Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro – Lexington, NC

Name: Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro
Location: 4524 NC-150, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Regular chopped tray with “extra brown” and red slaw (link to menu)
Pricing: $

While my first two stops on the “Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor” were a bit mixed, my last stop unfortunately ended the mini-tour on a down note. I recall that Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro was at some point on the NC Historic BBQ Trail (which is how I became aware that there was another joint named Stamey’s) but that is no longer the case. Unfortunately, the Stamey’s in Tyro doesn’t compare in the least to the Stamey’s in Greensboro.

As a quick aside, while longtime owner Dan Stamey has been involved in a lawsuit due to similar naming, it apparently hasn’t been because of the Greensboro restaurant. In 1992, one of Dan’s other restaurants was Stamey’s Hog Rock Cafe and featured “pig-faced likenesses of Elvis, Tina Turner and The Rolling Stones” on the wall. Apparently, the name was too similar for the Hard Rock Cafe’s liking, and they sued owner Dan Stamey and forced him to change the name of the restaurant which resulted in a cost of $10,000. It was then changed to “Hog City.”

As for the barbecue, it was my least favorite of the afternoon. The extra brown on the barbecue was rather chewy and the barbecue was heavy on the dip. Curiously, no ramekin of dip was provided (the only one of the three that didn’t provide), but I wouldn’t have used it anyway.

Similarly, the hush puppies were not as successful as the previous two restaurants. I will note that this was the third different shape of hush puppy that day, with small orbs compared with the long cylinders of Arcadia Q and the more typical hush puppy shape at Tarheel Q.

One thing I’ve neglected on the past few reviews is the history and intertwining of these restaurants with other Lexington barbecue restaurants. This is worth pausing on for a bit. Dan Stamey’s father was Herman “Smiley” Stamey and the original owner of Smiley’s Barbecue on Highway 8 (which unfortunately will soon be closed due to highway expansion). The father of Roger Lohr, the former owner of Speedy Lohr’s BBQ of Arcadia (now Arcadia Q), was Herman “Speedy” Lohr and trained under the legendary Warner Stamey at Stamey’s Drive-In in Lexington and Old Hickory Barbecue, also in Lexington. Speaking of Warner Stamey, there is no direct relation between him and Smiley and Dan Stamey, but there is a belief that they are distant relatives.

Stamey’s BBQ of Tyro has been in business since 1973 and was not thought to last very long in that small unincorporated area west of Lexington which for a while didn’t even have a stoplight. While I wasn’t the biggest fan that day, they have served their community for over 46 years and it doesn’t seem like that will stop anytime soon.

Final Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor Rankings

Barbecue
1 – Tarheel Q
2 – Arcadia Q
3 – Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro

Hush Puppies
1 – Arcadia Q
2 – Tarheel Q
3 – Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 2 hogs
Sides – 2 hogs
Overall – 2 hogs

Stamey's Barbecue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Arcadia Q – Lexington, NC

Name: Arcadia Q
Location: 8000 N, NC-150, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Regular chopped tray with “extra brown” and red slaw
Pricing: $

Monk: Lexington, NC is mentioned in some circles as the “barbecue capital of the world” with its ratio of roughly 1 barbecue restaurant per 1,000 residents. However, up to this point I’ve mostly focused on Lexington Barbecue and more recently, the Bar-B-Que Center on my barbecue visits to the city. Recently, I’ve decided to expand my horizons to see what else the other 16 or so barbecue options in Lexington have to offer. On a Friday in November, I decided to take on three Lexington barbecue restaurants on what I have dubbed the “Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor:” Tarheel Q, Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro, and my first stop, Arcadia Q.

Arcadia Q was known until recently as Speedy Lohr’s BBQ of Arcadia before owners Roger and Lisa Lohr retired earlier this year and reached out to Tarheel Q owners Leon and Becky Simmons to see if they’d be interested in opening a second location of their restaurant. Both Simmonses worked for the Lohrs approximately 25 years ago, and Tarheel Q is located just 9 miles southwest of Arcadia, just off Highway 64. The result is the now-renamed Arcadia Q.

For my tour of three barbecue joints on the Highway 150 Corridor of Barbecue, I decided to make the same order at each restaurant as a means of comparison: a regular chopped tray with extra brown, red slaw, and hush puppies. I did order a Cheerwine at Arcadia Q before deciding that would be the only soft drink order of the day because as much as I like Cheerwine, I didn’t want the empty calories along with all the food I’d be eating for lunch that day.

