Photo Gallery: Checking out Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen with Barbecue Rankings

Monk: A few weeks back, Speedy and I had the pleasure of welcoming Johnny Fugitt (aka Barbecue Rankings) to Charlotte for a behind the scenes look at the current #1 on our Charlotte Big Board, Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen.

We initially reached out to Boone’s via Twitter to see if they would be out on Friday, but instead they graciously invited us to their kitchen (where they do their prep and also where they will soon have a pick-up for to-go ordering) for a private tasting. Both Boone and his business partner Tom were extremely welcoming, kicking off the visit with a bloody mary before taking us to a look at the smoker (a Southern Pride that they feed with hickory and occasionally cherry wood) and ultimately out to the food truck for a tasting. Boone treated us (graciously enough, for the price of on the house) to pork, brisket, ribs, wings, and brunswick stew. You can read my thoughts on the pork and brisket (as well as sausage, which we didn’t have this time) from when I checked out the food truck back in May.

Speedy: It’s been documented that I was a bit skeptical of Monk’s original review – mainly because I had a hard time thinking that Charlotte’s best barbecue came from a food truck. However, seeing Boone’s kitchen, smoker, and truck setup showed me how this could be possible. By the time we got to the food, I was incredibly excited. Boone was nice enough to provide us with a sample of pulled pork, ribs, brisket, wings, and brunswick stew.

The pork is served without sauce. It has a really solid flavor, great bark, and is perfectly tender. I didn’t find it dry per se, but I will admit that I added some eastern style sauce, which added to my enjoyment of the meat.

Monk: One thing I hadn’t expected was that Boone uses a Southern Pride smoker for his meat. While we tend to be purists when it comes to barbecue, if it’s good it’s good. And I don’t know exactly how he does it, but there is some damn fine bark on the barbecue that Boone puts out.

Speedy: The brisket is different than I’ve had most places. It’s sliced fairly thick, finished on the grill and served sauced. We were served meat from the point, so it was very moist and tender. I would be interested in tasting it against the flat, but I overall, I thought it was quite good – certainly worth an order.

Boone serves St. Louis cut spare ribs, which are big and meaty. These ribs are not as tender as baby backs, but I was able to get a good bite and clean the bone fairly easily. I really enjoyed the flavor of the ribs. Smoke taste was apparent and the ribs weren’t too sweet, which I’ve been seeing (err tasting) a lot lately.

Monk: Brunswick stew is the dish that started it all (literally) for Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen and could very well put them on the map. So the story goes (as it was relayed to us by Tom and Boone himself), it was 2 gallons of brunswick stew requested by Tom’s dad that led to requests for more and ultimately led them to start the food truck and kitchen last fall. And damn, if it isn’t some of the best brunswick stew I’ve had in quite some time.

Speedy: The wings are very, very good. They are smoked to the perfect temperature and served in two flavors – chipotle apricot and dry rub. I actually preferred the dry rub wings – though I wouldn’t turn down either under any circumstances.

Monk: Smoked wings can be hit or miss at a barbecue spot, where they have them on the menu as an afterthought, but man these were some seriously good wings.

Speedy: Overall, there wasn’t anything not to like about the food from Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen. The man is well known around Charlotte for helping start up a couple of local joints, and I do feel the need to mention that the food from Boone’s food truck has a lot of similarities to Queen City Q (which had a less than amicable split with Boone a couple years back). That being said, I do think the food truck is better. I haven’t seen anything similar to his brunswick stew anywhere in Charlotte, and it’s clear that Boone puts a lot of himself into his food, which I really do feel that you can taste.

Overall, this was one of the cooler barbecue experiences I’ve had. Boone and Tom couldn’t have been nicer, which was really just icing on the proverbial cake. First and foremost, these guys turn out a great product, so I, for one, will be keeping a lookout for the food truck more frequently.

Monk: Agreed about the passion that Boone and Tom have for their barbecue. You really could hear just how much these guys cared about what they do now, which maybe wasn’t the case in previous lives.

As for Johnny, Speedy had a bolt to get his hair did but I was able to stick around for a few minutes to chat with him before he headed out to Greenville. Really nice guy, and we spent the time talking about our barbecue experience (his a little more extensive than mine, clearly) and traded tips on joints in various cities. I can’t wait to check out his book once it’s published (possibly as early as next May depending on which publishing option he goes with) to read his thoughts, and I have a slight hunch you may see Charlotte represented a time or two in the book.

Thanks for hollering at us, Johnny! Safe travels in your final weeks on the road!

