Linkdown: 3/6/19

Congrats to Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque for his James Beard Award semifinal nomination!

Veteran Charlotte restaurateur Pierre Bader closes City Smoke, cites that he doesn’t “see any growth in the barbecue business in Charlotte.” I would argue that he might have seen growth had his restaurant’s barbecue been better (they were 40 out of 42 on our list before their close)

Local Charlotte barbecue guy Jack Arnold recently had his Instagram hacked but thankfully has since recovered it

A new barbecue cookbook is coming from photographer Ken Goodman:

Wilson gets a new barbecue restaurant in New South BBQ, which takes an “international house of barbecue” approach

Longleaf Swine (nice name), a food truck caterer in Raleigh, is going brick and mortar in the Transfer Co. Food Hall

The Free Times in Columbia breaks down barbecue restaurants both local and within a few hours drive

Food and Wine is loving Columbia, SC and thinks you should try to the hash: “Don’t fill up on grits, because you must also try the barbecue, which will be pork, served along with that could-stop-traffic yellow sauce, and a side of that curiously delicious regional specialty, hash, which is nearly always served over rice. Essentially a stew of all the animal parts you probably wouldn’t eat separately, hash might come off a tad musky for some, but this is nose-to-tail cooking at its finest.”

I wonder how the folks in Texas are reacting to this:

For Kathleen Purvis’s last story as Charlotte Observer food writer, she takes a look at the fried pork skins at Sweet Lew’s BBQ as well as the fried chicken skin from Yolk. I love her writing and look forward to seeing what she does next.

Linkdown: 12/16/15

– Now at Stamey’s:

– Grilling with Rich reviews Sam Jones BBQ in Winterville

– They also have an interview with Cary-based BBQ pitmaster and author, Christopher Prieto

– Here’s a recipe for a Georgia-style brunswick stew from Virginia Brock; speaking of Georgia and Virginia

Virginia staked her claim boldly in 1988, with a statewide proclamation as this stew’s place of origin, and it has hosted an annual Brunswick stew festival and contest for more than twenty-five years. In a gesture of goodwill, they invite rival stew-masters to bring their crews up from Georgia for some spirited stew celebrations. Georgia staked her own claim by building a monument featuring a massive cast-iron stewpot, which they proudly declare to be the very one in which noble Georgia residents stirred up the very first batch of Brunswick stew back in 1898.

– City Smoke (one of our least favorite Charlotte barbecue restaurants) is shifting their concept from barbecue restaurant to rotisserie, smokehouse, and speak easy

The re-brand comes at a time when the restaurant’s owners wanted to take the eatery to a new level – more than that of a barbecue joint. Of course, that barbecue was the cause for much celebration after City Smoke was named the winner of the Carolina Cook Off edition of “BBQ Blitz” on Food Network thanks to Chef Adam Pugh’s rendition of smoked pork chops with cheddar grits.

– Meathead Goldwyn’s list of best books for the BBQ lover (via)

– Big beer news from Charlotte’s Queen City Q, official barbecue of the Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Knights baseball team, Charlotte Checkers hockey team, and Charlotte Hounds lacrosse team:

City Smoke – Charlotte, NC

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Name: City Smoke
Date: 12/7/12
Location: 100 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC, 28202
Order: ‘Cue Combo (brisket, pulled pork, Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas dry rubbed ribs
Bill: $26

Speedy: Well Monk, I hate to say I told you so, but I definitely told you so.

Monk: Speedy – you LOVE saying I told you so. This is the one time it happens to be true.

Speedy: So this past Friday night, Monk and I decided it was time to try a new barbecue restaurant, as it had been a while. Monk had never been to City Smoke, the latest of several modern, trendy barbecue restaurants to open in Charlotte. As the restaurant is in the bottom of the building I work in, I actually did check it out for lunch one day the first week it was open, which was about six months ago. My experience wasn’t good then, but I thought six months probation was enough.

Monk: Well Speedy – apparently you thought wrong. Before we even ordered any barbecue, I was at least struck by the impressive whiskey list (well over 50) which included bourbon, Tennessee, craft rye, Irish, and Scotch. And for the beer lovers, there was a good sized craft beer list on tap.

Speedy: Now all of our readers may be thinking,“Hey, that all sounds pretty good. Why are you guys dumping on this place so much?” Well, I’ll tell you. It’s because of the food.

Monk: Which we always say is a pretty crucial element when judging a restaurant. As is our M.O., we ordered the sampler which had pulled pork, brisket, and three types of ribs as well as your choice of two sides. We’ll start with the pork. You may be wondering how they got a smoker at the bottom of the tallest building between Atlanta and Philadelphia. Well wonder no more, because based on the lack of smokiness in the meat they definitely didn’t. The pork lacked any discernible smoke or flavor. We tried each of the three sauces on the table (one of which basically tasted like A1 steak sauce), but ultimately we didn’t even bother finishing our portion.

Speedy: And the brisket was even worse than the pork! It was rubbery and tasted like it had been reheated. Honestly, it reminded me of grocery store pre-packaged roast beef.

Monk: The ribs were at least better than either the pork or brisket. We got three types of ribs as part of the sampler – Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas Dry. They were tender enough and the saucing and flavor was actually pretty decent. However, once again there was no smoke. Also, we did get shafted by only getting one bone of the Texas dry flavor as opposed to two.

Speedy: I will say this. The sides we had were pretty good. I thought the slaw was great. It was legitimate Lexington-style red slaw. Probably the best I’ve had outside of the great city of Lexington. The collards were good as well. They had bacon bits in them, but the bacon flavor (unfortunately) wasn’t noticeable. City Smoke does have a bin of free peanuts that you can get while you order – probably the only thing in the restaurant worth what you spend on it.

Monk: As you can gather, we were not fans of City Smoke whatsoever (and apparently not a lot of other people are either since it was more or less empty on a Friday night). When the best things about the meal were the sides and the free peanuts, that is never a good thing.

Actually, since we were still hungry we decided to finish our beer and walk a few blocks for some actual good smoked meat in the form of the chipotle apricot wings from Queen City Q. And that’s all you really need to know about our City Smoke experience – we finished our meal at another barbecue restaurant. In fact, City Smoke was so bad that I feel confident in saying that the only reason I can see myself ever returning to City Smoke will not be because of the barbecue but instead to drink some bourbon at the bar.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance: 3 hogs
Pork – 1.5 hogs
Brisket – 1 hog
Ribs – 2 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 1.5 hogs

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City Smoke on Urbanspoon