The Barbecue Bros’ 2023 Holiday Gift Guide

Monk: In this year’s revamped Gift Guide, we’re going for more curation and less bullet listing. Hopefully this will give you a sense of the items we truly recommend here at Barbecue Bros, whether it be t-shirts or hats, grill accessories you’ll use in the backyard, or rubs and sauces. What else have we missed? Comment below.

Charlotte-Area Barbecue Gifts

SnS Grills is a Concord-based company and not only has their own, critically acclaimed kettle and kamado smokers, they’ve also got a selection of Weber-specific charcoal baskets, drip pans, and grilling tools. Sweet Lew’s BBQ has a solid selection of hats as well as shirts, sauces, and rubs available online; similarly as does Midwood Smokehouse. Jon G’s BBQ doesn’t have merch available online (only available in person at the store), but they do sell gift cards on their website.

North Carolina Barbecue Gifts

Besides their tasty barbecue, Buxton Hall was the first North Carolina restaurant I thought of when it came to merch. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not plenty of other good options from across North Carolina. Sam Jones BBQ recently released a great Marlboro inspired “Pack of Sam” tee as well as a festive “BBQ Vacay” hat. Durham’s Lawrence BBQ has some great merch including a “Swinehurst” hat and an acid-washed hoodie. You can get hats and shirts from Stamey’s but also bottles of their dip and hot sauce. And Raleigh’s House of Swank has the always controversial “Tomato” vs “Vinegar” t-shirt. I’ve been using Carolina Brewery’s Carolina Dry Rub almost exclusively the past year and their Eastern Carolina Style BBQ Sauce is also pretty legit.

You can also get cookbooks from North Carolina authors like Sam Jones’ autographed cookbook, Matthew Register’s “Southern Smoke” cookbook, Elliott Moss’s cookbook under the Buxton Hall Barbecue name, and the 2023 release of Ed and Ryan Mitchell’s cookbook.


My favorite barbecue books ever are as follows (in no particular order): Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina BBQ by John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg Reed, Barbecue Crossroads: Notes and Recipes from a Southern Odyssey by Robb Walsh, The One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Smoke Whole Hog by Rien Fertel, Black Smoke: African Americas and the United States of Barbecue by Adrian Miller, and my most recent addition the list Smokestack Lighting: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country by Lolis Eric Elie.

Honorable mention goes to Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue by Daniel Vaughn, Robert Moss’ Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America by Jim Auchmutey, Wyatt McSpadden’s two Texas BBQ books with wonderful photography, and of course Aaron Franklin’s Franklin Barbecue: A Meat Smoking Manifesto.


Fox Bros always has great designs for the shirts and hats, and have been leaning into the Grateful Dead-themed merch lately. Barbecue Wife has long sold out of t-shirts but have new patch snapback hats in. Rodney Scott’s mantra is “Every day is a good day” and you can own a t-shirt saying exactly that. There are still dark grey shirts available for Bryan Furman BBQ as well.

Grilling Tools and Accessories

No backyard cook (or even a regular indoor one) should cook without an instant thermometer and for that, my pick is the Thermapen One. You’ll also likely need grill and meat temperature thermometers, and Thermapen has a version as does Inkbird, who created the world’s first 5G thermometer. As of this writing, the Looft Air Lighter X cordless version is half off. Grill Armor heat gloves are a good option to keep your hands away from heat sources. Mrs. Monk got me this Drip EZ BBQ Prep Tub a few years back and its ingenious design collapses from a prep tub to a cutting board in seconds. Hardcore Carnivore always has good stuff, whether its butcher paper, high heat gloves, or various knives. Meat Church is another great source and also has an assortment of rubs, injections, t-shirts, and hats but also a nice Hedley & Bennett apron.

Stocking Stuffers

Are your kids sick of stopping for barbecue? Maybe this kids adventure journal from Barbecue Wife will help your cause. Cheshire Pork has a bacon ketchup, bacon jam (both regular and jalapeno), and various jerky available at their “pantry”. Weathersbeef has their “Bird,” “Beef,” and “Pork” rubs available online as well as some good looking Imperial “Beef” hats. Are you interested in a white sauce for your poultry? You could do a lot worse than Rodney Scott’s bottled version.

Happy Shopping!

Linkdown: 4/19/23 – The AI-Generated BBQ Photo Edition


Monk: Jake Wood of Lawrence Barbecue is launching what he hopes will be a new annual event, called Frankie Lemmon’s Gettin’ Piggy With It in support of the Frankie Lemmon School. By way of background, “Frankie Lemmon School is a NAEYC accredited, 5-star child development center that welcomes children ages 2-6 with and without disabilities.”

