Monk: As of Thursday at 8am, Mecklenburg County is enforcing a Stay at Home order effective until at least April 16. Thankfully, residents are still allowed to go to a restaurant “for take-out, delivery or drive-thru.” As hard as restaurants have already been hit, this will be even more of a blow for those that are trying to stay open through these weird times.
Thusly, if we are able, we should do all we can to support our local barbecue restaurants if we want them to still be around after the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s a list of our five favorite Charlotte options based on our Charlotte Big Board.
Please note: As everything is pretty much a fluid situation these days, please call ahead or check on social media to ensure that the restaurant is open and serving.
1. Jon G’s Barbecue March 28th is sold out but stay tuned to their Facebook page for future events Link to Facebook page
Name: Midwood Smokehouse Address: 540 Brandywine Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209 Order: Beef rib with collards and creamed corn, basket of hush puppies (link to menu) Pricing: $$
Monk: Somehow, it has been almost five years. That is, five years since we officially reviewed any location of Midwood Smokehouse, the standard bearer for Charlotte barbecue restaurants since we started the blog in 2012 and a regular go-to for the Barbecue Bros. In that time, they’ve opened two more stores: one in Huntersville north of Charlotte and the other in the back lot of the Park Road Shopping Center, which I’ve eaten at many times since opened in spring 2017 but somehow never thought (or remembered) to review. Regardless, I figured it was time to reassess Midwood Smokehouse in the current climate of Charlotte Barbecue.
If you are new to this blog or to Charlotte barbecue, you may not realize that there was a time not too long ago (way back in early 2011) where wood fired barbecue joints were nearly extinct in a town not really known for great barbecue to begin with. Then, Frank Scibelli along with Executive Chef and Pitmaster Matthew Berry opened their original Plaza Midwood location off of Central Avenue with its Oyler smoker imported from J&R Manufacturing out of Texas. I have always tried not to ding them too much for their overly Texas influence (though they do have eastern NC chopped pork and hush puppies on their menu), because the fact stands that they changed Charlotte barbecue for the better in May 2011 by reintroducing wood-smoked barbecue.
On my last visit, I went for it with the beef rib, a weekend special I had been wanting to try for a couple of years now. While it was a tad on the fatty side, it had great flavor and I liked the aggressive, peppery bark. It did come with a somewhat hefty $32 price tag, though I guess I can’t complain too much because Midwood doesn’t charge by the pound like most Texas joints. Had that been the case, this 1+ lb. rib surely would have resulted in a price tag closer to the $50 mark.
We got a basket of hush puppies for the table and they were a hit with the in-laws and the family. I’ve always been a fan of Midwood’s sides and their creamed corn and collards were solid as ever on this visit. The standard offering of pickles and onions (again, very much Texas-influced) were a nice touch to counteract the fattiness of the beef rib.
While a few places have opened in recent years that I might like just a little better (i.e. Noble Smoke and Sweet Lew’s BBQ), there’s something comforting knowing you can go to any Midwood Smokehouse location (four in the Charlotte area and one in Columbia) on any day of the week and get a consistently legit meal of wood-smoked barbecue. For that, they should be celebrated and not taken for granted.
Eater’s Dining on a Dime checked out the Austin taco scene a few years back to see whether its taco scene is actually better than its barbecue scene.
Description: This week on a bonus episode of Dining on a Dime from Austin, host Lucas Peterson forgoes Austin’s plentiful barbecue options to take himself on a taco crawl, sampling a few of the city’s best offerings. Watch the video above to follow him from Veracruz All Natural to Taqueria La Chilanga to Mellizoz Tacos.
The Campaign for Real Barbecue, (aka True Cue) expands to Virginia and DC, with John Tanner of John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog leading the charge. Founded in 2014, the Campaign already operates in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Georgia.