Linkdown: 1/5/22

ICYMI, Kevin’s BBQ Joints rounded up from over 120 barbecue personalities what made barbecue so special to them. We were honored that Kevin asked us to be a part of this fantastic project. While some folks focused on their earliest barbecue memories, both Rudy and I focused our answers on bites that broadened our barbecue horizons from more than just the chopped pork they grew up on in NC. Definitely worth a read.

Native News

Ayden, NC (home to Skylight Inn and Bum’s) unveils new marketing campaign: “‘Que Marks the Spot”

Noble Smoke is the only barbecue restaurant on Charlotte Magazine’s annual list of the 50 best restaurants in Charlotte

Grady’s is closed until late January for their well-deserved “winter rest”

Lawrence Barbecue as well as Lewis Barbecue in Charleston gets some love from Eater Carolinas contributors on this “Best Restaurant Meal of 2021” post

Thankfully, Pik-N-Pig’s closure will only be temporary and they aim to reopen ths year

Huli Sue’s BBQ and Grill in Asheville serves a “Hawaiian influenced take on Texas barbecue along with some other island-esque plates”

ICYMI, the Jon G’s Barbecue x Salud Beer Shop/Salud Cerveceria pizza collaboration is happening now

Non-Native News

Barbecue options in Birmingham

Blake’s BBQ photo progress update from late December

From Lifehacker: “With my Weber, I smoked a little, grilled a lot, and learned even more—and I’d like to share my favorite dishes (and lessons) with you now, in no particular order. This is what my grill taught me over the past year.”

From last month, RIP John Mueller

Charlotte Barbecue News from the Fourth Quarter of 2021

Monk: We enter the new year with cautious optimism, both on the real world as well as barbecue world fronts. My hope for 2022 is that we can regain any Charlotte barbecue momentum that has largely been on pause for the past two years and see some new players enter the game.

Bring it on, 2022.

October

10/12 At Mac’s Speed Shop, beef ribs and bacon-wrapped jalapenos are two of the prep-intensive items that are being taken off the menu for now

10/21 Jon G’s was featured in the Fall 2021 Issue of QC Exclusive

10/28 Lewis Donald and Sweet Lew’s BBQ raised funds to help the family of a young girl who tragically took her own life at the age of 11

November

11/8 Mac’s Speed Shop is closing its Cornelius restaurant but opening a new one in Mooresville

11/8 A new live-fire cooking restaurant called Cinder is opening in Charlotte from Husk veteran Duke Kroger (who identifies himself as a pitmaster in his Twitter profile)

11/17 After announcing that its Lake Norman location was going to close, Mac’s Speed Shop announced plans for the restaurant to stay open as a smaller location after an outpouring of love from the community

11/29 Jon G’s Barbecue and Salud Beer Shop team up for a pizza collaboration for the month of December

December

12/6 Sweet Lew’s BBQ celebrated 3 years open

12/8 Jon G’s Barbecue is named “Barbecue Restaurant of the Year” by Eater Carolinas

12/9 Tony Salerno Named Vice President of Operations for Mac’s Hospitality Group

12/13 Local coverage of Jon G’s being named “Barbecue Restaurant of the Year” by Eater Carolinas

12/13 With it’s upcoming stall at Optimist Hall, Noble Smoke is one Charlotte-area restaurant in expansion mode in 2022

12/29 Jon G’s and Salud Beer Shop announce they will continue their pizza collab in the new year for the first part of January

Linkdown: 9/22/21

Featured

Congrats to the Red Bridges Barbecue family! Lyttle Bridges Cabaniss (aka “Mama B”), who was the wife of “Red” that took over the business after he passed in 1966 and served as the matriarch of the family until she passed in 2008, was posthumously inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame at this past weekend’s American Royal in Kansas City, MO.

Lyttle Bridges is considered to be the first woman barbecue entrepreneur in North Carolina and while her husband Red is the namesake of the restaurant, she was the guiding force behind it, reportedly working from 8am to 9pm nearly every day before handing over the restaurant to her daughter Debbie Bridges-Webb and then her grandkids Natalie Ramsey and Chase Webb at the age of 80. Those three all accepted the award on her behalf this past weekend, which surely must have been a blast.

Congratulations to Lyttle Bridges Cabaniss and the rest of the 2021 Barbecue Hall of Fame inductees!

More on Bridges at the following links:

Native News

Noble Smoke announced its second location will be a stall at the Optimist Hall food hall

More coverage on the stall from Axios Charlotte

The Redneck BBQ Lab announces Mercedes Harris as its new CEO of its food truck and catering arm

Grady’s and Wilber’s gets a mention in this article on Goldsboro from WRAL

Picnic has one of the best burgers in the Triangle according to Eater Carolinas

Non-Native News

After its North Charleston sister restaurant closed after 67 years, the Orangeburg Duke’s BBQ affirms that it is “not going nowhere”

The Tales from the Pits crew unveils #20-11 in their Texas barbecue rankings

NC whole hog in Maine? John Tanner investigates for The Smoke Sheet

Pitmaster Profiles: Stuart Henderson of Noble Smoke

Photo courtesy of Stuart Henderson

Monk: For this Pitmaster Profile, we are back in Charlotte to speak with Stuart Henderson, head pitmaster at Noble Smoke. I only recently met Stuart but could immediately sense his passion for barbecue. I was happy he agreed to answer some questions so our readers could get to know him a little better. Give him a follow on Instagram and then read our interview below.

If you know of a pitmaster who we should feature next, let us know!

How long have you lived in Charlotte and how did you get here?

I have lived in Charlotte my whole life, besides the years I was in college at Appalachian State University.

How did you become a pitmaster?

By chasing happiness. There was a point in my life after getting sober where I started only doing the things I love. I ended up running an Oyler while waiting on a sous chef position and fell in love with the process. Now, I can’t get enough!

What is your favorite meat to smoke? What type of wood do you prefer?

Beef. Hickory.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Henderson

What are your barbecue influences?

All those who have laid the groundwork for me to work with and continue to develop.

What is your favorite barbecue joint or style?

Barbecue is about community to me. I think it is important to support all Barbecue businesses. With that being said, I feel the atmosphere can be almost as important as the food. I do not discriminate, I like all styles.

(L-R): Monk, Lewis Donald of Sweet Lew’s BBQ, Stuart Henderson, and Michael Wagner)

What is your earliest memory of barbecue?

Man, I remember family gatherings and pig pickins from way back, I will always remember that first whole hog head!  

What is the best thing about barbecue in Charlotte?

We are starting to get some attention. We are serious about barbecue. 

What is a weakness or opportunity of barbecue in Charlotte?

Charlotte is a growing city, that hopefully allows for growth in the barbecue community, as well?

Anything else you’d like everyone to know about you?

Never, never, never, give up!