Charlotte Barbecue News from the Second Quarter of 2021

Monk: In our first quarter wrap-up, I had optimism as things continued to move in a positive direction with vaccinations and the resulting re-opening of restaurants. That mostly continued, and while Charlotte lost a lot of its classic non-barbecue restaurants (Price’s Chicken Coop, Mr. K’s, Oakhurst Grill, Zack’s Hamburgers, etc), I only tracked one barbecue restaurant that closed during that time: the Tyvola Road location of the Sonny’s BBQ chain.

Charlotte barbecue even got some national attention, both of the good (Texas Monthly BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn visiting and loving Jon G’s) as well as notorious variety (Charlotte as the #3 best city for barbecue according to chefspencil.com).

While we may never know about the barbecue joints that weren’t started during the past year, hopefully a corner has been turned (and the Delta variant of COVID doesn’t wreak havoc here like it has in other countries; get vaccinated people!) and the Charlotte barbecue scene can experience new concepts as well as expansion and growth of its existing ones.

April

4/9 Smoke Show BBQ is a new Texas-style barbecue pop up in the Charlotte area from transplanted Texan chef Brandon Belfer who has worked at fine dining spots The Stanley, Crunkleton, The Asbury, Kindred, and Hello, Sailor

4/12 Charlotte-based Mac’s Speed Shop finds itself coming out of the pandemic in a strong position for growth

4/13 Roddey’s BBQ has changed their lunch hours in Rock Hill to Fridays only

4/19 Jon G’s Barbecue gets in the pit fabrication game

4/26 K&N BBQ makes Axios Charlotte’s list of best food trucks; and they recommend you try the pork and brisket

4/26 Adam Richman (of Man vs Food fame) visits Midwood Smokehouse

4/30 In what was (somewhat embarrassingly) one of the oldest barbecue restaurant’s in Charlotte, the Tyvola Rd. outpost of the Sonny’s BBQ chain closed

May

5/7 Daniel Vaughn ends his NC barbecue trip at Jon G’s Barbecue, where I was fortunate enough to meet both him and Kathleen Purvis and also share a meal with him

5/12 Charlotte is obviously the number 3 Top City for BBQ in the US. No objection here.

5/19 Jon G’s Barbecue gets the highest of praise from the BBQ Snob himself, Daniel Vaughn; Noble Smoke also gets a mention for their brisket

5/25 Phar Mill BBQ introduces itself to the world and will be using a Jon G’s offset smoker

June

6/3 Sweet Lew’s Barbeque announces its new food truck

6/3 Noble Smoke announces details on its 2 year anniversary

6/8 Mac’s Hospitality Group, parent company of Mac’s Speed Shop, adds Rare Roots alum Jay Spungin as Director of Operations

6/19 Congrats to Jon G’s Barbecue on one year open

6/26 Charlotte-based EDIA Maps, makers of The Great NC BBQ Map, ends operations

6/29 And the name of the Sweet Lew’s Barbeque food truck is…Sweet Lucille

Linkdown: 4/28/21

Featured

Mr. Barbecue re-opened last month after two years of closure due to a fire, but thankfully owner Jimmy Carros never considered either a) closing or b) not rebuilding the wood-burning smoke pits. To quote him from the Eater story below:

“The thought never really entered my mind,” Carros said.

“The flavor that you get from the wood-burning pits is not easily matched,” he explained. “I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I’m not sure I can do it.”

As a classic NC barbecue fan and one who enjoyed his visit to Mr. Barbecue a few months before the fire, I heap the highest of praise to Carros for that thinking. And others appreciate it too, as Mr. Barbecue was recently recognized in the Eater’s Carolinas list of best restaurants in Winston-Salem.

Mr. Barbecue is currently open for drive-thru orders only.

Native News

Thank goodness Grady’s made it out of the pandemic; now I just need to get there

In what was (somewhat embarrassingly) one of the oldest barbecue restaurant’s in Charlotte, the Tyvola Rd. outpost of the Sonny’s BBQ chain closes this Friday

K&N BBQ makes Axios Charlotte’s list of best food trucks; and they recommend you try the pork and brisket

Picnic and Bullock’s Bar-B-Cue make Eater’s list for Durham

Adam Richman (of Man vs Food fame) visited Midwood Smokehouse last week

Non-Native News

Black Smoke is now out, and this in except from the book; the story of Marie Jean of Pine Bluff, AR and her role in barbecue history is uncovered

John Tanner’s Barbecue Page has a fascinating story about barbecue and the law in the landmark case of Katzenbach v. McClung and Ollie’s in Birmingham

Robert Sietsema releases his latest barbecue list for NYC for Eater

Sietsema’s also got the deets on where to get a Frito Pie in NYC, including Mable’s Smokehouse in Williamsburg

I’m seeing the house made sausage trend in NC more too

Congrats to Eliana Gutierrez for one year as a pitmaster at Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

Charlotte Barbecue News from the First Quarter of 2021

Monk: After nearly a year of various stages of lockdown and a big spike in COVID cases in January, the first quarter of 2021 had mostly positive news as restaurants managed through relaxed restrictions starting in March.

