Linkdown: 2/3/21

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Shortly after my first visit to Mr. Barbecue in Winston-Salem in March of 2019 (which I greatly enjoyed), a spark caught fire in the pit house and nearly burned the entire restaurant down. Last I had heard, it was on track for a May 2020 opening and brick was being laid in the smokehouse but clearly that didn’t happen as scheduled (which can be excused during a pandemic, of course). Thankfully, the silence was not a bad omen as WXII is reporting that Mr. Barbecue will reopen later this month.

This will be one in the win column for classic, wood-fired NC barbecue joints, a sometimes rare occurrence these days. Of course, Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro came back from the dead last year under new ownership and there are a host of new or announced restaurants that are smoking barbecue the old fashioned way (most of which seem to be in the greater Raleigh area). But more often than not, these older joints are closing (see Allen & Son, Bill Spoon’s, Bill Ellis Barbecue, The Original Q Shack, among others). But not today, Satan. Not today.

Now, just cross your fingers and toes until late February…

Native News

Sam Jones BBQ has finally opened in Raleigh and is currently in a “soft open” mode

Lawrence Barbecue is hosting a Mardi Gras Party on February 16

More on Lagoon, the sister “leisure bar” to Lawrence Barbecue

Bill Ellis Barbecue, which closed 2 years ago, is going on the auction block as part of a parcel of land in Wilson

Another delay for The Preserve; the pop-up from Ed and Ryan Mitchell has been pushed back to March 5 from late January

Big Mike’s BBQ is opening a location in downtown Cary after expanding to Apex last year

Make your own Cheerwine barbecue sauce with Cheerwine syrup

Non-Native News

Smokejack in Alpharetta, GA is a “must-visit” according to The BBQ Review

Moe Cason has announced his plans for a barbecue restaurant in Des Moines, IA, and pulls no punches when it comes to other restaurants in the area

How Franklin Barbecue has adapted to barbecue during a pandemic

Linkdown: 6/3/15

– Remember the Carolina-style barbecue joint in SF, Rusty’s Southern? Well there, “barbecue doctrine gives way to what simply tastes right” as they do their variations on NC and SC style barbecue and sauces

– EDIA, Inc, the folks behind The Great NC Barbecue Map, collaborate with Garden & Gun Magazine on 5 lesser-known NC barbecue joints

– This DC-area blog has a breakdown of the different spots around DC to try various styles of barbecue

– Red Hot & Blue opened its latest chain restaurant in Cary in early May

– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits Couch’s Barbecue in Ooltewah, TN for the second time and reiterates that its worth a stop, even if the style of barbecue is a little unique

– Robert Moss goes in deep on Central Texas sausage in his latest post for Southern Living

– Some (but not all) details on Looking Ahead to the Past BBQ, a cool sounding barbecue event around Charlotte on June 14; the location has yet to be disclosed:

The Relish Carolina event will include outdoor cooking by chef Jim Noble and his Noble Food & Pursuits team, wine pairings by Eric Solomon of European Cellars, and involvement from Dan Huntley of Dan the Pig Man Barbecue, Free Range Brewing, Haunt Bar and Unknown Brewing. Some of the proceeds will benefit The Kings Kitchen and Bakery, owned by Noble, which supports homeless programs in Charlotte.

Linkdown: 1/14/15

– Barbecue Bros fave Midwood Smokehouse is adding a Ballantyne location so that folks in suburbia can have good barbecue too; it will also allow them to expand their catering operations with the space’s larger kitchen

– Charlotte Observer restaurant critic checks out The Improper Pig and has mixed reviews

The place’s selection of sauces also include a sweet/spicy traditional, an Eastern-style and a mustard one, plus versions dubbed Korean, Thai and teriyaki. You’ll want to try them, and use at least one liberally. A half chicken, smoked, had more moisture than the pork, though not much more flavor. Wings were OK, and go for $10 a pound, in our case eight wings.

– Over in the Triangle, Big Mike’s Brew N Que opens in Cary; half barbecue restaurant, half bottle shop

– Robert Moss breaks down the unique regional variations of brunswick stew

– Speaking of which, in his latest column he moves away from exploring certain dishes to reviewing a barbecue joint; first up, its B’s Cracklin BBQ in Savannah, who only opened last October but is cooking heritage breed hogs over all types of wood

– Steve Raichlen predicts barbecue trends in 2015

The Eater National 38 includes Franklin Barbecue and Gunshow in Atlanta, which serves whole hog barbecue

– Daniel Vaughn’s most underrated barbecue meats and sides in Austin

– Useful NC infographic

– King’s in Kinston gets the Our State Carolina ‘Cue treatment

City Barbeque – Cary, NC

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Name
: City Barbeque
Date: 11/14/14 and 1/7/15
Address: 1305 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, NC 27511
Order: Lil City (Combo plate with pork and brisket), gumbo and hushpuppies (link to menu)
Price: $10

Speedy: Look – I know City Barbeque is a small chain (though they don’t franchise) and I know they use a gasser (though it is a Southern Pride), but I had a hankering for ‘cue one day and I had driven past this place before, so I decided to stop in. And I’m glad I did.

City Barbeque sits as a stand alone building in a good sized shopping center. It’s Southern Pride smoker is attached to the building, such that the wood is put in from the outside, but there’s a door on the smoker inside the building as well. The restaurant has a modern feel. You order at the counter, and the meat is then cut or pulled and you take your seat. The order method makes it seem like it’s trying to be old school, but it kind of falls flat on that aspect. It’s not a bad atmosphere, per se, but not my fav.

City serves all kinds of ‘cue – pork, brisket, sausage, chicken, turkey, and ribs. It definitely has a newer feel. Both times I’ve been, I’ve avoided the ribs (as I’ve been in business-wear) and opted for an off-menu (but often ordered) Lil City, which is a half portion of brisket and half portion of pulled pork. I’ve had three sides total in two trips – the gumbo (never before seen as a ‘cue side), hush puppies, and vinegar slaw.

The pork has a really nice bark and is pretty tender. I could use a little more smoke, but the flavor is there. There is a station with several sauces available (kind of like the salsa bar at Moe’s), one of which is a vinegar sauce. I think adding a bit of this enhances the flavor, but overall, the pork is good.

The brisket, I think, is a little bit better. It is also plenty tender with great bark. There might be slightly too much tug, but I’m nitpicking a bit. I also think it could use a little more pepper in the rub to give a little more bit to the bark, but overall, I think it’s a very good brisket – especially for North Carolina.

The sides are top notch. The hush puppies are perfect. The slaw, which contains carrots and peppers in addition to the cabbage, is strong, and the gumbo is great (note: I’m a sucker for gumbo at all times, so having it available as a side here is a huge bonus). Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the sides.

Monk: Hmm…I’m not sure how I feel about gumbo at a barbecue place, but at least it was good. Sounds like City Barbeque (a chain started in Ohio) is worth a try next time I’m with all of the other relocated yanks in Cary.

Speedy: I definitely want to go back some time for dinner to check out both the ribs and the sausage, but overall, City Barbeque is a really good meal. It doesn’t have the down home feel of the old-timey ‘cue joints, and it does use a gas smoker instead of a stick burner, but these guys understand how to smoke meat. I’ll definitely be back.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 2 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Brisket – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 3.5 Hogs
City Barbeque on Urbanspoon

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