The Barbecue Festival in Lexington announces its 2022 date: October 22, 2022. For the second year in a row, it was cancelled due to staff shortages and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In normal times, The Barbecue Festival is the region’s largest one-day street festival and draws near 100,000 people every year.
The Mallard Creek Barbecue, which usually takes place the Thursday before The Barbecue Festival, also cancelled for the second year in a row earlier this year. It 91st edition will hopefully take place the fourth Thursday of October in 2022.
Other festivals are able to take place, such as euphoria Greenville last weekend and the inaugural Holy Smokes Barbecue Festival in November. Just a reminder that while things are in some ways better than 2020, we may still be between 6-12 months away from true normalcy.
Cary Magazine checks out Lawrence Barbecue
Lawrence Barbecue also gets some love from Eater Carolinas
Monk: The NC Food & Beverage Podcast speak with with Keith “Bub” Wright of Lexington Barbecue, who married into Monk family by way of Wayne Monk’s daughter Kelly, who he began dating in high school while working at Lexington Barbecue. Bub speaks with the NC F&B guys and schools them on Lexington-style barbecue and how they do things in Davidson County. Right off the bat, he explains why they serve their barbecue three ways: chopped, coarse chopped, and sliced.
Lewis Barbecue officially announces their second restaurant in Greenville, taking over the space previously occupied by Tommy’s Country Ham House. So for folks in the Charlotte area (i.e. me), Lewis’ central Texas-style brisket, hot guts, sausage will be about half the distance you previously had to travel to Charleston. And this is a very good thing. Lewis Barbecue Greenville will open sometime in early 2022.
In addition to the Lewis Barbecue expansion news, it was recently announced that his Juan Luis Tex-Mex concept will take over the former Workshop food hall in Charleston. It was an original food stall tenant at the food hall but recently the trailer had been parked in the courtyard at Lewis Barbecue. Based on these recent moves, Lewis is certainly building the foundation for a food empire in South Carolina.
A sneak peak inside the recently opened Sam Jones BBQ in Raleigh
“Under this partnership structure, Mighty Quinn’s licenses Otto’s Tacos name and fulfills orders from it’s kitchen. Customers then receive their digital order from Otto’s Tacos using first- or third-party platforms.”
Monk: Our last piece of business before we close the door on 2020, here are my favorite barbecue meals of 2020. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d get to a full list of 10 like I did for 2019, but even with everything going on I still had some great meals.
10. Beef rib from Midwood Smokehouse
Midwood Smokehouse has a weekend beef rib special available every weekend for the (relatively) low price of $32 per bone. Midwood charges a flat fee and compared with what you’d pay if you had to pay by the pound, that’s a saving of at least $10-15.
9. “Bird is the word” smoked then fried chicken sandwich and smoked gulf shrimp from Leah and Louise (Charlotte)
“Bird is the Word” is a smoked then fried chicken sandwich topped with pickles and comeback sauce from Leah and Louise from James Beard-nominated chef Greg Collier and his wife Sabrina. It was also one of the best sandwiches I ate all year, even if it was technically not at a barbecue joint. The other smoked item I enjoyed on that visit was the “On My Way Home” which was “big a$$ smoked gulf shrimp” in a lemon, butter, and worcestershire sauce with cornmeal brioche.
If you are anywhere near Charlotte, get yourself too Leah and Louise at Camp Northend.
8. Smoked beef tenderloin from my backyard
My big Christmas smoke this year was both a smoked turkey breast but most importantly, a smoked beef tenderloin. I dry rubbed the tenderloin with kosher salt earlier that day before rubbing it with Billy Twang’s Old No. 3 Rub (review here) as I got my Oklahoma Joe’s offset up to temp. Two hours later, I had a perfectly medium tenderloin that sliced into perfect medallions. Yet another winner to file away for future smokes.
Rick’s was the favorite of my new Lexington discoveries as part of last year’s Lexington barbecue quest, landing just below my co-favorites Lexington Barbecue and Bar-B-Q Center and the re-review of Smiley’s (see below). Nonetheless, Rick’s is a winner that carries on the Lexington tradition for a relatively new restaurant (opened in 2009).
6. Tres Amigos platter (brisket, pork, and ribs) with smoked turkey and jalapeno cheddar sausage from The Smoke Pit
Mine and Speedy’s full review is forthcoming, but we enjoyed our visit to the newest location of the expanding local restaurant chain, which started in Concord and has grown to 4 locations. Charlotte-area folks: don’t sleep on The Smoke Pit.
5. Texas Trinity and beef rib from Prime BBQ (story)
At last February’s media event for Prime BBQ (in before times), after an extensive tour of the then-in construction Prime BBQ, the group was treated to a lovely meal of brisket, ribs, and sausage (aka the Texas Trinity) and a small beef rib. Eventually I will make it back to Knightdale for an official review, but this was quite the meal.
4. Pork belly burnt ends and sliced pork belly from my backyard (story)
While I still haven’t quite lived up to my promise that I would smoke pork belly again very soon, it is very much on my to-do list for upcoming backyard smokes in 2021. I still dream about those pork belly burnt ends from time to time.
3. Chopped barbecue sandwich with hush puppies and a Cheerwine from Smiley’s Lexington Barbecue (review)
Eight years after my first and only visit to Smiley’s, I wanted to get another visit end in case it truly does end up closing due to road expansion. And what I found was a 5 hog joint in limbo, unsure of the timing when it will be forced to close. Nevertheless, the sandwich I got on that day was the perfect Lexington barbecue sandwich.
2. Beef rib, brisket, ribs, and cheddar bossa sausage from Jon G’s Barbecue (review)
You guys all know how I feel about Jon G’s by now, so not too much more needs to be written here except that you should make the trip out to Peachland, particularly if they have a beef rib on special (but be prepared to pay for it). One of my barbecue new year’s resolution is to make the trip more often and continue to spread the word of Jon G’s.
1. Pork, ribs, and chicken from Southern Smoke BBQ (review)
Southern Smoke was my favorite barbecue at the midpoint of last year and that carried on through to the end of 2020. Matthew Register and team are doing great things in Garland, and I urge folks to make the trip like I did.