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.

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

Linkdown: 7/26/17

– Congrats to Carolina Bar-B-Que in Statesville on being open for 32 years!

– Jon G’s BBQ (our current Charlotte #1) is moving up in the world with their spiffy new trailer

– As previously announced, the next location of Midwood Smokehouse will be in Birkdale Village in Huntersville in the old Smoke location

– John Lewis names his pitmasters of the future in Tasting Table

– Tasting Table had their list of America’s Top 11 BBQ Joints from an article back in May, which I don’t believe I saw until now

– Is it ever too hot to eat barbecue? Never.

– Atlanta’s gotten a 4 Rivers Smokehouse (the first outside of Florida) in its burgeoning westside

– A GQ feature on the Austin barbecue scene

– AV Club’s Supper Club explores Alabama’s white sauce, “smoked chicken’s best friend”

– The best barbecue sides in Austin

– Filing this away for future reference…

Smoke Modern Barbeque – Huntersville, NC

: Smoke Modern Barbeque
Date: 2/28/15
Address: 16710 Birkdale Commons, Pkwy #103, Huntersville, North Carolina 28078
Order: Two meat Smokin Q Combo (pork and brisket) with slaw and soda (link to menu)
Price: $20

For a state with a, shall we say, lacking barbecue tradition, Colorado at least kinda seems to know what its doing when it comes to barbecue chains. First, Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que expanded into the Charlotte area with its Matthews location a few years back and now Smoke Modern Barbeque has opened a restaurant in Huntersville. Another one is planned in the Ballantyne area of south Charlotte this summer, taking over for the old City Tavern at Stonecrest.

Smoke is nice inside. Like, probably too nice looking. The servers are dressed in all black and the decor is all modern, straight lines (hence the “modern” in the name, I assume). Based on that description, this has to be too nice of a place to actually serve decent barbecue, right?

Well, after my two meat combo I’d say yea, that’s more or less the case. The small-ish serving of coarsely pulled pork had minimal bark and was not all that smokey. Mrs. Monk’s pork sandwich had several huge strands of pork (as well as some unwanted grizzle) that made it tough for her to chrew at times. I will say, at least the bun was a nice substantial potato bun that held up under the weight of the sandwich and slaw. My recommendation to Smoke would be to utilize cleavers to chop up the pork a little more before serving.

The brisket was a little better, if not stellar. It was a bit more thinly sliced than I like but it did have a nice peppery bark, reminiscent of a central Texas-style brisket. My portion came with a mix of lean and fatty, and I would recommend it if you found yourself there. In fact, if I were to go again (likely at the south Charlotte location to try it out once it opens), I’d probably get the brisket but would also try the jalapeno beef sausage which is actually imported from Kiolbassa Meats in San Antonio.

For a nearly $17 combo, its a bit disappointing that you only get one side but I guess that’s to be expected from upscale, yuppie ‘cue. The cider slaw was fine, but I found it odd that Smoke didn’t have any cornmeal options. Neither cornbread nor hush puppies were anywhere to be seen on the menu.

Smoke seems to emphasize their house made sauces available at each table, with our waiter taking us through a “tour of the sauces” since it was our first time there. They had a red vinegar sauce that wasn’t really Lexington style, a thicker sauce recommended for brisket, an even thicker KC Masterpiece-style sauce, and finally a “Georgia Gold” mustard-based sauce. How they came up with that name is a mystery – if Georgia has a mustard sauce tradition that’s news to me.

You might be tempted to check out Smoke Modern Barbecue on a date night because of its modern decor and upscale-iness, however I just can’t recommend it due to its high prices and small portions, not to mention the barbecue itself is a little lacking. Plus, they spell barbecue with a “q” so they obviously can’t be trusted.


Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 2 hogs
Brisket – 3 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs
Smoke Modern BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Linkdown: 2/11/15

– Our State ruminates on the barbecue sandwich, deconstructed

– In this week’s blog for The Daily South, Robert Moss profiles a NASA scientist by day, and whole hog barbecue pitmaster by night

A career in engineering took Howard Conyers a long way from Paxville: to an undergraduate degree at North Carolina A&T followed by a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and materials science from Duke, and then to Louisiana. “I finished my Ph.D. and took my first job at Stennis,” Conyers says. “I lived in Slidell for a year and then moved to New Orleans.” Somewhere along the way, he started to miss his family’s style of whole hog barbecue. “I realized I had left something back home that is unique and special,” he says.

Tyson Ho writes about the importance of mentors – barbecue and otherwise – in his latest blog for Serious Eats; he also spills the beans on the origins of the name Arrogant Swine

(If you’re wondering, the name came about when we were trying to find a pig-based url for my website. A whole hog joint needs a pig name, and url squatters had most of them. I tried every color, every variant spelling of hog, all to no luck. Then one day I walked past a poster for a beer called the “Arrogant Bastard Ale.” I wondered if Arrogant Swine was available, and it was, so that became my name.)

Smoke Modern Barbeque is a new barbecue restaurant in Huntersville from Charlotte restaurateur Dennis Thompson, who is involved in Firebirds Wood Fire Grill and Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar; it opened on Monday

– …aaaand they already have a second location planned, slated to open in July in Ballantyne

– In more expansion news, Queen City Q is opening a second location in Matthews

– Sad news out of DC, as barbecue legend Mr. P (originally from NC) was taken off of life support earlier this week

– TMBBQ goes deep on best naner pudding in Texas, though I disagree with their assertion on NC naner pudding – its been served cold everywhere I’ve ever been

First, though, let’s talk about what unifies banana pudding in Texas. That’s temperature. If you venture over to North Carolina, it’ll come piping hot and covered in meringue, but in Texas it’s served straight from the fridge.

– JC Reid from the Houston Chronicle talks about the importance of wood and smoke (via TMBBQ)

– In other Texas barbecue news, The Dallas Observer is looking for a barbecue writer

– Smoky Oak Taproom, a Charleston barbecue restaurant with an impressive tap list, to open a location in Florence, SC

– Want to win a $100 gift card to The Pit Durham?