Monk’s Favorite Barbecue of 2021

Monk: While my hunch is that I had roughly as much barbecue as last year, I suspect the ratio of mediocre barbecue to great barbecue was higher than in past years. There’s always highlights to pick out, but let’s hope next year is a more favorable ratio.

In alphabetical order:

Jon G’s remains the gold standard for the Charlotte area. And it seems that the rest of the southeast is starting to catch on with Eater Carolinas naming them “Barbecue Restaurant of the Year” and Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn raving about them in an article from mid 2021. The future for Garren and Kelly remain bright.

Chopped pork sandwich from Noble Smoke – Charlotte, NC

Some of the meats at Noble Smoke can be a little hit or miss for me, but the Lexington-style chopped barbecue sandwich is ever reliable.

Speedy has said he often thinks the ribs at Peg Leg Porker are the best in the state of Tennessee, and who am I to argue? The full wings are also a must-order.

Randy’s ribs are a sub-regional variety with a sauce that I understand is found primarily in the Savannah area. It expanded my framework as to what barbecue is in different parts of the US.

Life-changing whole hog. So far I’ve only made it to Sam Jones’ outpost in Raleigh but I can’t wait to try this same tray at Skylight Inn this spring.

Sausage, wings, hash and rice, ribs, brisket, and turkey from Sweet Lew’s BBQ – Charlotte, NC (link to post)

Between the house-made sausage, the barbecue hash, and Lewis Donald’s ever-constant tweaking of his main meats, Sweet Lew’s continues to evolve, and I’m here for the the journey.

It’s a shame that Whispering Pines was takeout only but I’ll make the hour drive to Albemarle again I’m sure. Great Lexington-style barbecue.

Randy’s Bar-B-Q – Savannah, GA

Name: Randy’s Bar-B-Q
Date: 6/25/21
Address: 750 Wheaton St, Savannah, GA 31401
Order: Large ribs
Pricing: $

Monk: The Monk family had occasion to spend a few nights in Savannah recently and ahead of that trip, I performed my customary barbecue research and pickings seemed to be a little slim.

B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue closed their location there late last year as Bryan Furman plans his next move in Atlanta’s westside.

Wiley’s Championship BBQ placed #2 by Southern Living readers in the 2020 poll, but its competition lineage gave me slight pause.

Unfortunately, Savannah hasn’t had a barbecue renaissance like Charleston, a city 2 hours north on Highway 17 that it so often gets compared to.

Finally, I settled upon Randy’s Bar-B-Q via True Cue’s Georgia list and despite their having no real social media presence I dropped off the wife and kids in downtown Savannah and made the short trek a few blocks outside of the eastern edge of historic downtown.

Randy’s is a black-owned barbecue joint run by Randolph Frazier, and they have quite the local following. I arrived to a line of 20-25 people which is apparently not unusual for a lunch crowd.

Unfortunately, they were out of chicken so all I went with a half rack of ribs, which came drenched in their bright orangey/yellow sauce and placed on slices of wheat bread (surely they must have been out of white).

Randy’s Bar-B-Q smokes their meat in smokers just outside of the small cubic brick building that was painted once upon a time by Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) students. This building is rather small and Randy’s is takeout only.

The ribs were well smoked and while the tangy sauce wasn’t my favorite, I recognized that Randy wasn’t catering to my taste but instead that of the community in which Randy’s serves.

Randy’s Bar-B-Q is worth a stop not only because of their smoked meats but also to step outside of your barbecue comfort zone.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – N/A
Ribs – 4 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Linkdown: 11/11/20

Featured

Even in the midst of a pandemic and all that 2020 had to offer, Tim Carman of the Washington Post went ahead with his annual “best barbecue joints in DC” list, with the main change being that he got takeout from every joint he tried. And he found that, even while getting more and more expensive, the state of barbecue in DC is strong and only improving. To wit, three of the joints in his top ten were brand new to the list.

Cheers to Tim Carman for pushing ahead!

Native News

10% off today for veterans and active duty military at Wilber’s Barbecue

Have you seen Apple City BBQ’s pig? It was recently stolen from the Taylorsville barbecue joint.

Midwood Smokehouse’s brisket cheesesteak makes Charlotte Magazine’s list

Non-Native News

Another writeup on Desiree Robinson, 2020 Barbecue Hall of Fame Inductee

Several barbecue restaurants in Columbia are offering Thanksgiving specials

Four Savannah barbecue joints that offer comfort food during COVID

Smoked Turkey Explosion in Texas:

The Athens episode of TrueSouth brought together neighbors; watch at the link below

Linkdown: 8/21/19

Sweet Lew’s Barbeque, Buxton Hall Barbecue, Lexington Barbecue, Grady’s BBQ, and Skylight Inn BBQ all represent NC on this Thrillist list

Is the North Carolina Department of Transportation Anti-Barbecue? John Tanner things maybe perhaps so.

NC DOT, careless of the thousands of victims of The Great Wilber’s Debacle, now turns its guns on Lexington.  NC Dot has determined that the Smiley’s-Speedy’s section of Winston Road apparently gets a fair amount of traffic.  Of course it does.  It contains two barbecue places.   

Robert Moss reflects on Charleston’s dining scene so far, including the barbecue scene which went from “minor outpost to [an] acclaimed destination”

USA Today advocates for Clyde Cooper’s BBQ in Raleigh, saying its “a key stop on any tour of America’s pantheon of BBQ joints”

Bryan Furman will be at this November’s Savannah Food & Wine Festival

Can any city rival Austin’s BBQ? Austin-based food writer Rob Balon says no.

The 36th Barbecue Festival will take place October 26th in Lexington