Charlotte Barbecue News from the First Quarter of 2022

Monk: The Charlotte barbecue scene, along with the entire restaurant industry, remains in flux. Longtime Belmont staple Buddy’s BBQ closed in February after 25 years. A second location of Noble Smoke opened in Optimist Hall. The Carolina Barbecue Festival was announced for May and has a chance to put Charlotte on the map. However, no barbecue boom appears on the horizon for Charlotte anytime soon. Here’s a roundup of news from the past 3 months.

January

1/2 Big Tiny’s BBQ expands its hours in the new year

1/3 By popular demand the pizza collab by Jon G’s Barbecue and Salud continued into January

1/4 Noble Smoke is the only barbecue restaurant on Charlotte Magazine’s annual list of the 50 best restaurants in Charlotte

1/10 RayNathan’s celebrates 3 years open

1/20 Garren of Jon G’s Barbecue profiled on the Ministers of Smoke Instagram page

1/21 A fun story from Charlotte Magazine on how Chapel Hill-born fashion designer Alexander Julian got paid in barbecue for designing the original Charlotte Hornets jerseys

February

2/7 Buddy’s BBQ in Belmont closed after 25 years

2/9 Cornelius-based Barvecue has raised $600 million thus far

2/9 The latest barbecue list from Only In Your State includes Jon G’s Barbecue

2/23 Lewis Donald of Sweet Lew’s BBQ announces the Carolina Barbecue Festival to be held May 22 at Camp North End in Charlotte

2/27 Congrats to Garren and Kelly from Jon G’s, who 2 years ago on this date closed on the former Barbee’s Barbecue location, which they would open in June 2020 just a few months into the pandemic

March

3/12 Actor Eric Wareheim made it all the way from LA to Jon G’s Barbecue for a Barbecue Saturday

3/14 Noble Smoke‘s second location at Optimist Hall opens; it was originally scheduled to open on 3/2

3/22 Noble Smoke is involved in a bit of controversy when a miscommunication between its landlord and a neighboring business kicks off a brouhaha

3/24 Noble Smoke and Jim Noble’s official response. As of this writing I have not seen whether an agreement has been reached.

Linkdown: 1/26/22

A fun story from Charlotte Magazine on how Chapel Hill-born fashion designer Alexander Julian got paid in barbecue for designing the original Charlotte Hornets jerseys.

According to Juilian (also known for the UNC Chapel Hill argyle and being the costume designer for Robert Altman’s The Player), “I had this idea: What good is money if you can’t buy barbecue? I call it Carolina caviar. … I said, ‘I’ll give you ownership of the design for five pounds of Carolina barbecue a month.’ A (writer) asked me to sum up the whole experience. I said, ‘Well, George (Shinn) got rich, and I got fat. I traded $10 million worth of royalties for a gut.'”

Getting paid in barbecue, that’s the dream. Well played Alexander Julian, well played.

Native News

Garren of Jon G’s Barbecue featured on the Minsters of Smoke Instagram page

…speaking of which, Jon G’s is popping up at Triple C Brewing in Charlotte tonight

Sweet Lew’s has a new “Just Peachy” barbecue sauce available through the end of the month

Non-Native News

John Tanner checks out Ruthie’s All Day, The Federalist Pig, and DCity Smokehouse for an upcoming Smoke Sheet article

Adrian Miller is interviewed for this Atlas Obscura piece on the Southern Foodways Alliance oral history project

The Oak Texas BBQ makes its debut in Kemah, TX; they were previously based in Nashville and were Speedy’s favorites

The Texas Monthly BBQ Fest moves to Lockhart for this year’s edition

Tips on selecting the best wood for barbecue

Nice merch special from Fox Bros Bar-B-Q: two mystery shirts and a mystery hat for $35

Linkdown: 6/25/14

– While the newest incarnation of the Hornets opted not to use Alexander Julian as a free consultant to help design their new uniforms, he designed the original ones in exchange for barbecue

Julian was already a standout in the design world because of his “Colours” collection of men’s clothes when Shinn asked him in the 1980s to come up with the Hornets’ original uniforms. Julian said he would do it if Shinn would ship five pounds of barbecue to his house in Connecticut every month – “Carolina caviar,” as Julian called it.

“I had no idea that an expansion team uniform was going to sell as much as it did,” Julian said. “I was really dumb. I didn’t know what I was giving up. I normally get a five percent royalty. The reports I saw was that they sold over $200 million worth of stuff. So I traded $10 million for some barbecue. George got rich, and I got fat.”

– Stamey’s was featured on the Cooking Channel show “Man Fire Food” (via bbqboard) yesterday

– Well this sounds promising:

– Yet another list of best barbecue joints in America, this time from Smart Travel list (via Huffington Post). At least it’s pretty accurate for NC, both in the description of east vs. Lexington styles as well as the joints they choose

Where to Get It: Our resident North Carolinian editor says Allen & Son in Chapel Hill is quintessential, with large brick pits out back and telltale checkered oilcloth on the tables inside. Skylight Inn in Ayden earns Southern Living‘s high praises for its whole-hog approach. Locals laud Lexington Barbecue‘s wood-smoked, ketchup-laced pork shoulder; a roll to heap it on will cost you $0.17 extra, and some Cheerwine (a super-carbonated cherry soda native to the area) is the only proper accompaniment.

– From a few weeks back, Daniel Vaughn (aka bbqsnob) had the good fortune to explore whole hog barbecue through tasting it from Ed Mitchell, Samuel Jones, and Rodney Scott at The Big Apple BBQ event earlier this month

– Robert Moss explains smokers across the south in this article for Serious Eats (via)

– 8 Things to Eat at a Charlotte Knights game includes two barbecue items from Queen City Q – a pulled pork potato and a pulled pork sandwich

– Q4Fun figures out which beers from NoDa Brewing pairs best with various barbecue dishes

  • Pulled pork
  • Mustard sauce – Ramble on Red – counterbalances the acidity – competing flavors 
  • Vinegar sauce – Ramble on Red or Cavu 
  • KC style sauce – Hop Drop ‘n Roll 

– This Fourth of July, feel free to go with slaw as a side dish at your cookout

“Slaw is universal,” says John Shelton Reed, author of “Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue .” “Slaw is part of the deal unless you ask not to have it.”

– Well this looks amazing: John Lewis of la Barbecue and Rodney Scott of Scott’s Bar-B-Que to smoke barbecue together in Charleston; too bad its on a Sunday and during the World Cup Final