Noble Smoke will raise the bar for Charlotte barbecue when it opens this summer

Jim Noble will officially enter the barbecue restaurant world with the opening of Noble Smoke in the coming few weeks, but he is certainly no newcomer when it comes to barbecue, having grown up in High Point and spent his life going to Lexington Barbecue. Noble Smoke will be the culmination of a decades-long idea that’s been rumbling around in Jim’s head ever since he got started in the restaurant business. Jim may have started off in french cuisine and fine dining, but from spending some time with him getting a behind the scenes tour of the upcoming restaurant, it’s pretty evident that barbecue (and in particular, North Carolina barbecue) is a passion of his.

We’re still a few weeks ago from the opening, but its pretty clear to me that once opened, this will be a destination barbecue joint. The touches that you would expect from a Jim Noble restaurant are there – there will be a full service bar, the design is impeccable, and the dining experience will be well thought-out – but where it will really stand out is what’s housed in the custom built smokehouse out back.

That is where there are 6 custom-built reverse-flow offset smokers (each one named for Jim’s great aunts and uncles) as well as a brick pit that pays homage to Lexington Barbecue via a slightly tweaked design of their pits. This was probably the coolest part of the tour for Speedy and me, as longtime readers will know that Lexington Barbecue is our #1 all-time favorite restaurant (Rudy too). Jim is also a huge fan and has learned from the Monks, the family behind Lexington Barbecue, for years. With Noble Smoke, he will be very much looking to continue the Lexington-style barbecue tradition that began with Sid Weaver and Jess Swicegood and their stalls across the street from the Lexington courthouse in 1919.

Besides the smoked meat, the other part of the experience that will help make Noble Smoke a destination barbecue spot will be Suffolk Punch Brewing, which shares the other side of the old bus depot that will house the restaurant. A beer garden and killer patio will make the strong case for customers to stick around well after their meals are done, and Suffolk Punch will be doing some lambic style brewing of sours onsite at this second location, which will surely help differentiate it in the Charlotte market.

Let’s not forget Bossy Beaulah’s, the chicken shack that will sit on the property down a small hill closer to Freedom Drive. Jim has named that after his Aunt Beaulah, whom he named a mobile smoker trailer after and whose fried chicken he grew up on. That will have a smaller menu but patrons in the beer garden will be able to order from it with the servers running up a small hill to bring them brined and buttermilk breaded fried chicken sandwiches.

Jim Noble is a North Carolina guy who is passionate about North Carolina barbecue and I am confident that he will raise the bar when it comes to barbecue in Charlotte. Midwood Smokehouse brought back wood smoked barbecue to Charlotte in 2012 and Sweet Lew’s BBQ has contributed greatly to the scene to it with its opening last December, but Charlotte has so much more room to grow when it comes to its barbecue scene. If Houston’s barbecue scene is blowing up, there’s no reason why Charlotte can’t do the same. I think it just takes more passionate folks like Jim. Noble Smoke will continue the upward trend of barbecue in Charlotte with its opening this summer and I predict will stake a worthy claim to be Charlotte’s flagship barbecue restaurant.

Linkdown: 12/19/18

Noble Smoke making progress:

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The story behind the Barbecue Wife line of cocktail mixers from Catherine Stiles, the wife of Shane Stiles of Stiles Switch BBQ in Austin

Our State Magazine interviews Chase Webb, third generation pitmaster at Red Bridges Barbecue in Shelby

Meating Street Barbecue closed this past weekend, citing lack of parking in downtown Roswell, GA

Barbecue Center will be featured on “Man Fire Food” on the Cooking Channel tonight at 9pm

From this past summer, Rodney Scott shares some of his secrets:

Interesting turn of events:

Linkdown: 9/26/18

– Dave Grohl learned to first love barbecue in NC, though I’m curious if he was coming inland from the beach and if so, where:

When Nirvana became popular, the first thing I did is I bought a beach house in North Carolina and spent years up there, and I just ate pulled pork like f—ing crazy from the time I was 22 to about 25 years old,” Grohl said in between temperature checks. When he broke his leg on tour a few years ago and was holed up at home, he really dove into making it himself.

– Vegan barbecue in Charlotte? For shame!

– Pitmaster Matt Horn is bringing central Texas style barbecue to Oakland

– Tim Carman loves ZZQ in Richmond

– The latest on Noble Smoke, though you may find it behind the Charlotte Business Journal paywall if you have visited the site a few times this month

– Triad fall festivals including the Barbecue Festival in Lexington and Whole Hog Barbecue Championship in Raleigh are moving ahead as planned and do not expect to be impacted by the aftermath of Florence

– The N.C. Department of Transportation and Amtrak are offering a 15% discount on train rides to Lexington during the two days of The Barbecue Festival

– Lexington has been ranked one of the smelliest cities in the US according to Expedia

The thick, sweet smoke, tangled with the scent of hickory, wafts through from the barbecue pits in Lexington. Here the air smells of tender meat, falling off the bone, slathered in the town’s very own tomato-based sauce.

– The Smoking Ho on Lewis Barbecue: “If you picked Lewis Barbecue up and placed it anywhere in Texas, it would make the Texas Monthly BBQ Top 10 list. Easily.”

Linkdown: 9/5/18

– Treehouse Whiskey & Fork has always had barbecue on the menu, but they are rebranding as Treehouse Bourbon & BBQ

– Charlotte Agenda has a rundown of the upcoming restaurant openings, including Sweet Lew’s BBQ and Noble Smoke

– Eat at The Smoke Pit while in Cabarrus County, just north of Charlotte

– The story behind Dreamland

– This weekend is the Fiddle ‘n Pig Shindig at the Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, SC, which will include bluegrass music, a beer garden, and of course, barbecue

– The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the best barbecue joints in Seattle

– Texas barbecue in Pittsburgh (via Brooklyn)

– Three C’s Barbecue has opened in Pink Hill, NC in the eastern part of the state

– Very much looking forward to this: James Beard Award-winning author Adrian Miller has a black barbecue book coming out in 2020/2021

Linkdown: 8/29/18

– Brett Martin (for GQ) on how Houston got cool

– According to this article (which is about a new Jim Noble fried chicken concept), Noble Smoke is now being targeted to open in March 2019

– You can now vote for the best barbecue joints by state in Southern Living’s “South’s Best 2019” poll

– Texas Monthly on the Barbecue Nation exhibit in Atlanta

– According to this list, The Pit is one of Raleigh’s best soul food restaurants

– Yea…I’m gonna need to try this out soon on my own Weber

– A comparison of the two out-of-state whole hog joints coming to Birmingham in the coming months – Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint and Rodney Scott’s BBQ

– Your move, Texas Pete:

Linkdown: 6/27/18

– The origin story of the great Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque, the next great pitmaster (who’s already here)

Though he’s been a restaurant owner and full-time pitmaster for just four years, Furman, 37, already sits among the greats. Maybe it’s because he swaps out typical commodity pork for whole heritage-breed hogs he raised himself. (“Nobody else was doing that,” Furman says, “Not in a barbecue restaurant.”) Maybe it’s his unique Carolina-meets-Georgia style sauce, a sweet and tangy blend of mustard and fresh peaches. (“He does everything different,” says Nikki Furman, his wife and business partner.)

– B’s Cracklin Barbeque and a few other Barbecue Bro faves are on this Eater list of best Atlanta barbecue

– Eater’s got a list of barbecue in New York City, too

– Meet the Executive Pitmaster for Midwood Smokehouse’s 4 locations, Matt Berry

– Noble Smoke is one of Charlotte Agenda’s 9 most-anticipated restaurants and bars opening in Charlotte by the end of 2018 (wow that’s not a brief title)

– The Takeout has a crash course on Chinese barbecue, which isn’t wood-smoked like American barbecue

– Houston foodwriter J.C. Reid on the expanding role of the pitmaster

Another responsibility is that of barbecue ambassador. Pitmasters are asked to travel to distant locations to cook for an event or speak on a panel. In this case, the pitmaster isn’t just drawn away from working the pits — he’s often absent from his barbecue joint for days at a time.

– 8 Austin barbecue sandwiches that break the mold

– This Travel + Leisure list of the 25 best places for barbecue in the U.S. is based on Yelp and is…certainly a list

– Reminder: Daniel Vaughn’s Smokelandia airs its pilot episode tonight

– Registration is now open for October’s Tour de Pig in Lexington

Photo Gallery: Noble Smoke at Hyde Brewing for St. Patty’s Day

Monk: In advance of the forthcoming brewery/smokehouse/beer garden concept, Jim Noble and Noble Smoke set up at Hyde Brewing to serve chopped pork sandwiches on a beautiful St. Patrick’s Day in Charlotte.

