Linkdown: 2/1/23 – The Barbecue in a Bowl Edition

Featured

Monk: The second annual Carolina BBQ Festival is once again bringing some of the best and brightest pitmasters to the Queen City in early May. Lewis Donald has invited many of the same pitmasters from last year’s festival and added a few new faces: Jake Wood of Lawrence Barbecue, Keith Henning of Black Powder Smokehouse, Michael Letchworth of Sam Jones BBQ, and Tank Jackson of Holy City Hog.

The full list of pitmasters and chefs:

Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 10th. More information here.

Native News

Backyard BBQ Pit has received nearly $50,000 from its GoFundMe campaign and even got new kitchen appliances donated by an angel donor; now they are paying it forward to other local small businesses

It’s Brunswick stew season

In sad news, Clyde Cooper’s daughter Joyce recently passed but the occasion brought together is grandchildren and great grandchildren

Sweet’s Turkey BBQ is a Greensboro food truck serving chopped turkey barbecue, a healthier alternative to pork and beef

Midwood Smokehouse‘s Raleigh location has gotten their Oyler

Non-Native News

The James Beard semi-finalists were announced last week and pitmasters from Moo’s Craft Barbecue in LA, Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta, Tropical Smokehouse in West Palm Beach, Distant Relatives and KG BBQ in Austin, Goldee’s in Fort Worth, Curry Boys BBQ in San Antonio, Gatlin’s BBQ in Houston, and Burnt Bean in Seguin make the list

Charleston’s Swig & Swine BBQ is expanding to Myrtle Beach

Adrian Miller’s field guide to US barbecue

Bill Murray recently enjoyed a beef rib at Heritage Barbecue

30 pitmasters will be in Greenville, SC for Southern Roots: A BBQ Reunion on April 15

Episode 3 of Peacock’s “Poker Face” is brisket-focused and actually gets the specifics mostly right

Bubba’s Barbecue Has Reopened After 2+ Years Closure

Name: Bubba’s Barbecue
Date: 1/5/23
Address: 4400 Sunset Rd, Charlotte, NC 28216
Order: Chopped pork plate with slaw, green beans, hush puppies, and sweet tea (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: Remembering that Bubba’s Barbecue quietly reopened late last year (with an event quieter reopening in the summer), I recently made my way there for lunch on a weekday. This would be my first meal there in 9 years at the 37 year old restaurant.

After placing my order, I was greeted by a light lunch crowd of 3 other tables between the two large dining rooms. Before I could sit down from getting my drink, my food was brought out and placed on the yellow checked table cloth. While Bubba’s had these same table cloths the last time I visited in 2013, I always think of the recently departed Spoon’s Barbecue, which they of course share a lineage with.

Speaking of which, a quick detour for some Charlotte barbecue history. A barbecue restaurant first opened in 1963 as “Jackson and Spoon’s Barbecue” (later just “Spoon’s Barbecue”) on South Boulevard. In 1987, owner Ralph “Bubba” Miller purchased the restaurant and the original recipes. He later renamed the restaurant to “Bubba’s Barbecue” and a few years later moved it to it’s current location on Sunset Road, where it has been serving Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue since 1994. The Spoon family, meanwhile, opened “Bill Spoon’s Barbecue” on South Boulevard in the previous location for Bubba’s until they closed in fall 2020.

The pork was unfortunately just slightly above average. The texture was a bit stringy and it lacked any noticeable smoke. The branded table vinegar sauce did help, as did the addition of their slaw. This unique mustard-based slaw was another similarity between Bubba’s and Spoon’s.

The hush puppies were fresh but the green beans tasted out of a can.

While Bubba’s Barbecue will not become my go-to lunch barbecue spot, with most classic barbecue restaurants seem to be closing these days, it’s great to have one reopen. Give Bubba’s a try if you are in north Charlotte.

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

Charlotte Barbecue News from the Final Months of 2022

Monk: The biggest news from a mostly quiet past three months was the reopening of Bubba’s Barbecue in north Charlotte after 2+ years closure due to the pandemic. It technically opened over the summer, but that was a quiet reopening and it wasn’t publicized until October.

As noted in the article linked below, the restaurant first opened in 1963 as Jackson and Spoon’s Barbecue (later just Spoon’s Barbecue) on South Boulevard. In 1987, owner Ralph Miller purchased the restaurant and the original recipes. He later renamed the restaurant Bubba’s Barbecue and moved it to Sunset Road, where it has been serving Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue since 1994.

