Charlotte Barbecue News from the Second Quarter of 2020

Monk: Despite the generally bad outlook for restaurants, there was mostly positive news for our top ranked Charlotte barbecue restaurants. Noble Smoke and Sweet Lew’s both reopened with reduced capacity and social distancing measures in place and of course there is Jon G’s Barbecue which finally opened its long-awaited doors in Peachland.

Things were not so great for Queen City Q, which when we started the blog in 2012 was our second favorite barbecue restaurant in Charlotte at the time behind Midwood Smokehouse. And things seemed to be going pretty well in the mid-2010’s, with expansion to locations in Ballantyne, Matthews, and Concord. However, those quietly closed in recent years and the original location in Uptown Charlotte was apparently hanging on by a thread before it was forced to close as a result of the state’s pandemic response. It briefly opened in May as part of North Carolina’s phase 2 but then the final nail in the coffin came when it was forced to close again due to the threat of protests.

If I’m honest, Queen City Q had fallen off quite a bit from when it first opened. Our last visits were my solo trip to the Concord store in 2016 in which a poor experience prompted a re-review of the 6th Street location by Speedy and me a few weeks later. We left that visit disheartened and convinced that the drop in quality wasn’t an isolated incident. Neither of us had not been back since, and now they have shuttered their remaining location.

RIP Queen City Q (2012-2020)

April

4/7 Hillbilly’s Barbeque & Steaks in Lowell is moving to a new building on South Main Street

4/14 Jon G’s Barbecue updates their website ahead of their forthcoming brick and mortar in Peachland

4/20 Noble Smoke begins delivery service in Charlotte

4/30 Sweet Lew’s BBQ, which had been closed but serving their smoked meats out of Dish (also owned by Lewis Donald), announces they are reopening their store for to-go orders on May 7

May

5/1 Jon G’s Barbecue announces they are officially permitted for their upcoming restaurant

5/7 Sweet Lew’s BBQ reopens

5/20 A limited edition Sweet Lew’s BBQ shirt became available and supported two local small businesses with each purchase

5/21 Bill Spoon’s BBQ decides to remain curbside only even as restaurants are allowed to open with reduced capacity in phase 2

5/22 Noble Smoke reopens with extended safety precautions

June

6/4 Queen City Q announced that they are closing their uptown location, which was the last remaining location of their Charlotte locations after numbering as many as 4 in recent years.

6/8 Jon G’s Barbecue announces their soft opening dates starting June 19

6/19 Jon G’s Barbecue officially opens

6/27 Sweet Lew’s BBQ smoked enough pork for 175 plates for the Charlotte Community Kitchen

Linkdown: 4/7/20

Killer Mill Scale emergency relief raffle. A $20 ticket can win you the whole she-bang

Fox Bros out of Atlanta is doing a killer raffle of their own with $20 tickets

Kevin’s BBQ Joints has a nationwide list of barbecue joints that are shipping

Hillbilly’s Barbeque & Steaks in Lowell is moving to a new building on South Main Street

Getting excited for Wilber’s return

More on Wilber’s , who will be offering takeout when they open in May assuming social distancing due to coronavirus is still in effect

Is SC hash poised to invade Texas?

What is this sorcery from LeRoy and Lewis?

Speaking of LeRoy and Lewis:

Brett’s Backyard Bar-B-Que in Rockdale, TX with the “Corona Blueprint”

Candidates we can all (mostly) agree on:

This week in memes (for background, here):

Linkdown: 3/27/19

Wilber Shirley of Wilber’s Barbecue vows to reopen

“By cutting costs of operation, our long tradition of serving great eastern North Carolina barbecue and good food will be resumed quickly,” he says, adding, “I hope all our loyal customers will return when our doors are open again.”

Robert Moss on the reader-voted South’s 10 Best Barbecue Joints; Southern Soul BBQ in St. Simon’s Island in Georgia again takes the top spot

Bill Poteat of the Gaston Gazette has his own answer to the USA Today’s 10Best reader’s poll of best barbecue in the state, and he’s put Kyle Fletcher’s BBQ at number one

Leonard Botello of Truth BBQ in Houston is hosting a benefit for B’s Cracklin Barbeque at the end of the month

Houston’s best barbecue joints according to Eater

Congrats to Pitmaster Roy Perez of Kreuz Market

Kyle Fletcher’s Barbeque & Catering – Gastonia, NC (RE-REVIEW)

IMG_5736
Name
: Kyle Fletcher’s Barbeque and Catering
Date: 3/30/18
Address: 4507 Wilkinson Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28056
Order: Large chopped sandwich with hush puppies and a sweet tea (link to menu)
Price: $8.41

Monk: In the nearly 4 years since Mrs. Monk surprised me with a Father’s Day mini-barbecue tour of Gastonia, I’ve been wanting to revisit Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering to see if I caught them on an off day. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.

Re-reading my review from 2014 gave me a sense of deja vu. Smokers going full blast as I pull into the parking lot? Check. Smokey but dry pork? Check. Hush puppies being slightly above average? Check. Nauseating Carolina decor? Check and check.

The only difference this time was that opted for a large chopped sandwich instead of a tray since I would be taking my order to go and eating in the car on the way back to Charlotte. The slaw that came on this sandwich had an orange-ish tinge to it where I suspect that it may have been a thousand island dressing slaw. In fact, it reminded me of the slaw from R.O.’s Bar-B-Que, which is currently dead last in our Charlotte big board. Must be a Gastonia thing. Oddly, even with this slaw and some sauce, the sandwich was still inexplicably quite dry.

The hush puppies were again the best part of the meal, as they were on that day 4+ years ago.

Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering is fine. And the locals certainly seem to love it as it’s packed the crowds both times I have been, both on a Saturday during lunch as well as a Friday for a later lunch. I can’t fault them for their seeming success with the local crowd, but I just wouldn’t necessarily suggest going out of your way for it.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 1 hog (still)
Pork – 3 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs