Name: Field House Bar-B-Que Date: 12/18/18 Address: 1907 S Cannon Blvd, Kannapolis, NC 28083 Order: Chopped barbecue plate with slaw, fries, and hush puppies; Cheerwine
Monk: I first heard of Field House Bar-B-Que in Kannapolis in regards to a 2017 name change from its original name of Varsity BBQ & Ice Cream after being sued by The Varsity in Atlanta. How a one store NC barbecue restaurant in operation since 1998 could be confused with the classic burgers chain two states away baffles me, but nonetheless Field House opted to change the name rather than going through a lengthy legal process.
As for the food itself, as best I can tell Field House uses a gasser but manages to get some decent smoke on the pork. While I ordered the plate with fries, they do serve Lexington-style trays which you don’t see too often on the stretch of highway between Salisbury and Shelby. Next time I’ll try to avoid the temptation of fries and just get the tray with pork, slaw, and hush puppies on the side.
Speaking of slaw, they do offer a choice of red slaw as well as white slaw so you can keep your Lexington tray traditional. I appreciate that the hush puppies are scratch made and not some frozen nonsense.
As best I can tell, nothing really changed in fall 2017 when Varsity Bar-B-Que was renamed to Field House Bar-B-Que (the old sign is even still out back). For local Kannapolis-ians (Kannapolites?), that appears to be a good thing. The old name does live in on the back of each waitresses’ shirts, however, which are styled as jerseys with “Varsity Team” as the player name above a “98” as the block style jersey number. Nicely played, Field House. Nicely played.
One day about six months ago, when the sixth and final season of “House of Cards” was filming on a set outside of Baltimore, two fictional men discussed a plate of real pork ribs. “They’re from a place called Federalist Pig,” one character says to another, adding, “I’ve been told it’s the next best thing to Freddy’s.”
At Luella’s, you can get an order of ribs (excellent), beef brisket (also excellent), chopped pork (some of the best I’ve had, and I’m a certified barbecue judge), and tempeh. The tempeh, a locally made soy-based product, is the veggie surprise. The menu says it’s “almost blasphemous, but so good we’ll forgive you.” And whether you’re a vegetarian or not, it’s worth a taste. Served glazed with a sweet-hot sauce and impregnated with hickory smoke, you’ll hardly notice you’re not eating meat. The chef/owner told me that two of his frequent customers are both vegetarians, and they rave about this dish.
– More lists: 12 Bones in Asheville and Hubba Hubba Smokehouse in Flat Rock (30 miles southeast of Asheville) make this list of America’s 35 best ribs
– The Jiggy with the Piggy BBQ Challenge at the Research Center in Kannapolis is this weekend
– The 10th edition of the Texas Pete Twin City RibFest will take place June 5-8 in Winston-Salem and according to the producer of the festival Allen McDavid it distinguishes from other “cook-offs” by the following:
Barbecue festivals like the Texas Pete Twin City RibFest have the requisite competition but that takes a back seat to satisfying the appetites of thousands of festival attendees who appreciate the choice of barbecue from several nationally renowned pitmasters with the necessary equipment necessary to feed thousands of hungry attendees. According to McDavid, “Our BBQ teams generally go through a tractor trailer load of meat every RibFest. If we don’t have rain, it’s more.”
– The Dallas Observer was not thrilled with Texas Ranger pitcher Matt Harrison (originally from Durham) and his preference for NC barbecue
It’s worse because this means that the Texas Rangers let someone from North Carolina answer a barbecue question on their account. Without censoring it. And let me remind you, the tweet is still there. Nobody immediately deleted it. No interns were fired over this.