Linkdown: 8/15/18

– A feature on Sauceman’s brazilian pitmaster Edgar Simoes (though whats with the question about sauces?)

– Former Red Bridges pitmaster Phil Schenk passed away earlier this month at the age of 74

– Later this month, Big Tiny’s BBQ in Mooresville celebrates two years of being open

– With its 5 locations, Midwood Smokehouse is on this list of chain restaurants that started in Charlotte

– A writeup on Rashad Lee, barbecue tv personality and owner of Big Lee’s BBQ truck in Ocala, FL

– A roundup of barbecue books released so far this year

– The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot food writer Matthew Korfhage waxes poetic on the “some of the best pulled pork in the known universe” two hours away from him in eastern NC – B’s Barbecue and Skylight Inn

Sure, there are other famous eastern-style whole-hog barbecue spots – most notably Wilber’s in neighboring Wayne County, where presidents have dined and owner Wilber Shirley still presides over his restaurant, as he has for more than 50 years.

But a morning drive down winding, wooded roads to B’s and Skylight – hitting both stops along the way – is one of life’s most unmitigated pleasures, one I’ve only just discovered and will repeat many times before I’m through.

– Speaking of The Virginian-Pilot, good find from Robert Moss from that paper from 1935

 

Charlotte Barbecue Joint Big Board – March 2017

We have a new #1! Jon G’s BBQ hosts a regular pop-up at Southern Range Brewing in Monroe and smokes some of the finest brisket in NC (the pork’s not so bad either), which lands it at the top spot in our latest update. Since our last big board in December 2015, we’ve added seven total new joints to the list, four of which landed in the top 7: the aforementioned Jon G’s BBQMidwood Smokeshack – the fast casual brother of Midwood Smokehouse, the Texas-style joint Big Tiny’s BBQ in Mooresville, and the year-old korean-southern barbecue fusion of Seoul Food Meat Co. 2017 should hopefully bring us the debut of Jim Noble’s barbecue restaurant, the Texas-and-maybe-Lexington-barbecue-influenced Noble Smoke (side note: our top 5 has a little too much Texas flavor to it for my liking). He’s done some events in Charlotte over the past few months on his new smoker, and I am hoping his brick and mortar restaurant opens soon (or at least I get a chance to taste his barbecue somewhere).

What other Charlotte area joints should we check out? Feel free to weigh in on your favorite in the comments and if you present a strong enough case we will try to head there next. I’ve checked out a few joints recently based on reader comments and feedback (including our new #1) and am always looking for more, whether in Charlotte or across the state.

-Monk

Note: “new” denotes reviewed since last big board update

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  1. Jon G’s BBQ new
    A recent revelation from Monroe. Check their Facebook and Instagram to figure out when Garren and Kelly will be smoking at Southern Range Brewing next because you won’t want to miss it.IMG_0196
  2. Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen (food truck)
    Some friends of the blog ordered some catering from Boone’s last summer and it was still pretty dang good. I hope to catch them out and about some time soon to see if Jon G’s really is the new best barbecue in town.IMG_1469
  3. Midwood SmokehouseBallantyne / Central Ave (original review)
    Midwood keeps doing their thing, and continue to expand with another Charlotte location expected to open with the next month or so.
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  4. Midwood Smokeshack (Matthews) new
    Recently relocated Texas-born pitmaster Michael Wagner is doing some great things at the fast casual brother of Midwood Smokehouse.IMG_4457
  5. The Smoke Pit (Concord) (original review)
    Having recently tried the Salisbury location of The Smoke Pit, I was reminded just how good their smoked meats are.
  6. Big Tiny’s BBQ (Mooresville) new
  7. Seoul Food Meat Co new
  8. Sauceman’s (original review)
  9. Bill Spoon’s Barbecue (original review)
  10. Kyle Fletcher’s Barbecue & Catering
  11. Q2U (Lake Wylie) new
  12. The Improper Pig
  13. Killer Q
  14. Bar-B-Q King
  15. 521 BBQ and Grill: Tega Cay / Indian Land
  16. Mac’s Speed Shop: Steele Creek / South Blvd
  17. Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q (Concord) 
  18. The Q Shack
  19. Smoke & Go Bar-B-Que (food truck)
  20. Kid Cashew new 
  21. Treehouse Whiskey and Fork new
  22. Smoke Modern Barbeque (Huntersville)
  23. R&R Bar-B-Que (Concord)
  24. Queen City Q (original review)
  25. Lancaster’s BBQ: Huntersville / Mooresville
  26. Rock Store Bar-B-Q: Stallings / Mint Hill
  27. Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que: food truck / Matthews (original review)
  28. McKoy’s Smokehouse and Saloon
  29. Brooks’ Sandwich House
  30. Fort Mill BBQ Company (Fort Mill) new 
  31. Queen City Q (Concord) new
  32. Bubba’s Barbecue
  33. JJR’s BBQ Shack
  34. Ranucci’s Big Butt BBQ
  35. The Dixie Pig (Rock Hill)
  36. City Smoke
  37. Bobbee-O’s BBQ (original review)
  38. OooWee BBQ (food truck)
  39. R.O.’s Bar-B-Que

