Congrats to Steve Grady of Grady’s BBQ (as well as the rest of the top 10) for making the semi-finalist list for this year’s Barbecue Hall of Fame class! The inductees will be announced later this month on May 24th.
WRAL is a fan of Midwood Smokehouse‘s latest location in Raleigh
Midwood Smokehouse has some new barbecue taco specials Thursdays through Sundays in May for National Barbecue Month
Winners from this year’s Jiggy with the Piggy Challenge in Kannapolis
Congrats to Longleaf Swine for being named Readers’ Choice Awards winner for Best New Restaurant by Wake Living’s readers
Congrats to Prime Barbecue on 3 years open
Panther City BBQ out of Texas will be joining Christopher Prieto in an upcoming Latin-inspired barbecue class
Check out John Tanner’s updated list of best barbecue in Eastern NC
The Lexington Pit Stop EventCombines NASCAR and Barbecue this Memorial Day weekend; it’s a celebration of Lexington’s stock car racing teams and the pit-cooked Lexington-style barbecue for which the town is famous
Scotty’s Whole Hog Barbecue is switching to a “once and month” pop-up schedule in Minnesota this year, and the next service will be on May 20
Aaron Franklin’s latest book, Smoke, from him and his photographer/collaborator Jordan McKay is now out
John Tanner’s out of state travels takes him to B. Cooper Barbecue in Austin, Pig Beach in West Palm Beach, and Pig and Pint in Mississippi
Report from the field on Kolacny BBQ House by Bryan from Tales from the Pits
Monk: So you’ve made the leap and you and the family (or spouse or partner or friends) are going to Disney. If you haven’t been before (or it’s been awhile, as was the case for me), prepare yourself for 14+ hour days, 12+ miles of walking, Disney efficiently separating you from your hard earned cash, and mostly subpar food offerings that more often than not is going to be heavy handed on the salt.
For the barbecue lovers out there, yes there are technically a few options at Disney. But are they any good? The answer there is mostly “not really” but that’s not to say that you can’t find some decent items if you know what to order. As is my wont, I checked a few of them out on my recent trip with the Monk clan as well as the Monk-In-Laws.
Flame Tree Barbecue on Discovery Island at Animal Kingdom
On a main thoroughfare between Dinoland U.S.A. and Asia sits the quick service restaurant (QSR) Flame Tree Barbecue amongst gift shops, coffee shops, and a rest area. Walk up to the counter to place your order (or if you’re a pro, order ahead of time), then take your food to covered tables that are nestled amongst the trees with outdoor seating that backs up to to the Discovery River waterfront.
My smoked pulled pork sandwich came topped with slaw and was a passable version of a barbecue sandwich with the slightest hint of smoke. My side of “signature baked beans” were straight out of the can and not noteworthy at all.
My wife went with the Smokehouse Chicken Salad which was a mixed greens salad topped with pulled chicken and cornbread croutons, which she was disappointed didn’t actually taste like cornmeal.
Other options not tasted were ribs and a plant-based sausage sandwich.
Regal Eagle Smokehouse at The American Adventure in Epcot
In Epcot there is another QSR option in Regal Eagle Smokehouse, which promises “craft drafts and barbecue.” It’s located next to The American Adventure stage show and has both indoor and outdoor seating. It’s more of a International House of Barbecue style joint than Flame Tree, advertising meats and sauces from Memphis, Kansas City, Texas, and North Carolina.
In terms of Texas, they offer a sliced brisket sandwich on Texas toast which I got with house-made pickles. The sandwich was pure Arby’s. Decently tasty, but pure Arby’s nonetheless. The pickles were a welcome relief from all the salt.
Mrs. Monk got the chopped pork platter whereby a scoop of greasy, oversalted pork was plopped onto a metal platter topped with butcher paper. Not exactly appetizing or tasty.
In addition to the pro tip of always ordering ahead on the Disney app, I would recommend going with kids meals 1) either to try more meats or 2) just to cut down on portions. In this case, the youngest Monkette is in a “french fries only” phase so I ordered a kids rib meal so I could get a couple of bones of the Memphis-style ribs. And while the rest of the meats were a salty mess, I was glad I tried the ribs as they were decently smoked and cooked well, leaving clean bite marks. More of those next time.
For Kansas City, the meat was a smoked chicken (huh?) and was the lone meat not tried. Regal Eagle Smokehouse also has a show smoker out front but I’m not convinced is anything more than a prop.
Other Options Not Tried
Many other full service restaurants and QSR’s across the parks may offer different smoked meats on the menu, but those were the two main options I saw inside the parks. Though there is more coming soon, with Rodeo Roundup BBQ opening at Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios later this month (March 23). It will, on the other hand, be a full service restaurant with a buffet so off the bat that means adults are going to be $45 and kids ages 3-9 will be $25 so for a family of 4 that’s nearly $150 for starters even before any alcohol.
At Rodeo Roundup BBQ, “Andy has created a rodeo arena for his toys … and all honorary toys visiting Andy’s backyard. Chow down on house-smoked meats, a roundup of sides, sweet surprises, and more in this western-themed family-style restaurant, where you’ll see the world through the eyes of Andy’s toys.” Those meats include ribs, brisket, and chicken, with the pork option being a “spiced pork sausage.” Based on what I tasted at the other parks, expect all to be overly salty to get you to buy those drinks and push the bill upwards of $200.
Outside of the parks The Polite Pig at Disney Springs promised to be a more well-executed barbecue, but unfortunately I didn’t make it there this go round. It is actually a Michelin rated restaurant, which makes more sense at the more upscale dining options available at Disney Springs. Next time for sure.
Disney World is a magical place and I was happy with how we did it with the Monk family. Compared with other food options at Disney World parks, barbecue isn’t a bad route as long as you know what you’re in for and can order accordingly.
Of the items tried, if pressed I would go back to the ribs at Flame Tree Barbecue and Regal Eagle Smokehouse. And the pulled pork sandwich at Flame Tree was not nearly as greasy as what was served at Regal Eagle. Matthew Register of Southern Smoke in Garland, NC swears by the half chicken there as well. For sides, I’d try to mix in some fruits and veggie sides where I can (salad, pickles, watermelon salad, tomato salad), but no shame in getting fries here and there.
The beer options weren’t overly impressive and will set you back $8-11 but you can usually get one of a Cigar City Brewing Jai Alai IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, or Shiner Bock. If you’re more of a liquor drinker, the cocktails will run you $13-17 (like I said, they know how to separate you from your money).
Have you tried barbecue at Disney World? Any impressions other than above? Leave a comment below.
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.
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