Jon G’s Barbecue – Peachland, NC (Speedy’s take)

Name: Jon G’s Barbecue
Address: 116 Glenn Falls St, Peachland, NC 28133
Order: 1.5 lbs brisket, 0.5 lbs pork, 0.5 lbs bacon burnt ends, 1lb rib, 2 Cheerwine hot links, jalapeno cheese grits, apple crisp (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Speedy: Finally, I was in the Charlotte area on a Saturday and able to make it to the Jon G’s Barbecue brick and mortar location, after Monk’s continual praise and an impressive experience with the food truck a few years back. As a non-NC resident, I am only able to pop in and out of Charlotte a few times a year, and Saturday’s are not always convenient times for a trip over to Peachland, so I have one plea: give the people what they want! More barbecue! But I digress.

Monk: I’m pretty sure Speedy gets it now, but even though they are only open Saturdays it’s not like Garren and Kelly are sitting around the rest of the week between prep, catering gigs, and the food truck. Plus, the Saturday only aspect makes it more of an experience. 

Speedy: After loading up from Charlotte around 9:15 AM, we arrived at a small building off highway 74 with a picnic shelter out back around 10:00 and found our place in line for the 11:00 opening. Even an hour early, we were about 10th in line, but we didn’t mind the wait, as we were greeted with a cooler full of (free) Burial beer. A nice touch.

Monk: You know I love free beer and the fact that it’s one of my favorite breweries (NC or otherwise) only adds to it. We each grabbed and beer and joined in on the tailgating atmosphere. This is the one thing I try to convey when convincing anyone to make a trip to Peachland – it’s an experience that’s worth the trip. After all, Saturdays are for the boys!

Speedy: Let’s start with the brisket and not bury the lede. Similar to my experience with Jon G’s food truck a couple years ago, the brisket was fantastic. With apologies to both Jim Noble and John Lewis, this is the best brisket I’ve had in the Carolinas, and rivals Owlbear for the best outside of Texas. The peppery goodness pleased me greatly. I was actually a little worried about the brisket when I saw that Jon G’s uses a rotisserie smoker instead of the Texas standard barrel offset, but it worked out just fine.

For some reason, Jon G’s brisket is still ever so slightly behind my personal Holy Quadrumvirate of brisket (Franklin’s, La Barbecue, Pecan Lodge, Killen’s) but maybe because there’s just something different about eating brisket in Texas.

Monk: Of course that rotisserie smoker is an Oyler from Texas-based J&R Manufacturing, but I get Speedy’s concern when it’s not coming from an army of offset smokers made from old propane tanks (like the original Jon G’s smoker). 

I don’t always get the pork at Jon G’s, but that’s not to say they don’t do a good job with it. And on this visit, it was up to par even if it’s not what we were there for. 

Speedy: As you loyal readers know, I’m very much a rib man. When I visited the food truck ribs were not on the menu, so I had been salivating thinking about ribs the whole drive over. The dry ribs served at Jon G’s were seasoned well and cooked nearly perfectly. I don’t think I’d change a thing and would consider this a must order meat.

Monk: Man, those ribs are so good and I couldn’t agree more. They might even merit a revisit to my Ultimate Charlotte Barbecue Plate in the not-too-distant future.

I think they’ve really dialed in their Cheerwine hot link but I know Garren is really high on their newish Cheesy-Tex sausage made with cheese from Brown Creek Creamery in nearby Polkton So I’ll have to try that next time around when I’m not around Speedy, who is unyielding in his lack of tolerance for lactose.

Speedy: The bacon burnt ends were a special of the day. They had great flavor, as expected, but weren’t totally consistent. There were a couple pieces in our order that were a little dry. Overall, I’d still order again, but in a near perfect meal, this was my nit to pick. 

Monk: My experience with smoking my own bacon burnt ends is that the variance in cubing leads to some getting overdone while they larger ones cook through. Unavoidable but understandable. 

The jalapeno cheddar grits had a little more heat than usual on this visit, which was not unwelcome. Speedy ordered the apple crisp which I’m not sure I’ve ever had from them. It’s a simple but delicious way to end the meal. 

Speedy: Like all Texas-style Barbecue, it’s not something I can eat every day, as I was left with a bit of a gut bomb later in the day. So maybe Jon G’s has it right with the Saturday only thing. But overall, Jon G’s Barbecue is ridiculous. One of the best barbecue meals you’ll get anywhere. If you get the chance, don’t just stop by; make a plan to get there early and spend a Saturday morning out there. 

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4.5 hogs
Brisket – 5 hogs
Pork – 4 hogs
Ribs – 5 hogs
Sausage – 4.5 hogs
Bacon Burnt Ends – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 5 hogs

Roddey’s BBQ – Rock Hill, SC

Name: Roddey’s BBQ
Address: 250 S. Cherry St, Rock Hill, SC 29732
Order: Brisket and barbecue sandwich combo (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: Roddey’s BBQ is the barbecue venture of Seth Roddey and his dad Ken in Rock Hill, South Carolina just south of the border from Charlotte. While Ken has been smoking barbecue for 25 years, the duo began catering in 2014. However, it wasn’t until about a year ago that Seth bought a food truck and started regular service in Rock Hill. Not the most fortunate timing during the pandemic and whatnot, but they have stuck it out.

Roddey’s BBQ smokes their pork, brisket, and ribs on an Ole Hickory pit at a commercial kitchen at their house using hickory splits. They then set up at a vacant lot for service every week off S. Cherry Street across from District Three Stadium, the home stadium to local football powerhouse Northwestern High.

The USDA prime brisket was well smoked and had good flavor, but was not overly peppery in the style of a central Texas brisket. Orders came with a mix of both fatty and lean, and I preferred the fattier cut though the lean made a nice foldover.

