Tarheel Q – Lexington, NC

Name: Tarheel Q
Location: 6835 West, US-64, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Regular chopped tray with “extra brown” and red slaw
Pricing: $

The second stop on the “Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor” (it’s going to be a thing) was Tarheel Q, just 9 miles away from Arcadia Q (although more directly on Old Highway 64) and also owned by Leon and Becky Simmons. Based on this visit, Tarheel Q definitely has its own set of customers, as indicated by a packed dining full of workers, locals, and maybe a few out-of-towners like me.

On that day, I wasn’t yet aware that Arcadia Q and Tarheel Q were owned by the same husband and wife duo (though looking back there were definitely clues in the logos of each as well as the use of a #GR8BBQ4U hashtag), but I also never would have guessed based on the barbecue. Tarheel Q’s barbecue was fresher and tastier than the tray that I had just had at Arcadia Q. The smoke flavor was more intense, and I preferred this pork by far. I’m curious if the barbecue at Arcadia Q is smoked on site or is perhaps trucked in from Tarheel Q (my experience that day might suggest just that, but this would be me speculating).

The hush puppies, however, were a different story. I preferred the hush puppies at Arcadia Q, though the ones at Tarheel were still above average, with the shape being more typical. As was the case at Arcadia, the red slaw was fine.

As I was leaving, the smokestacks were going full bore as more wood and pork was being added to the brick masonry pits out back. Any experienced barbecue traveler know this is a welcome scene, in the middle of the day and on this day, Tarheel Q definitely had the upper hand of the first two places I tried on the Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor.

Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor Rankings (so far)

Barbecue
1 – Tarheel Q
2 – Arcadia Q

Hush Puppies
1 – Arcadia Q
2 – Tarheel Q

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 4 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs

Tar Heel Q Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Arcadia Q – Lexington, NC

Name: Arcadia Q
Location: 8000 N, NC-150, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Regular chopped tray with “extra brown” and red slaw
Pricing: $

Monk: Lexington, NC is mentioned in some circles as the “barbecue capital of the world” with its ratio of roughly 1 barbecue restaurant per 1,000 residents. However, up to this point I’ve mostly focused on Lexington Barbecue and more recently, the Bar-B-Que Center on my barbecue visits to the city. Recently, I’ve decided to expand my horizons to see what else the other 16 or so barbecue options in Lexington have to offer. On a Friday in November, I decided to take on three Lexington barbecue restaurants on what I have dubbed the “Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor:” Tarheel Q, Stamey’s Barbecue of Tyro, and my first stop, Arcadia Q.

Arcadia Q was known until recently as Speedy Lohr’s BBQ of Arcadia before owners Roger and Lisa Lohr retired earlier this year and reached out to Tarheel Q owners Leon and Becky Simmons to see if they’d be interested in opening a second location of their restaurant. Both Simmonses worked for the Lohrs approximately 25 years ago, and Tarheel Q is located just 9 miles southwest of Arcadia, just off Highway 64. The result is the now-renamed Arcadia Q.

For my tour of three barbecue joints on the Highway 150 Corridor of Barbecue, I decided to make the same order at each restaurant as a means of comparison: a regular chopped tray with extra brown, red slaw, and hush puppies. I did order a Cheerwine at Arcadia Q before deciding that would be the only soft drink order of the day because as much as I like Cheerwine, I didn’t want the empty calories along with all the food I’d be eating for lunch that day.

The hush puppies at Arcadia Q were a shape I hadn’t come across at a Lexington-style barbecue joint before. They were longer cylinders than the typical hush puppy, as if perhaps they were squirted out of an icing squeeze bag directly into the fryer (this is only my speculation). They are somewhat reminiscent of the shape of corn sticks in eastern North Carolina joints like Parker’s, though I don’t have any personal experience with those (yet). Regardless of the curiosity of the shape, these were my favorite hush puppies of the mini tour.

