Rock Store Bar-B-Q – Stallings, NC (Re-review)

Name: Rock Store Bar-B-Q
Location: 3116 Old Monroe Rd, Stallings, NC
Order: Sandwich combo – pulled pork sandwich, red slaw, cornbread
Pricing: $

Monk: After spending most of my energy the past two year on the Lexington Big Board, I figured it was time to start revisiting some Charlotte joints where it’s been awhile. Case in point: my second visit to Rock Store Bar-B-Q was nearly 9 years after my first. On that visit, I wondered if this might become a regular lunch spot for me due to its proximity to my client at the time. Spoiler alert: it didn’t.

Prices have gone up slightly but my sandwich combo was still a reasonable $7.25 including tax compared to $6 in 2012. Much the same as my last visit, I found that the pork was tender while not having much smoke to it. Through the Great NC BBQ Map, it has been confirmed that they smoke in a gasser with wood added in, which is obviously a little different than the “wood smoked” they advertise on their sign. The sandwich absolutely needed red slaw and their vinegar sauce plus a few dashes of Texas Pete. Once that was done, it was very satisfying.

I chose corn bread as my side and they instantly pulled out a foiled brick from some sort of warming container. Which brings me to one point in regards to the speed of fulfilling the order. Once I placed my order, they pulled out a pre-made sandwich wrapped in foil, a small plastic container of red slaw, and this brick of corn bread within a matter of seconds. Everything was the right temperature and I was eating within a minute or so of ordering, so I don’t really have any complaints but this is obviously a different approach than most places.

As for the corn bread it was definitely on the sweeter side and I like that it was warm. The red slaw was their spin on a barbecue slaw and the cabbage was chopped a little coarser than I’d prefer but it did the trick to complement the chopped pork.

I was happy with my second visit to the Stallings Rock Store Bar-B-Q. It’s not a destination barbecue joint but for a quick and cheap lunch it does a good job. They seem to be doing steady business as well as they were churning out the lunch orders while I was there. I can see them getting a slight bump on the Charlotte Big Board.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs

Charlotte-area Thanksgiving Specials

Monk: This Thanksgiving, consider leaving the cooking to the professionals at these Charlotte-area barbecue joints. You also get the added benefit of supporting a local business while you take it easy because let’s face it, we should all take it easy when we can. See below for information.

Big Tiny’s BBQ – Mooresville, NC

The Dixie Pig – Rock Hill, SC

Farmhouse BBQ – Gastonia, NC

The Improper Pig – Charlotte, Fort Mill

Jon G’s Barbecue – Peachland, NC

Mac’s Speed Shop

Midwood Smokehouse

Noble Smoke

OooWee BBQ – Pineville

The Q Shack

RayNathan’s – Gastonia, NC

Rock Store BBQ – Stallings

The Smoke Pit – Concord, Gastonia, Monroe, Salisbury

Sweet Lew’s BBQ – deadline has already passed

Rock Store Bar-B-Q – Stallings, NC

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Name: Rock Store Bar-B-Q
Date
: 7/20/2012
Location: 3116 Old Monroe Rd, Stallings, NC
Order: Sandwich combo – pulled pork sandwich, red slaw, macaroni and cheese
Bill: $6.00

Monk: Ever on the quest to try new barbecue spots, I realized there was one just a few minutes away from my current client site and by looks alone it appeared to have some potential. Rock Store Bar-B-Q is located in the historic Rock Store building, which circa 1936 was “the only gasoline service station around” (per the website) before becoming a convenience store then a coffee shop and now a barbecue restaurant. Their sign advertises “wood smoked” barbecue and to the side of the building there is even a small wood pile on top of a towable smoker (although to my eyes it appears to have been a while since it had been used).

Rock Store’s menu consists of pulled pork, beef brisket, pulled chicken, and ribs. While Speedy and I generally try to grab one of everything, this was just me and I didn’t want to fall asleep at my desk after lunch so I only went for the sandwich combo – pulled pork sandwich, slaw, choice of side, and a drink all for $6 (tax-included).

Rudy: I believe that Speedy already set the standard for eating alone, you still have to eat the entire menu…you don’t have a choice.

Speedy: I have actually been here before, though it was pre-blogging. I don’t remember such an extensive menu, but I do remember the cheap lunch special. This may be worth another visit to try the other meats.

Monk: Side note – the disturbing trend of folks explaining barbecue to me continued, this time with the choice of slaw. They guy at the counter taking my order explains to me “We have a mayonnaise-based slaw and a vinegar-based slaw,” to which I ordered vinegar (obvi). Now this approach is understandable since some people do need the explanation. And I wouldn’t have an issue if he did this to everyone. BUT for customers after me, I distinctly heard the guy ask customers if they wanted “white or red slaw.” No explanation, no patronizing, just treating them as knowledgeable barbecue customers/human beings. So, for the record, to date I have been explained the difference between eastern and western NC barbecue, what white and red slaw is, and what Cheerwine is. Now, all I need is to be explained what mac and cheese or hush puppies are and I will have hit for the cycle of barbecue for dummies. What is going on here? Do I have “YANKEE” stamped on my forehead?

Rudy: You do have a certain “you ain’t from ‘round these parts” look to you…

Speedy: Were you taking a million photos again? Or dressed like you walked out of a Brooks Brothers catalog?

Monk: I mean, I’m pretty sure he didn’t see me taking photos and I was wearing a Brooks Brothers shirt as part of my work attire. ANYWAYS…within seconds of my order, a freshly-made pulled pork sandwich wrapped in tin foil and sides of red slaw and mac and cheese in plastic containers were before me. Inside there are a handful of booths and tables. I got there slightly before the lunch rush and was able to grab a booth with no problem.

In terms of the sandwich, the pulled pork comes out plain on a bun and is actually quite dry. As in dry enough that you absolutely need to use one of the sauces on the table – Eastern NC Vinegar, Carolina Gold (mustard-based), Stallings’ Secret (a tangy barbecue sauce), or Texas Pete. I used the Stallings’ Secret for a few bites before switching over to Eastern NC Vinegar and red slaw for the remainder of the sandwich. The Carolina Gold sauce was not touched.

As far as I could tell, I did not see a stick-burning smoker so I am only to assume they use a gas or electric smoker that allows you to also burn wood to get the smokiness into the meat. However, I fully admit that on this I could be wrong since I did not ask the employees – maybe next time.

Rudy: Only if you want more explanations about how barbecue is made…

Monk: The pork did have some smoke, and while it could have had been smokier I was mostly satisfied. The red slaw came pre-made in a plastic container straight out of the refrigerator but was a little disappointing since the cabbage was chopped more coarsely than I prefer. The mac and cheese was creamy and above average, though maybe in need of a little salt. Decent meal, and you can’t beat the $6 price tag.

Speedy: That sort of mirrors the experience I remember having (which was several years ago). A senior manager from my office was so excited to take me because he knew I loved barbecue and told me he had found the best barbecue he had ever tasted (which could be true – he is a Yankee). Anyway, I just sort of laughed at him after the meal and let him know that if he drove 75 miles north to Lexington, he’s find a dozen spots with better ‘cue. But like you said, a good meal for $6.

Monk: So you’re saying he didn’t want to drive an hour each way for a 10 minute meal? As for Rock Store, I would be interested in coming back again with more folks and sampling the brisket and ribs (though from the looks of the website they might chop the brisket). I don’t know that either would significantly change the below ratings but at the very least I would get a better overall sense of the food. While this meal didn’t blow me away, I can see Rock Store Bar-B-Q becoming a regular lunch spot for me while at my current client – though more of once-a-month spot as opposed to every week or two.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs

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