Name: Buxton Hall Barbecue
Address: 32 Banks Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Order: Combo platter with whole hog barbecue, sliced brisket, and ribs with chicken bog and collards (link to menu)
Monk: Since the last time either Speedy or I visited Buxton Hall Barbecue, there’s been quite a bit of change. This past summer Elliot Moss, the face and pitmaster behind the launch of Buxton Hall, announced that he had parted ways with the Chai Pani Restaurant group which owns both Buxton Hall Barbecue as well as the Buxton Chicken Palace that Moss also helped start. Moss is staying in Asheville and opening a concept of his own (a “comfort classics restaurant” called Regina’s Westside) but it should not be overstated how much he helped put whole hog on the map in western NC as the brains behind Buxton Hall.
On a day trip to Asheville, Speedy and I wanted to check out the restaurant to see if anything had drastically changed in the past 5+ months to our beloved Buxton Hall. While we’ve each visited the restaurant plenty on our own, this was our first time visiting as a duo. Plus, it was Speedy’s birthday and we had Papa Speedy and Cousins Daniel and Matt in tow!
Speedy: And what better to do on your birthday than have barbecue! One thing I noticed first off is that brisket (which I believe was a 2019 or 2020 menu addition add) was off the regular menu but available as a special (though only sliced was offered, instead of sliced and chopped). Obviously, you can’t go to Buxton and not get chopped pork, so when we were offered a special plate with pork, brisket, and ribs, Monk and I jumped on it. And add two sides to boot!
Monk: Apologies in advance for the subpar food photography – we visited for dinner and the lighting was quite low. Great ambiance, poor lighting conditions. Back to the food – the whole hog portion was a bit on the small side but tasted just as good as I remembered.
Speedy: And that is a good thing. I agree – top notch pork. The ribs, which I had not had at Buxton previously, were also really, really good. They were cooked perfectly – tender but not falling off the bone, and well seasoned without being either too sweet or too salty. The pork at Buxton is always the star (and was again today), but the ribs made sure they were heard.
Monk: The ribs were definitely a revelation for me, as I also had not tried them previously. Unfortunately its hard to say if any effects were felt here, but at least what we had was really freaking good. The brisket slices were all lean (we weren’t asked our preference) and while they were fine, by no means were they the standout of the meal.
Speedy: I had previously really enjoyed chopped brisket at Buxton, so I’m curious as to whether this is where the change in the pitmaster was truly felt, since it’s not a meat cooked every day and mastered. As for the sides, I didn’t notice any difference in the collard greens, which are some of my favorite anywhere and a must-order.
Monk: While the collards had a nice kick and plenty of vinegary tang, I felt the chicken bog was perhaps a little on the dry side and at least on this night was not quite up to par with previous offerings. We should mention the smoked wings we got as an appetizer, which were very solid as well.
Going in, I wanted to order the hash and rice but it wasn’t a side option (and I didn’t think to ask to sub it in). I’d be really curious to see how that in particular holds up since that is a Pee Dee Region staple that was near and dear to Moss’s heart. Oh well – next time.
Speedy: The last time I was at Buxton, I texted Monk to ask whether it’s the best barbecue joint in NC. We decided that while we weren’t sure we were ready to go that far, it has to be in the conversation. At least so far, the loss of Elliott Moss doesn’t change that.
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 4.5 hogs
Ribs – 4.5 hogs
Brisket – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4.5 hogs