The hush puppies at Arcadia Q were a shape I hadn’t come across at a Lexington-style barbecue joint before. They were longer cylinders than the typical hush puppy, as if perhaps they were squirted out of an icing squeeze bag directly into the fryer (this is only my speculation). They are somewhat reminiscent of the shape of corn sticks in eastern North Carolina joints like Parker’s, though I don’t have any personal experience with those (yet). Regardless of the curiosity of the shape, these were my favorite hush puppies of the mini tour.

As for the barbecue, I didn’t get a lot of smoke on it and the temperature was slightly lukewarm. Unfortunately, the outside brown was chewy and tough and not until I dug into the tray below the top layer of outside brown did I start to enjoy the texture of the barbecue. Of all the red slaws I tried that day, none really stood out more than the other so I won’t be commenting too much on them other than the say that they did the job they were supposed to.

So my mini-tour on the “Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor” (it’s going to be a thing) was off to an inauspicious start at Arcadia Q. From here I would head southwest along the aforementioned Highway 150. Of my next two stops, one was a bit better and one was a bit worse. Which would be which? Tune in next Monday to see…

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs

Speedy Lohr's BBQ of Arcadia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday Find: Jerry Stephenson of The Redneck BBQ Lab on the NC F&B Podcast

The NC F&B talks with Jerry Stephenson, who along with his sister Roxane runs The Redneck BBQ Lab in Benson in Johnston County in eastern NC. During the discussion, he discusses how he got started in the restaurant business, his philosophy and approach to barbecue, as well as his appearance on Chopped earlier this year.

Description:

Why go to Johnston County for BBQ? Redneck BBQ is scientific, it’s
for “people who were picked last at dodgeball.”  It doesn’t matter how it’s supposed to taste, what matters is how does it taste? 

Jerry Stephenson isn’t scared of anything, except for maybe his Momma’s opinion of his food, listen into find out if she likes his BBQ.

Also in this episode;

Banana Pudding Cannoli

Ugly Drum Smokers

Redneck Science 

Linkdown: 11/20/19

Robert Jacob Lerma to the rescue: You may have heard that Ryan Cooper (co-founder of The Smoke Sheet aka @BBQTourist) has fallen ill recently, and Lerma is coordinating donations to help pay for medical bills if you are so inclined.

Wyatt’s Barbecue is bringing more whole hog barbecue to downtown Raleigh from the barbecue man behind Picnic, Wyatt Dickson

Chef Jake Wood of Plates Neighborhood Kitchen is also opening a new barbecue restaurant in Raleigh next year, Lawrence BBQ

The best barbecue in DC

Breakfast at barbecue joints in the Carolinas is a little different than the newer Texas trend of barbecue for breakfast

Hometown Bar-B-Que is doing a pretty dang good pastrami, apparently

Some details on Dr. Howard Conyers’ forthcoming barbecue book

10 years on the Texas barbecue trail: The Texas BBQ Posse looks back

Friday Find: The Best Barbecue in Austin

Food Insider makes the rounds at some of Austin’s best barbecue spots before declaring a winner.

Description: Austin is one of the best places in the country to get barbecue, especially if you’re looking for Central Texas-style. These are the best places to get brisket, ribs, and sausage from the most popular spots to the hidden gems.
1:20: Louie Mueller Barbecue
4:25: Micklethwait Craft Meats
7:35: Franklin Barbecue
10:14: LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue
13:25: The winner

Linkdown: 11/13/19

WILBER’S BACK (in Spring 2020)

Jamestown’s got a new wood-fired barbecue joint in Black Powder Smokehouse

A new barbecue newsletter called The ‘Cue Sheet from historian and author is a must-subscribe

Adrian Miller’s on the barbecue research trail at Lennon’s Restaurant in Warsaw, NC

Martin’s Bar-B-Que in Birmingham is one of the latest stops on John Tanner’s BBQ Blog, and he gave it a coveted Top Place tag

RIP San Antonio’s Granary

Barbecue-flavored vodka? Barbecue-flavored vodka.

