Charlotte Barbecue News from the First Quarter of 2021

Monk: After nearly a year of various stages of lockdown and a big spike in COVID cases in January, the first quarter of 2021 had mostly positive news as restaurants managed through relaxed restrictions starting in March.

Here in Charlotte, restaurants are finding new and different ways to diversify their food offerings to attract customers and some are even in expansion mode. Let’s hope that trend continues into Q2.

January

1/5 North State BBQ announces it is opening a second location in Lake Norman off Statesville Rd

1/10 RayNathan’s in Gastonia celebrated their 2 year anniversary

1/13 Sweet Lew’s BBQ hires its first “barbecue apprentice” in Keywon Dooling from the local culinary school at Central Piedmont Community College

1/29 Jon G’s Barbecue gets their first national magazine feature

February

2/7 Pitmasters from Bobby’s BBQ, City Limits Barbeque, and Fork Grove BBQ have a “barbecue Saturday Texas BBQ Pitmaster Meatman meat-up” meet up at Jon G’s Barbecue

2/12 Jon G’s Barbecue introduces some awesome Coors Banquet Beer-inspired t-shirts

2/15 Noble Smoke launches taco kits now available every Tuesday

2/16 Bar-B-Q King makes this list of “50 must-try cheap eats in Charlotte under $10” from Axios Charlotte (formerly Charlotte Agenda)

2/24: Axios Charlotte posts their list of the 4 best barbecue spots in Charlotte, with another 4 worth the drive; we even get a brief shoutout in reference to Jon G’s

March

3/1 Jon G’s Barbecue acquired their restaurant one year ago on 3/1; they would open for business about 3 months later

3/2 Roddey’s BBQ food truck in Rock Hill changes locations

3/3 Noble Smoke introduces the “Mini Mary,” a smaller version of their “Miss Mary” platter that feeds 4

3/4 Sweet Lew’s Barbeque and Midwood Smokehouse make the Eater list for Charlotte

3/9 Mac’s Speed Shop and Noble Smoke have two of the best patios in Charlotte

3/12 Sweet Lew’s Barbeque announces a “Bootcamp and BBQ” event on April 17

3/19 Noble Smoke introduces “The Noble Smoke Pitmaster Experience” where you can learn from their pitmasters for the somewhat steep price of $500 a spot; the initial spots have since sold out

We are offering an exclusive opportunity to learn the step-by-step process of smoking meat first-hand from our pitmasters, Stuart and Ed. You get to take home the meats of your labor which includes a whole brisket and pork butt (5 lbs each). But that’s not all! 3 sauces, a hat, a pitmaster t-shirt, lunch, and a post-smoke beer are also included.

3/19 Charlotte-based Mac’s Hospitality Group, the parent company of Mac’s Speed Shop, eyes growth across the Southeast in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Florida under the leadership of recently-hired president Shang Skipper

3/19 Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ will open a location of its fast casual concept in Concord in the coming weeks

Linkdown: 2/17/21

Featured

Stay strong, Texas. It sounds awful out there but we’re all with you in spirit.

Native News

With Sam Jones BBQ opening in Raleigh, the local barbecue scene now looks to Ed Mitchell’s The Preserve

Bar-B-Q King is a wallet-friendly Charlotte cheap eat

Clarence appreciate post

Carolina Hurricanes to the Dallas Stars after the first of their two head-to-head wins last week

Non-Native News

Congrats to BBQ Tourist on 3 years!

He recently wrote up the best barbecue restaurants in Omaha on his blog

Edna Jane’s pitmaster Clay Blair grew up in Asheville; the restaurant, which is named in honor of Blair’s beloved grandmother, includes beef ribs and brisket, along with the signature Carolina pork spare and back ribs, and pulled pork shoulder served with pepper vinegar sauce.

The Soul Food Scholar weighs in on whether cornbread should have sugar in it

Adrian Miller also had a lengthy conversation with Boulder Weekly about his upcoming book Black Smoke

Big Bob Gibson review

The family-owned Original K&K Bar-B-Que is in Corsicana, TX

Heirloom Market makes this list from Eater Atlanta

Big Wayner with his spin on the Tik Tok Tortilla trend

Linkdown: 12/15/20

Featured

In his latest issue of The Cue Sheet, Robert Moss examines the ten best college cities or towns to attend according to nearby barbecue options. While my alma mater NC State is mentioned as a future possibility once the planned restaurants like Sam Jones BBQ, Wyatt’s Barbecue, and Longleaf Swine open their doors in 2021 (not to mention Prime BBQ in Knightdale that opened this year and the upcoming Ed Mitchell’s The Preserve), several NC towns make the list. Not on the list either is Chapel Hill, primarily due to the loss of Allen & Son last year.

East Carolina University in Greenville has B’s Barbecue, Sam Jones Barbecue and the two Ayden joints nearby (Skylight and Bum’s) and comes in at #9. Surprisingly, Catawba College in Salisbury, NC makes the list just ahead of Greenville due to a couple of joints in town (College Barbecue and Richard’s) plus its proximity to Lexington and its myriad options for barbecue.

That’s it for NC on this list but both Columbia and Charleston appear further down from our neighbors to the south. I won’t spoil the rest of the list, but if you think hard enough you can probably guess which university and city takes the #1 spot on the list.

Native News

The Great NC BBQ Map poster is 50% off through today

The Pinehurst Barbecue Festival is planned for September 3-5, 2021

The Bar-B-Q King is one of many COVID-friendly food options in Charlotte for walk-up or drive-thru (or in this case, drive-in)

In NC, barbecue sauce makes a great gift writes Spectrum News

OooWee BBQ has smoked meat by the pound available in take-and-bake meals

Primal BBQ is set to open in Wilmington later this month and will serve a little bit of everything

Longleaf Swine is one barbecue restaurant offering to-go meals in Raleigh

Wish I could attend this socially-distanced pig pickin’ in Durham this weekend

Chicken bog long sleeve tees from Buxton Hall released just in time for last minute Christmas shopping

Non-Native News

In perhaps the least surprising news of the week, Tim Carman found better options than the McRib in DC

Even though Pat Mahomes went to college in Texas, he prefers Kansas City barbecue

This smothered tater tots collaboration between Fox Bros Bar-B-Q and Nina and Rafi looks amazing

An American pitmaster living in Hong Kong names the US barbecue restaurants he dreams of going back to some day, including Rodney Scott’s BBQ, Cozy Corner, Franklin Barbecue, and Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

Pork n’ Pine Santa delivers pulled pork sammies in Baltimore

Linkdown: 5/13/20

Wilber’s Barbecue has completed their pit restoration

Bar-B-Q King in Charlotte (not to be confused the similarly named restaurant in Lincolnton) has experienced a surge in business as a result of customers feeling more comfortable at their drive-in due to social distancing

Home Team BBQ in Columbia has reopened after being closed for more than a month

More coverage on Prime Barbecue’s opening last week

Big T’s BBQ will be opening in the former Top’s Pizza Factory location in Fallston by the same owners because apparently co-owner Tony Maness “can cook anything”

SAW’s Soul Kitchen had their smoker Black Betty stolen at the end of March

Beef and pork suppliers have been hit hard as a result of the pandemic

Midwood Smokehouse is one of several local restaurants where you can buy a t-shirt to support them until their dining rooms open again