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!

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: 5/26/21

Featured

Based on the book of the same name by Jessica B. Harris, “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” examines the contributions of African American cooking to today’s modern cuisine. The series is four episodes, each lasting roughly an hour, and while the fourth episode focuses on barbecue I won’t be skipping straight to it. This is definitely a series I want to watch as its presented in its entirety.

“High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” is available to watch now on Netflix.

Native News

This is so cool to see: Jon G’s Barbecue getting the highest of praise from the BBQ Snob himself, Daniel Vaughn; Prime Barbecue and Noble Smoke also get mentions for their brisket

Woodard Family BBQ is a “Hidden Gem of Fayetteville” (though its closer to Sanford) in this new series from the Fayetteville Observer

Non-Native News

Everything old is new again

Home Team BBQ continues its expansion

Behold, the predecessor to True Cue