Linkdown: 7/27/22

Native News

Phar Mill Brewing and BBQ in Harrisburg has an opening date for their downtown Concord location

Pitmaster Stuart Henderson from Noble Smoke captured in action

Lawyer Duane Bryant has opened DK Bones Barbeque in High Point in the middle of a food dessert

Lechon Latin BBQ makes Eater Carolinas’ latest Heatmap

Spectrum 1 checks in on Barvecue

Non-Native News

King BBQ from the owners of Jackrabbit Filly will offer “Chinese-style barbecue with a heavy influence of North Carolina”

World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason premiered on National Geographic this past Monday and the first episode takes place in Charleston and features visits to Rodney Scott’s BBQ and Lewis Barbecue as well as Moe cooking at last year’s Holy Smokes BBQ Festival

Congrats to Palmira BBQ on one year

Robert Moss reviews Palmira BBQ for the Charleston Post and Courier

Scotty’s Whole Hog Barbecue, which smokes eastern NC whole hog, is featured in this feature on Minnesota barbecue from Texas Monthly

Adrian Miller checks in on Jones BBQ for what is likely the last time in the Jones sisters era

BBQuest is coming back for a third season

Congrats to Panther City BBQ on their recent Guinness World Record

Lancaster’s Bar-B-Que – Huntersville, NC

Name: Lancaster’s Bar-B-Que
Date: 7/14/22
Address: 9230 Beatties Ford Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078
Order: Eastern style BBQ pork and sliced brisket with slaw, Brunswick stew and hush puppies (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: My Charlotte revisit continues this week with Lancaster’s Bar-B-Que in Huntersville. Lancaster’s first location is 20 miles away in Mooresville (aka “Race City USA”) where the original was opened in 1986 but before being moved to the current location in 1992. This Huntersville location opened in 2006 in the historic Puckett’s Gas Station & General Store. With the original location having opened in 1986, I believe that makes it one of the oldest barbecue restaurants in the Charlotte area along with Bubba’s Barbecue which also opened in 1986 in the old Bill Spoon’s Barbecue location before moving to its current location on Sunset Road.

I made my first visit back since 2014, and it appears they toned down the NASCAR decor as part of a 2014 facelift some time after my visit.

As for the barbecue, it was lean, not smoky, and coarsely chopped. It had some pepper flakes but no vinegar unless you add in the vinegar pepper table sauce. Does that make it eastern style as they advertise? They certainly don’t smoke a whole hog and they cook on a gasser with added wood according to my trusty NC BBQ Map (RIP EDIA Maps, the maker of it) .

I did order a second meat on this day and since fried chicken would have taken 30 minutes to fry (per the waitress), I bravely tried their brisket. It came out thinly sliced, finished on the grill, and doused in a sweet sauce. No bueno.

The hush puppies came in a manageable number in small cardboard tray and was easily the best part of the meal. The Brunswick stew was tasty although I have a hankering that veggies were frozen. The mustard slaw was reminiscent of Bill Spoon’s Barbecue.

I should also mention that Lancaster’s had some controversy in 2018 when they were sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because of alleged racial discrimination against a former employee. That employee worked at the Mooresville location but I haven’t found any resolution to that case in my research.

So where does that leave Lancaster’s Bar-B-Que? The rest of the menu is very much a Southern food restaurant with wings, burgers, fish camp fare like fried fish and shrimp, and on that criteria perhaps its more successful. In terms of barbecue, between its lackluster cue and potentially problematic workplace issues you can continue to look elsewhere.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Brisket – 1.5 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 2 Hogs

Linkdown: 7/20/22

Featured

Monk: A fairly wide-ranging state of NC barbecue from News & Observer writer Drew Jackson, who has been very ably covering the barbecue scene in and around Raleigh for the past few years.

Despite the invasive species of brisket coming into the state, there are still a number of places clinging to the NC barbecue tradition, be that eastern whole hog or Lexington-style shoulders (though this story focuses on places east of Durham. Wyatt Dickson, Matt Register, Ronald House (night pitmaster at B’s Barbecue), and Ryan Mitchell are all quoted in the story but of course Sam Jones has the money quote:

“The hard lines that used to exist, that barbecue was either this or it’s not barbecue — that’s over. It used to be, for people in North Carolina, it was either whole hog, or it ain’t (expletive). For 10 million Texans, it’s brisket. As times go on and we’re so much more transient as a society, those lines are blurred.”

Sam Jones

Read more at the link:

Native News

Lewis Donald is no longer involved with Dish and will be focusing his efforts on Sweet Lew’s BBQ and the Carolina Barbecue Festival going forward

Axios Raleigh releases their Triangle barbecue list

Barbecue Center in Lexington is closing for a week later this month for some hard earned rest and relaxation, so plan accordingly

Hillsborough’s Hog Day festival is the oldest barbecue festival in Orange County and this year will officially be part of the Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship

Jon G’s makes the Yelp Charlotte Top 25 Places to Eat along with…JD’s Smokehouse in Rutherford College near Morganton?

A behind-the-scenes follow-up to Jeremy Markovich’s story on B’s Barbecue in Our State Magazine from 2016

Non-Native News

A couple of recent stories where Adrian Miller was interviewed:

Little Pigs BBQ is on this Eater essential restaurants list for Myrtle Beach

Feges BBQ hosted Premier League champions (ugh) Man City on their pre-season US tour

Barbecue sauce beer? Barbecue sauce beer.

Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q – Charlotte, NC

Name: Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q
Date: 7/9/22
Location: 5121 Trojan Drive, Charlotte, North Carolina 28278
Order: Bar-B-Q platter with hush puppies, cole slaw, and potato salad (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Monk: Living in Raleigh during my college years at NC State, whenever we headed east on I-40 towards the coast, we tended to hit up the Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q in Garner on the way out or back home. However, I moved to Charlotte in early 2005 so the last time I had actually gone to any Smithfield’s was likely in fall 2004; it had been quite some time. Smithfield’s (not related to Smithfield Foods, the Chinese-owned pork producer and food-processing company out of Virginia) has been around for 40 years and since those days in the early 2000’s it has grown to 40 franchise stores and has expanded slightly west into North Carolina’s Piedmont. And I do mean slightly – their sole location in southwest Charlotte near the outlet malls is their farthest store west by a good bit with their nearest Piedmont location in Greensboro or Rockingham.

I recently visited that location headed west towards the mountains on my way out of town. While I was tempted by the titular fried chicken, I went with a bar-b-q platter and kept it simple with their standard order: hush puppies, cole slaw, and potato salad.

And you know what? The barbecue, while surely mass-produced on a huge scale, did the trick. Sure, it doesn’t have a ton of smoke, but it tasted fresh and was chopped nicely. Adding the vinegar sauce and/or Texas Pete enhances it but isn’t necessary.

The hush puppies were some of the better fast casual hush puppies, and I felt bad tossing some in the trash after I filled up (though I did briefly consider bringing them in the car with me, though that would have meant throwing them away an hour down the road). While I didn’t regret going with potato salad over French fries, after a few bites I had my fill.

In a pinch, stopping at one of many Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q across the state will certainly do, and is probably your best bet for chain barbecue ahead of Cook Out or Jim ‘N Nick’s. Oddly, I probably received the most feedback of any post on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter so people seem to feel strongly about them (good or bad) for whatever reason. Next time though, I’ll probably go for a fried chicken thigh in addition to the barbecue.

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