Noble Smoke was set up in the side lot next to Hyde Brewing’s back patio where none other than Jim Noble himself was chopping up pork shoulders on a block in front of his smoker Beulah. On this day, they kept it simple with only sandwiches for sale for $7.

Each hefty sandwich was pre-topped with slaw and dip and while you could add more, I didn’t find it necessary. Noble Smoke certainly wasn’t skimping on chopped pork in each sandwich. The chopped pork was moist and the sandwiches were really good – a lot better than some of the dry barbecue sandwiches I’ve had since. Had I not had dinner plans, I certainly would have gone for a second sandwich and perhaps a third (the other one pictured in my hand was for my dad).

If this service is any indication of what’s to come, I will no longer have to drive an hour to Lexington for a true Lexington-style chopped pork sandwich, something I’ve been looking for as long as I’ve lived in Charlotte. Simply put, I cannot wait for Noble Smoke to open later this year.

Check out more from Noble Smoke on their website

Linkdown: 12/13/17

– Sad news as Midwood Smokeshack has closed in Matthews. However, there is some good news in that the employees will keep their jobs at other Midwood Smokehouse locations and FS Food Groupd will be looking to build a full service Midwood Smokehouse in the Matthews area at some point.

– D.G. Martin’s list of last minute book gifts includes one of my all-time favorite barbecue books which was just re-issued on paperback, “Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue” by John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and William McKinney

– Charlotte Agenda: “Noble Smoke could give Charlotte a true barbecue flagship”

– However, one recently-elected city councilwoman will not be patronizing Noble Smoke when it does open due to his support of HB2 in 2015

– Carolina Smokehouse brings western NC barbecue to Carolina Beach’s boardwalk

– Congrats to B’s Cracklin’ BBQ!

Linkdown: 11/22/27

– Big news!

More coverage on Noble Smoke from the Charlotte Business Journal

– The LA Times has an easy guide to pairing beer with barbecue

– Re-opened yesterday

– A Texas man is the first pitmaster to make Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list

– More coverage from TMBBQ on Grant Pinkerton

– An Austin rag “takes the temperature” of the barbecue scene in Brooklyn and with one exception finds that it doesn’t quite add up to Austin

– Everyone has a dark past, and NC barbecue is certainly no different; it had a beef phase

Photo Gallery: Hot Dogs and Smoked Pastrami from Noble Smoke

Monk: For the second year in a row, Jim Noble of the forthcoming Noble Smoke partnered with local menswear store Tabor for their Bungalow Social block party, While last year he smoked NC-style barbecue, this year he brought house made hot dogs grilled out of one of his mobile rigs, Flossie. So while I have still yet to try Noble’s barbecue, the hot dogs ground and made in-house at his uptown Rooster’s location more than hit the spot on a sunny fall day. I went Carolina style with chili, slaw, and mustard before topping it off with Texas Pete. Additionally, in an off-menu item, Jim had also smoked a pastrami and when I asked for a small taste he graciously offered a full sandwich. I’m no pastrami connoisseur but it was just fantastic.

I enjoyed introducing myself to Jim (who, by the way, like me is also from High Point, also went to High Point Central, and also went to NC State) through friend of the blog Susong and together we pestered him about Noble Smoke, which was been my most anticipated barbecue restaurant since it was first announced back in August 2015.

In maybe a tiny little bit of a scoop, according to him Noble Smoke will be coming in 2018 in a location off Freedom Drive in a space that is currently a warehouse. That certainly seems to fit the stated intention in the article linked above, where it mentions:

First, he needs to secure a Charlotte site that’s close to Interstate 77 with easy access. Most importantly, the restaurant needs to be in a space that allows the barbecue to be slow-cooked over wood, Noble adds.

From the little bit I recall from a brief discussion (free beers and cocktails for the win), he will be partnering with a local brewery (no word on which) and the space will also have an outdoor beer garden. I can’t wait to hear more details as they become available. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next opportunity to finally try the barbecue from Noble Smoke.