The pulled pork sandwich had good bark mixed in but was not overly smoky. Both combos came with a peppery mayo-based coleslaw and when the sandwich was topped with the slaw and the Roddey’s vinegar-based sauce, it made for a darn fine bite.

I like that Roddey’s is a family affair, and the barbecue is certainly worth keeping an eye on and seeking out. You can find Roddey’s BBQ Wednesdays through Fridays at 250 S. Cherry St in Rock Hill.

Ratings:
Brisket – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 4 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Legal Remedy Brewing – Rock Hill, SC

Name: Legal Remedy Brewing Brewpub
Address: 129 Oakland Ave, Rock Hill, SC 29730
Order: Pulled pork sandwich (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: Legal Remedy Brewing opened their original brewpub in 2015 in an old auto dealership in Old Town Rock Hill. In addition to the beer, the original location serves upscale brewpub eats with a focus on house smoked meats, going so far as to have a “Warden of Woodsmoke” overseeing the menu. Those smoked meats included pork, brisket, turkey, and wings but there is also a smoked meatloaf dish on the menu.

It would seem as if Legal Remedy is finding success in Rock Hill as they have since opened a second location in the form of a farm to table restaurant dubbed the “Legal Remedy Cantina” that serves seasonal food from local farmers and producers. The brewpub location on the old auto lot has quite a bit of outdoor seating when the weather is nice and it was pretty packed on a clear Saturday night when I visited recently with the Monk clan in tow.

Having ordered the southern poutine appetizer between Mrs. Monk and me, I went simply with the pulled pork sandwich instead of the Carnivore Sampler platter with all of the meats. The southern poutine is topped with smoked jalapeño pimento cheese, pepper jelly, and crumbled LRBacon and was a wonderful, if not exactly needed, start.

The pulled pork sandwich was comprised of pork that was not overly smoky but once the it was topped with the coleslaw and LRBeer BQ sauce it was more than passable. I gobbled it up pretty quickly and without complaint.

In addition to the other standard brewpub fare, there’s also a smoked meatloaf made from the trimmings of  their smoked turkey, beef brisket, kielbratsas (from The Peach Stand), and pork, mixing with ground beef. Brunswick stew is also on the menu as are house cured versions of reuben and pastrami sandwiches. Plus their beer is not too bad either.

Much like Pinehurst Brewing (which I reviewed earlier this year), Legal Remedy has put a focus on smoked meats to above average results. Next time I’m back in the area, I’ll check out the rest of their smoked meats.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs

The Gambling Stick – Nashville, TN (food truck)

Name: The Gambling Stick
Address: 501 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Order: Beef brisket, pulled pork, “pigsket”, beef back ribs + vegetable slaw (link to menu)
Pricing: $$$

Speedy: A place I’ve wanted to visit for a while but just hadn’t gotten around to is The Gambling Stick, a permanent food truck in East Nashville. It’s conveniently located next to the Porter Road Butcher Shop, where they get all of their meat. There are a couple of picnic tables outside The Gambling Stick if you want to eat there, but it’s basically a food truck in a parking lot so I got my order to go. I made sure to try most of the meats available (skipping the hot link), as I’d read good things across the board. The meal was nicely packed, so I dove in as soon as I got home, hoping to continue my streak of good ‘cue lately. 

Monk: It looks like Porter Road Butcher Shop specializes in “local, pasture-raised, and antibiotic free with no added hormones” that is regularly visited by the butcher so kudos to them on getting their meat from an ethically responsible shop.  

I must say, I’m actually surprised you skipped the hot link, being the spice fiend that you are. Did it have dairy in it?

Speedy: I didn’t ask. Sometimes you just have to make tough decisions, Monk, and I felt four meats was enough for me that day.

Monk: I would say what’s one more meat but glass houses and all…

Speedy: I’ll start with the good: both pork products were good to very good. The pulled pork had a nice smoke flavor, but was just slightly dry. I was provided with some vinegar based sauce (available in regular and spicy); however, I didn’t find the sauce too appealing. It was thicker than I like in a vinegar based sauce and may have had some mustard in it. Overall, I didn’t think it worked.

Fortunately, the “pigsket” which I was told was “pork brisket,” did not need any sauce. It was moist and very well seasoned and just hit the spot. I’m not sure exactly what cut of meat this was – perhaps a tenderloin – but it was by far my favorite part of the meal. In fact, if I go back to The Gambling Stick, this will be the reason. 

Monk: This cut of meat really piqued my interest so I did a little digging. Based on the name I half expected it to be some sort of turducken-like frankenstein of pork tenderloin stuffed inside a pork shoulder stuffed inside a brisket but after some half-assed internet research, it appears to be cut from around the breastbone of the pig. It sounds incredible, though.

Speedy: The beef products were both disappointing. The brisket was quite dry and needed more seasoning (both salt and pepper). The need for seasoning also translated to the beef rib. You don’t see beef back ribs often, and I think there’s a reason for that. It’s a tough cut of meat to get tender, and unfortunately these beef ribs failed to hit the mark in taste and tenderness.

Monk: I must say, I’m happy to see you digging into the Nashville barbecue scene. Perhaps a Nashville Top Joints post is in the works? 

Speedy: Monk – spoiler alert!

Monk: …my bad…

Speedy: Overall, I was a little disappointed in The Gambling Stick, as I had read really positive things. Overall, I think the pork products were good, but the beef missed the mark. The “pigsket” alone makes it worth a visit, but I don’t see myself becoming a regular. 

Ratings:
Atmosphere – Not Rated
Pulled Pork – 3 hogs
“Pigsket” – 4 hogs
Brisket – 2 hogs
Beef Back Ribs – 2 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs

The Gambling Stick Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato