Our Favorite Posts from 2022

Monk: 2022 marked the ten year anniversary of the blog and its gone by in a flash. We’re going to take the rest of the year off in order to come out strong in 2023, but before we do we want to 1) wish you all a happy holidays and 2) spotlight one last time some of our favorite original content from 2022.

Without further ado…

Original Content

My summer kicked off with a weekly recap of all 8 episodes of the third season of “BBQ Brawl.” While I was happy to get through those two months mostly unscathed, I also checked out a few other barbecue streaming shows throughout the year featuring notable barbecue personalities like Michael Symon’s “BBQ USA,” “World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason,” and the third season of “BBQuest” which added Hardcore Carnivore’s Jess Pryles as a co-host.

We’ve done some updating of our Lexington rankings sadly due to closures but I already know I need to get back to Lexington to try Cafe 71 Smoke House BBQ, which opened this fall in the old Rick’s Smokehouse space.

I also am trying a new post format with the “best barbecue within an hour of [insert major city here].” I’ve started with Charlotte but will work on posts for both Raleigh as well as the eastern part of the state.

We also went to a few festivals this year! May was a busy month in Charlotte with both the Smoke & Grapes event at the Charlotte Wine & Food Festival as well as the successful first annual Carolina BBQ Festival hosted by Lewis Donald of Sweet Lew’s BBQ.

In November, I went to Charleston for the second annual Holy Smokes Barbecue Festival and had a grand time in the lowcountry.

I can’t wait to see what festivals I’ll make it to in 2023.

Reviews

We’re up to 327 reviews on the site now, and in 2022 we added 23 more. Not quite our most productive year, but still an average of nearly 2 per month.

Rudy got to finally try Noble Smoke in Charlotte in February, and left pretty impressed with a 4.5 hog review.

Speedy loved pretty much everything about the relatively new Bringle’s Smoking Oasis in Nashville, from the space to the bar to of course the food (in particular the beef rib and the brisket). Another 4.5 hog meal.

But from the looks of it, Speedy’s favorite meal of the year was at Prime Barbecue in Knightdale when he was back in North Carolina this summer. He gave it our prestigious 5 hog rating, the first since our most recent Jon G’s Barbecue review from 2021.

I got in on the 4.5 hog action with a couple of joints in the Carolinas: Lawrence Barbecue in Durham and Palmira BBQ in Charleston. At Lawrence, in addition to the fun atmosphere at Boxyard RTP and the Lawrence Barbecue-inspired beer from Trophy Brewing, the pork and brisket were highlights of the meal. At Palmira, I got to chat with owner and pitmaster Hector Garate and both the whole hog barbecue and hash and rice shone through.

And last but not least, I can’t forget my mini whole hog barbecue tour in eastern North Carolina in the spring, where I visited B’s Barbecue, Skylight Inn, and the original location of Sam Jones BBQ.

I did a brief writeup for The Smoke Sheet, which a version of showed up on the site as well.

With that, the 2022 posts are done for the year. But we’ll be back in January with all new content.

Happy Holidays and see you all in 2023!

Linkdown 11/16/22 – The BBQ Bowl Victory Tour Edition

Monk: The second edition of the NC East/West BBQ Bowl took place this past weekend between Gardner-Webb University and Campbell. And Gardner-Webb Bulldogs held on just enough to come out victorious with a 42-35 dub.

GWU QB Bailey Fisher had a monster game, throwing for 3 TDs as well as running for another one, and was named BBQ Bowl MVP.

Fisher was also named the Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

…and WR Caleb Borders was named Freshman of the Week

On their way back to Boiling Springs, the trophy made a few Western NC barbecue stops. First stop: a chopped plate at Lexington Barbecue.

Back in Cleveland County, they made one final stop at Red Bridges after hours.

As mentioned above, the BBQ Bowl win means that Gardner-Webb has the honors of playing for the Big South Football Championship this weekend in Boiling Springs against NC A&T. Good luck to the Bulldogs!

Native News

Barbecue Center‘s winter hours are as follows:

The BBQ Lab – the more civilized cousin of Benson’s Redneck BBQ Lab – is now open in Raleigh’s North Hills

Raleigh’s had two major barbecue openings in as many weeks with Longleaf Swine opening earlier in the month

John Tanner on The Holy Barbecue at the Barbecue Church in Barbecue, NC

Non-Native News

John Tanner checks out the pork from Robertson’s BBQ in Ralph-Fosters, AL and a saucy chopped brisket sandwich at the Buc-ee’s in Leeds

Big upset in Intercollegiate Meat Judging

Linkdown: 10/26/22 – The “Helen Turner, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner” Edition

Featured

Monk: A few highlights from this past weekend’s Southern Foodways Alliance Fall Symposium where the focus was on barbecue: “questions about what barbecue is, who makes it, and how the craft is changing. From sliced beef brisket to pulled pork, from tacos to fire-roasted vegetables, barbecue speaks to the past, present, and future of the South and to the stories of pitmasters—the places they work, the smoke they conjure, and the sauces they stir.”

Texas Monthly Taco Editor Gustavo Arellano was a day one speaker and compared southern barbecue to Mexican barbacoa:

George and David Barber of Fresh Air Barbecue in Jackson, Georgia were named this year’s recipient of the Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award

Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor of Atlanta’s Heirloom Market Bar-B-Que treated folks to a Korean-inspired barbecue dinner Friday night

On day two, Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn explained why Texas-style barbecue is becoming the predominant style, both across the US and abroad

Food critic Hanna Raskin on the intersection of barbecue and alcohol

Soul Food Scholar Adrian Miller emceed the weekend with stories of black pitmasters

Finally, Helen Turner of Helen’s Bar-B-Q in Brownsville, TN was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award

Native News

The Lexington Barbecue Festival made a triumphant return after taking the last two years off

The Shepard Barbecue episode of Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives will air on Friday, November 4 at 9pm ET on Food Network

Dampf Good Barbecue has opened for regular hours at Phillis Farm of Cary; they will be serving their Texas-style barbecue Thursdays through Saturdays from 11am-6pm

Non-Native News

The Southern Smoke festival raised a whopping $1.6M this past weekend

The McRib Farewell Tour? Maybe not…

Preparations Underway for the Barbecue Festival in Lexington

Monk: Preparations are underway, not only from the organizers of the festival but also the restaurants on the fringe of town who hope to get additional traffic from the 150,000 or so folks coming into town for the weekend.

I did learn from this video that a barbecue joint named Cafe 71 has recently opened in the former Rick’s Smokehouse in Welcome, which is wonderful news and has been added to my list.