Linkdown: 12/7/16

– J.C. Reid of the Houston Chronicle: “The death of North Carolina barbecue has been greatly exaggerated”

– The Matthews location of Mac’s Speed Shop is set to open just after New Year’s

– Charlotte’s Got A Lot has 19 side dishes to order at Charlotte-area barbecue restaurants in this Charlotte Agenda post

– Buxton Hall Barbecue is of course on Atlanta Magazine’s list of places to go in Asheville

– Asheville also nabs Lonely Planet’s best places to visit in the US in 2017 list, and Buxton Hall gets a mention there as well

The South Slope area is quickly emerging as a gastronomic hotspot. Housed in a former skating rink, Buxton Hall (buxtonhall.com) offers a modern take on traditional barbecue in this throwback space. Enjoy plates of impossibly tender pork with vegetables cooked in the meat drippings, surrounded by the faded images of decades-old skating figures still visible on the walls. It also benefits from an in-house pastry chef who turns out superb sweet treats such as banana pudding pie to finish off a hearty, hog-based meal.

– The Daily Meal has the best sandwich in every state and for NC it is a chopped bbq sandwich from Lexington Barbecue

– Grant had a great sandwich Duke’s Bar-B-Que in Orangeburg, SC and found a solid spot in August, GA in Cleve Edmunds Bar-B-Que

– Does Georgia have the most bbq joints per capita? BBQ Hub explores that claim but finds that based on some quick and dirty spreadsheets Lexington, NC probably has the strongest claim to that title 

– NC joints get a shout out from Daniel Vaughn in this piece

Despite the difference in preferred protein, I think the closest style to Texas barbecue is in North Carolina. They cook primarily pork, but they still value cooking with wood just as much as we do in Texas.

Linkdown: 8/17/16

– WOW: Picnic is hosting a three-day “bbq revival” and bringing in Elliot Moss of Buxton Hall, Sam Jones of Skylight Inn and Sam Jones BBQ, Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin BBQ, Tyson Ho of Arrogant Swine, John Lewis of Lewis BBQ plus a lot more

– Speaking of Buxton Hall Barbecue, they have been named the #9 best new restaurant in America 2016

– Grant visits Zombie Pig BBQ in Columbus, his last new Georgia barbecue restaurant for awhile

– First We Feast gets another esteemed panel of experts to discuss “The Most Influential BBQ in America”; Barbecue Bros faves Stamey’s and Scott’s makes the list from the Carolinas

– Daniel Vaughn revisits Fox Bros Bar-B-Q after a few years and comes away impressed

– Question #1: Why are there two styles of NC Barbecue?

– Question #2: How would you describe SC barbecue?

Adding one more layer of complexity, he said that a third (or fifth, depending on who’s counting) sauce should be included: “rust gravy,” a ketchup-and-mustard blend found statewide, especially at the Dukes Bar-B-Que restaurants.

– Charlotte Agenda reports that Mac’s Speed Shop is opening a downtown Matthews location, just around the corner from Moe’s Barbeque

– Tim Kaine spent his Monday night eating barbecue at Buxton Hall and jamming with a bluegrass band nextdoor at Catawba Brewery

– So you can eat barbecue and lose weight; The Smoking Ho offers proof

Linkdown: 7/20/16

– Stephen Colbert is once again poking the NC barbecue bear

“North Carolina, I love you,” Colbert said, “but I’m sorry that barbecue is not as good as South Carolina.”

– Plan accordingly:

– Grant of Marie, Let’s Eat! visits three Memphis-area barbecue joints: Payne’s Bar-B-Q, Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Q, and Top’s Bar-B-Q

– Charlotte Five weighs in on 5 joints for good barbecue in Lexington, including Lexington Barbecue, The Barbecue Center, Smiley’s, and Speedy’s

– More Charlotte Five content: Mac’s Speed Shop is on this list of 4 meat-focused eateries with great vegetarian options for diner

– UberEats will be delivering Pecan Lodge to Dallas residents today from 11-2 via drones

– The Pik-N-Pig is a NC barbecue joint located at an airport near Carthage

Linkdown: 5/18/16

– Per Raleigh Eats, Ed Mitchell’s Que is returning, this time to the Brier Creek neighborhood in Raleigh

– Southern Smoke BBQ in Garland is one of 6 Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Eastern NC to Try This Summer

Matthew and Jessica work with farms in their area and around the state to source the best and freshest seasonal ingredients for their businesses. Matthew works with a young farmer named Caleb Johnson, a graduate of North Carolina State University, and his farm: AJ Family Farms. He will check in with Caleb regularly to see what’s in season, and come up with dishes based on the weather. “I buy whatever he’s got,” Matthew says of Caleb’s farm. “Last week he had beautiful green tomatoes, so we did a corn and green tomato succotash over grits. That’s kind of my approach.”

