Linkdown: 6/14/17

– The latest in the News & Observer Good Eatin’ series is a look at B’s Barbecue in Greenville

At some point in the late ’80s, the road on the side of the restaurant took on its name, but spelled “B’s Barbeque Road” with a “q.” To little surprise, the sign has gone missing several times. B’s Barbeque Road is the first left turn when coming into Greenville from the west on U.S. 264.

– City Barbeque opens its University location June 19 with a grand opening party on June 24

– The NC Blueberry Festival BBQ Cookoff, part of the Whole Hog Barbecue Series, is this weekend in Burgaw

– Bacon-wrapped bacon:

– Marie, Let’s Eat! finds some decent barbecue in Chattanooga in Big Jeff Barbeque

– Zagat’s and The Huffington Post has 12 pitmasters you need to know as part of their BBQ Nation microsite

– The Chicago Tribune is updating daily in June for 30 days of Chicago barbecue

– Robert Moss will be part of a hash panel in Greenwood, SC on July 7

The making of kettle-cooked hash is a culinary tradition unique to the Palmetto State, according to food and drink writer and culinary historian, Robert F. Moss.

“It’s something you can only get in South Carolina,” Moss said. “It’s one of the great barbecue stews. It’s sort of like a really delicious, thick, slow-simmered meat gravy.

“It really developed in South Carolina as part of fall hog-killing time, as a way to use up all the pieces and parts of the hog,” Moss added.

– SC is home to 4 different barbecue sauces: here’s recipes for each

– Happy belated Bojangles Day, you guys!

City Barbeque – Charlotte, NC

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Name: City Barbeque
Date: 5/6/17
Address: 11212 Providence Rd W, Charlotte, NC 28277
Order: Judge’s Sampler (pulled pork, brisket, 1/2 slab ribs, and 1/4 chicken) with mac and cheese, collard greens, hush puppies, and two beers (link to menu)
Price: $12 (the $26.99 judges platter was covered but did not affect my review in any way)

Monk: City Barbeque is an Ohio-based chain that in the past 2 years has begun to make inroads into NC and even more recently, Charlotte. The Ballantyne location was the first in the area to open in 2016, and since then a Matthews location has opened with a University location on the way later this year. Speedy had previously checked out the Cary location a few years back and came away fairly impressed, so I knew to expect a fast casual set up with decent barbecue from a gas-assisted wood smoker and scratch made sides. 

For the first Charlotte location, I was invited to check it out and provided a gift card for a free Judge’s Sampler which allowed me to check out 4 of the meats. Mrs. Monk and I got an extra side of hush puppies and a couple of beers on top of it, plus a kids meal for the Monk-ette. All in all, the amount of food we got ended up providing more than enough for 3 total adult meals, so the portion sizes are nice.

The pork and brisket were in small portions next to each other on the tray and were so hard to distinguish between each other that at first glance to the point where I wasn’t sure that we had gotten any brisket at all (we were initially missing our order of hush puppies so it wasn’t too far fetched). Though I will say the folks at City Barbeque were nice enough to provide us extra brisket even though clearly it was a mistake on our end. As for the meat, both were decently smokey. The pork was moist and was nicely accentuated by the spicy vinegar sauce on the table. The brisket was haphazardly sliced and came across as chopped in texture – which led to our mistake in the first place – but was tasty nonetheless.

I found the half slab of ribs to be the best meat of the meal. The heavily-applied rub created a dark, flavorful bark on the ribs and the meat pulled away from the bone nicely. I would go for these ribs here again for sure.

Chicken is not a smoked meat I normally go for (and I didn’t think to substitute it out on this visit) but I will say that it was pretty good. You could do a lot worse if that is the meat you prefer at a barbecue restaurant.

Mrs. Monk was disappointed that the mac and cheese was not baked (she’s a bit of a snob that way) and while I didn’t mind that fact as much as she did, I could see her point. The collards had plenty of pulled pork and were pretty good. The corn bread and Texas toast that came with the sampler were actually quite good but the hush puppies were the best sides we had. Needless to say, we were fine on carbs for the rest of the day (and weekend for that matter).

When it opens, the University location will be pretty convenient to my work and I wouldn’t have to be convinced too hard to go there for lunch. In terms of chains I’ve had, City Barbeque are on par with Jim ‘N Nick’s and way above Moe’s Bar-B-Que.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3 hogs
Pork – 3.5 hogs
Brisket – 3.5 hogs
Ribs – 3.5 hogs
Chicken – 3 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs

Linkdown: 3/1/17

– NC barbecue legend Bill Ellis has passed away at the age of 83

Ellis was known as a barbecue missionary, carrying the gospel of Eastern North Carolina barbecued pork from coast to coast, and his restaurant was a barbecue mecca.

