Linkdown: 10/21/15

– In honor of tomorrow’s Mallard Creek Barbecue, here’s Kathleen Purvis’s story from last year on the history behind its famed brunswick stew

– Charlotte  Agenda thinks Smoke Modern Barbeque is a “good bet to be Charlotte’s next breakout restaurant brand”; I’m not so convinced based on their Huntersville restaurant (currently #19 on our big board) that was decent, but overpriced with small portions – though I will say that I plan to check out the new Stonecrest location at some point

– TMBBQ’s top25 new and improved barbecue joints in Texas, plus photographer Wyatt McSpadden’s photos from each

It’s been two years since Texas Monthly published its last Top 50 BBQ Joints list. It was a feat of reporting that took me and my barbecue-eating cohorts across the state to eat at countless legendary restaurants, holes-in-the-wall, out-of-the-way joints. The work didn’t end when the issue went to press. My job since then has essentially been one giant scouting mission for the next list slated for the summer of 2017.

– Marie, Let’s Eat! has more barbecue in Florida at Harry and Larry’s Bar-B-Que, this time in a revitalized downtown Winter Garden

– Fayetteville, NC is getting the third NC location of Mission BBQ

– Charlotte Agenda previews new food available at Hornets games this year, including the expanded Queen City Q outpost

– Ever wonder where folks who smoke meat for a living get their barbecue? This is the article for you

– B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque has returned from a fire and reopened in a new location in Savannah

– Daniel Vaughn has tips for ordering barbecue like a pro in First We Feast

Linkdown: 9/30/15

– This year’s 86th Annual Mallard Creek Barbecue will be on Thursday, October 22

– Queen City Q and the Hornets enter into a partnership for the upcoming NBA season

As part of the multi-year agreement, Queen City Q will operate a pair of branded concession stands at Time Warner Cable Arena, one on the lower level and one on the upper level, allowing fans to enjoy some of the area’s best and most popular barbecue while attending events in the building.  Queen City Q products will also be featured on the arena’s suite menus.

– Charlotte Agenda makes one of their bold and click-baity proclamations that “the best barbecue in Charlotte just might be sold by Boy Scouts

-The second Charlotte-area location of Smoke opens in Stonecrest next week

– Steve Raichlen has some barbecue secrets from Ed Mitchell in the HuffPo

– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits the newer, larger Character’s Famouse BBQ in Adairsville, GA – you might recognize its pitmaster Michael Character from BBQ Pitmasters

– NOLA Smokehouse in New Orleans closes this Saturday

– Johnny Fugitt has 7 recipes he must try from the 12 Bones cookbook

– Robert Moss’ list of the south’s best barbecue beverages rightly includes Cheerwine

– Some details on a pre-Barbecue Festival shindig:

-Speaking of Lexington, Brad Livengood of The Lexington Dispatch has some barbecue history regarding pirates I previously had not come across

Pirates loved to party, and there was nothing like a good pig picking to make a party atmosphere. So they devised a process based upon an apparatus made of green wood. It was a rack of sorts, to hold the pig’s carcass as it was being smoked. The rack was placed over a pit filled with charred embers to slowly simmer the meat. They called the process, the boucan. Its practitioners were soon known as boucaneers. The often used synonym for pirate, buccaneer, comes from this method of cooking barbecue. I don’t know if there was hickory wood involved, but it surely was smoked and pit-cooked. So we lovers of barbecue in Davidson County have something in common with Blackbeard and his ilk, and it’s just a short walk down the pages of history from the tastebuds of some cutthroat pirate to our love of a chopped sandwich today.

– Lucky Peach says there are 14 (!?) styles of american barbecue

Smoke Modern Barbeque – Huntersville, NC

: Smoke Modern Barbeque
Date: 2/28/15
Address: 16710 Birkdale Commons, Pkwy #103, Huntersville, North Carolina 28078
Order: Two meat Smokin Q Combo (pork and brisket) with slaw and soda (link to menu)
Price: $20

For a state with a, shall we say, lacking barbecue tradition, Colorado at least kinda seems to know what its doing when it comes to barbecue chains. First, Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que expanded into the Charlotte area with its Matthews location a few years back and now Smoke Modern Barbeque has opened a restaurant in Huntersville. Another one is planned in the Ballantyne area of south Charlotte this summer, taking over for the old City Tavern at Stonecrest.

Smoke is nice inside. Like, probably too nice looking. The servers are dressed in all black and the decor is all modern, straight lines (hence the “modern” in the name, I assume). Based on that description, this has to be too nice of a place to actually serve decent barbecue, right?

Well, after my two meat combo I’d say yea, that’s more or less the case. The small-ish serving of coarsely pulled pork had minimal bark and was not all that smokey. Mrs. Monk’s pork sandwich had several huge strands of pork (as well as some unwanted grizzle) that made it tough for her to chrew at times. I will say, at least the bun was a nice substantial potato bun that held up under the weight of the sandwich and slaw. My recommendation to Smoke would be to utilize cleavers to chop up the pork a little more before serving.

The brisket was a little better, if not stellar. It was a bit more thinly sliced than I like but it did have a nice peppery bark, reminiscent of a central Texas-style brisket. My portion came with a mix of lean and fatty, and I would recommend it if you found yourself there. In fact, if I were to go again (likely at the south Charlotte location to try it out once it opens), I’d probably get the brisket but would also try the jalapeno beef sausage which is actually imported from Kiolbassa Meats in San Antonio.

For a nearly $17 combo, its a bit disappointing that you only get one side but I guess that’s to be expected from upscale, yuppie ‘cue. The cider slaw was fine, but I found it odd that Smoke didn’t have any cornmeal options. Neither cornbread nor hush puppies were anywhere to be seen on the menu.

Smoke seems to emphasize their house made sauces available at each table, with our waiter taking us through a “tour of the sauces” since it was our first time there. They had a red vinegar sauce that wasn’t really Lexington style, a thicker sauce recommended for brisket, an even thicker KC Masterpiece-style sauce, and finally a “Georgia Gold” mustard-based sauce. How they came up with that name is a mystery – if Georgia has a mustard sauce tradition that’s news to me.

You might be tempted to check out Smoke Modern Barbecue on a date night because of its modern decor and upscale-iness, however I just can’t recommend it due to its high prices and small portions, not to mention the barbecue itself is a little lacking. Plus, they spell barbecue with a “q” so they obviously can’t be trusted.


Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 2 hogs
Brisket – 3 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs
Smoke Modern BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Linkdown: 2/25/15

– The chapter on Midwood Smokehouse from Marie, Let’s Eat! was posted earlier this week (our photos from the meet up here); he also checked out Mac’s Speed Shop during his Charlotte-area travels in January

– More on Smoke Modern Barbeque’s second location in Ballantyne

– A review of Uncle J’s BBQ and Restaurant in Kings Mountain from the Gaston Gazette

Expansion into the South is a sign of City Barbeque’s success; Speedy checked out their Cary location a few weeks back and thought it was decent

– Could Aaron Franklin actually win a James Beard Award?

– Did you know a barbecue pork sandwich chain used to dominate Texas and the rest of the south?

– Lexington makes the list on Thrillist’s list of best barbecue cities in the US

– Lockhart also makes the list at #3, and TMBBQ has a timeline of the city’s barbecue

– Is chicken mull having a moment? First a post on The Daily South, then another on Serious Eats (granted, both by Robert Moss), now Garden and Gun has a recipe