Closed: Old Hickory House (April 2015), Elwood’s Barbecue & Burger Bar (September 2015), Carolina Ribs on the Run (Mooresville) (July 2014), Farmer’s BBQ (unknown)

Still to review: Dan the Pig Man (food truck), Bodrick’s BBQ, Glenn’s Again (Kannapolis), Slow Smokin’ BBQ (food truck), Smokey J’s BBQ (food truck), Smoke Modern Barbeque (Stonecrest), JB’s Lazy Pig BBQ and Ice Cream (Waxhaw), Unnamed Jim Noble barbecue restaurant (coming soon), Randy’s BBQ (Troutman), City Barbeque, Dan Good Que

Previous Big Boards: December 2015, January 2015May 2014December 2013July 2013

Big Tiny’s BBQ – Mooresville, NC

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Name: Big Tiny’s BBQ
Date: 1/16/17
Address: 179 N Main St, Mooresville, NC 28115
Order: ¼ lb brisket, ¼ lb Texas sausage, ¼ lb pork spare ribs, Natty Greene’s Session IPA (link to menu)
Price: $16.59

Monk: While you can find a couple of pretty darn good briskets in and around Charlotte (Midwood Smokehouse and The Smoke Pit immediately come to mind), it’s usually at a place that serves a little bit of everything in terms of barbecue cuisine (John Shelton Reed calls that model the “International House of Barbecue” model). Big Tiny’s BBQ is a newish joint in Mooresville that is truly trying to replicate a Texas style joint in NC – think Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q (mainly because that is exactly what they are going for).

In addition to being super nice people, owners John and Elizabeth Maddox are both Texans that have been in Mooresville for the past 15 years. After years of John smoking as a hobby and then as a side job, they opened their location in downtown Mooresville in a beautiful space last summer. Being that they are both new to the restaurant industry – John worked in auto racing and Elizabeth in insurance – they are learning more about running a restaurant and consistency of product each day. Based on what I saw 4 months in, they are off to a great start.

The layout of Tiny’s is has guests form a line as soon as they enter before they are greeted by a couple of tubs filled with beers and soft drinks in glass bottles before stepping up to a counter where they order meats by the ¼ or ½ pound. Those meats are then sliced and weighed in front of the customer. Even for fast casual barbecue restaurants in the area, this is a unique experience where you are paying by the pound even if you aren’t buying in bulk. They wrap the meats in foil and place into a plastic carrying container (apparently another cue from Rudy’s) with butcher paper and white bread. Then off the customer goes to the long picnic-style tables with red and white gingham table cloths where they can spread out and dig in.

As for the meats, Big Tiny’s is using a Cookshack pellet smoker from Oklahoma. I am not sure if I’ve ever eaten barbecue smoked on a Cookshack but in any case they are able to get a lot of smoke onto the meats. The brisket – I don’t recall there being a choice between lean or fatty – was moist and had a nice peppery bark as well as a good tug to it. The sausage is imported from Texas and had a nice snap and spice to it. The rib was smoked nicely and didn’t pull completely away from the bone with each chew. And the turkey, which I got a few sample slices of after I sat down, was lean, well smoked, and a nice alternative. In general the meats are consistently pretty excellent.

One thing you won’t find on the menu is chopped or pulled pork, and John assured me that will always be the case, no matter how many times they may get asked from locals who are used to barbecue joints automatically serving pork. They want to stay true to their Texas roots, and in a way I can respect them for that approach.

While I only ordered meats (after having just come from Bar-B-Q King in Lincolnton), I got a small sample of the corn casserole which was fantastic. It has been adapted from a family recipe, as has several other of the scratch made sides on the menu.

Named after their first dog, whose large portrait is one of the first pictures you see as you get in line, Big Tiny’s BBQ is a worthy addition to the barbecue scene in the Charlotte area. It ably fills a niche in our pork-centric barbecue culture, and I hope that the locals give John and Elizabeth Maddox’s Texas-style joint a fair shake. I certainly plan to go back next time I’m in the area.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3.5 hogs
Brisket – 4 hogs
Sausage – 4 hogs
Ribs – 4 hogs
Turkey – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 4.5 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Lancaster’s Bar-B-Que – Mooresville, NC

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Name: Lancaster’s BBQ
Date: 7/12/14
Address: 515 Rinehardt Rd, Mooresville, NC 28115
Order: BBQ tray with bbq slaw and Sweetwater 420 (link to menu)
Price: ~$13

In my review of the Lancaster’s BBQ in Huntersville, I ended by saying I wouldn’t be rushing to the Mooresville location any time soon. Well as it turns out, less than 4 months later I just so happened to find myself there. But not because I necessarily sought it out.