Tejas Burgers is a new restaurant from the folks behind Tejas Chocolate that features a smoked burger

Our State Magazine’s got a NC barbecue quiz

Pitmaster Profiles: Spencer Purcell of Hubba Hubba Smokehouse

Monk: For this Pitmaster Profile, we are branching out of Charlotte and spotlighting a pitmaster in Western North Carolina. Spencer Purcell is the pitmaster/fire tender/”BBQ guy” at Hubba Hubba Smokehouse in Flat Rock, who we recently reviewed. Thanks to Spencer for his time in answering my questions and I hope you enjoy hearing from a new and different voice in North Carolina barbecue.

For more about Hubba Hubba Smokehouse, check out their website, Instagram, Facebook page, or Spencer’s Instagram.

If you know of a pitmaster who we should feature next, let us know!

Courtesy of Spencer Purcell

How long have you lived in the Flat Rock area and how did you get there?

The Hendersonville/Flat Rock area became my new home in 2017, after living in Chicago for roughly 13 years. For four summers prior to moving here, I worked at a summer camp down the street from Hubba that specialized in giving kids with Autism and/or ADHD an option to enjoy the beautiful western Carolina area. I fell in love with the mountains and vibrant culture of Asheville pretty quickly and made it a mission to make it here.

How did you become a pitmaster?

We are using a live and at-times large fire at Hubba. At least for our sake, if you think you’ve mastered fire or the ten foot brick mason pit (Starla), you are probably about to burn something important. I tend the fire and am known as the “BBQ guy” at our window. I had worked in BBQ in Chicago for a few years while in school but really didn’t fall in love with BBQ until moving here. The owner of Hubba, Starr Teel, convinced me that this is something that I would be good at and now I just try to learn more everyday.

What is your favorite meat to smoke? What type of wood do you prefer?

I’m originally from, and have most of my family in, the very cow-centric state of Wisconsin. Briskets, burgers – anything beef typically – will come first for me on an order. Brisket took a frustrating amount of time to understand, but now is something I enjoy cooking greatly. Red and white oak as a base and hickory to flavor have worked well for us at Hubba.

What are your barbecue influences?

Elliot Moss [of Buxton Hall Barbecue] is one of the most laid-back, creative, unique, can-cook-some-serious-BBQ dudes that I am inspired by. Billy Durney’s style [at Hometown Barbecue] of ethnic fusion into classic BBQ dishes is pretty awesome as well.

The biggest influence on me would have to be the five or six bad ass moms that we have working at Hubba. BBQ is a war of attrition that they put in place day in and day out.

What is your favorite barbecue joint or style?

One of the first meals I had when I moved to the area was a fried chicken sandwich and about 5 bourbon slushies from Buxton Hall. Since then I’ve gone back countless times and really value their kind of whole picture approach. Their burgers are unreal.

Courtesy of Spencer Purcell

What is your earliest memory of barbecue?

While I was growing up in Chicago there wasn’t a ton of great BBQ (much different now) so I rarely had a memorable moment. Maybe 2009 on spring break, my mom took me and a friend to Southern Soul BBQ on St. Simon’s in Georgia and I had a damn near spiritual bite of brisket.

What is the best thing about barbecue in western North Carolina?

BBQ and the food scene are both transforming pretty much in parallel with the new influx of people coming to the area. This Asheville-Hendo-Greenville (SC) corridor is blossoming with new diverse families that are bringing their unique traditions and dishes. These are then meshing with the tradition that Carolina style BBQ is steeped in.

What is a weakness or opportunity of barbecue in western North Carolina?

WNC is at a sort of crossroads that has begun a fusion between the traditional style of Carolina BBQ and other regional specialties. You can go to Noble Smoke and get Texas Style brisket. Elliot Moss does oysters and other oddities that you wouldn’t see on a BBQ menu typically. At Hubba Hubba, one of our most popular items are the burnt ends, which aren’t common to the area at all. Its a very exciting area to cook in right now.

Courtesy of Spencer Purcell

Anything else you’d like everyone to know?

Since Hubba is an outdoor patio/garden of a restaurant, when the temps drop we close up for the season. We will be reopening mid-March 2020. In the mean time we are focusing on opening a new pub and grill down the street from Hubba called Campfire. It will not be a BBQ joint but will have many smoked items on the menu that you can enjoy with a tall draft, inside from the cold. Opening Mid December.

Thanks again to Spencer for his time!