For the event, he’s partnering with Trophy Brewing in Raleigh and utilizing their new event venue Maywood Hall & Garden. And he’s bringing with him some heavy hitters in the world of barbecue, not only in North and South Carolina but also one from California. The full list of pitmasters and chefs:

  • Dampf Good BBQ – Cary, NC
  • Jon G’s Barbecue – Peachland, NC
  • King BBQ – Charleston, SC
  • Lawrence Barbecue – Durham, NC
  • Lewis Barbecue – Charleston, SC
  • Locals Seafood – Raleigh, NC
  • Longleaf Swine – Raleigh, NC
  • N. Sea Oyster Co. – Hampstead, NC
  • Shepard Barbecue – Emerald Isle, NC
  • Southern Smoke Barbecue – Garland, NC
  • Wye Hill – Raleigh, NC
  • ZEF BBQ – Los Angeles, CA

Tickets are on sale as of of today for the May 21 event. Tickets and event information available here

Native News

AVL Today profiles two Asheville-area joints on the Historic NC Barbecue Trail: Switzerland Cafe in Little Switzerland and Hubba Hubba Smokehouse in Flat Rock

The Bone Suckin’ Sauce Peak City Pig Fest, a KCBS event, took place this past weekend in Apex

NoDa Brewing and Jon G’s Barbecue have teamed up for a fun event at their OG Taproom on April 27th…but tickets have already sold out

NoDa Brewing’s Cheerwine Ale is getting a can glow-up

Non-Native News

Gear Patrols dives into the best charcoal grills on the market

John Tanner checks out Rodney Scott’s Barbecue to compare it to the original; his findings may surprise you

Speaking of Rodney Scott, he’s teamed up with The Spice House to create a line of spice blends available to purchase now

Swig & Swine owner Anthony DiBernardo shares an update on their upcoming Monk’s Corner location

Pig Beach’s Jeff Michner BBQ Event is coming up on April 29

Goldee’s Barbecue will soon be selling their own smokers, made in partnership with M&M BBQ Company

The caption says it all

Congrats to Daniel Vaughn on 10 years as barbecue editor for Texas Monthly

Linkdown: 3/29/23 – The Top Piedmont Barbecue Restaurants Edition


Monk: With the recent closures of Richard’s Bar-B-Que in Salisbury and Rick’s Smokehouse as well as Smiley’s BBQ in Lexington, John Tanner shares his updated list of top 10 Piedmont barbecue restaurants.

Off the top, I haven’t tried Dickie Do’s in Haw River or Real Q in Winston-Salem (though I should remedy that), so can’t comment on those. But the rest of the joints on the list I have no qualms with, though while I enjoyed both I was surprised that he liked Clark’s Barbecue in Kernersville and College Barbecue in Salisbury so much.

The qualm that I do have is the lack of inclusion of The Barbecue Center in Lexington, though John acknowledges he may be in the minority here and links to his story for reference on his experience and thinking. Regardless, John Tanner is a well-trusted source on barbecue and NC barbecue in particular, so head on over and check out his list.

Native News

The land where BBQ King in Charlotte sits is up for sale for $4.2M

The latest Jon G’s pop-up is today at Vaulted Oak Brewing

Lewis Donald of Sweet Lew’s BBQ is one of the pitmasters at the Pinehurst Barbecue Festival

Leroy’s Taco Shop, the taco concept from Jake Wood of Lawrence Barbecue, opened this past weekend

Non-Native News

Houston’s best barbecue restaurants near NRG Stadium for Final Four attendees this weekend

Two big barbecue festivals this weekend: the Houston BBQ Festival and Hogs for the Cause in New Orleans

The history behind Hogs for the Cause, which turns 15 this year

Hurtado Barbecue is bringing brisket birria tacos to Texas Rangers stadium

News you can use: don’t serve a pork butt sitting out accidentally for 12 hours

Robert Sietsema enjoyed Boots and Bones in Jersey City, which features the first pitmaster from Blue Smoke

Buc-ee’s gets a fossil named after it

Linkdown: 3/1/23 – The “Cracker Barrel of Barbecue” Edition

Monk: Dave Grohl has popped up once again in barbecue, this time cooking “ribs, brisket, cabbage, coleslaw, and beans” for a LA homeless shelter. He spent a whopping 16 hours cooking and serving and paid for all of the food himself according to this article from Uproxx. Grohl’s love of barbecue is well-documented but he had been somewhat quiet on the barbecue front the past few years.

The CFO of the Hope of the Valley homeless shelter Rowan Vansleve posted a photo of Grohl preparing food in the rain and wrote, “In the middle of the storms this week. This is Dave Grohl cooking over 500 servings of the best barbecue for those living in our shelters. That’s class.”

We don’t deserve Dave Grohl.

Native News

John Tanner stops by Skylight Inn for the first time in a while and while some things may have changed, the important things have not

Robert Moss likes what he tasted from the chopped pork trailer at Jon G’s Barbecue; best of all, no line

Lawrence Barbecue and Jon G’s Barbecue are collaborating with N. Sea Oyster Co on an oysters and barbecue party for St. Patty’s Day

Black Powder Smokehouse‘s Asheboro location is now opening next week on March 7

Not sure if being known as the “Cracker Barrel” of barbecue is a good thing, tbh but Mike D’s BBQ is coming to Easter Durham

Let’s hope Jimmy’s Smoke House, in the restaurant space formerly occupied by Cafe 71 Smokehouse and Rick’s Smokehouse, sticks around for awhile