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.

Charlotte Barbecue News from the Fourth Quarter of 2021

Monk: We enter the new year with cautious optimism, both on the real world as well as barbecue world fronts. My hope for 2022 is that we can regain any Charlotte barbecue momentum that has largely been on pause for the past two years and see some new players enter the game.

Bring it on, 2022.

October

10/12 At Mac’s Speed Shop, beef ribs and bacon-wrapped jalapenos are two of the prep-intensive items that are being taken off the menu for now

10/21 Jon G’s was featured in the Fall 2021 Issue of QC Exclusive

10/28 Lewis Donald and Sweet Lew’s BBQ raised funds to help the family of a young girl who tragically took her own life at the age of 11

November

11/8 Mac’s Speed Shop is closing its Cornelius restaurant but opening a new one in Mooresville

11/8 A new live-fire cooking restaurant called Cinder is opening in Charlotte from Husk veteran Duke Kroger (who identifies himself as a pitmaster in his Twitter profile)

11/17 After announcing that its Lake Norman location was going to close, Mac’s Speed Shop announced plans for the restaurant to stay open as a smaller location after an outpouring of love from the community

11/29 Jon G’s Barbecue and Salud Beer Shop team up for a pizza collaboration for the month of December

December

12/6 Sweet Lew’s BBQ celebrated 3 years open

12/8 Jon G’s Barbecue is named “Barbecue Restaurant of the Year” by Eater Carolinas

12/9 Tony Salerno Named Vice President of Operations for Mac’s Hospitality Group

12/13 Local coverage of Jon G’s being named “Barbecue Restaurant of the Year” by Eater Carolinas

12/13 With it’s upcoming stall at Optimist Hall, Noble Smoke is one Charlotte-area restaurant in expansion mode in 2022

12/29 Jon G’s and Salud Beer Shop announce they will continue their pizza collab in the new year for the first part of January

Linkdown: 12/8/21

Native News

Congrats to Brent Little, fellow North Carolinian and Wolfpacker, on winning the Johnsonville Titanium Tongsman Contest!

These Pitt fans surely left Charlotte happy, both from the Panthers ACC Championship win over Wake Forest but also the Sweet Lew’s

Non-Native News

Kevin’s BBQ Joints recently released his 2nd annual holiday gift guide

…as has Beef Loving Texans

Speaking of gifts, might need a few of these in the Monk household

Roegels Barbecue in Katy is adding a new smoke pit

Barbecue writer Derrick Riches and cookbook author Sabrina Baksh recently released “The Complete Guide to Smoking Meat”

Hogs for the Cause releases its music lineup for next April

The latest on the future Blake’s BBQ

Daniel Vaughn’s favorite barbecue bites of 2021

And finally, in college football news:

Linkdown: 11/10/21

The Local Palate and writer Jenn Rice detail a pretty action-packed eastern North Carolina barbecue itinerary. The usual suspects are on the list including Barbecue Bros faves Wilber’s Barbecue and Southern Smoke BBQ, but there are plenty of ones I haven’t tried yet. Bookmarking for next Spring.

Native News

A new live-fire cooking restaurant called Cinder is opening in Charlotte from Husk veteran Duke Kroger (who identifies as a pitmaster in his Twitter profile)

Mac’s Speed Shop is closing its Cornelius restaurant but opening a new one in Mooresville

Jon G’s was featured in the Fall 2021 Issue of QC Exclusive

ICYMI last month, Boxyard RTP and Lawrence Barbecue are one of the 12 hottest restaurants in the Triangle

The Smoking Ho takes on North Carolina starting with Buxton Hall #CarHOlinaBBQTrip

Lewis Donald and Sweet Lew’s BBQ raised funds to help the family of a young girl who tragically took her own life at the age of 11

Non-Native News

Heim Barbecue’s Dallas location will be closed for a few weeks after a fire but its Fort Worth locations remain open

Last week’s Georgia barbecue-focused The Smoke Sheet

The SmoKing of Meats is Joe Musungi, who blends Filipino and Texas barbecue

Are barbecue lines a thing of the past?

New-ish barbecue joint Palmira BBQ is one of the stalls at Port of Call