Smoke BBQ – Mount Pleasant, SC

: Smoke BBQ
Date: 5/26/17
Address: 713 Coleman Blvd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
Order: The Tommy B. Monster Sampler Platter (pork, pastrami brisket, “Charleston brisket”, chicken) plus “perfect rib” and a beer (link to menu)
Price: $35

Monk: I hadn’t planned to visit a fifth barbecue spot during our vacation week but when I saw how close Smoke BBQ was to our Airbnb in Mount Pleasant I couldn’t resist sneaking away one afternoon to check it out. Unfortunately it turns out I shouldn’t have wasted my time or money.

Since I was there I went for it and got the Tommy B. Monster Sampler platter which comes with 4 meats. I then added a “perfect rib” to round it all out. When my platter of meats was delivered each meat was sitting in a pool of grease and appeared to have been reheated. Fresh off the smoker these definitely were not. I won’t bother to go through each meat individually – but I will say that after a bite or two of each one I decided to move on, finding each to be as equally bad as the previous.

The “smoke style slaw” is their take on coleslaw and comes with green apples and candied pecans topped on red cabbage and carrots. I didn’t find it to be a successful barbecue side. The baked macaroni and cheese was the best food part of the meal and was the only real edible item for me.

There was very little that was redeeming about my meal from Smoke BBQ and I ended up tossing most of the takeout container in the trash once I got home. At least I got to enjoy a beer on their nice covered patio. So there’s that.

Atmosphere – 3 hogs
Pork – 1 hog
Brisket – 1 hog
Pastrami – 1 hog
Rib – 1 hog
Chicken – 1 hog
Sides – 1.5 hogs
Overall – 1 hog

Big JT’s BBQ – Gaffney, SC

: Big JT’s BBQ
Date: 5/9/15
Address: 1425 Wilcox Ave, Gaffney, SC 29341
Order: Pulled pork barbecue plate with hush puppies, barbecue slaw, and fries
Price: $13

So you guys know the whole thing with more legitimate barbecue editors stating that “they eat the bad barbecue so that you don’t have to”? Well, I never purposefully seek out the bad (who would?) but in the case of Big JT’s BBQ in Gaffney, SC, that was definitely the case for this barbecue blogger. I ate bad barbecue here and am here to tell you about it so you don’t.

In a former Sunoco gas station, Big JT’s is located right on I-85 in Gaffney not too far from the outlet mall (my reason for being in the area that Saturday). The roadside gas station barbecue ambiance works, but only if the barbecue is able to back it up…

Sadly, it does not. While the dining room in former gas station vaguely smells of smoke, the coarsely pulled pork is cold and dry. I’m guessing it was smoked on a previous day and reheated for us. Neither myself nor Mrs. Monk could muster up the energy to finish our portions of barbecue, even with some sauce (of the thick, KC Masterpiece variety) to help with the dryness.

The barbecue slaw was a case of “good job, good effort” in terms of emulating Lexington style but just was not cutting it. The hush puppies were a long weird shape and not all that great. The fries, though clearly frozen, were probably the best part of the meal.

Unfortunately, Big JT’s BBQ was so downright bad that I felt guilty about dragging my wife and daughter here for lunch. I will say that the lone server was nice enough and was very good with our two year old, its just a shame that the barbecue itself erased all feelings of goodwill I had for the restaurant.


Atmosphere/Ambiance – 2 hogs
Pork – 1 hog
Sides – 1.5 hogs
Overall – 1 hog
Big Jt's BBQ on Urbanspoon

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R.O.’s Bar-B-Que – Gastonia, NC


Name: R.O.’s Bar-B-Q
Date: 6/14/14
Address: 1318 Gaston Ave, Gastonia, NC 28052
Order: Minced bbq pork sandwich, hush puppies, half sweet/half unsweet tea (link to menu)
Price: $9.86

After Kyle Fletcher’s, Mrs. Monk was cool with us checking out R.O.‘s Bar-B-Q while we were in Gastonia. Because frankly, we don’t make the trip from Charlotte to Gastonia all that often (slash ever), so might as well take advantage of it. Well me, not so much her; she stayed in the car.

I won’t say it turned out to be a mistake, because at the very least I was able to cross another joint off our list. But it was not even close to being good.

The menu board at the register listed an “oven roasted pork” sandwich, so at least there were no illusions whether or not this was true barbecue. I ordered a barbecue sandwich, hush puppies, and slaw, only to be told that the slaw came on the sandwich. Cool, I thought, since the sides were all a la carte and the hush puppies alone were $2.25 on their own.

