Phar Mill Brewing & BBQ in Harrisburg Shows Promise

Name: Phar Mill Brewing & BBQ
Address: 105 Oakley Dr, Harrisburg, NC 28075
Order: 1/2 lb brisket, 1/2 lb pulled pork, and pork belly burnt ends
Pricing: $$

Monk: Phar Mill Brewing & BBQ recently joined the local barbecue scene after it expanded from a small craft brewery in Harrisburg to add barbecue smoked on a Jon G’s stick burner. The expansion has continued recently, having opened a second, larger location in downtown Concord in September a little more than a year after expanding to barbecue. I recently checked out the original Harrisburg location a few weeks back.

Long story short, Phar Mill shows some promise but is not quite there for me yet. For this visit, I ordered a half pound of brisket and pulled pork as well as an order of pork belly burnt ends.

The brisket came in a paper boat and was somewhat hacked into half slices. Underneath some more promising leans, a piece of fatty had stripes of un-rendered fat. Not sure what happened here, but not the most appetizing sight.

The pulled pork was smoky and had good flavor on the chunks of bark but I couldn’t tell how fresh it was since it was served on the cooler side. The pulled strands could have also used another chop or two in my opinion.

Continuing with the theme, the pork belly burnt ends had some good qualities but wasn’t quite there. The burnt ends were unevenly cut, cooked, and sauced but the flavor and smoke was there.

I want to really like Phar Mill Brewing & BBQ since they are smoking over all wood, and will definitely be giving it another chance (perhaps at their downtown Concord location) to try some of the other meats and beers. Speaking of beer, I tried the Enjoy Yourself American Lager on this visit but would like try some of their IPA and sour offerings. As for the barbecue, for now we’ll give it an “A” for effort.

Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Brisket – 3 hogs
Pork belly burnt ends – 3 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs

Home Team BBQ – Greenville, SC

Name: Home Team BBQ
Date: 10/2/22
Address: 815 Laurens Rd, Greenville, SC 29607
Order: 2 meat combo (pulled pork and brisket), collards, hash and rice (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: While Speedy has previously reviewed both the Sullivan’s Island and West Ashley locations of Home Team BBQ, I have never actually eaten at a Home Team BBQ myself. I’ve had drinks at the Sullivan’s island location but prior to my visit had yet to actually taste their barbecue. Home Team has very much been in expansion mode, with an additional two locations in the Charleston area plus expanding out into South Carolina with locations in Columbia and most recently Greenville. Then of course there’s their Aspen, Colorado location!

The vibe of the newest Greenville location is “sports bar that happens to serve barbecue.” They had a good tap list and were rearing to play a full Sunday early afternoon slate of NFL games. We arrived just before it got busy for Sunday lunch but the food took a while to get out to us.

Having not tried their meats but with Mrs. Monk not looking to share a big platter, I settled for the two meat combo with pulled pork and brisket. The plain pulled pork had a little bit of smoke in the bits of bark but was clearly made to have one of the many sauces added to it as opposed to eating it plain. I predictably went with the pepper vinegar and it worked fairly well.

The brisket, on the other hand, was squarely average. It was sliced thinly and the fat could have used a bit more rendering. It was also a tad on the bland side.

As far as sides went, the vinegary collards were quite good and a meal highlight. The hash and rice was a nice surprise as a side.

After my first visit to a Home Team BBQ, I find it to be what Mac’s Speed Shop in Charlotte used to be circa 2005/2006: a fun spot to watch the game, have some beers, and eat some decent barbecue. While it wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice, I would certainly visit one again.

Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Brisket – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3 Hogs

Joe-B-Q BBQ – Maxton, NC

Name: Joe-B-Q BBQ
Date: 9/22/22
Address: 140 Triska Dr, Maxton, NC 28364
Order: Barbecue plate with slaw and fries (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Monk: Located just a few minutes off I-74 just past Laurinburg headed east, Joe-B-Q BBQ has popped up on my beach travels previously because it was indicated by the Great NC BBQ Map (RIP) as cooking over wood or coals. Off the exit you go past the Campbell Soup Factory (which recently celebrated 40 years open) to a standalone house-looking structure

Inside the restaurant, I was greeted by who I presume to be the Joe in “Joe-B-Q” and placed my order at the register before sitting in the small dining. The modest dining room has some decorations which represent Joe’s Lumbee Native American heritage.

The pork I was presented in the takeout container was fresh and not overly smoky. Based on some internet research I believe that’s due to cooking over charcoal instead of wood coals. Somewhat reminiscent of the not overly smoky flavor from B’s Barbecue in Greenville, although Joe-B-Q cooks pok butts instead of whole hog.

The hush puppies were slightly sweet just the way I like ’em and were freshly fried along with the fries. The mayo-based cole slaw was fine.

Joe-B-Q BBQ’s menu also includes seafood and burgers, but if you find yourself craving barbecue it will more than do the job.

Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3.5 Hogs

Archers BBQ – Knoxville, TN

Name: Archers BBQ
Date: 6/12/22
Address: 5200 Rutledge Pike, Knoxville, TN 37924
Order: 2 meat sampler with pork and ribs, hush puppies, and slaw (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: On the long drive back from Crossville, TN (about an hour west of Knoxville and home to one of the latest Buc-ees) earlier this summer, I made a pit stop at Archers BBQ in east Knoxville. Archers BBQ is the vision of Archer Bagley, a Memphis native who was an early investor in Fox Bros BBQ in Atlanta. According to the website, he struck out on his own and headed north to Knoxville where he has since opened 5 locations of the restaurant.

Archers (or at least this location) smokes their cue in a Southern Pride assisted by wood as evidenced by the nice-sized woodpile next to their cooking shed. On this summer Sunday, there was light traffic into and out of the store in a former gas station.

I went with a 2 meat sampler of 5 oz of pork and 3 bones and found both to be slightly above average. Light smoke but perhaps not the freshest barbecue on this day. Even with its Memphis heritage, Archers favors an international house of barbecue approach with all the meats and then all the sauces on the side. Average also summed up my sides of hush puppies and slaw.

So, not a full throated recommendation of Archers BBQ but I’d be curious if I’d have different results on a Friday or Saturday. Maybe I’ll try again next summer.

Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Ribs – 3 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 3 Hogs