Monk: 2022 was yet another year of great barbecue. In addition to finally getting to spend some time in the eastern part of the state for whole hog (although still not nearly enough), I tried two of the best new school barbecue at Palmira Barbecue in Charleston and Lawrence Barbecue in Durham. In terms of North Carolina, in the last weeks of the year I ate at two of the best joints in Buxton Hall Barbecue and Stamey’s. Here are the meals in photos listed in alphabetical order.
Whole hog barbecue dinner from B’s Barbecue, Greenville, NC (link)
Whole hog and ribs from Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville (re-review coming soon)
Hash and rice from Duke’s Barbecue in Orangeburg, SC (link)
A little bit of everything from Jon G’s Barbecue in Peachland, NC
Pork, brisket, and sticky ribs from Lawrence Barbecue, Durham, NC (link)
Whole hog barbecue, hash and rice from Palmira BBQ, Charleston, NC (link)
Whole hog barbecue from Skylight Inn, Ayden, NC (link)
Chopped barbecue plate with extra brown from Stamey’s Barbecue, Greensboro, NC (re-review coming soon)
Name: Duke’s Bar-B-Q Date: 4/14/22 Address: 801-813 Chestnut St, Orangeburg, SC 29115 Order: Large barbecue plate with hash and rice and slaw Pricing: $
Monk: Along interstates 26, 95, and 20 in South Carolina, you are certain to see signs for a number of Duke’s Bar-B-Q’s. While these are not all part of the same chain of restaurants per se, they are all loosely connected to the Duke’s barbecue lineage which goes back decades in the midlands of the Palmetto State.
Each store is independently owned an operated, and according to Destination BBQ this plain white cinder block building off Chesnut Street in Orangeburg is just down the road from the original Dukes Bar-B-Q that was opened by Earl Dukes in 1955 and launched the Dukes Bar-B-Q brand. That building sat less than a mile away but closed some years ago. This store is operated by Earl’s nephew Harry Ott, Jr and his wife Ann; Harry’s mother Elma was the sister of Earl and he learned the recipes from his other Uncle Danny in addition to Uncle Earl.
Not much has likely changed since 1975 when the Otts moved from their original location in St Matthews, and this rectangular box that is lit by fluorescent lights has a dining room with checkerboard table cloths at the front with the kitchen separated by the counter and serving area. Also going back to 1975, be sure to have cash on hand as they don’t take cards.
At Dukes, a large plate will get you a generous portion of hash and rice as well as barbecue topped with their mustard sauce and a side of slaw. The chopped pork was fine and the slaw inoffensive but for me, the draw was the hash and rice which isn’t overly sweet. I’m still a newbie when it comes to hash and rice, but I enjoyed the Dukes version of it which has a more orange tint than what I tried a few days earlier at new school Palmira Barbecue in Charleston.
New school is something Dukes definitely is not, but that’s a feature not a bug. Sitting four miles off I-26 in Orangeburg, check out Dukes Bar-B-Q for a classic, old school South Carolina barbecue experience.
Monk: Kevin spoke with Elliott Moss recently in a wide-ranging conversation starting with his earliest memories of barbecue to how he got into cooking first at a Chic-Fil-A then The Admiral in Asheville, where he was awarded a James Beard Nomination, to the thought process behind Buxton Hall. Elliott also goes into detail about the dishes on his menu that make the restaurant in his mind: whole hog barbecue, barbecue hash, and chicken bog. I’ve read a lot on Moss both in his cookbook as well as various profiles online but this was perhaps the first time I’ve heard his voice in an audio interview.
Moss seems to be in a good place mentally and emotionally despite the pandemic, and it can seemingly be attributed to his decision to quit drinking last July. Between that and roller blading, his mind is as clear as its been in quite some time. Which is great for him.
Description: In this episode I chat with Chef Elliott Moss from Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville, North Carolina.
Monk: A lot (and I mean, a lot) has changed since the last time I did a “Best of Charlotte” series in 2016. Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen and Queen City Q, both winners in several categories, are both no longer in business. Neither are Sauceman’s or Bill Spoon’s, who in 2016 placed in ribs and pork respectively.
The Smoke Pit had the best brisket at the time and since then Jon G’s, Sweet Lew’s, and Noble Smoke have all opened their doors with wood-smoked brisket that each edges out the offerings from The Smoke Pit.
Midwood Smokehouse didn’t top any one category in 2016 but still had a strong showing by being in the top three in each of the five categories: pork, brisket, ribs, sausage, and other. Thankfully, they are still around and are well represented on this list.
Now, onto our picks for the “Ultimate Charlotte Barbecue Plate.”
Pork – Noble Smoke
Jim Noble and team are carrying on the 100+ years-old legacy of Lexington-style barbecue at Noble Smoke in west Charlotte. Simply rubbed with salt and pepper and smoked directly over wood coals in their custom brick masonry pit (named “John”) whose design was borrowed with permission from family friends the Monk family of Lexington Barbecue, upon tasting the pork transports you an hour or so north up I-85.
Honorable Mention: Sweet Lew’s BBQ
Brisket – Jon G’s Barbecue
The meat that put Jon G’s on the map. Of their many spectacular smoked meats, the brisket is the one must order every time you go. Do it and you won’t be disappointed. Trust me.
Honorable Mention: Noble Smoke
Ribs – The Smoke Pit
This one was a surprise from a recent trip that Speedy and I took to the Gastonia location of the local mini-chain of restaurants in late 2020. On that visit, Speedy noted that the dry rub ribs had the perfect bite with just the right amount of spice. I couldn’t agree more and it was the standout meat of that meal.
Honorable Mention: Jon G’s
Sausage – Cheerwine Hot Link from Jon G’s
A truly unique sausage made in-house at Jon G’s, with Salisbury, NC-based Cheerwine taking the place of the water used in the sausage-making process. The end result isn’t overly sweet or “Cheerwine-y” but it does impart a slight sweetness to counteract the heat of the jalapeno.
Honorable Mention: Sweet Lew’s BBQ
Beef Rib – Midwood Smokehouse
The beef rib is a weekend special at Midwood Smokehouse and upon my last visit is available every week for a cut-rate price of $32, well below what you would pay if it were charged by the pound.
Honorable Mention: Jon G’s BBQ (not available all weekends)
Side – Hash and rice from Sweet Lew’s BBQ
Hash and rice isn’t something you find in Charlotte, much less North Carolina, as its almost strictly a South Carolina barbecue dish. Sweet Lew’s differs from what you would find at True BBQ in West Columbia or Sweatman’s in Holly Hill in that instead of the off parts of the pig it uses pork as well as brisket, but I just love that they now offer it fulltime on their menu whereas it used to be a Wednesday special only.
Honorable Mentions: Pork skins from Sweet Lew’s BBQ, Smoked Meatballs from Midwood Smokehouse, Smoked wings from Noble Smoke
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.