com

Link to review

Sweet Lew’s BBQ, Charlotte

Sweet Lew’s is located in an old service station in Charlotte (check), cooks over wood (check), and has a mission to serve it’s community beyond simply barbecue (check). It’s worthy of our support, and the food is dang good too. 923 Belmont Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 sweetlewsbbq.com

Link to review

Others receiving votes: The Smoke Pit (multiple locations), Speedy’s Barbecue (Lexington), Whispering Pines (Albemarle), Noble Smoke (Charlotte)

Who did I miss? Feel free to leave a comment down below.