Best of Charlotte Barbecue: Pork

We initially started this blog in order to find the best barbecue restaurant in Charlotte. While we feel pretty comfortable with our current rankings on the big board having visited 40+ restaurants, what more logical next step than to explore the best meats and dishes in the greater Charlotte area? This is the first in our series. Click here to find the other posts.

We naturally start with pork, which in North Carolina is synonymous with the word “barbecue”. Because Charlotte is a city of transplants and “other people’s barbecue”, you don’t find much barbecue that you might expect of the region (that is, Lexington-style) and you actually find far more eastern-style restaurants. In fact, two of the three below serve eastern-style barbecue (with Boone’s serving his own family’s style recipe that doesn’t easily  classify in Lexington or eastern).

  1. Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen
  2. Midwood Smokehouse (Original location; Ballantyne location)
  3. Bill Spoon’s Barbecue

Honorable Mention: The Smoke Pit (Concord)

What do you think? Have we missed the mark? Leave your comments below.

Charlotte (and NC) Accolades from The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America

I’ve just started The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America by Johnny Fugitt but wanted to share some of the accolades that Charlotte and NC received in the book. I will spoil only just a little bit, and you will have to pick it up for yourself in order to read the rest (currently the #1 new release in US Travel Guides!).

Charlotte
For not having a stellar barbecue reputation, Charlotte is decently represented. I’m proud to say that we helped point Johnny in the direction of Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen based on our Charlotte Rankings and were able to accompany him on a private tour of Boone’s prep kitchen last year.

  • Midwood Smokehouse (our review here and here) makes the top 100 barbecue restaurants in America list (everything outside of the top 25 was not ranked)
  • Midwood Smokehouse’s brisket is #6 on “10 Best Briskets outside Texas (better than 99% in Texas)”
  • Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen (our review here) also makes the top 100 list
  • Boone’s brunswick stew is #1 in “The Three Best Brunswick Stews I found in all the Land”
  • Boone’s also makes “America’s 10 Best Vinegar/Tomato-Based Sauces” at #10 for their Eastern Carolina sauce
  • Finally, Boone’s brunswick stew is also listed on Johnny’s “Dream Carolina Meal” as a side along with Skylight Inn’s pork as well as Lexington Barbecue’s pork and barbecue slaw

North Carolina
North Carolina joints were also well represented, with Skylight Inn #8 overall, Allen & Son’s Barbeque (our review here) #18, and Raleigh’s The Pit (our review here) making the top 100; there were several other individual accolades for pork and sides.

Finally, thanks to Johnny for the shout out to us in his review of Lexington Barbecue. Our love for Lexington Barbecue is well-documented (review here), and its cool that he associated us with it.

Monk

Linkdown: 11/26/14

– The Pit beats out NC State University in The Triangle Business Journal’s Battle of the Brands for Reader’s Choice

– Downtown Charleston is getting yet another barbecue joint, this time with Irish pub Egan & Sons coming back as a barbecue restaurant (under a new name) complete with a new smokehouse to be built out back

– I missed this back in the summer, but Home Team BBQ (currently with Sullivan’s Island and West Ashley locations) is also expanding to downtown Charleston

– Billy Durney, pitmaster of Hometown Barbecue in New York, to consult on a Los Angeles barbecue restaurant for Mendocino Farms

– Boone’s Bar-B-Que sauces are now available at Savory Spice Shop in Charlotte

– Ohio-based barbecue chain City Barbeque plans to open another triangle location; in addition to their Cary location they are opening a location at Southpoint Mall in Durham

– Jim ‘N Nicks and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que are forming a partnership for the purest of barbecue ideals – “to leverage their buying power, consolidate labor costs and grow both companies”

– A flattering review of the Flat Rock Wood Room, just outside of Asheville

As for what comes out of that 250-degree wood-fired pit, well, I can only gush. Ordering a half rack of their St. Louis style ribs, I carefully narrowed my sides down to wood-smoked mac and cheese and collard greens. While the mac and cheese was plenty cheesy, it proved to be fairly standard with minimal wood smoke. The collards, on the other hand, had plenty of flavor and a slight sweetness.

– Barbecue Rankings recounts his “barbecue odyssey” in Feast Magazine

I began my barbecue odyssey on October 22, 2013, at Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis.  I was nervous as I met owner Mike Emerson and tried to act as if I knew something about barbecue.  I have always considered myself a casual barbecue fan, but the truth is that I knew very little about regional nuances, barbecue history, smoking practices and the way restaurants work before setting out on this project.  I didn’t prepare much before setting off on my journey – I wanted to learn from the people working the pits day in and day out, not the so-called experts.

– Christmas is right around the corner

Linkdown: 9/24/14

– Check out our Taste Trekker’s list for Five Unique Barbecue Experiences in Charlotte, North Carolina; it was partially (ok, very) inspired by this list from Marie, Let’s Eat!

– The latest Arrogant Swine post on opening a barbecue restaurant on Serious Eats finds Uncle Ho trying to hire a staff

The saddest moment in any barbecue guy’s professional life is when you realize that the person you’re training to do the cooking just doesn’t give a royal fuck about barbecue. They’d be just as happy making pizza or ramen noodles. The food was coming out awful and Jack couldn’t care. “Just cover it with barbecue sauce and no one will tell the difference,” he once noted.

More information on the barbecue events at the World of Bluegrass festival in downtown Raleigh on 10/3

– More coverage on the NC BBQ Map from the Elkin Times and TWC News

– Andrew Carter’s column leading up to last weekend’s ECU drubbing of UNC took the pulse of fans at Parker’s Barbecue in Greenville and ends with this choice quote:

Down at Parker’s the lunch crowd had picked up and Parker went out to help work the register. A line began to form, a small version of what is coming Saturday.

“Everybody in this town needs to thank God for East Carolina,” said Parker, whose restaurant had already booked six catering events at the stadium on Saturday. “I mean, really. For the hospital and for East Carolina.

“(Without) those two things — well, Greenville would be Kinston.”

“The pitfalls of barbecue reportage” examines how barbecue journalists such as Daniel Vaughn attempt to report on pitmasters without romanticizing them

– Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen (our current #1) has posted an updated schedule for their foodtruck and they will be at a few upcoming Charlotte beer festivals starting with this weekend’s Charlotte Oktoberfest

– Marie, Let’s Eat!’s latest barbecue stop is Log Cabin Smokehouse Bar-B-Que in Rome, GA

– Barbecue Rankings had a lot of posts in the last week: Dallas, Seattle, Detroit, Pecos, Albuquerque, and Phoenix

– Aaron Franklin brought his smoked meats to Feast Portland last weekend; TMBBQ has the photos and story

– As is to be expected, barbecue is the signature food of several states including North Carolina