I’ll have a report back in a few weeks, but in the meantime it’s good to have a classic barbecue restaurant back in operation.

October

10/7 Bubba’s Barbecue quietly reopened over the summer, reports the Charlotte Observer

10/9 Jon G’s Barbecue collaborates with Lawrence Barbecue on a taco pop-up in Raleigh at Trophy Brewing

10/11 Mac’s Speed Shop’s latest location in Concord will also feature live music

10/18 Local coverage from WSOC TV on Phar Mill Brewing & BBQ‘s expansion into Concord

10/23 Courtney’s BBQ in nearby Clover opened a brewery that is open every day the restaurant is

November

11/7 The Smoke Pit wins Best Soup for its Smoked Chicken and Dumplings in the 17th Annual Soup Sampling by Cabarrus County’s Meals on Wheels

11/17 Jon G’s Barbecue collaborated with Virtuoso Bread in Waxhaw by smoking a bag of rye berries for 4 hours “in a way that the flavor would come out gentle and not too intrusive”

11/30 The NC F&B Podcast publishes its podcast visit to Jon G’s Barbecue

December

12/19 Midwood Smokehouse’s Raleigh location (opening this month) will have some different items than their current stores, including what looks to be a crunchwrap-type item

12/28 Mac’s Speed Shop has new menu items until the end of February, including this beef rib

Our Favorite Posts from 2022

Monk: 2022 marked the ten year anniversary of the blog and its gone by in a flash. We’re going to take the rest of the year off in order to come out strong in 2023, but before we do we want to 1) wish you all a happy holidays and 2) spotlight one last time some of our favorite original content from 2022.

Without further ado…

Original Content

My summer kicked off with a weekly recap of all 8 episodes of the third season of “BBQ Brawl.” While I was happy to get through those two months mostly unscathed, I also checked out a few other barbecue streaming shows throughout the year featuring notable barbecue personalities like Michael Symon’s “BBQ USA,” “World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason,” and the third season of “BBQuest” which added Hardcore Carnivore’s Jess Pryles as a co-host.

We’ve done some updating of our Lexington rankings sadly due to closures but I already know I need to get back to Lexington to try Cafe 71 Smoke House BBQ, which opened this fall in the old Rick’s Smokehouse space.

I also am trying a new post format with the “best barbecue within an hour of [insert major city here].” I’ve started with Charlotte but will work on posts for both Raleigh as well as the eastern part of the state.

We also went to a few festivals this year! May was a busy month in Charlotte with both the Smoke & Grapes event at the Charlotte Wine & Food Festival as well as the successful first annual Carolina BBQ Festival hosted by Lewis Donald of Sweet Lew’s BBQ.

In November, I went to Charleston for the second annual Holy Smokes Barbecue Festival and had a grand time in the lowcountry.

I can’t wait to see what festivals I’ll make it to in 2023.

Reviews

We’re up to 327 reviews on the site now, and in 2022 we added 23 more. Not quite our most productive year, but still an average of nearly 2 per month.

Rudy got to finally try Noble Smoke in Charlotte in February, and left pretty impressed with a 4.5 hog review.

Speedy loved pretty much everything about the relatively new Bringle’s Smoking Oasis in Nashville, from the space to the bar to of course the food (in particular the beef rib and the brisket). Another 4.5 hog meal.

But from the looks of it, Speedy’s favorite meal of the year was at Prime Barbecue in Knightdale when he was back in North Carolina this summer. He gave it our prestigious 5 hog rating, the first since our most recent Jon G’s Barbecue review from 2021.

I got in on the 4.5 hog action with a couple of joints in the Carolinas: Lawrence Barbecue in Durham and Palmira BBQ in Charleston. At Lawrence, in addition to the fun atmosphere at Boxyard RTP and the Lawrence Barbecue-inspired beer from Trophy Brewing, the pork and brisket were highlights of the meal. At Palmira, I got to chat with owner and pitmaster Hector Garate and both the whole hog barbecue and hash and rice shone through.

And last but not least, I can’t forget my mini whole hog barbecue tour in eastern North Carolina in the spring, where I visited B’s Barbecue, Skylight Inn, and the original location of Sam Jones BBQ.

I did a brief writeup for The Smoke Sheet, which a version of showed up on the site as well.

With that, the 2022 posts are done for the year. But we’ll be back in January with all new content.

Happy Holidays and see you all in 2023!