Photo Gallery: Crossroads ‘Cue Supper with Robb Walsh at Midwood Smokehouse

This past Wednesday night, I had the good fortune of attending another barbecue dinner at Midwood Smokehouse (who previously hosted Skylight Inn’s Sam Jones in November 2013), this time with special guest James Beard Award-winning author Robb Walsh. Just like last time around NoDa Brewing (and their head brew master Chad) was in the house, pairing each course with one of their beers. And as it turns out, Ed Mitchell happened to be there too! Now, I was planning to go to this event as soon as I got word of the event but then lucky for me, a marketing coordinator for Midwood reached out to the Barbecue Bros and offers a free press pass. Done and done.

The theme of the night was Tex-Mex, a subject of which Robb Walsh certainly is no stranger – his books include The Tex-Mex Grill and
Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook, The Tex-Mex Cookbook, Nuevo Tex-Mex, and…well, you get the idea. And as I would come to find out over the course of the night, Walsh is no stranger to owner Frank Scibelli – he has consulted on both Midwood Smokehouse as well as his Tex-Mex concept Paco’s Taco’s & Tequila. Seeing as how I have yet to make it back out to Texas in several years (a fact which Speedy and Rudy like to hold over my head), the prospect of a Tex-Mex style barbecue menu intrigued me.

The first course paired tortilla chips with three salsas (one of which was a revelation, unfortunately I can’t recall exactly which one), Frito Pie (a delight which I hadn’t yet experienced in all my years), and campechana (basically, a Tex-Mex shrimp cocktail) with NoDa’s CAVU blonde ale. I must say, if there weren’t two more courses coming, I could have eaten just Frito Pie all night long. Damn, it was that good.

Beef rib and barbacoa served with tortillas highlighted the second course with NoDa’s Black IPA, Midnight Madness. The beef rib was served both on and off the bone, and I came dangerously close to taking the entire bone for myself before realizing that oops, I should actually be sharing with the table instead of being a greedy freaking gus. But man, that thing was smoked to perfection and I’d be curious to see whether Midwood would ever offer it as a special – Frank Scibelli seemed to be taking an informal poll as to whether folks would ever buy it or not, so we shall see.

Finally, we ended the night with a duo of mini pies and Jam Session Pale Ale. Thankfully, the pies were indeed mini and I didn’t have to stuff myself with a big dessert (plus another beer) after the big meal. All in all, the food in each course was new and interesting and fantastic.

For the Sam Jones dinner, I recall them having four courses and I felt like we were constantly rushing to finish the food in each course and chugging beer. This time around, the three courses provided a nice balance between eating and drinking and actually being able to breathe between courses, converse with our table neighbors, and finish beers. So, whether done on purpose or just happenstance, well done by Midwood on the change.

After dinner, I was able to speak briefly with Ed Mitchell and his son/business partner Ryan. I mentioned how much I loved his barbecue and was looking forward to what they would do next. After a period of time they will be making an announcement on what they’ll be doing next, but in the meantime it sounds like he might be doing some things with Frank at Midwood. Logistically, they would have to figure out how Midwood’s Texas-manufactured offset smoker would jive with Mitchell’s brand of eastern NC whole hog barbecue cooked over direct coals, but the prospect of Ed Mitchell smoking barbecue in Charlotte is just too exciting for me to handle.

I also got a chance to briefly speak with Midwood’s Pitmaster Matt Berry and relayed to him and Frank the nice post from our meetup with Marie, Let’s Eat! posted earlier this week. Really nice guys, those two. I gotta say, I love these barbecue dinners (which benefit the Southern Foodways Alliance) and hope Midwood continues to have them when the right occasion presents itself. As long as they keep doing them you will find me there, press pass or not.

Monk

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Linkdown: 2/4/15

– This NY Times article on the sisterhood of women chefs in NC is great, though I don’t really get the following line on “barbecue kids” – is this a euphemism for “hipsters”?

Ms. [Nathalie] Dupree, who lives in Charleston, put it a little more bluntly. “North Carolina has always been a place where food was very important, but the men were always more interested in the macho-boy stuff that attracts the barbecue kids these days,” she said. “So the women were free to make all the rest of the food.”