Linkdown: 11/6/19

D.G. Martin is tired of adding “the late” to his favorite NC eateries, including several barbecue joints

Some of the founders and mainstays of my favorite barbecue restaurants and comfort food eateries died recently. So I have to insert “the late” beside their names when I describe their lifetimes’ great accomplishments, the eateries they made into an icons.

Say it ain’t so, Subway (it is so)

Fox Bros BBQ is finally opening a second location in Atlanta

James Beard Award-winning author Adrian Miller is in Cleveland for his forthcoming book “Black Smoke” if you can help with his research:

More on Miller and his forthcoming book

Add this to your DVR…err, Hulu Watch List

Charlotte’s Midwood Smokehouse got inspired by Valentina’s Tex Mex on a recent research and development trip to Texas; here’s hoping this becomes a more regular thing

Farmhouse BBQ (food truck)

Name: Farmhouse BBQ
Order: Combo plate with brisket and pork with 4 cheese mac, sweet potato crisp, vegan collard greens, and cheddar brioche rolls (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: Farmhouse BBQ owners and pitmasters Lindsay Williamson and Vance Lin first met in the Hamptons of New York working for Argentine celebrity chef and restaurateur Francis Mallman. From working under Mallman, they caught the live fire cooking bug and a few years after moving to NC they started Farmhouse BBQ in 2014. Williamson and Lin are big believers in grass-fed brisket, pasture-raised pork, and not using any GMO’s, MSG, or high fructose corn syrup in their food. This belief in quality food that is is even expressed in their website URL: goodforyoubbq.com. Explains Williamson: “Animals nourished on grass yield beneficial nutrients that come only from photosynthesis: Vitamin D and high in Omega-3s, both of which are difficult to come by. You truly are what you eat, and if you start from a good place, if you begin with something healthy and top-notch, you don’t have to do much to let it speak and shine for itself. That’s something that Francis Mallman taught me with the food that he created.”

Farmhouse BBQ’s 500 gallon offset smoker

Farmhouse has been making stops at breweries in Charlotte the past few years, and I was finally able to catch them on a Sunday at Birdsong Brewing for their “End of Summer BBQ,” where they set up their 500 gallon offset smoker and serving tent in front of the patio on a still-steamy last day of summer.

Farmhouse touts their use of grass-fed briskets, which are more expensive than normal briskets but are also less fatty and require less trimming. Truthfully, I am not versed enough in the meat science of brisket to understand the nuances between the brisket I had that day and say, USDA Prime briskets from other barbecue restaurants. But I did quite like what I had – a moist, smokey brisket with a nice bark even if it was sliced a little thinner than I prefer.

Similar to their grass-fed briskets, Farmhouse uses pasture-raised, heritage-breed pork for their barbecue. They don’t appear to be trying to do either Lexington-style or eastern NC style but what they do serve had nice flavor and smoke, if not being a tad bit on the greasy side on this day.

The scratch-made sides also shine at Farmhouse: the mac and cheese is creamy, the collards are nice and vinegar-laden, the sweet potato crisp reminds me of one of my favorite sides from Thanksgiving, and I could have eaten at least a half dozen of those cheddar brioche rolls. A solid meal all around.

Vance Lin, co-founder and pitmaster

Farmhouse BBQ is a less well-known barbecue option in the Charlotte area but perhaps they shouldn’t be. Their approach to barbecue helps them stand out among other barbecue food truck and catering options and is to be applauded.

Ratings:
Brisket – 4 hogs
Pork – 4 hogs
Sides– 4 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Friday Find: “More Than A Flavor: The History of Eastern North Carolina BBQ”

Despite the incendiary words against Lexington-style barbecue (as well as a few mis-truths about beef and mustard), “More Than a Flavor” is well-produced 25-minute documentary that details the history of eastern NC barbecue (from the Wayne County Government nonetheless!). It even has a nice breakdown of the barbecue family tree for eastern style starting with Arnold Sasser, something which I hadn’t personally seen detailed out before – unlike the Lexington-style tree starting from Sid Weaver and Jess Swicegood I’m so familiar with.

The documentary also details the pork industry that is so big in Wayne County, and which nicely lends to the barbecue history in the area.

Description: Learn about the history of BBQ in Wayne County and across Eastern North Carolina in this documentary, More Than A Flavor!