12 Bones Smokehouse is More than Their Blueberry Chipotle Ribs

Monk: Famously, President Barack Obama ate at the original 12 Bones Smokehouse in the River Arts District of Asheville. That location is now gone, but they’ve opened a huge “South Asheville” location that houses the smokehouse as well as the brew system for the 3-year old 12 Bones Brewing. Speedy and I have visited the original River Arts location as well as the Arden location but I’d be curious to check out this combo brewhouse and barbecue location to see how their barbecue tastes like these days 10 years on after an ownership change as well as sample their beers.

Description: In the western mountains of NC, Asheville’s 12 Bones Smokehouse is known for its BBQ and brews. Over the past 16 years, this neighborhood pub has prided itself on being a diverse and welcoming establishment for all to enjoy. Notably, 12 Bones has had the honor of hosting President Obama on three separate occasions. Find out why locals and tourists alike keep coming back to savor 12 Bones.

The Concord Location of Phar Mill BBQ & Brewing Has Some Hits, Some Misses

Name: Phar Mill BBQ & Brewing
Address: 363 Church St N, Concord, NC 28025
Order: Chopped brisket sandwich, 1/2 lb pulled pork, smoked wings and pork belly burnt ends
Pricing: $$

Monk: Last fall, I gave Phar Mill Brewing & BBQ a shot at the original Harrisburg location and thought it showed a decent amount of promise. After that visit, I was assured that the larger downtown Concord location which opened in fall 2022 was now the primary focus of the combination brewery and barbecue restaurant. My understanding is this is where they now do the primary smoking for both locations so I marked it on my list to visit next chance I got.

That chance ended up being a recent visit with the rest of the Monk family and the Monk-in-Laws in tow. All of which are used to visiting barbecue restaurants with me and could confirm whether or not my assessment from the Harrisburg location was spot on or perhaps a little off.

We started off with an order of 6 smoked wings that were tossed in a buffalo sauce. They were nicely smokey with a good crispy skin from the fryer. The buffalo flavor the wings were tossed in was a touch on the hot side but overall these were successful wings.

Having arrived for dinner on a Saturday night, lots of things were already marked off the board: sliced brisket, beef ribs, and pork belly chief among them. I did manage to get the last chopped brisket sandwich for the day, which came topped with slaw and sauce. The hefty sandwich was solid even though it was literally the last scraps of chopped brisket on the day. I would have liked to taste the sliced brisket to compare to the slices from Harrisburg, which were not my favorite part of the meal.

The pulled pork was on a bit on the dry side and crying out for sauce. I did detect the taste of smoke in the outside brown but on its own, the pulled pork did not stand out.

In terms of sides, the collards were a bit on the bland side while the beans and slaw were average. While Mrs. Monk shared my platter with me, in terms of other orders the Monkettes were satisfied with their flatbread pizzas and the Monk-in-Laws also seemed satisfied with their respective sandwiches – chopped brisket and pulled pork.

Overall, I would say that the Concord location of Phar Mill Brewing & BBQ was a slight bit better than Harrisburg, and mostly a hit the Monks and Monk-in-Laws. As for me, next time I come through, I’ll be sure to come earlier in the day.

Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Brisket – 3 hogs
Smoked Wings – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs

Linkdown: 5/10/23 – The Barbecue Hall of Fame Semi-Finalists Edition


Congrats to Steve Grady of Grady’s BBQ (as well as the rest of the top 10) for making the semi-finalist list for this year’s Barbecue Hall of Fame class! The inductees will be announced later this month on May 24th.

Native News

WRAL is a fan of Midwood Smokehouse‘s latest location in Raleigh

Midwood Smokehouse has some new barbecue taco specials Thursdays through Sundays in May for National Barbecue Month

Winners from this year’s Jiggy with the Piggy Challenge in Kannapolis

Congrats to Longleaf Swine for being named Readers’ Choice Awards winner for Best New Restaurant by Wake Living’s readers

Congrats to Prime Barbecue on 3 years open

Panther City BBQ out of Texas will be joining Christopher Prieto in an upcoming Latin-inspired barbecue class

Check out John Tanner’s updated list of best barbecue in Eastern NC

The Lexington Pit Stop Event Combines NASCAR and Barbecue this Memorial Day weekend; it’s a celebration of Lexington’s stock car racing teams and the pit-cooked Lexington-style barbecue for which the town is famous

Non-Native News

Scotty’s Whole Hog Barbecue is switching to a “once and month” pop-up schedule in Minnesota this year, and the next service will be on May 20

Aaron Franklin’s latest book, Smoke, from him and his photographer/collaborator Jordan McKay is now out

John Tanner’s out of state travels takes him to B. Cooper Barbecue in Austin, Pig Beach in West Palm Beach, and Pig and Pint in Mississippi

Report from the field on Kolacny BBQ House by Bryan from Tales from the Pits

Charlotte Barbecue News from the First Quarter of 2023

Monk: Most of the first quarter of 2023 was on the quieter side in the land of Charlotte barbecue. It was not until the end of March where a new restaurant was announced (the promising-looking Firehawk Brewpub in Mount Holly) or a restaurant announced closure (the land around BBQ King off Wilkinson Boulevard was put up for sale for $4.2M). Will that be a sign of things picking up – hopefully more on the positive side of things? I’ll be keeping my eye out over the next few months.


1/9 – Gastonia’s Ray Nathan‘s celebrated their 4 year anniversary in early January

1/27 – The stacked pitmaster lineup for the second Carolina BBQ festival from Lewis Donald of Sweet Lew’s BBQ is announced


2/8 – Actor Eric Wareheim recently filmed at Jon G’s Barbecue for an upcoming project; Jake Wood of Lawrence Barbecue was also in the house

2/25 – Robert Moss reports that the chopped pork trailer that sometimes resides outside Jon G’s Barbecue is “absolutely splendid”

2/28 – Big Tiny’s BBQ in Mooresville gets the Only in NC treatment


3/7 – Midwood Smokehouse is doing their spin on birria tacos with pork

3/14 – Noble Smoke‘s Optimist Hall location celebrated one year open in March

3/16 – Firehawk Brewpub, a brewpub with a True ‘Cue barbecue joint attached, is announced to be coming to Mount Holly in early April

3/18 – Fumar comes back from an extended hiatus

3/21 – The land where BBQ King in Charlotte sits is up for sale for $4.2M