Johnny Fugitt is finishing up his year-long roadtrip on October 21 and you can see his photos and notes from the road in the meantime on his blog, Barbecue Rankings.

Linkdown: 6/4/14

– Ed Mitchell’s ‘Que is now open; now just need to plan a trip to Durham soon…

The restaurant’s hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and closed Sundays. It will operate extended hours on DPAC event and Durham Bulls game nights. 

– More coverage on ‘Que in this article from the Raleigh News & Observer

Here’s the event menu for the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in NYC this weekend

– A Carolinian tastes her first bite of brisket at la Barbecue in Texas (via)

To All the Armchair BBQ Critics, from Carey Bringle of Peg Leg Porker (via)

– Elliott Moss of the upcoming Buxton Hall continues to practice his whole hog barbecue technique

– A couple of barbecue festivals are represented in this North Carolina Summer Festival Spotlight list from Our State Magazine

15. Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival
TRYON • JUNE 13-14
One of the most popular sanctioned barbecue competitions in the U.S. celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Per usual, there will be rides, games, two entertainment stages, and barbecue “cooked low and slow.”

10 a.m.-11 p.m. Admission free on Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. All other times: Adults $8. Children 12 and younger free. Harmon Field, 301 North Trade Street. (828) 693-84431 or blueridgebbqfestival.com.

– Austin’s top 6 sausages, according to Fed Man Walking

– Duh: Despite What You May Have Heard, South Carolina Is (Probably) Not the Birthplace of Barbecue

Weekly food truck locations for Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen, the current #1 on our Charlotte Big Board

Our current location schedule:
Weekly
Tuesday lunch at Coliseum Center Buildings 3 & 4
Wednesday lunch at Coliseum Center Buildings 5 & 6
Thursday lunch at Parkway Plaza

Monthly
Every 3rd Friday of the month: Food Truck Friday in Southend 
Friday, June 20th
Friday, July 18th

The Ashton Southend
Friday, July 25th at 5:30

Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen (food truck) – Charlotte, NC

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Name: Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen
Date: 4/3/14
Order: Hand pulled NC pork shoulder plateful with Sis Gibson’s baked beans and Aunt Faith’s homemade chow chow and sweet tea (link to menu)
Price: $19.58 (don’t worry, I got 2+ meals out of it)

Monk: If you’ve eaten some of Charlotte’s best barbecue in the past decade, chances are it is in some way owed to Dan “Boone” Gibson. Along with his friend John “JD” Duncan, he helped start the original Mac’s Speed Shop on South Blvd (which in my opinion has gone downhill since they both left) in 2005 as well as more recently a Barbecue Bros favorite Queen City Q in 2012. Now, he has struck out on his own and started Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen, a food truck that has popped up in various south Charlotte office parks in recent months.

Boone’s family recipes, which don’t necessarily follow eastern or piedmont barbecue traditions, were the basis for Queen City Q and remain the basis for his food truck. So while they do have an eastern NC vinegar sauce, a SC mustard sauce, and a rib sauce (called “PoPo,” the same name used at Queen City Q), the signature pork sauce is apparently a mixture of the rib and mustard sauces. While it is referred to as a “Piedmont” sauce, you wouldn’t find anything like it at Lexington #1. The family influence is also evident in the names of the sides (again, some of which share names with sides at Queen City Q) – Sis Gibson’s baked beans with Neese’s, Aunt Nell’s mac-n-cheese, Aunt Faith’s homemade chow chow, etc.

You can choose either a “big sandwich” with one side or a “plateful” which comes with two. I ordered the hand-pulled NC pork shoulder plateful with baked beans and chow chow. And since it would likely be a while until I made it out again, I decided I also wanted to try the brisket and sausage. Thankfully, they obliged me with a couple of slices and a link for $6 extra. After a bit of a wait, the lady who took my order handed me two heavy boxes packed pretty well with smoked meat. I opened the boxes to a very strong waft of smoke, which was heavenly. The pork was moist, tender, and smokey and pulled with large chunks of bark. It. Was. Great. I mean, really, really great. I tried the Piedmont sauce with it but really, the meat didn’t need it at all.

The brisket was smokey, sauced, and had a good tug to it. The sausage link was slathered with the mustard sauce and it complemented it well. Both were really good. So at this point, Boone is 3-for-3. The beans and chow chow were reminiscent of the same dishes from Queen City Q, which I liked back then and liked on this day. There was also a small side of chow chow that I didn’t realize came with the pork (I wouldn’t have ordered a side of it if I knew).

