Linkdown: 2/23/22

This morning, Axios Charlotte brings details on the upcoming Carolina Barbecue Festival to be held May 22 at Camp North End in Charlotte. I’ve heard rumors of a Charlotte barbecue festival starting last summer from Donald himself and more recently from Garren Kirkman of Jon G’s. But this festival is shaping up to be quite the event, with a roster of notable pit bosses from Barbecue Bros favorites from all over the Carolinas including Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque (who grew up in Charlotte), Elliot Moss of Asheville’s Buxton Hall Barbecue, Nathan Monk of Lexington Barbecue, Matthew Register of Southern Smoke in Garland, Tay Nelson of Bobby’s BBQ in Fountain Inn, SC, and Brandon Shepard of Shepard’s Barbecue in Emerald Isle. Master Blend Family Farm, a family-owned farm in Kenansville, N.C., will contribute the hogs for the event.

The day looks to be full of Carolina barbecue (be it east, west, or South), beer, local music, and charity, with the proceeds going to nonprofits Piedmont Culinary Guild, World Central Kitchen and Operation Barbecue Relief. And I’m here for it.

More details and tickets at carolinabbqfest.org

Native News

John Tanner’s been making the rounds in NC lately with fruitful stops at Troutman’s Barbecue in Denton

…as well as Dickie-Do’s BBQ in Haw River where he discovered some delicious, smoky barbecue

Jon G’s will be back in Waxhaw today

Charlotte Magazine has a pretty straightforward list of Where to Get Barbecue in Charlotte for 2022

Non-Native News

Now’s your chance to get your barbecue story featured on the Southern Foodways Alliance’s Gravy Podcast

Cattleack Barbeque, Hurtado Barbecue, and Heim Barbecue make Eater Dallas’ Essential Restaurants for the city

Latest Blake’s BBQ building update

At Brett’s BBQ Shop, J.C. Reid dug the sausages

Very curious to see who Tesla gets to smoke the barbecue at what could be the “Largest Barbecue in Texas” at their Austin Gigafactory

More coverage on the passing of Rene “Ray” Rodriguez

Chef Michael Symon’s Mabel’s BBQ is expanding

AMEN

Linkdown: 11/24/21

Native News

The history behind hush puppies, which I will never refer to “red horse bread”

Not so fast, my friend: After announcing that its Lake Norman location was going to close, Mac’s Speed Shop announced plans for the restaurant to stay open as a smaller location after an outpouring of love from the community

John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog expands his list of good local places off I-95 from Virginia to Key West

In total copycat fashion, Eater comes out with their own list

Non-Native News

The Smoke Sheet checks out the DFW barbecue scene in person

John Tanner checks out Meat BBQ in Lansing, Michigan while crossing that state off his list

Franklin Barbecue finally reopened for in-person dining yesterday

Austin barbecue food truck Distant Relatives is one of the 11 best new restaurants in the country, according to Eater

Grilling szn is here, writes J.C. Reid

The Troubadour Festival looked pretty sweet

So did Holy Smokes…

Friday Find: “The Terry Black’s BBQ Story”

Monk: A primer on Terry Black’s BBQ, whose Dallas location friend of the blog Michael Wagner just joined but of course, they are part of one of the big families in Texas barbecue. Learn more at the video above.

Description: Born and raised in Lockhart, Texas, Terry Black passed down generations of barbecue knowledge learned from his experience in the Lockhart BBQ scene. His twin sons Michael and Mark Black bring their very own style of Central Texas BBQ straight from Lockhart to Dallas and now to you and your family to enjoy!

Michael Wagner’s Return to Texas is a Big Loss for Charlotte Barbecue

Monk: Last month, Michael Wagner left Midwood Smokehouse and its parent company FS Food Group to return back to Texas. I was fortunate enough to meet Michael within a few weeks of him moving to Charlotte in 2016 to help open the short-lived Midwood Smokeshack and I also interviewed him and Matthew Barry in 2019 for our Pitmaster Profile series as the two main pitmasters for Midwood Smokehouse. Michael has always struck me as a very thoughtful and passionate person about barbecue, and his departure is a big loss for the Charlotte barbecue community. To bookend his time in NC, I wanted to check back in ahead of his big move.

Congrats on the new job! Where are you headed and what’s the new position?

Thanks! I’m going to Dallas, Texas to cook for Terry Black’s BBQ. I’ll be one of the crew of pitmasters at the restaurant.

What’s the first (non-barbecue) thing you’re going to do when you step foot back in Texas?

This is a big transition, and I have some time before I start work, so I’m going camping. Two weeks in the woods with my hammock and my stove.

That sounds very serene; I’m jealous. What are you most looking forward to when it comes to working again at a barbecue joint in Texas?

The pits themselves and the energy at the restaurants.

Any barbecue joints you plan to visit as soon as you get settled in Dallas?

Vaquero’s, Dayne’s, Hurtado’s

Michael and Monk in July 2016

It was right at 5 years with FS Food Group. What are your memories from Midwood Smokeshack where I first met you back in 2016?

Man. Time flies. When I think of The Shack, I remember not knowing how to really cook anything besides BBQ. That was the beginning of a 5 year crash course. I think of Samantha, (she manages for Paco’s Tacos & Tequila now) and learning how to manage all that time.

What are your thoughts on the state of barbecue in Charlotte as you depart?

I’m happy to see a community of committed pitmasters forming. There’s been great food here all along. BBQ has a soul, and it needs a community to foster it.

(L-R): Monk, Lewis Donald of Sweet Lew’s BBQ, Stuart Henderson of Noble Smoke, and Michael Wagner)

Is there anything in particular you will take back to Texas from your time in NC?

Man, so much. I love all the trees, still have never gotten over them. I got pretty serious into disc golfing while here as a way to get out into all the parks. Mostly, I’m leaving here knowing that I capable of much more than smoking meat.

Thanks to Michael for taking his time in answering my questions, particularly in the middle of his big move. I hope to make it to Dallas and Terry Black’s soon to visit!