As for the barbecue, I didn’t get a lot of smoke on it and the temperature was slightly lukewarm. Unfortunately, the outside brown was chewy and tough and not until I dug into the tray below the top layer of outside brown did I start to enjoy the texture of the barbecue. Of all the red slaws I tried that day, none really stood out more than the other so I won’t be commenting too much on them other than the say that they did the job they were supposed to.

So my mini-tour on the “Highway 150 Barbecue Corridor” (it’s going to be a thing) was off to an inauspicious start at Arcadia Q. From here I would head southwest along the aforementioned Highway 150. Of my next two stops, one was a bit better and one was a bit worse. Which would be which? Tune in next Monday to see…

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

Speedy Lohr's BBQ of Arcadia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Linkdown: 8/5/15

– Food and Wine has must-see spots to check out in Charlotte if you only have a day, and Midwood Smokehouse makes the list

6 p.m.: Midwood Smokehouse. No trip to the South is complete without a stop for BBQ and Midwood Smokehouse is easily the best joint in Charlotte. People swear by the pulled pork and ribs, but I can’t get over the brisket and burnt ends. Temper your animalistic cravings, though – this is just a stop for hors d’oeuvres.

– Follow the SC Trail to Fort Mill BBQ Co.

– ICYMI, Queen City Q’s second location is now open in Matthews

– 10 joints in NC that will “leave your mouth watering”; three Triad joints make the list as does two Triangle joints

– Vote for the NC barbecue trail in the 10 Best’s Best Food Trail poll

– Baltimore City Paper’s BBQ issue is online and it includes an article on how pit beef became a symbol of barbecue

– Remember the salmonella outbreak at Lexington’s Tarheel Q? Well, they now face a wrongful death lawsuit as a result of it

– The Fayetteville Observer has 5 eastern joints where NC is an art

– A classic SC joint goes Texas with brisket

– From Ricky Scott (as opposed to Rodney)

Linkdown: 7/1/15

– Chef Michael Symon is apparently trying to invent Cleveland-style barbecue

According to Symon, Cleveland-style barbecue will pay homage to the city’s Eastern European population with kielbasa and sauerkraut. As for the meat, it will be smoked over applewood “because of the large amount of apple orchards in northeastern Ohio.” It will also include its own signature style of barbecue sauce. Symon reveals:

“Because ketchup is made in Pittsburgh, we would never serve a tomato-based sauce in Cleveland. Cleveland’s known for its mustard, and I wanted to use that as the base of our sauce. But instead of the classic, Carolina, yellow-mustard BBQ sauce, I’m using Cleveland’s famous brown mustard, Bertman’s.”

– Another week, another list: First We Feast’s 29 Bucket List BBQ Joints for Every Smoked-Meat Connoisseur, though this list has quite the pedigree for its contributors ranging from reknowned pitmasters to barbecue editors to James Beard Award-winning authors

– Food and Wine has 7 tips for the backyard barbecuer including my favorite: pick pork

– Might want to steer clear of Tarheel Q in Lexington for awhile after nearly 100 216 people have gotten sick off their ‘cue; gotta say, with a placed named Tarheel I’m not too surprised

– Franklin Barbecue makes The National Eater 38 for 2015

– Barbecue Rankings read Franklin’s book, and here are the seven best things about it according to him

– Barbecuing on the Fourth of July is an American tradition

– Midwood Smokehouse and 10 Park Lanes makes Fervent Foodie’s list of Best Charlotte Restaurants

– The best barbecue side dishes, according to Southern Living

– Thrillist: 12 of the most important women in barbecue

– This listicle of 10 delicious joints in NC includes a couple of barbecue joints – B’s Barbecue and Lexington #1

– Speedy: look away…now

Spending the day at the North Carolina State Barbecue Championship in Tryon from early June

–  A rundown of the barbecue styles you can find in NYC

– Frank Kaminsky: Public Enemy #1