Right before I came here, I tried the sub par barbecue at Carolina Ribs on the Run after I dropped my wife off at a baby shower in town. After I left, I still had a little more time to kill and was so disappointed with my previous meal that I decided to stop by Lancaster’s BBQ to try and salvage my lunch that day. But mainly because I knew they had beer and that sounded good at the moment.

Seeing as how I had already tried the Huntersville location, I knew more or less what to expect. And Mooresville basically matched up to that, though I did rate the pork a little higher this time around. But I suspect that may be due to having it directly after the bland meal at Carolina Ribs on the Run (ok, I’ll stop piling on starting…now). At least this pork had some smoke and spice. It still wasn’t great.

The slaw was the same mustard/mayo slaw as the other location. I was already pretty full so no hush puppies for me, which was too bad because they were the best part of my meal at the other location.

In terms of decor, the Mooresville location takes the NASCAR theme and cranks it to 11 (after all, Mooresville is the “Official Stock Car Capital of the World”). And they have a bus in the middle of the restaurant in which diners can sit in. So there’s that. Unfortunately, the barbecue is still pretty average.

Monk

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 2.5 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs
Lancaster's BBQ & Wings on Urbanspoon
Lancaster's BBQ & Wings on Foodio54
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Carolina Ribs on the Run – Mooresville, NC

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Name: Carolina Ribs on the Run
Date: 7/12/14
Address: 858 N Carolina 1100, Mooresville, NC 28117
Order: Pulled pork sandwich with hush puppies and sweet tea (link to menu)
Price: $7.17

Usually, I am pretty good at researching and finding worthwhile joints to try when I’m in an unfamiliar area. I thought I did the due diligence for Mooresville (in which I happened to find myself after dropping off Mrs. Monk for her cousin’s baby shower), but as I pulled up to an empty restaurant at 11:30 on a Saturday I immediately knew I had made a huge mistake. I even double checked to see if it opened at 12 on Saturdays but nope, it opened at 11. I contemplated going back in the car and going somewhere else, but I figured I was already there so I’d give it a shot.

And yea…I should have just turned back around. Everything about the meal was below average. I bit into the pulled pork sandwich and…nothing. Blandness. The pork was moist but had no smoke, as if it was cooked in a crock pot (I wouldn’t be surprised if this was actually the case). The slaw on top of the sandwich tasted like a commercial mayo coleslaw. The hush puppies also tasted commercially bought and originally frozen. And to top it off, they asked what sauce I wanted for my sandwich so I ordered the “hickory BBQ” sauce on the side. Thankfully I did because you guessed it, it was a commercially made sauce. Perhaps I should have gone with the ribs, being that they are in the name and all, but I can’t see how they would have been too much better based on the pork. Plus, they use the same sauces.

As you will see in another review later this week, I ended up going to another place immediately after because I was so disappointed with Carolina Ribs on the Run. I hate to be too negative but based on this meal I feel as if they aren’t really trying. Avoid. (Update: As of August 2, enough people had avoided that they apparently have closed.)

Monk

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 1.5 hogs
Pork – 1.5 hogs
Sides – 1.5 hogs
Overall – 1.5 hogs
Carolina Ribs on the Run on Urbanspoon
Carolina Ribs on the Run on Foodio54
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Linkdown: 7/23/14

– Yea, this list of best barbecue according to Open Table isn’t flawed at all. Because everyone knows the best barbecue comes from the places that take reservations.

– Carolina Ribs on the Run in Mooresville is blaming its closure on the construction of Brawley School Road, though I went the other week (review coming) and I would probably blame it on the subpar barbecue

– In other barbecue closure news, Asheville restaurant Sky City BBQ is closed until further notice after it’s owner was arrested under larceny and prostitution charges

– Johnny Ray Bousselot of Mount Holly has developed a couple of barbecue – Bourbon Peach and 10 Bones Signature – that has been picked up by a few outlets locally in Charlotte

– The Great NC BBQ Map takes a trip to the printers; maps ship next week

– Marie, Let’s Eat visits The Greater Good BBQ location in Buckhead

– Lexington #1 is featured on this slideshow of photos from BBQ Paradise 3, which aired last night at 9

– The “Smokin’ in the Valley” Festival is this weekend in Maggie Valley

– A fairly long read, entitled How Barbecue Has Become New York City’s Most Addictive Smoking Habit, yields this infographic

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– According to Sam Jones, the “not so popular side of BBQ”