Linkdown: 11/4/20

Featured

A trio of John Tanner Barbecue stories on NC barbecue joints – Rick’s Smokehouse, The Barbecue Center, and Midwood Smokehouse – including where I (Monk) was able to meet up with him in Charlotte. I enjoyed a meal with John – he got the pork combo platter and I got the brisket – on the patio at the Park Road location of Midwood Smokehouse a few weeks back on a warm October weekday. John certainly has his bona fides when it comes to barbecue – he is a certified True ‘Cue Inspector for the Virginia and DC Metro area and has an impressive archive of reviews over at John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog – and is an even nicer man to boot. I enjoyed our lunch conversation that ranged from barbecue to NASCAR to John Coltrane. Be sure to check out his blog and like his Facebook page.

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Smiley’s Lexington BBQ – Lexington, NC

Name: Smiley’s Lexington BBQ
Date: 10/1/20
Address: 917 Winston Rd, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Chopped barbecue sandwich with hush puppies and a Cheerwine (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Monk: Smiley’s Lexington BBQ was an early stop on our barbecue journey, about 5 months into the blog and back when our photos were extremely filtered photos from Instagram. However, both Speedy and I really liked the barbecue and ranked Smiley’s as 4 hogs at the time. As I have been working my way through the Lexington barbecue restaurants for my own rankings, it was almost certainly worth a revisit 8 years later. 

Then, word came a little over a year ago that Highway 8 which Smiley’s and Speedy’s both sit on was slated to be widened by the NC DOT and they both would be among the casualties lost (John Tanner certainly had some thoughts). The initial timing I had heard was summer 2020 but with the pandemic throwing a wrinkle in many things, it seems as if Smiley’s has received a temporary stay of execution. I hope it ends up being more permanent but regardless I wanted to make one more stop while I still could.

And I’m so glad I did, because Smiley’s provided an excellent late morning breakfast in my chopped sandwich, hush puppies, and a Cheerwine. The chopped barbecue was fresh, smoky, and topped with a tangy, crunchy red slaw. Just perfectly executed Lexington-style barbecue, with my only complaint was that the sandwich fell apart a bit easily and made for a quick and messy eating experience.

The basket of hush puppies was piping hot and my only regret was that I only had a couple of them and left more than half to waste. I wish that I could have somehow gifted these to someone without making it weird.

As I paid my bill, I asked the waitress if there was any update on the highway widening and she nodded her head side to side, saying that they hadn’t heard anything recently. “We’re just living day to day.”

Make it a point to get to Smiley’s Lexington BBQ while you can.

For more on Smiley’s Lexington BBQ:
BBQ Jew
Marie, Let’s Eat
John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog

Ratings: 
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4 hogs
Pork – 5 hogs
Sides – 5 hogs 
Overall – 5 hogs

Smiley's Lexington BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Linkdown: 10/21/20

Featured

I was happy to get a text from Garren Kirkman of Jon G’s Barbecue a few weeks back saying that famed Charlotte food writer Kathleen Purvis had finally come to check them out (although he didn’t know it at the time). And the verdict is in: Kathleen agrees with what we’ve been saying for years: Jon G’s is legit, particularly that brisket. Check out the rest of her top 5 at the link below.

Native News

Even with the Barbecue Festival cancelled, the annual release of Fine Swine Wine from Childress Vineyards goes on, with Bob Timberlake once again contributing pig art; “This year’s blend features rich, bright flavors of cherry and ripe strawberry. Soft and smooth tannins provide an enticing pallet for the smoky, Lexington barbecue flavors.”

More coverage on Lexington’s “Lift Up Lexington” event taking place of the annual Barbecue Festival

The Redneck BBQ Lab’s first franchise will be in the former Q Shack location in North Hills in Raleigh under the name “The BBQ Lab”

Mac’s Speed Shop has been handing out free pulled pork for voters in front of the Bojangles Entertainment Complex

Bob Garner joins the Tying It Together podcast with Tim Boyum of Spectrum News to discuss the famed history between barbecue and politics in NC

Check out this tailgate pack from Picnic

Non-Native News

Husk Greenville is now Husk Barbeque

Huey Nash Jr. discusses his late father’s dream to become the first Black food vendor at the State Fair of Texas.

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