Linkdown: 4/27/22

Native News

At Port-A-Pit BBQ in Statesville, they serve the public as well as help the community fundraise

BBQ King gets a segment on Spectrum News 1

Old Colony Smokehouse looks like it should be added to my list

The Smoke Pit is one of the recommended places to eat when in Concord just north of Charlotte

The best barbecue places in Eastern NC according to WNCT’s analysis of TripAdvisor data

Get tickets to the Carolina BBQ Festival while you can

Non-Native News

The first in a series of articles from the great Hanna Raskin leading up to the Southern Foodways Alliance Fall Symposium on Barbecue. Can’t wait to read the rest.

John Lewis has brought “border food” to the lowcountry with Rancho Luis

I know nothing about any of these restaurants in NoVa, but here you go

Another national list

The famed Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s BBQ celebrated her 87th birthday last Thursday

Product Review: Slow ‘N Sear® from SnS Grills

Monk: SnS Grills is a grill and accessories company headquartered in Concord, NC. The story of the company and its founder David Parrish is covered in detail on their website but long story short Parrish got hooked in with the Amazing Ribs website and its community of amateur pitmasters and grillers before eventually deciding to tackle the riddle of how to turn a kettle grill into a legit smoker. The Slow ‘N Sear is the product of him using his physics degree for the good of barbecue and grilling.

And it’s won the company some acclaim, with Meathead Goldwyn of Amazing Ribs proclaiming it “the single best accessory for the Weber kettle ever” and Steven Raichlen calling it the “best new barbecue product of 2018.” Having re-ignited my love for my now-16-year old Weber kettle during the pandemic, I had to give it a try for myself.

Made of heavy duty steel (listed on the site as “18-gauge 430 stainless steel”), the Slow ‘N Sear is a charcoal basket that sits directly on the bottom grate of my Weber kettle grill. Where it differs from the Weber Char-Baskets is that it is made larger to fit more charcoal without needing to constantly refill but more importantly it has a built-in water reservoir to help evenly cook the meat.

I tried it out with a small chuck roast and the Slow ‘N Sear worked like a charm. The basket promoted airflow and burned the charcoal cleanly. While the website says the reservoir will get you 5+ hours of steam from the water reservoir, I refilled it once during the cook. I may have cooked the meat just a tad over but through no fault of the basket. And while this chuck roast was too small, had it been a steak or other piece of meat I could have flipped it directly above the charcoal for searing.

There are actually two models of this insert – this original and the Deluxe which has a removable water reservoir and a ventilated plate for $30 more.

SnS Grills has expanded into making a ton of other grill accessories along with their own line of kamado smokers and kettle grills and I will give serious consideration to the kamado next time I’m in the market for a smoker. However, if you are still rocking an old-school Weber kettle grill like me, the Slow ‘N Sear is an easy way to turn it into a legit offset smoker.

Charlotte Barbecue News from the First Quarter of 2021

Monk: After nearly a year of various stages of lockdown and a big spike in COVID cases in January, the first quarter of 2021 had mostly positive news as restaurants managed through relaxed restrictions starting in March.

Here in Charlotte, restaurants are finding new and different ways to diversify their food offerings to attract customers and some are even in expansion mode. Let’s hope that trend continues into Q2.

January

1/5 North State BBQ announces it is opening a second location in Lake Norman off Statesville Rd

1/10 RayNathan’s in Gastonia celebrated their 2 year anniversary

1/13 Sweet Lew’s BBQ hires its first “barbecue apprentice” in Keywon Dooling from the local culinary school at Central Piedmont Community College

1/29 Jon G’s Barbecue gets their first national magazine feature

February

2/7 Pitmasters from Bobby’s BBQ, City Limits Barbeque, and Fork Grove BBQ have a “barbecue Saturday Texas BBQ Pitmaster Meatman meat-up” meet up at Jon G’s Barbecue

2/12 Jon G’s Barbecue introduces some awesome Coors Banquet Beer-inspired t-shirts

2/15 Noble Smoke launches taco kits now available every Tuesday

2/16 Bar-B-Q King makes this list of “50 must-try cheap eats in Charlotte under $10” from Axios Charlotte (formerly Charlotte Agenda)

2/24: Axios Charlotte posts their list of the 4 best barbecue spots in Charlotte, with another 4 worth the drive; we even get a brief shoutout in reference to Jon G’s

March

3/1 Jon G’s Barbecue acquired their restaurant one year ago on 3/1; they would open for business about 3 months later

3/2 Roddey’s BBQ food truck in Rock Hill changes locations

3/3 Noble Smoke introduces the “Mini Mary,” a smaller version of their “Miss Mary” platter that feeds 4

3/4 Sweet Lew’s Barbeque and Midwood Smokehouse make the Eater list for Charlotte

3/9 Mac’s Speed Shop and Noble Smoke have two of the best patios in Charlotte

3/12 Sweet Lew’s Barbeque announces a “Bootcamp and BBQ” event on April 17

3/19 Noble Smoke introduces “The Noble Smoke Pitmaster Experience” where you can learn from their pitmasters for the somewhat steep price of $500 a spot; the initial spots have since sold out

We are offering an exclusive opportunity to learn the step-by-step process of smoking meat first-hand from our pitmasters, Stuart and Ed. You get to take home the meats of your labor which includes a whole brisket and pork butt (5 lbs each). But that’s not all! 3 sauces, a hat, a pitmaster t-shirt, lunch, and a post-smoke beer are also included.

3/19 Charlotte-based Mac’s Hospitality Group, the parent company of Mac’s Speed Shop, eyes growth across the Southeast in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Florida under the leadership of recently-hired president Shang Skipper

3/19 Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ will open a location of its fast casual concept in Concord in the coming weeks

Charlotte Barbecue News from the Fourth Quarter of 2020

Monk: The Charlotte barbecue news seemingly slowed down in the last 3 months of 2020 as the restaurants that thankfully are still open continue to struggle through the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we begin 2021, here’s hoping the news is more positive than negative. Fingers crossed!

October

10/12 Charlotte-based Bojangles briefly expanded to barbecue for National Pulled Pork Day on October 12th

10/13 – Midwood Smokehouse is one of the barbecue restaurants that politicians make a point to visit when in Charlotte

10/15 – Mac’s Speed Shop handed out free pulled pork for early voters in front of the Bojangles Entertainment Complex

November

11/9 – Midwood Smokehouse‘s brisket cheesesteak makes this list of the 6 “must-try” ones in Charlotte

11/23 – Perry’s Pig Pickin’ in Mint Hill is part of a small grocery store; the history of how this Perry brother didn’t get into the jewelry business in the Charlotte Ledger

11/28 The Smoke Pit celebrated 6 years open at its original Concord location

December

12/3 – Chef Jim Noble of Noble Smoke, his religiously conservative views, and how they fit in with today’s Charlotte

12/16 Sweet Lew’s BBQ introduces brisket tamales

12/22 Jon G’s Barbecue makes Charlotte Five’s list of best takeout meals in 2020