Some minor nitpicks – the sweet tea wasn’t sweet at all and the ordering process could have been more efficient. A few folks who had ordered before I got there grumbled about the wait, and mine took maybe 7-8 minutes. Also, some hush puppies on the menu would have been nice – although logistically that might be tough in a food truck.

So does Charlotte’s best barbecue come from Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen? That’s hard to say, and I want to be careful not to romanticize too much simply because it comes from a food truck and everything can seem like it tastes better from a food truck. I can say that it is up there in terms of pork in Charlotte, and that I haven’t tasted too much better. I highly recommend you to track it down and try for yourself; as of this writing, Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen is available on Tuesdays at Coliseum Center Building 6, Wednesdays at Carmel Crossing office park at 51 and Johnston Road, and Thursdays at 5032 Parkway Plaza (near the Farmer’s Market off Yorkmont). (Update: apparently they are also at some Sizzlin’ Saturdays at the same lot that hosts Food Truck Friday – Camden at Park Avenue in Southend)

Speedy: Monk – I’ve read the entire review and I must say I’m skeptical. I’ve never sampled the food at Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen, but I just find it hard to fathom that it’s better than current Charlotte favorite Midwood Smokehouse. (Editor’s note: Speedy is not on board with the food truck revolution)

Rudy: In Texas I have seen some great barbecue come from food trucks (i.e. Franklin’s started in a truck). But the problem I have with them is, where is the pit and how are they cooking the meat? The two best barbecue trucks in Austin have permanent locations, so they have their pits right there, but what about this one that drives around between locations? Do they cook it at a pit located at one of their other restaurants and then just serve it from the truck? I’ll be interested to hear Speedy’s review to see if Boone’s stands up.

Monk: Good questions, and ones I’ve actually been thinking about since last week. Could Boone’s simply be a rebranded Queen City Q food truck with food that he cooks at the restaurant, or has he really started off on his own? The food and sauces are similar (down to the names in some cases), but I want to believe that the meat was higher quality barbecue than the restaurant – I don’t recall the meat at Queen City Q having this much smoke. Again, I have to be careful that I’m not looking at it through food truck-colored glasses. I guess I could ask next time I go…

Speedy: Speaking of Midwood Smokehouse, I think it’s time to go re-review it. Our original review is nearly two years old, and very early in our lives as Barbecue Bros (I mean we ordered smoked turkey for Chrissakes). I think I’ve grown to love it even more since that time.

Out of respect for our bro-ness, I have to respect this review and believe that Boone’s is something special, but I will be on the lookout for this truck in order to verify the review sample some of that ‘cue.

Monk: That’s fair, and maybe if you are ever in Charlotte during the week and can take some time off for lunch we can check it out. As for Midwood Smokehouse, I’ve been thinking a re-review of it was in order anyways. I mean, c’mon – smoked turkey!?!? Yeesh.

Speedy: So then it’s settled, a re-review of Midwood Smokehouse is in order. A gentleman’s agreement…

Monk and Speedy: Huzzah!

Ratings:
Pork – 4.5 hogs
Brisket – 4 hogs
Sausage – 4 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4.5 Hogs

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Linkdown: 4/2/14

The NC ‘Cuegrass Festival will take place April 26 in Raleigh outside of The Pit

The latest update on The Great NC BBQ Map includes the fact that the map will eventually be able for purchase outside of the Kickstarter campaign; sign up on the mailing list to know exactly when

– Restaurateurs from Denver, NC will start selling eastern-style barbecue next month at a stand in downtown Belmont

– An update on the latest barbecue restaurants in the Triangle, including Ed Mitchell’s ‘Que which is set to open April 9

– Rocky Top BBQ Co. out of Monroe, NC will be representing NC in the upcoming season of BBQ Pitmasters, which starts April 12 (via bbqboard)

– Could Charlotte’s best barbecue come from a food truck? Restaurant Traffic seems to think so, specifically from Boone’s Bar-B-Que:

– BBQ is taking on Fried Chicken while Cheerwine is against Sweet Tea in this Southern Food Bracket (aka Mason-Dixon Madness)

– The latest brewdog at JJ’s Red Hots in Charlotte is a “BeerBQ” dog by Triple C Brewing

You reallllly don’t want to miss this one. Triple C brought in the big guns with ‘BeerBQ’. It starts with a big ass pork butt smoked and shredded to perfection. Then topped with a Smoked Amber BBQ sauce and finished with battered and deep fried onion pieces.  That is all. This one really doesn’t need any further explanation.

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