Linkdown: 12/15/20

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In his latest issue of The Cue Sheet, Robert Moss examines the ten best college cities or towns to attend according to nearby barbecue options. While my alma mater NC State is mentioned as a future possibility once the planned restaurants like Sam Jones BBQ, Wyatt’s Barbecue, and Longleaf Swine open their doors in 2021 (not to mention Prime BBQ in Knightdale that opened this year and the upcoming Ed Mitchell’s The Preserve), several NC towns make the list. Not on the list either is Chapel Hill, primarily due to the loss of Allen & Son last year.

East Carolina University in Greenville has B’s Barbecue, Sam Jones Barbecue and the two Ayden joints nearby (Skylight and Bum’s) and comes in at #9. Surprisingly, Catawba College in Salisbury, NC makes the list just ahead of Greenville due to a couple of joints in town (College Barbecue and Richard’s) plus its proximity to Lexington and its myriad options for barbecue.

Thatโ€™s it for NC on this list but both Columbia and Charleston appear further down from our neighbors to the south. I won’t spoil the rest of the list, but if you think hard enough you can probably guess which university and city takes the #1 spot on the list.

Native News

The Great NC BBQ Map poster is 50% off through today

The Pinehurst Barbecue Festival is planned for September 3-5, 2021

The Bar-B-Q King is one of many COVID-friendly food options in Charlotte for walk-up or drive-thru (or in this case, drive-in)

In NC, barbecue sauce makes a great gift writes Spectrum News

OooWee BBQ has smoked meat by the pound available in take-and-bake meals

Primal BBQ is set to open in Wilmington later this month and will serve a little bit of everything

Longleaf Swine is one barbecue restaurant offering to-go meals in Raleigh

Wish I could attend this socially-distanced pig pickin’ in Durham this weekend

Chicken bog long sleeve tees from Buxton Hall released just in time for last minute Christmas shopping

Non-Native News

In perhaps the least surprising news of the week, Tim Carman found better options than the McRib in DC

Even though Pat Mahomes went to college in Texas, he prefers Kansas City barbecue

This smothered tater tots collaboration between Fox Bros Bar-B-Q and Nina and Rafi looks amazing

An American pitmaster living in Hong Kong names the US barbecue restaurants he dreams of going back to some day, including Rodney Scott’s BBQ, Cozy Corner, Franklin Barbecue, and Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

Pork n’ Pine Santa delivers pulled pork sammies in Baltimore

Charlotte-area Thanksgiving Specials

Monk: This Thanksgiving, consider leaving the cooking to the professionals at these Charlotte-area barbecue joints. You also get the added benefit of supporting a local business while you take it easy because let’s face it, we should all take it easy when we can. See below for information.

Big Tiny’s BBQ – Mooresville, NC

The Dixie Pig – Rock Hill, SC

Farmhouse BBQ – Gastonia, NC

The Improper Pig – Charlotte, Fort Mill

Jon G’s Barbecue – Peachland, NC

Mac’s Speed Shop

Midwood Smokehouse

Noble Smoke

OooWee BBQ – Pineville

The Q Shack

RayNathan’s – Gastonia, NC

Rock Store BBQ – Stallings

The Smoke Pit – Concord, Gastonia, Monroe, Salisbury

Sweet Lew’s BBQ – deadline has already passed

Cook Out – Charlotte, NC

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Name
: Cook Out
Date: 10/19/18
Address: 10645 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28210
Order: Cookout tray with barbecue sandwich, tray pups, tray nus, and sweet tea (link to menu)
Price: $5.68

Monk: I was first introduce to Cook Out, a Greensboro-based fast food burgers and milkshakes chain, way back in 1993 when our family moved from Fayetteville, NC to High Point. Those milkshakes were legendary and any time I had them it was a big, big deal.

Then, I was introduced to Cook Out in a whole new light back in my college days in the early 2000’s, where the Western Blvd location was a favorite post-bar, late night destination. Not only did it stay open way past the bars (until 5am on the weekends) but the food was ridiculously cheap ($3.99 for a Cook Out Tray at the time). To say that it did the trick on many a late night my last couple of semesters would be an understatement, and I have the photos to prove it.

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I mentioned the price – while it was $3.99 for a Cook Out Tray in the early 2000s, it will now run you $5.25. With it, you pick from about 10 main items including burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, and even a barbecue sandwich. Then, you got to pick two sides – and in addition to the usual fries or onion rings, things like corn dogs, chicken nuggets, and quesadillas are considered sides. Top it off with a huge 32 oz sweet tea (or sub it out for one of their 40+awesome milk shakes) and you felt like you were stealing for the amount of food you were getting for around $5. To read more on the wonders of the Cook Out Tray, check out this Drew Magary piece in Deadspin from his visit to one in Durham in 2012. He does more justice to it than I ever could.

The Cook Out in Raleigh had a few picnic tables but is really more of a drive through or takeout place. While that is the predominant layout of most Cook Outs I’ve encountered, you will occasionally find those with an actual sit down restaurant with an order counter inside such as this one in south Charlotte near Pineville.

I knew what I was getting when I opted to review the barbecue sandwich here. It was not going to blow my socks off, but it did end up being a serviceable version of an eastern NC barbecue sandwich. It comes already topped with a mayo slaw and hot sauce and is surprisingly spicy. You don’t get really any smoke in the pork but it will definitely satisfy in a pinch.

I got my usual side order – hush puppies and chicken nuggets (or “tray pups and tray nugs” in Cook Out employee parlance) – and though they are clearly from frozen, again they will do in a pinch.

Which brings us to the point of Cook Out. It’s fast and cheap food that you shouldn’t think (or perhaps write in my case) too much about. Though when it comes to their barbecue, get it if you must but my recommendation would be instead of that, get one of their crazy good burgers (my recommendation would be Cheddar Style) and a shake. You’ll thank me later.

(For more thoughts on Cook Out, check out one of the chapters atย Marie, Letโ€™s Eat! here or here)

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance โ€“ 2 hogs
Pork โ€“ 2.5 hogs
Sides โ€“ 2.5 hogs
Overall โ€“ 2.5 hogs

Linkdown: 5/2/18

– Filipino food + whole hog barbecue = Awesomeness in June

– The barbecue sundae at OooWee BBQ in Pineville is worth a shot if you are in the area

– The Cheat Sheet’s top ten favorite barbecue styles certainly is a list

– Sad news out of Texas

– Home Team BBQ and Lewis Barbecue make this list of places to eat in the NoMo neighborhood of Charleston

–ย Haddock’s Barbecue is the latest featured barbecue joint in WNCT’s People and Places, but it only actually serves barbecue on Saturdays

– From the San Diego Union Tribune, the best barbecue chains in the US

–ย Barbecue: The food that has conquered, ruled and divided the South for decades

– The documentary film Barbecue won a James Beard Award last week