Here in Charlotte, restaurants are finding new and different ways to diversify their food offerings to attract customers and some are even in expansion mode. Let’s hope that trend continues into Q2.

January

1/5 North State BBQ announces it is opening a second location in Lake Norman off Statesville Rd

1/10 RayNathan’s in Gastonia celebrated their 2 year anniversary

1/13 Sweet Lew’s BBQ hires its first “barbecue apprentice” in Keywon Dooling from the local culinary school at Central Piedmont Community College

1/29 Jon G’s Barbecue gets their first national magazine feature

February

2/7 Pitmasters from Bobby’s BBQ, City Limits Barbeque, and Fork Grove BBQ have a “barbecue Saturday Texas BBQ Pitmaster Meatman meat-up” meet up at Jon G’s Barbecue

2/12 Jon G’s Barbecue introduces some awesome Coors Banquet Beer-inspired t-shirts

2/15 Noble Smoke launches taco kits now available every Tuesday

2/16 Bar-B-Q King makes this list of “50 must-try cheap eats in Charlotte under $10” from Axios Charlotte (formerly Charlotte Agenda)

2/24: Axios Charlotte posts their list of the 4 best barbecue spots in Charlotte, with another 4 worth the drive; we even get a brief shoutout in reference to Jon G’s

March

3/1 Jon G’s Barbecue acquired their restaurant one year ago on 3/1; they would open for business about 3 months later

3/2 Roddey’s BBQ food truck in Rock Hill changes locations

3/3 Noble Smoke introduces the “Mini Mary,” a smaller version of their “Miss Mary” platter that feeds 4

3/4 Sweet Lew’s Barbeque and Midwood Smokehouse make the Eater list for Charlotte

3/9 Mac’s Speed Shop and Noble Smoke have two of the best patios in Charlotte

3/12 Sweet Lew’s Barbeque announces a “Bootcamp and BBQ” event on April 17

3/19 Noble Smoke introduces “The Noble Smoke Pitmaster Experience” where you can learn from their pitmasters for the somewhat steep price of $500 a spot; the initial spots have since sold out

We are offering an exclusive opportunity to learn the step-by-step process of smoking meat first-hand from our pitmasters, Stuart and Ed. You get to take home the meats of your labor which includes a whole brisket and pork butt (5 lbs each). But that’s not all! 3 sauces, a hat, a pitmaster t-shirt, lunch, and a post-smoke beer are also included.

3/19 Charlotte-based Mac’s Hospitality Group, the parent company of Mac’s Speed Shop, eyes growth across the Southeast in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Florida under the leadership of recently-hired president Shang Skipper

3/19 Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ will open a location of its fast casual concept in Concord in the coming weeks

Linkdown: 3/10/21

Featured

This week marks the one year anniversary of the lockdown due to COVID-19. However, with the light at the end of the tunnel seemingly in sight (don’t let up now, though!), it’s fun to start thinking about all the things we used to take for granted that we will once again soon be able to do. Things like concerts, having a beer at the bar, lazily perusing the used section at a record store, and perhaps most pertinent, having huge parties centered around smoking and/or grilling.

In this article from Munchies, the author fantasizes about days to come and gives recommendations for smoking and grilling accessories to stock up in advance. He gets a quote from Daniel Vaughn of Texas Monthly (whom he mistakenly refers to as David) about how he plans to smoke a whole hog on cinderblocks in his backyard once its safe to do so and I couldn’t be more in. I have been itching to do it again after my first successful attempt Father’s Day 2019 and I’m now officially in planning mode for that to-be-determined day.

So let it be known: whole hog party at the Monk residence this Fall. Mark it down.

Native News

More coverage of The Preserve’s delivery service which began last Friday

Though it looks like they have a few kinks to work out; as I wrote last week, let’s hope they do

Dank Burrito owner Chef Clarke Merrell has opened Social Q Smokehouse in Morehead City, a restaurant “years in the making”

Sweet Lew’s Barbeque and Midwood Smokehouse make the Eater list for Charlotte

Non-Native News

*Raises hand*

More coverage of Rodney Scott’s and Adrian Miller’s upcoming books

The BBQ Review visits Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Charleston

And now, for dessert

Did someone say “drive thru banana pudding?”