– His operation was apparently known as the “Microsoft of Barbecue”

– The Wilson Times honored Ellis on their front page yesterday

– City Barbeque has opened its second Charlotte-area location in Matthews as of this past Monday with a grand opening this Saturday; I’ve still yet to check out the Ballantyne location but plan to soon as Speedy had a good impression of the Cary location

– Sauceman’s will be smoking two whole hogs at Lenny Boy Brewing’s patio release party on March 11; you get one free plate when you purchase a 22oz. beer of  SouthEnd MAAgic Yogi, a Belgian Ale brewed with Jasimine Tea & Lemons.

– Rick Bayless details how live fire cooking has influenced him

– The Smoking Ho has photos from The Sausage Kings of Austin Festival in February

– On Jess Pryles, the Austrialian-born now-Austin native

– The latest barbecue stops for Marie, Let’s Eat! are Uncle Gus’s Mountain Pit Bar-B-Que in Decatur, TN and a couple of joints north of Chattanooga

– From Daniel Vaughn and Robert Moss:

Linkdown: 8/3/16

– Congratulations to Buxton Hall on being named one of Bon Appétit’s 50 Best New Restaurants (full list here)

– Washington Post critic Jim Shahin visits the barbecue scene in Charleston and calls it “the future of barbecue”

– Extra Crispy has a new bacon critic and he leans on two folks for advice heading into the job: Texas Monthly’s barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn and the Denver Post’s cannabis critic Jake Browne

– The Raleigh News & Observer is doing a “Best-Kept Secrets” series of articles and has one on barbecue

– The story of a “cowboy barbecue” at the Fortuna Cowboy Rodeo in California

– While Grant and his family moved to Chattanooga a few weeks back, his impressive backlog of stories about Atlanta-area restaurants is just now winding down; as he now shifts his focus to his new home, he looks back on his favorite Atlanta restaurants, including two barbecue joints: Old Brick Pit and Heirloom Market

– The Smoking Ho joined the Chicago-based Man Meat BBQ podcast for a conversation recently

– City Barbeque is opening their first Charlotte-area restaurant later this month; check out Speedy’s review of the Cary location here

– Beer and barbecue, pt 1

– Beer and barbecue, pt 2

– A Toronto Star travel writer visits Picnic in Durham and calls it a “bellwether for social change”

House Bill 2 (a.k.a. HB2, a.k.a. “the bathroom law”) exploded out of nowhere in March. Dickson promptly ordered new bathroom signage showing Picnic’s disdain for the state government edict that people must go to washrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate.

Thing is, the law only applies to public buildings and schools, not private businesses. North Carolina, he says, has a “proud tradition of being a progressive Southern state,” and HB2 is not a true reflection of it.

Linkdown: 2/25/15

– The chapter on Midwood Smokehouse from Marie, Let’s Eat! was posted earlier this week (our photos from the meet up here); he also checked out Mac’s Speed Shop during his Charlotte-area travels in January

– More on Smoke Modern Barbeque’s second location in Ballantyne

– A review of Uncle J’s BBQ and Restaurant in Kings Mountain from the Gaston Gazette

Expansion into the South is a sign of City Barbeque’s success; Speedy checked out their Cary location a few weeks back and thought it was decent

– Could Aaron Franklin actually win a James Beard Award?

– Did you know a barbecue pork sandwich chain used to dominate Texas and the rest of the south?

– Lexington makes the list on Thrillist’s list of best barbecue cities in the US

– Lockhart also makes the list at #3, and TMBBQ has a timeline of the city’s barbecue

– Is chicken mull having a moment? First a post on The Daily South, then another on Serious Eats (granted, both by Robert Moss), now Garden and Gun has a recipe

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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Linkdown: 11/26/14

– The Pit beats out NC State University in The Triangle Business Journal’s Battle of the Brands for Reader’s Choice

– Downtown Charleston is getting yet another barbecue joint, this time with Irish pub Egan & Sons coming back as a barbecue restaurant (under a new name) complete with a new smokehouse to be built out back

– I missed this back in the summer, but Home Team BBQ (currently with Sullivan’s Island and West Ashley locations) is also expanding to downtown Charleston

– Billy Durney, pitmaster of Hometown Barbecue in New York, to consult on a Los Angeles barbecue restaurant for Mendocino Farms

– Boone’s Bar-B-Que sauces are now available at Savory Spice Shop in Charlotte

– Ohio-based barbecue chain City Barbeque plans to open another triangle location; in addition to their Cary location they are opening a location at Southpoint Mall in Durham

– Jim ‘N Nicks and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que are forming a partnership for the purest of barbecue ideals – “to leverage their buying power, consolidate labor costs and grow both companies”

– A flattering review of the Flat Rock Wood Room, just outside of Asheville

As for what comes out of that 250-degree wood-fired pit, well, I can only gush. Ordering a half rack of their St. Louis style ribs, I carefully narrowed my sides down to wood-smoked mac and cheese and collard greens. While the mac and cheese was plenty cheesy, it proved to be fairly standard with minimal wood smoke. The collards, on the other hand, had plenty of flavor and a slight sweetness.

– Barbecue Rankings recounts his “barbecue odyssey” in Feast Magazine

I began my barbecue odyssey on October 22, 2013, at Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis.  I was nervous as I met owner Mike Emerson and tried to act as if I knew something about barbecue.  I have always considered myself a casual barbecue fan, but the truth is that I knew very little about regional nuances, barbecue history, smoking practices and the way restaurants work before setting out on this project.  I didn’t prepare much before setting off on my journey – I wanted to learn from the people working the pits day in and day out, not the so-called experts.

– Christmas is right around the corner

Linkdown: 3/26/14

– Charlotte Beer has a post on The Great NC BBQ Map and the barbecue-themed smoked amber ale with chile peppers being brewed in for their launch party; speaking of which, it’s still not too late to pledge to their Kickstarter!

An update on Rodney Scott post-exile tour:

All told, the tour raised just over $80,000, $60,000 of which will go toward the estimated $100,000 it will take Scott to rebuild his pit room. (The remaining $40,000 he’ll secure through a bank loan.)

As a 40-year-old business, Scott’s might have been able to sneak by with some grandfathering and just recreate what they had before. But Scott says, “We came to the conclusion that we should do this right. We decided to upgrade to all codes and all regulations, so this thing would be [around] more than a few more years.”

– Unknown Brewing Co. in Charlotte is having a Smoke Off on April 19 with 20 teams competing, live music, and beer of course

– Lexington’s BBQ Capital Cook-off will be April 25 and 26 (via bbqboard)

– There is a bill in the South Carolina senate which would declare barbecue the “Official State Picnic Cuisine of South Carolina”

– Speaking of which, Stephen Colbert is at it again; I know he is trolling but he does realize he is talking about mustard-based barbecue right?

– City Barbeque is opening in Cary, NC in mid April and are holding a sauce contest as part of their grand opening festivities; enter now through March 31

Barbecue traditions from around the world including lechon and satay from the Phillipines (via)

– Pretty in Pistachio has a short profile and some great photos of Mighty Quinn’s (our review here) in NYC’s East Village

image(image via)

– And finally, Big Wayner has 5 reasons why you should join the newly formed North Carolina BBQ Association

Linkdown: 11/27/13

Happy Thanksgiving from the Barbecue Bros!

– Great name for a NC BBQ joint in Hong Kong – yes, that Hong Kong (h/t rlreevesjr)

– A nice little article from The Elon newspaper entitled “The BBQ State: Unique origins of barbecue define North Carolina history, culture” which also includes a neat interactive timeline

A nice infographic on the 4 types of barbecue sauce (via)

– The BBQ Jew has some thoughts about City Barbeque coming to Cary

– The Pit Durham opened yesterday and will be open on Thanksgiving

Linkdown: 11/20/13

So pumped to attend tonight’s Southern Supper at Midwood Smokehouse with guest pitmaster Sam Jones

– Some write ups on the event from Creative Loafing and Charlotte Magazine

Jones and Barry plan to engineer a 3-course “throwback” barbecue dinner which will include local brews and beers from NoDa Brewing Company, southern hors d’oeuvres of pimiento cheese and smoke jalapeno dip, house salad, the whole hog (of course), old-fashioned warm apple cobbler with cinnamon ice cream, and other sides (hush puppies, collard greens, mac&cheese, etc.).

– In somewhat hilarious news considering the reputation of Cary (aka Concentrated Area of Relocated Yankees), the Ohio barbecue chain City Barbeque is opening a location there (via)

– Engineering consulting firm WK Dickson has turned the site of the former Melton’s Barbecue in Rocky Mount into a park, fittingly named Barbecue Park   

Why was the BBQ sandwich not named NC’s best sandwich? Instead, BusinessInsider.com picked the Carolina burger

– More deets on True ‘Cue courtesy of TMBBQ; also they have started to add content to the official site

TrueCue.org seeks to educate people about real barbecue—meat slow-cooked over wood or charcoal alone, without the assistance of gas, electricity or any other heat source—by certifying and promoting businesses that produce it.  Why do we care?  Because real barbecue is rooted in taste, tradition and a sense of place, three things increasingly lacking in today’s world.  We think the world will be a better place when there is more real barbecue in it.

– Speaking of cooking real barbecue over wood, The Pit Durham opens next Tuesday