After a few weeks in soft open mode, Sam Jones BBQ’s downtown Raleigh location has finally opened; the latest opening towards Raleigh staking its claim as a modern barbecue capital. Next up in some order is Ed Mitchell’s The Preserve, Wyatt’s Barbecue (from the team behind Picnic in Durham), Lawrence Barbecue, and Longleaf Swine. More coverage on Sam Jones BBQ can be found in this article from industry trade publication QSR Magazine.
In the next few months, a visit to Raleigh will certainly be called for, as our Capital brethren continue to beat out the Queen City in barbecue openings. Step up your game, Charlotte!
Robert Moss explores the origin stories of 5 southern sauces, including Scott’s Barbecue Sauce from Goldsboro which is available across the US thanks to its distribution via Wal-Mart
In his latest issue of The Cue Sheet, Robert Moss examines the ten best college cities or towns to attend according to nearby barbecue options. While my alma mater NC State is mentioned as a future possibility once the planned restaurants like Sam Jones BBQ, Wyatt’s Barbecue, and Longleaf Swine open their doors in 2021 (not to mention Prime BBQ in Knightdale that opened this year and the upcoming Ed Mitchell’s The Preserve), several NC towns make the list. Not on the list either is Chapel Hill, primarily due to the loss of Allen & Son last year.
East Carolina University in Greenville has B’s Barbecue, Sam Jones Barbecue and the two Ayden joints nearby (Skylight and Bum’s) and comes in at #9. Surprisingly, Catawba College in Salisbury, NC makes the list just ahead of Greenville due to a couple of joints in town (College Barbecue and Richard’s) plus its proximity to Lexington and its myriad options for barbecue.
That’s it for NC on this list but both Columbia and Charleston appear further down from our neighbors to the south. I won’t spoil the rest of the list, but if you think hard enough you can probably guess which university and city takes the #1 spot on the list.
The Great NC BBQ Map poster is 50% off through today
This smothered tater tots collaboration between Fox Bros Bar-B-Q and Nina and Rafi looks amazing
An American pitmaster living in Hong Kong names the US barbecue restaurantshe dreams of going back to some day, including Rodney Scott’s BBQ, Cozy Corner, Franklin Barbecue, and Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
Pork n’ Pine Santa delivers pulled pork sammies in Baltimore
Speedy: After a successful mail order from Black’s Barbecue, and considering I was still sheltering in place, it seemed like a good idea to order some more ‘cue. After some serious Googling, I decided on Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. Like Black’s, the order came super quick, and packed very well, and took several sittings to eat. The meat came with a detailed instruction book that recommended warming the brisket and burnt ends in boiling water, while using the oven for the ribs. I went first with the brisket, which came pre-sliced in pretty thin slices.
After warming the package in boiling water (as directed, while still in the packaging), I cut open the package and got a good smell of smokey ‘cue. I tasted first without the sauce, and it was just OK for me. With such thin slices, there was no bark, and it missed that peppery seasoning. While the taste was good, it felt like more high-end deli roast beef, as the thin slices made it seem like it was made for sandwiches, and not sliced thickly as proper brisket should be. Everyone knows that bark can make or break a brisket, and without it, the brisket was lacking. Adding the sauce helped with the flavor, but having to do that tells you all you need to know.
Monk: From my experience at the Kansas City-style barbecue at John Brown Smokehouse with native Kansas Citizen (City-an? City-ite?) Sean Ludwig of NYC BBQ and The Smoke Sheet, his guidance (for at least that place) was to stay away from the thinly-sliced brisket and go for the burnt ends if you wanted brisket. Guess the whole thinly-sliced deal for brisket is kind of a Kansas City thing based on this admittedly small sample size.
Speedy: I had a similar experience with the ribs, finding them underseasoned. These were warmed in the oven, which gave me the opportunity to add seasoning myself, I ended up not doing that, which was a mistake. While cooked well and tender, I just wanted more flavor. Overall, I didn’t find these to be any better than store bought pre-cooked ribs.
This leaves us with the Kansas City staple – burnt ends. Going in, I was most excited for the burnt ends, a meat I don’t often get a chance to eat. Reheating the burnt ends in boiling water worked well, leading to piping hot meat, which was tender, but also lacked the bold flavor I was hoping for. The sauce complimented the burnt ends very nicely, but in the end, I still found them to just be average. By no means am I a connoisseur of burnt ends, but I certainly expected more.
Monk: I was going to order the same package from Joe’s KC but a week after Speedy since I already had ordered bulk barbecue from Jon G’s Barbecue for pick up here in Charlotte for the weekend. However, after his experience Speedy went ahead and let me know that I could probably skip them and spend my money elsewhere. Which is a shame because I too was looking forward to the burnt ends. In any case, thanks for the heads up, bro.
Speedy: At the end of the day, my second experiment with mail order ‘cue didn’t go off quite so well. I just felt there was an overall lack of seasoning, leading to a bland product. I’d be interested in visiting Joe’s KC Bar-Be-Que in person, but I won’t order from them again.