– John Shelton Reed thinks NC needs a new holiday commemorating the Wilmington Barbecue of 1766

– Mac’s Speed Shop in Charlotte may be expanding its original South End location

– Brisket +Tacos = Crazy Delicious

An excerpt from Rien Fertel’s new book “The One True Barbecue” on Ricky Scott

– Speaking of Fertel’s new book, Rodney Scott is bringing his whole hog to Charleston’s Butcher & Bee for a book signing

– However, not all reactions to “The One True Barbecue” have been positive; Ed Mitchell and Wilber Shirley each took exception to how there were portrayed negatively in the book but not interviewed for it

– Buxton Hall Barbecue is throwing a 5 course dinner with whiskey, beer, and barbecue:

Linkdown: 1/27/16

– A sneak preview of the February barbecue issue of Our State Magazine from the Red Bridges Facebook page

Our State Magazine - February 2016 Barbecue Issue

– The issue will be on newstands next Tuesday and here’s a sneak peak

– CrossTies Barbecue in Carrboro is an upcoming restaurant that will be a full-service barbecue restaurant “specializing in authentic Carolina barbecue and a variety of smoked meats, including fresh-made sausages and bacon”; it is slated to open in May

– This person’s “best things I ate in Charlotte in 2015” list includes barbecue from Mac’s Speed Shop and I can’t give the rest of the list any credence (also: mozzarella sticks? Really?)

– For Southern Living’s 50th Anniversary, Robert Moss profiles the South’s legendary joints

– Ole Time BBQ in Raleigh (a semi-decent joint where I ate a lot in college) is closed until further notice after a car crashed into it Saturday night

– Jess Pryles has made recent updates to her guide to Austin Barbecue

– Lewis Barbecue is doing a pop-up tour of Charleston breweries the first three Saturdays of February

– Queen City Q’s Ballantyne location (in the old Elwood’s) is open for lunch and to-go orders as of Monday

Linkdown: 5/20/15

– In cool local barbecue and beer news, Birdsong Brewing is brewing a small batch beer with the help of Queen City Q

– Congrats to Mac’s Speed Shop as they took 5th in whole hog at last weekend’s Memphis in May

– Charlotte food writer Kathleen Purvis breaks down 5 new barbecue books from 12 Bones, Franklin Barbecue, and more

– Charlotte Five points out what you can eat at The Improper Pig for under $20 (tip not included)

– Chef Ben Adams of Durham’s Piedmont is leaving that restaurant to open a barbecue restaurant in North Durham with Wyatt Dickson, whom he met back in college at UNC

– Meanwhile, The AP Stylebook gets things horribly, horribly wrong: barbecue is a noun not a verb

– This opinion article from blues singer Pam Saulsby contains some updates on Ed Mitchell’s next venture

A reliable source tells me that while Mr. Mitchell’s Que Restaurant and Blues Experience is no longer in business at The American Tobacco Campus in Durham, there are plans to re-open in a larger location. In fact, Mitchell has his eye on two locations: one between Chapel Hill and Durham and another on the outskirts of Raleigh.

– Robert Moss has a list of the top 5 southern barbecue sides, broken down by region, in his latest column

– Catching up with prior posts from Moss, one on Aaron Franklin winning a James Beard award and another on shoulder clod, “Texas’s forgotten bbq star”

– If you’re smoking barbecue at home (and you should), here’s some great info on what wood to use for what meat

– The Men In Blazers met up with GFOP’s (great friends of the pod) at Joe’s Kansas City last week

Linkdown: 4/8/15

– If you are still wanting to participate in a barbecue-related bracket, Red Clay Soul’s Georgia barbecue bracket is down to the Final Four and voting ends at 10pm ET tonight

– The latest in Arrogant Swine’s Serious Eats series examines the sounds of being the boss, and ends on a really great note about his assistant Roland

My assistant Roland came from the Doe Fund, a halfway house for the homeless. Mistakes from a previous life guaranteed that his resume was heading into the trash can everywhere he looked. Even his parole officer called me, asking if I was sure I wanted to have him around. In Roland I found a student, one who was eager not only to work but also develop a passion for cooking whole hog barbecue. If you ever walk by the Swine at 2 a.m. and smell the smoke from our burning oak logs, wave towards the pit room. You’ll likely see Roland smile and wave right back.

Towards the end of 2014, Time Out magazine compiled a top 100 list of dishes around New York City. In the meat section stood our whole hog barbecue. I posted a picture of Roland for all the world to see. Here was a man who before the Swine never worked a day in the kitchen, competing head to head with the best and most talented chefs in the world. He looked triumphant, and I was bursting with pride.

– Burger Mary takes a deeper look at The Joint, a Texas-style barbecue joint in New Orleans

– Mac’s Speed Shop on South Blvd is one of Charlotte Five’s Top 10 places to have a beer outside in Charlotte

– Old Hickory House closed its N. Tryon location last Saturday but sounds like they could be reopening at a new location at some point

Serving a packed house this week shows them the support from the community, hoping they decide to reopen somewhere else.

“We’re just going to take it easy for a little while, probably get back into it. Where, I don’t know, but somewhere local,” said Carter.

– Wendell man Christopher Prieto has released a barbecue and smoking book, entitled Southern Living Ultimate Book of BBQ

More coverage on Midwood Smokehouse’s upcoming Charlotte location in Ballantyne

– Bob Garner’s (aka the Minister of Barbecue Culture at Raleigh’s The Pit) latest book reviewed

– Several barbecue restaurants are deemed the best restaurant in each NC county by Charleston Food Bloggers including The Smoke Pit in Cabarrus, Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Cleveland, Lexington Barbecue in Davidson (duh), Tarheel Bar-B-Q in Gates, and Parker’s Barbecue in Pitt

– Once again, congrats to Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge for their championship in Garden and Gun’s Ultimate Barbecue Bracket

Linkdown: 2/25/15

– The chapter on Midwood Smokehouse from Marie, Let’s Eat! was posted earlier this week (our photos from the meet up here); he also checked out Mac’s Speed Shop during his Charlotte-area travels in January

– More on Smoke Modern Barbeque’s second location in Ballantyne

– A review of Uncle J’s BBQ and Restaurant in Kings Mountain from the Gaston Gazette

Expansion into the South is a sign of City Barbeque’s success; Speedy checked out their Cary location a few weeks back and thought it was decent

– Could Aaron Franklin actually win a James Beard Award?

– Did you know a barbecue pork sandwich chain used to dominate Texas and the rest of the south?

– Lexington makes the list on Thrillist’s list of best barbecue cities in the US

– Lockhart also makes the list at #3, and TMBBQ has a timeline of the city’s barbecue

– Is chicken mull having a moment? First a post on The Daily South, then another on Serious Eats (granted, both by Robert Moss), now Garden and Gun has a recipe

Mac’s Speed Shop – Charlotte, NC (Steele Creek)

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Name
: Mac’s Speed Shop (Steele Creek)
Date: 1/25/15
Address: 2414 Sandy Porter Rd., Charlotte, NC 28273
Order: Small pork platter with collards and cole slaw (hush puppies included) (link to menu)
Price: $11

Speedy and I have previously lamented Mac’s Speed Shop and how far it had fallen off in our eyes since we first started going there in 2005. This might have something to do with the fact that they’ve gone full franchise, with five locations in the Carolinas from Charlotte to Fayetteville and even Greenville, SC. Franchising can sometimes have the effect of lowering quality across the board, and I’ve felt that to be the case for Mac’s. But hey, when you’re in Fort Mill on a Sunday and have been given the green light for barbecue you take what’s nearby and open at 11am.

Seeing as this was Sunday morning and Speedy and I had just met with the Marie, Let’s Eat! crew at Midwood Smokehouse the night before, I opted for just the pork platter (also, Mrs. Monk wasn’t interested in splitting the combo platter with me). The pulled pork comes pre-sauced with their Carolina BBQ sauce and while it is tender and moist, it isn’t very smokey. Particularly when I compare it to the wood smoked barbecue at Midwood Smokehouse the night before. But, other than the noticeable lack of smoke, the pork was still decently tasty in its own right.

I’ve mentioned before, but I love the hush puppies that Mac’s serves with the side of honey butter on the side. Plus, the hush puppies themselves were hot and fresh out of the fryer. Seeing as how this was two meals of barbecue in two for me, I went with the slightly healthier choices of slaw and collards. The slaw is a mayo and vinegar concoction and is really pretty good. The collards had real nice flavor and when I wasn’t able to finish much of mine Mrs. Monk was more than happy to have them boxed up for leftovers.

As I read back on our review of the original location of Mac’s Speed Shop, I can’t help but feel as if we may have been a touch harsh (though I do remember the brisket being as bad as we rated it). I will say that this location is very reminiscent of the original South Blvd location and that means plenty of tv’s, a good beer list, and a nice looking outdoor patio (not that anyone was out there on a sunny but chilly January morning). On this visit and at this location, I have rated it just a tad higher than our review of South Boulevard. However, you could still do a fair amount better in Charlotte for barbecue and unfortunately it’s not nearly as good as it used to be.

Monk

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3 Hogs
Mac's Speed Shop BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Linkdown: 1/28/15

– Check out The NC BBQ Map’s Top 5 Most Adventurous Charlotte BBQ Restaurants on Charlotte on the Cheap; we even lent them our photo of 10 Park Lanes to use!

Ask a North Carolinian about their favorite BBQ, and you’re likely to incite a great debate. Everyone knows exactly where to find the “best” BBQ, and The Great NC BBQ Map will help you track down your favorite style around the state. But we believe that even the most ordinary things can be turned into an adventure with just the tiniest shift of perspective. Above all, that was the goal of our map. These top five highlight some of Charlotte’s most unique BBQ joints and are a reminder of our motto: “Every Day Is an Adventure.” #EDIA

– Snooks BBQ has reopened in Davie County as of last Thursday; its hours are 11-7 Thursday through Saturday

– Q 4 Fun reviews 521 BBQ and Grill’s Tega Cay location

– Garden and Gun Magazine check out Hite’s Bar-B-Que in West Columbia, SC in their latest issue

– Robert Moss goes even deeper on chicken mull

– Also from Moss, slaw or pickles: who ya got?!?! – there’s even a poll for you to weigh in

– Rep. Robert Pittenger paid off his Panthers playoff bet with Washington state representatives with barbecue from Mac’s Speed Shop in Charlotte

– Our State checks in at Grady’s this month