Lancaster’s Bar-B-Que – Huntersville, NC

Name: Lancaster’s Bar-B-Que
Date: 7/14/22
Address: 9230 Beatties Ford Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078
Order: Eastern style BBQ pork and sliced brisket with slaw, Brunswick stew and hush puppies (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: My Charlotte revisit continues this week with Lancaster’s Bar-B-Que in Huntersville. Lancaster’s first location is 20 miles away in Mooresville (aka “Race City USA”) where the original was opened in 1986 but before being moved to the current location in 1992. This Huntersville location opened in 2006 in the historic Puckett’s Gas Station & General Store. With the original location having opened in 1986, I believe that makes it one of the oldest barbecue restaurants in the Charlotte area along with Bubba’s Barbecue which also opened in 1986 in the old Bill Spoon’s Barbecue location before moving to its current location on Sunset Road.

I made my first visit back since 2014, and it appears they toned down the NASCAR decor as part of a 2014 facelift some time after my visit.

As for the barbecue, it was lean, not smoky, and coarsely chopped. It had some pepper flakes but no vinegar unless you add in the vinegar pepper table sauce. Does that make it eastern style as they advertise? They certainly don’t smoke a whole hog and they cook on a gasser with added wood according to my trusty NC BBQ Map (RIP EDIA Maps, the maker of it) .

I did order a second meat on this day and since fried chicken would have taken 30 minutes to fry (per the waitress), I bravely tried their brisket. It came out thinly sliced, finished on the grill, and doused in a sweet sauce. No bueno.

The hush puppies came in a manageable number in small cardboard tray and was easily the best part of the meal. The Brunswick stew was tasty although I have a hankering that veggies were frozen. The mustard slaw was reminiscent of Bill Spoon’s Barbecue.

I should also mention that Lancaster’s had some controversy in 2018 when they were sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because of alleged racial discrimination against a former employee. That employee worked at the Mooresville location but I haven’t found any resolution to that case in my research.

So where does that leave Lancaster’s Bar-B-Que? The rest of the menu is very much a Southern food restaurant with wings, burgers, fish camp fare like fried fish and shrimp, and on that criteria perhaps its more successful. In terms of barbecue, between its lackluster cue and potentially problematic workplace issues you can continue to look elsewhere.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Brisket – 1.5 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 2 Hogs

Friday Find: Food YouTuber Mark Wiens Travels to Eastern NC for Whole Hog

Monk: Bangkok-based food YouTuber Mark Wiens visits 5 whole hog restaurants in eastern NC in this supersized video. The visits to Skylight Inn (where he meets with Sam Jones) and B’s Barbecue are of particular interest to me as I’ll be making stops there soon.

Description: NORTH CAROLINA, USA – Welcome to North Carolina, one of the capitals of Barbecue, in the world. Today I’m taking you on an ultimate BBQ tour of Eastern North Carolina which is famous for whole hog barbecue! During this food tour we’re going to 5 of the best restaurants in North Carolina, for Eastern style bbq.

The Skylight Inn, Ayden, North Carolina (https://goo.gl/maps/Wj3t9yRDw464Edmp7) – First stop is The Skylight Inn, easily one of the most well known bbq restaurants in North Carolina, in the United States. They do things the right way, whole hog, slow cooked over smoking coals. One of the best things about The Skylight Inn is when the whole hogs are ready they chop them up, with a ratio of meat, fat, and crispy skin, into an insanely juicy chopped bbq tray. It’s truly a life-changing bbq experience.

Bum’s Restaurant (https://goo.gl/maps/yfWPbidoykXLAtGe8) – Just down the road from The Skylight Inn you’ll find Bum’s Restaurant, another long time bbq restaurant. Along with whole hog bbq, they also have plenty of other southern US foods and great sides. They do their bbq quite differently, instead of being chopped its much more shredded.

