Linkdown: 1/5/22

ICYMI, Kevin’s BBQ Joints rounded up from over 120 barbecue personalities what made barbecue so special to them. We were honored that Kevin asked us to be a part of this fantastic project. While some folks focused on their earliest barbecue memories, both Rudy and I focused our answers on bites that broadened our barbecue horizons from more than just the chopped pork they grew up on in NC. Definitely worth a read.

Native News

Ayden, NC (home to Skylight Inn and Bum’s) unveils new marketing campaign: “‘Que Marks the Spot”

Noble Smoke is the only barbecue restaurant on Charlotte Magazine’s annual list of the 50 best restaurants in Charlotte

Grady’s is closed until late January for their well-deserved “winter rest”

Lawrence Barbecue as well as Lewis Barbecue in Charleston gets some love from Eater Carolinas contributors on this “Best Restaurant Meal of 2021” post

Thankfully, Pik-N-Pig’s closure will only be temporary and they aim to reopen ths year

Huli Sue’s BBQ and Grill in Asheville serves a “Hawaiian influenced take on Texas barbecue along with some other island-esque plates”

ICYMI, the Jon G’s Barbecue x Salud Beer Shop/Salud Cerveceria pizza collaboration is happening now

Non-Native News

Barbecue options in Birmingham

Blake’s BBQ photo progress update from late December

From Lifehacker: “With my Weber, I smoked a little, grilled a lot, and learned even more—and I’d like to share my favorite dishes (and lessons) with you now, in no particular order. This is what my grill taught me over the past year.”

From last month, RIP John Mueller

Charlotte Barbecue News from the Fourth Quarter of 2021

Monk: We enter the new year with cautious optimism, both on the real world as well as barbecue world fronts. My hope for 2022 is that we can regain any Charlotte barbecue momentum that has largely been on pause for the past two years and see some new players enter the game.

Bring it on, 2022.

October

10/12 At Mac’s Speed Shop, beef ribs and bacon-wrapped jalapenos are two of the prep-intensive items that are being taken off the menu for now

10/21 Jon G’s was featured in the Fall 2021 Issue of QC Exclusive

10/28 Lewis Donald and Sweet Lew’s BBQ raised funds to help the family of a young girl who tragically took her own life at the age of 11

November

11/8 Mac’s Speed Shop is closing its Cornelius restaurant but opening a new one in Mooresville

11/8 A new live-fire cooking restaurant called Cinder is opening in Charlotte from Husk veteran Duke Kroger (who identifies himself as a pitmaster in his Twitter profile)

11/17 After announcing that its Lake Norman location was going to close, Mac’s Speed Shop announced plans for the restaurant to stay open as a smaller location after an outpouring of love from the community

11/29 Jon G’s Barbecue and Salud Beer Shop team up for a pizza collaboration for the month of December

December

12/6 Sweet Lew’s BBQ celebrated 3 years open

12/8 Jon G’s Barbecue is named “Barbecue Restaurant of the Year” by Eater Carolinas

12/9 Tony Salerno Named Vice President of Operations for Mac’s Hospitality Group

12/13 Local coverage of Jon G’s being named “Barbecue Restaurant of the Year” by Eater Carolinas

12/13 With it’s upcoming stall at Optimist Hall, Noble Smoke is one Charlotte-area restaurant in expansion mode in 2022

12/29 Jon G’s and Salud Beer Shop announce they will continue their pizza collab in the new year for the first part of January

See you in 2022!

Monk: The Barbecue Bros are going to take the rest of 2021 off to come back strong in 2022. As we close the book on the rollercoaster that was 2021, let’s first look back at the past year.

We posted 21 new reviews across 6 states, most of them predictably in the southeast. Maybe 2022 will allow for more barbecue travels, and I’m in particular looking forward to finally spending some time in eastern NC in spring 2022.

The breakdown of reviews by state were as follows:

  • 12 North Carolina
  • 3 South Carolina
  • 2 Georgia
  • 2 Tennessee
  • 1 Florida
  • 1 Missouri

In addition to our usual cadence of restaurant reviews, linkdowns, and Friday Finds, I tried to branch out when to came to original content.

Notably, over the summer I took a break from collecting news for the weekly linkdowns to instead do weekly recaps of “BBQ Brawl” Season 2 from June until August, complete with screencaps. After that experience, I gotta say I don’t envy those that have to recap TV for a living but it was a fun diversion from the usual. I might even consider doing again if there’s a season 3.

Additionally, we had some great original content:

I hope to continue scratching some different itches next year, and I welcome any requests or suggestions in the comments.

See you in 2022!

Friday Find: Brandon and Elizabeth Shepard of Shepard Barbecue on The NC F&B Podcast

Monk: From what I’m seeing on Instagram, Shepard’s Barbecue looks to serve destination-worthy barbecue on Emerald Isle. And based on this podcast with the NC F&B Podcast from last month, he seems to be a thoughtful guy about where he fits in the current barbecue landscape and how he might be able to affect some change for future barbecue entrepreneurs. And it sounds like they are finding success in Emerald Isle, with a move to a bigger space in the near future as of the recording of this conversation along with a new concept in their current, smaller space once they move out.

Description: Brandon Bnice Shepard has discovered his culinary identity and its lucky for the citizens of the Emerald Isle, NC! Despite the grind of making world class BBQ, Brandon partners with his wife Elizabeth to run the front of the house and they stay close to their little girl by bringing her to work to stoke the fire! 

Listen in to hear Brandon talk about what it means to him to connect with his cultural roots to make BBQ. Also, learn about some of Shepard’s culinary heroes like, Helen TurnerSteve Grady and more. It’s a tasty episode!