Seoul Food Meat Co – Charlotte, NC

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Name
: Seoul Food Meat Co
Date: 2/10/17
Address: 1400 S Church St, Charlotte, NC 28203
Order: Small pulled pork, small Crispy Pork Belly, small Bulgogi Sausage, ramen mac ’n cheese, soy pickled deviled eggs (link to menu)
Price: $41.75 (for two)

Monk: When Seoul Food Meat Co opened about a year ago in Charlotte’s booming South End neighborhood, my hopes were that it would be Charlotte’s version of the fantastic Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta. That may be an easy comparison to make since both are doing a fusion of Korean flavors with southern barbecue, but after finally checking out Seoul Food Meat Co I’d say that Heirloom has the edge in smoked meats while Seoul Food has the edge in the fusion of Korean flavors in its side dishes.

Seoul Food Meat Co is one of many recent additions to the South End bar, brewery, and restaurant scene and has a nice patio with garage doors that open up on warmer days. Based on the plans we’ve seen of its expansion, it’s only going to get better with dedicated karaoke rooms as well as an outdoor bar and  “adult playground” out back. Despite the warm winter, this particular Friday was on the colder side so we had no such luck to experience the patio.

The generous portion of pulled pork comes pre-sauced with a thick tangy Korean barbecue sauce. By itself, the pork is not the smokiest and perhaps lacks a little flavor while being on the dry side. I will say, it’s better with the sauce.

The crispy pork belly is exactly like its name implies. I didn’t detect a lot of smoke on them, so I believe this was more of a fried item – particularly with the crispy skin which I found myself continuing to nosh on long after I decided I was finished with my meal. 

The bulgogi sausage was perhaps a little on the dry side (as can be the case with sausage) but was pretty flavorful nonetheless and my favorite meat of the meal. Mrs. Monk preferred to dip it in the sauce and that was my preference as well. Next time I’d be interested to try their spicier smoked kimchi sausage.

The Korean influence was particularly evident in the sides at Seoul Food. I quite liked the ramen mac n’ cheese with its small pieces of cracklin’ on top to give it a nice texture. The soy pickled deviled eggs threw off the wife at first with its brown coloring of the egg itself, but in the end had a fairly classic taste just with that slight Asian spin. Looking at the menu, there are a handful more Korean-Southern sides that I hope to get around to trying eventually – sriracha cracklins, kimchi vinegar slaw, and choiang broccoli.

So its not quite Heirloom Market but all in all, the southern-dishes-with-a-Korean-spin were mostly successful. While a little on the pricey side, the portions do seem to be quite generous – we could have ordered one less meat (say the pork belly at $13) and have been more than full. I look forward to checking out Seoul Food Meat Co again during the warmer months and checking out more of their meats (particularly that beef rib) and sides.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 4 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Pork Belly – 3 hogs
Sausage – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs
Seoul Food Meat Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Seoul Food Meat Co

Smoke & Go Bar-B-Que (food truck) – Charlotte, NC

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Name: Smoke & Go Bar-B-Que
Date: 5/10/13
Location: Food Truck Friday at South End
Order: Chopped pork plate with green beans and cole slaw (link to menu)
Bill: $8.78

Every Friday during the warm months, the South End neighborhood in Charlotte hosts a well-attended food truck rally. This is a family friendly event (which is apparently something I have to be concerned with for the foreseeable future now) that is free and usually draws the bigger food trucks in the Charlotte area. The crowd usually consists of a mix of families, yuppies, hipsters, and foodies who bring YOB, blankets, and tailgate chairs for what turns out to be a nice, leisurely night. The last time we went was about a year ago, but this past Friday night we arrived to find that the crowd had more than doubled in size, possibly even tripled.

As we set our blanket down, I noticed a distinct smell of smoke in the air. In addition to the usual taco, grilled cheese, and cupcakes trucks there sat a Smoke & Go Bar-B-Que truck out of Charlotte, NC. The Barbecue Bros had yet to review a barbecue food truck since we started this blog about a year ago, and this one had the shortest line so this was more or less the easiest decision I made that night.

Smoke & Go serves several food items on a given night, including chicken wings, chopped chicken, ribs (both pork and beef), hot dogs, burgers, turkey legs, and fish. Naturally, I went for the chopped pork plate and chose green beans and coleslaw (sadly, white slaw – despite them telling me red). The plate also came with a bun and some sauce. Less than a minute after ordering, they handed me a tray with my food.

The first thing I noticed was that the finely chopped pork had a lot of bark mixed in and that it smelled fantastic. I spooned some onto the bun with some sauce and it made for a really tasty sandwich. Surprisingly, the pork wasn’t dry, which was a concern I would have had with barbecue from a food truck that had presumably been cooked much earlier that day and would have been sitting in some sort of heated pan  for most of the day to keep it warm. While the sauce worked nicely with the sandwich, it was a thicker sweet and tangy sauce that I usually don’t prefer on my pork. I did eat some without the sauce and as I mentioned earlier, the pork was moist on its own.

The sides were average – the green beans were fine but were not baked and could have been straight out of a can for all I know. And the slaw was white, as I mentioned above. I admit that I froze up a little at the front of the ordering line and probably could have done a little better with my side choices.

I hadn’t necessarily planned on eating barbecue from a food truck that night, but the situation kind of made the decision for me. And it worked out for the most part – if it tells you anything, Mrs. Monk also got her own chopped pork plate after me.

-Monk

Ratings:
Pork – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs

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