Little did I know that the “slaw” that comes on the sandwich is a sauce of what appears to be a thousand island and diced cabbage. Had I known, I would have asked for it on the side. It more or less made the sandwich inedible for me. I had maybe 3 bites before wrapping it back up to throw away.

At least the hush puppies were good – in fact, they were better than the ones we had just had at Kyle Fletcher’s. By far, the best part of the meal.

There must be something that keeps the folks coming to R.O.’s Bar-B-Q since it originally opened in 1946, but I’m not sure what it is. If you are looking for true barbecue in Gastonia, don’t come here. Their version of barbecue is some mutant hybrid that doesn’t fit the definition of traditional barbecue in any way. If you are looking for a good value, you probably shouldn’t come here either. My total was nearly $10, which was more than my meal at Kyle Fletcher’s, and for far less food. That being said, if you are looking for something you haven’t eaten before and likely won’t see too many other places, feel free to check out R.O.’s Bar-B-Q.


(For another review of R.O.’s, check out Marie, Let’s Eat!)

Atmosphere/Ambiance – 2 hogs
Pork – 1 hog
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 1 Hog

R.O.'s Bar-B-Cue on Urbanspoon

R O'S Barbecue on Foodio54







The Smoke Joint – Brooklyn, NY


Name: The Smoke Joint
Date: 10/13/12
Location: 87 South Elliot Place, Brooklyn, NY
Order: Monk: Pulled pork plate, spicy french fries, Dale’s Pale Ale; Speedy: Chopped beef barbecue plate, cornbread, spicy french fries (link to menu)
Bill: Monk: $17; Speedy: $14

Monk: Well Rudy…we really did it this time

Rudy: What do you mean?

Speedy: Well, Monk and I were visiting some buddies last weekend in New York City…

Monk: And we just thought that…

Speedy: …while we were there…

Monk: …we’d eat some barbecue…

Rudy: <puts head in hands> Have you learned nothing? Have you no respect for yourselves?

Speedy: In all fairness, our “friend” Boomsauce recommended this Brooklyn restaurant that’s near his pad in Fort Greene

Rudy: You took fine dining advice from Boomsauce?!?!?!??

Speedy and Monk: <sheepishly> Yes…

Rudy: Well, how was it?

Monk: Rudy, it was EFFING TERRIBLE

Speedy: The service was probably the worst I’d ever experienced in my life. We were more or less ignored – seeing our waiter maybe three times. When he took our orders, he completely ignored one of our fellow diners, so we had to stop him to make sure he got the last order in…

Monk: …which of course he never put on the ticket so the order never actually got put in.

Speedy: Plus, several of us ordered draft beers to go with our meals, but the waiter failed to tell us until 20 minutes later that there was no CO2, and thus no draft beer.

Monk: And it wasn’t even him that told us! After 10 minutes, we had to ask another waiter! Between Boomsauce’s homebrew beer and this place, we were in the middle of what shall henceforth be known as “the great CO2 shortage of Brooklyn 2012”.

Speedy: Right? I was so upset that I decided against drinking a beer completely. Not that that stopped our waiter from charging us all for our draft beers that we never received.

Monk: I mean, the only explanation was that the dude was clearly on drugs, but no one else was picking up the slack. At least I felt somewhat better since the couple that was seated after us had the same issues.

Rudy: Yeah, that sounds pretty terrible, but let’s not lose sight of what’s most important – how was the food?

Speedy: Rudy, I’m glad you asked…

Monk: I ordered a pulled pork plate and Speedy got the chopped beef barbecue plate so we could try both meats. The pork was of good portion, but was hardly pulled. It was basically a big chunk of pork shoulder that had a fork quickly run through it. “Coarsely pulled” would be stretching it.

Speedy: And I tried the chopped beef initially, but it was quite dry and needed some sauce, so I took the spicy sauce on the table and poured on a healthy portion only to find that it was just Tabasco. Now I like Tabasco as much as the next guy, but barbecue sauce it is not. Another example of The Smoke Joint just being lazy.

Monk: The pork was slightly better. It had an OK flavor and despite being a little greasy, was tender and not overly dry, so it was actually edible…

Speedy: At least until I found a giant hair in mine…

Monk: Talk about the cherry on top of the shit pie

Rudy: Guys, this sounds like a terrible experience. Was there any redeeming quality to the meal?

Speedy: Maybe the corn bread? That was probably the best part of my meal.

Monk: Agreed – there’s not really much to work with here. When we made our rating scale, we described “1 hog” as “What is this? A Yankee joint?” And it is, so 1 hog it shall be!

Atmosphere/Ambiance –  1 hogs
Pork – 2 hogs
Brisket – 1 hogs
Sides – 2 hogs
Overall – 1 hog





The Smoke Joint on Urbanspoon