– Tyson Ho checks in with his latest blog entry for Serious Eats on how he picks and scavenges for equipment and other goods when another restaurant closes

– This post on how to help your local bbq joints was written with Texas joints in mind due to beef’s historically high prices, but can apply to local joints wherever you happen to be

– “Barbecue sandwich” is one of 16 sandwiches in Our State Magazine’s Southern Sandwich Tournament; here is their travel guide to each sandwich

– Destination BBQ’s blog has a map that helps make finding SC BBQ easier

– Home Team BBQ is opening a downtown Charleston location by Labor Day 2015

– From last summer, 5 questions with Bethanie Schemel of KC Barbecue Tours in Taste Trekkers (our list is here btw)

– Queen City Q is celebrating 3 years of being open next week with the special release of Susie Q Smoked IPA from Birdsong Brewing, named after the owner of the restaurant

– Speaking of beer and barbecue, NoDa Brewing and Midwood Smokehouse are coming together for a Texas-themed “Crossroads Cue Supper” with James Beard-winning author Robb Walsh; Speedy and I attended a similar event a little over 1.5 years ago with Sam Jones of Skylight Inn

– This week, Marie, Let’s Eat! checks out Porkie’s Original BBQ, a north Alabama joint in central Florida

– Last weekend, a barbecue was held to help benefit a local Charlotte firefighter battling cancer

– Two competitions have been posted on the NC BBQ Association website, one of them being the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival in Charlotte in May (our photos from last year)

– Scott’s Bar-B-Que is one of Thrillist’s best 13 restaurants in the south

Scott’s Bar-B-Que

Hemingway, SC
If you’ve never driven to the middle of the countryside or just a teensy town whose closest large city is the #1 destination for 19-year-old Spring Breakers along the Carolina coasts, just for a lunch of smokey pulled pork, you’re lazy, but also it’s time to take a trip to Scott’s. The Variety Store and ‘cue spot has been operating since’72, and it’s truly a family affair with son Rodney as the pitmaster that brought them to national fame. Order a 1/2lb of pork, slow-smoked and well-seasoned overnight, get your sauce spicy — you finally took this pilgrimage, so make the best of it — ask for crispy, fresh-fried pork rinds like you’re a regular in the know, and, then, whatever you do, remember to get at least 2lbs of pork and a gallon of sauce to go. Because, sadly, you aren’t a regular, but you’ll want to eat like you are as long as possible.

– Via TMBBQ, Live Oak Barbecue in Austin has closed; Rudy tried it about a little over a year ago and was not a fan

– Finally, if you feel so inclined we’d be honored if you would vote us for Best Local Blog under “Media – Best Local” in Charlotte Magazine’s annual Best of the Best Awards

Photo Gallery: The Great NC BBQ Map Launch Party at NoDa Brewing!

While I did back The Great NC BBQ Map‘s Kickstarter campaign a few months back, I didn’t back them at the level to get you to the launch party. So when I was picked randomly as the lucky winner of their Instagram contest to gain entry into the party, I was thrilled.

The launch party took place at NoDa Brewing Company this past Sunday, and the main event of the party was a barbecue showdown between Midwood Smokehouse (representing eastern NC barbecue) and Sauceman’s (representing the west) with the party attendees voting to decide their favorite. In addition to the food, Paul (one of the map co-creators) also brewed a small batch of “Brew-B-Que,” a red ale brewed with smoked serrano and chipotle peppers to mimic the spiciness of eastern NC barbecue.

There were also fun activities like a “cake walk” contest that was kind of like musical chairs, but with cake, as well as a hush puppy eating contest, Coney Island style, and a raffle.

For those of you who backed the Kickstarter, you should be pretty close to getting your map in the mail (if you haven’t gotten them already) and I think you will be very happy with it. It is on high quality, heavy paper and is well designed with a ton of information for each of the 434 joints (!) in the state – location, hours, whole hog vs shoulder, flame source, sauce type. Not to mention it has a definitive history of barbecue in the US, a comprehensive listing of NC barbecue festivals, and a breakdown of NC barbecue traditions. I’m telling you, this thing is packed to the gills with information. They will be taking additional orders for the map soon, so be sure to sign up for the mailing list on their (soon to be now redesigned) website if you didn’t get in on the Kickstarter.

I briefly spoke with both Amanda and Paul (both super nice, btw), co-creators of the map, and their excitement was evident that night at the unveiling of their labor of love to the world. A big congrats to them on their hard work finally coming to fruition!

Monk