Charlotte Barbecue News from the Second Quarter of 2020

Monk: Despite the generally bad outlook for restaurants, there was mostly positive news for our top ranked Charlotte barbecue restaurants. Noble Smoke and Sweet Lew’s both reopened with reduced capacity and social distancing measures in place and of course there is Jon G’s Barbecue which finally opened its long-awaited doors in Peachland.

Things were not so great for Queen City Q, which when we started the blog in 2012 was our second favorite barbecue restaurant in Charlotte at the time behind Midwood Smokehouse. And things seemed to be going pretty well in the mid-2010’s, with expansion to locations in Ballantyne, Matthews, and Concord. However, those quietly closed in recent years and the original location in Uptown Charlotte was apparently hanging on by a thread before it was forced to close as a result of the state’s pandemic response. It briefly opened in May as part of North Carolina’s phase 2 but then the final nail in the coffin came when it was forced to close again due to the threat of protests.

If I’m honest, Queen City Q had fallen off quite a bit from when it first opened. Our last visits were my solo trip to the Concord store in 2016 in which a poor experience prompted a re-review of the 6th Street location by Speedy and me a few weeks later. We left that visit disheartened and convinced that the drop in quality wasn’t an isolated incident. Neither of us had not been back since, and now they have shuttered their remaining location.

RIP Queen City Q (2012-2020)

April

4/7 Hillbilly’s Barbeque & Steaks in Lowell is moving to a new building on South Main Street

4/14 Jon G’s Barbecue updates their website ahead of their forthcoming brick and mortar in Peachland

4/20 Noble Smoke begins delivery service in Charlotte

4/30 Sweet Lew’s BBQ, which had been closed but serving their smoked meats out of Dish (also owned by Lewis Donald), announces they are reopening their store for to-go orders on May 7

May

5/1 Jon G’s Barbecue announces they are officially permitted for their upcoming restaurant

5/7 Sweet Lew’s BBQ reopens

5/20 A limited edition Sweet Lew’s BBQ shirt became available and supported two local small businesses with each purchase

5/21 Bill Spoon’s BBQ decides to remain curbside only even as restaurants are allowed to open with reduced capacity in phase 2

5/22 Noble Smoke reopens with extended safety precautions

June

6/4 Queen City Q announced that they are closing their uptown location, which was the last remaining location of their Charlotte locations after numbering as many as 4 in recent years.

6/8 Jon G’s Barbecue announces their soft opening dates starting June 19

6/19 Jon G’s Barbecue officially opens

6/27 Sweet Lew’s BBQ smoked enough pork for 175 plates for the Charlotte Community Kitchen

Linkdown: 7/1/20

Soul Food Scholar Adrian Miller writes about the union between July 4th and barbecue; thankfully he is “not talking about hamburgers and hot dogs on a kettle grill. I’m talking about ‘old school’ barbecue, where a whole animal carcass was skewered with wooden poles and cooked over a trench filled with burning coals from hardwood trees.”

Brisket roulade, you say?

Midwood Smokehouse’s Roadhouse burger, made of ground chuck and brisket, makes Charlotte Agenda’s Top 23 burgers in Charlotte list

Queen City Q is one of the 14 Charlotte businesses that have permanently closed due to COVID-19 according to Charlotte Five

Old Bay Hot Sauce while supplies last

Louie Mueller back

Some good deals to be had at Hardcore Carnivore in case you are woefully late on a Father’s Day gift (or heck, even Mother’s Day)

I will be eagerly following how this story about Southern Foodways Alliance director John T. Edge unfolds

Linkdown: 4/5/17

– Looks like NC Governor Roy Cooper will be getting some smoked salmon, coffee, apples, and chocolate from Washington Governor Jay Inslee

– A NY Times profile on Kansas City with some great photography

– Rodney Scott was featured in a KC vs SC barbecue showdown on Late Show with Stephen Colbert

– Southern Living readers voted Carolina BBQ in Spartanburg the best in the state

– Pulled pork + Giant Hush Puppy =

– Jim Early, founder and CEO of the NC BBQ Society received the Winner’s Circle Award from Visit NC 365

– Queen City Q remains the barbecue vendor at Charlotte Knights stadium this year, and are now smoking all barbecue in-house

Barbecue smoked in-house, which had previously only been available on the catering menu, has been added at the outfield picnic area. New items offered to fans include house-smoked, hand pulled pork; slow-cooked, carved brisket; grilled hot dogs; and corn on the cob and potato salad.

– It’s not barbecue, but Bojangles is a NC institution (duh)

Best of Charlotte Barbecue: All of Our Posts

If you recall, earlier this year between February and May we had a series of posts detailing the best of Charlotte barbecue in regards to specific meats or dishes. While we’ve had the Charlotte Big Board for a couple of years now, the purpose of these posts was to review individual dishes as opposed to overall restaurant experience.

For easy reference, I have compiled the winners of each category in one post. Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen had 3 meats that were best in their category, which helps explain their perch atop the Charlotte Big Board. I still feel very good about the brisket from The Smoke Pit but might reconsider the ribs from Queen City Q in any future revisions to this list, as I have not had a great experience the past few times I’ve gone. One other thing that struck me while composing this post, while Midwood Smokehouse did not win any singular category it was in the top 3 in each of the 5 categories. That would help explain why they are ranked #2 on the Big Board.

Click here to find all of our posts in the Best of Charlotte Barbecue seriesWhat did we miss? Leave any suggestions or comments below.

Best Pork: Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen

Best Brisket: The Smoke Pit

Brisket from The Smoke Pit

Brisket from The Smoke Pit

Best Ribs: Queen City Q

Ribs from Queen City Q

Ribs from Queen City Q

Best Sausage: Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen

Sausage from Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen

Other: Brunswick Stew from Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen

Pork, brisket, ribs, wings, brunswick stew

Pork, brisket, ribs, wings, brunswick stew from Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen