Southern Living Magazine, their barbecue editor Robert Moss, Home Team BBQ, and Swig & Swine recently announced the Holy Smokes barbecue festival in Charleston this November. The pitmasters are still to be announced, but expect folks from South Carolina, California, Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Texas are expected to be in attendance. Here’s hoping it becomes a fixture for years to come.
Congrats to Lyttle Bridges Cabiness of Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby for her induction into the Barbecue Hall of Fame
Based on the book of the same name by Jessica B. Harris, “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” examines the contributions of African American cooking to today’s modern cuisine. The series is four episodes, each lasting roughly an hour, and while the fourth episode focuses on barbecue I won’t be skipping straight to it. This is definitely a series I want to watch as its presented in its entirety.
“High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” is available to watch now on Netflix.
This is so cool to see: Jon G’s Barbecue getting the highest of praise from the BBQ Snob himself, Daniel Vaughn; Prime Barbecue and Noble Smoke also get mentions for their brisket
Name: Smoke Show BBQ (pop-up at Crown Station) Order: 1/2 lb brisket, 4 St. Louis cut rib, 1/4 chicken, potato salad, cole slaw, mac and cheese, baked, beans, banana pudding (link to menu) Pricing: $$
Monk: Ever keeping my eye on new barbecue restaurants or pop-ups in Charlotte, I was caught off guard by a recent Charlotte Magazine article listing 4 pop-ups to know including one Smoke Show BBQ. The pop-up is owned and run by Brandon Belfer, a chef who attended Johnson & Wales culinary school in Charlotte and who according to that article has worked for a lot of great chefs and kitchens in Charlotte including The Stanley with Paul Verica, The Crunkleton, The Asbury under former chef Matthew Krenz and current chef Mike Long, and Kindred and Hello, Sailor under Joe Kindred and Craig Diehl.
Belfer is originally from the town of Pleasanton outside San Antonio, so he grew up around Texas barbecue and that is his focus for Smoke Show. Every 2 weeks or so, he runs his pop-up from a literal pop-up tailgating tent in the parking lot at Crown Station in NoDa (just around the corner from the former Monk residence).
And Belfer’s barbecue shows some promise but did have some issues on this day. The Creekstone brisket had a nice bark but had some issues with consistency and texture and could have used a little more trimming of the fat cap. Brandon eventually introduced himself and mentioned he was breaking in a new smoker. On top of that, for this cook he was delivered larger-than-expected briskets (16 pounds vs. his normal 12 pounders). I could tell those variables affected this particular cook but as I mentioned earlier, there is promise.
The St. Louis cut ribs were best part of the meal and had some real nice flavor, even if the ribs weren’t the meatiest. The smoked chicken was a solid option as well but probably could have benefitted from some direct heat to crisp up the skin (I’m assuming it was smoked on an offset like the rest of the meats but could be mistaken there). Beef ribs were a special, and while I didn’t order on this go round I’ll get to it eventually.
All of the sides were well made and showed off the culinary skill of Belfer; this day we got mac and cheese, potato salad, baked beans, and cole slaw. And to top off the meal, the banana pudding with some sort of caramelized crumble topping was awesome. I’ll be ordering that ‘naner pudding every time I come back.
Smoke Show BBQ is well worth keeping an eye on as a new player in the Charlotte barbecue scene, and I look forward to giving them another shot in a few months.
Mr. Barbecue re-opened last month after two years of closure due to a fire, but thankfully owner Jimmy Carros never considered either a) closing or b) not rebuilding the wood-burning smoke pits. To quote him from the Eater story below:
“The thought never really entered my mind,” Carros said. … “The flavor that you get from the wood-burning pits is not easily matched,” he explained. “I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I’m not sure I can do it.”