B’s Barbecue (https://goo.gl/maps/AgiGLpQPSwhdWDgb7) – Greenville, North Carolina – Next we drove out to B’s Barbecue, a local favorite. I had really wanted to try the chicken bbq, but unfortunately they had already sold out. We barely made it in time to get some whole hog, but luckily we did. It was delicious and so were all the sides.

Grady’s Barbecue (https://goo.gl/maps/1tTj9qgL2guawpK48) Dudley, North Carolina – Another amazing and one of the best bbq restaurants to try in North Carolina is in the small town of Dudley. Again, they do things the right way, slow cooked over coals, the entire pig. Along with the pork, their other dishes, including smoked turkey and bbq chicken, and all the sides were outstanding.

Wilber’s Barbecue (https://goo.gl/maps/6SKdDphpu1mEhcUH6) Goldsboro, North Carolina – Finally to complete this North Carolina bbq tour, we’re eating at Wilber’s Barbecue which is a fantastic family restaurant. Their food and service is fantastic. Also, one bonus about the bbq here is that you can order the leftover or picnic bbq ribs, which are delicious and fun to eat.

When you’re in North Carolina, BBQ is something you must eat, it’s a huge part of the local culture, and I hope you can try some of these best Barbecue restaurants!

Linkdown: 11/10/21

The Local Palate and writer Jenn Rice detail a pretty action-packed eastern North Carolina barbecue itinerary. The usual suspects are on the list including Barbecue Bros faves Wilber’s Barbecue and Southern Smoke BBQ, but there are plenty of ones I haven’t tried yet. Bookmarking for next Spring.

Native News

A new live-fire cooking restaurant called Cinder is opening in Charlotte from Husk veteran Duke Kroger (who identifies as a pitmaster in his Twitter profile)

Mac’s Speed Shop is closing its Cornelius restaurant but opening a new one in Mooresville

Jon G’s was featured in the Fall 2021 Issue of QC Exclusive

ICYMI last month, Boxyard RTP and Lawrence Barbecue are one of the 12 hottest restaurants in the Triangle

The Smoking Ho takes on North Carolina starting with Buxton Hall #CarHOlinaBBQTrip

Lewis Donald and Sweet Lew’s BBQ raised funds to help the family of a young girl who tragically took her own life at the age of 11

Non-Native News

Heim Barbecue’s Dallas location will be closed for a few weeks after a fire but its Fort Worth locations remain open

Last week’s Georgia barbecue-focused The Smoke Sheet

The SmoKing of Meats is Joe Musungi, who blends Filipino and Texas barbecue

Are barbecue lines a thing of the past?

New-ish barbecue joint Palmira BBQ is one of the stalls at Port of Call

Williamson’s Bar-B-Que & Seafood – Chadbourn, NC

Name: Williamson’s Bar-B-Que & Seafood
Date: 9/26/21
Address: 1011 N Brown St, Chadbourn, NC 28431
Order: From the buffet: pork, hush puppies, cole slaw, mac and cheese, banana pudding (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Monk: Heading back from the beach on a Sunday, there’s usually just a few options for barbecue. Williamson’s Bar-B-Que & Seafood in Chadbourn is one of them, and a buffet at that. A barbecue buffet (usually including seafood) is a phenomenon I’ve encountered almost exclusively in the sandhills of eastern North Carolina, and I’ve previously checked out Fuller’s in Lumberton (now closed) and Pembroke.

Williamson’s is a small roadside shack off state road 410 near Highway 76 in Chadbourn that has both a dining room and a drive through. If you are dining in, you pay for you buffet at the cash register before grabbing your plate and going through the buffet line with options ranging from barbecue to various fried fish options.

I stuck with typical barbecue fare with their eastern style pork, cole slaw, mac and cheese, and hush puppies. Nothing wowed me but all were solid except for the hush puppies, which were fantastic.

I went back to the dessert bar before I left and grabbed some of their amazing banana pudding, the highlight of the meal.

Williamson’s Bar-B-Que & Seafood does a passable version of eastern NC barbecue but much like Joe’s Old Fashioned Barbecue from earlier on my trip, it was all tang and no smoke.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs