Monk: The second annual Carolina BBQ Festival is once again bringing some of the best and brightest pitmasters to the Queen City in early May. Lewis Donald has invited many of the same pitmasters from last year’s festival and added a few new faces: Jake Wood of Lawrence Barbecue, Keith Henning of Black Powder Smokehouse, Michael Letchworth of Sam Jones BBQ, and Tank Jackson of Holy City Hog.
Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 10th. More information here.
Backyard BBQ Pit has received nearly $50,000 from its GoFundMe campaign and even got new kitchen appliances donated by an angel donor; now they are paying it forward to other local small businesses
It’s Brunswick stew season
In sad news, Clyde Cooper’s daughter Joyce recently passed but the occasion brought together is grandchildren and great grandchildren
Sweet’s Turkey BBQ is a Greensboro food truck serving chopped turkey barbecue, a healthier alternative to pork and beef
Midwood Smokehouse‘s Raleigh location has gotten their Oyler
The James Beard semi-finalists were announced last week and pitmasters from Moo’s Craft Barbecue in LA, Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta, Tropical Smokehouse in West Palm Beach, Distant Relatives and KG BBQ in Austin, Goldee’s in Fort Worth, Curry Boys BBQ in San Antonio, Gatlin’s BBQ in Houston, and Burnt Bean in Seguin make the list
Charleston’s Swig & Swine BBQ is expanding to Myrtle Beach
Adrian Miller’s field guide to US barbecue
Bill Murray recently enjoyed a beef rib at Heritage Barbecue
30 pitmasters will be in Greenville, SC for Southern Roots: A BBQ Reunion on April 15
Episode 3 of Peacock’s “Poker Face” is brisket-focused and actually gets the specifics mostly right
Now, with our most recent trip being to Siesta Key, Florida for some deep sea fishing, I didn’t have high hopes for barbecue. But by chance while killing time with friend-of-the-blog Boomsauce at a nearby beer garden waiting for the rest of the crew to fly in, Brick’s Smoked Meats in downtown Sarasota came onto my radar. A little research yielded the fact that despite sitting on the ground level of a parking deck they use “a fire-engine red J&R Oyler Pit smoker that stands almost two stories tall” and that sealed the deal. Next thing you know it, post-airport pickup we’re standing at the door supposedly to a place “where Texas ‘cue meets Florida flair.” We’ll see about that.
Speedy: Brick’s Smoked Meats was on the ground level of the State Street parking garage and had a big dining room and large bar. Our party of seven easily fit at a long table just by the bar, and a server was quickly by to take our order (which was pretty much a little bit of everything). We ordered some beers (including a fave barbecue pairing in Shiner Bock), and we were off and rolling.
As appetizers, the wings and bacon burnt ends came out first. The wings were good, but didn’t get as much smoke on them as I like. We got them tossed in both spicy and sweet barbecue sauce, but I couldn’t tell the difference. So while I’ve had better smoked wings, this was still a pretty good start.
The bacon burnt ends were great. They were melt in your mouth pork belly slathered in a sweet barbecue sauce that perfectly complemented the savory, salty meat. Honestly, we should have saved these for dessert. This is a must order item if you visit Brick’s.
Rudy: Once the main course trays came, I made sure to scout out the different meats and grab a bite of the good stuff before it was taken by others. I always want to make sure to get a piece of the brisket because, for me, it’s the easiest way to determine if a barbecue place knows what they are doing or not. The brisket to me was average at best. It was clear to me that it had been made much earlier and was reheated upon ordering. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t anything memorable either. With all of the other meats to choose from, I would lean away from the brisket.
I also made sure to try a rib, which was much better. The meat was very tender, had a good flavor, and didn’t need sauce to go with it (but they did offer 3 different sauces at the table in case you wanted to add to the flavor. As far as a side order, I really enjoyed the collard greens. They were cooked with bacon and had plenty of flavor and tasted like greens that I used to get at ‘meat and three’ restaurants in North Carolina.
Monk: The house sausage on that day was a jalapeno cheddar link so obviously Speedy was out. I assume they were shipped in and not made in house but were a solid meat on that meal, just a notch above the middle of the road pork.Their slaw looked to be a pre-chopped combo of cabbage and carrots and while it was not offensive in taste, it seemed an afterthought. Quick shoutout to the mini cornbread muffins that came with the combo platters.
Speedy: Loyal readers of the blog know that Monk and I have recently changed our tune and favored ordering smoked turkey. I don’t think Rudy’s there yet, but maybe Brick’s turkey would change his tune. The flavor of the turkey slice was good, and I got the smoke taste, but I found it just a touch overcooked and wanted a little more pepper. Not sure it was good enough to convert Rudy, but I’d order it again.
From a sides standpoint, the standout to me was the roasted brussels. I don’t often see these on the menu at ‘cue joints, but they’re just baby cabbages, so they fit a good barbecue meal. The flavor on the brussels was exceptional, and they were roasted to perfection. Again, something I’d highly recommend ordering.
Rudy: I’m going to have to take your word for it because with a menu full of that many good options, there’s no way I’m fitting turkey onto my plate.
We’ve had mixed results in the quality of barbecue on our trips so it’s hard to know what to expect. I was not anticipating getting any barbecue on this trip, so it was quite the pleasant surprise when Monk told us he found this place. Overall, I was impressed with the overall quality of the ‘cue and the depth of their menu. I would not have pegged Sarasota for having the quality that Brick’s had. Was it the best barbecue we’ve ever had? No. But I really liked it and would make sure to return if I was in the area again. And when you combine barbecue with the good company that we had with us, you can’t go wrong.
Ed Mitchell is back in the barbecue game as of this Friday, albeit not quite in the way that we’ve been waiting more than a year for. With the opening date of The Preserve up in the air, Ed and team have opted to open a “delivery only ghost kitchen” (previously referred to as a “pop up”) starting this Friday, March 5. Which is, of course, over a month after their original date to open this part of their business on January 22.
Let’s hope this goes smoothly because in a since-deleted reply The Preserve’s official Facebook account stated that they were not going to open until next year “after things cooled down” (I’m paraphrasing here). If that’s the case, then that is the latest setback in a series of setbacks for Mitchell whose original Raleigh restaurant in the Brier Creek area never came to fruition in the years since his Durham restaurant shuttered in 2015. I am rooting that their delivery business goes well, but would feel a lot better if they were still charging forward with opening a restaurant this year. Nevertheless, I hope Raleigh folks will support The Preserve in earnest starting this weekend.
Buxton Hall makes Eater Carolina’s list of best restaurants in Asheville
J.C. Reid on barbecue-adjacent stews (paywall)
La Barbecue has collaborated with Zilker Brewing Co for a pilsner perfect for pairing with smoked meats
AGL’s Craft Meats is hoping to be the first to use traditional open-air smokers in LA County
Orlando Magazine has a feature on barbecue in their March 2021 issue
Lewis Barbecue officially announces their second restaurant in Greenville, taking over the space previously occupied by Tommy’s Country Ham House. So for folks in the Charlotte area (i.e. me), Lewis’ central Texas-style brisket, hot guts, sausage will be about half the distance you previously had to travel to Charleston. And this is a very good thing. Lewis Barbecue Greenville will open sometime in early 2022.
In addition to the Lewis Barbecue expansion news, it was recently announced that his Juan Luis Tex-Mex concept will take over the former Workshop food hall in Charleston. It was an original food stall tenant at the food hall but recently the trailer had been parked in the courtyard at Lewis Barbecue. Based on these recent moves, Lewis is certainly building the foundation for a food empire in South Carolina.
A sneak peak inside the recently opened Sam Jones BBQ in Raleigh
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