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

Friday Find: The Durham Barbecue Trail

This video produced by the Durham Convention & Visitor’s Bureau explores The Pit (our review), Bullock’s Bar-B-Que, Backyard BBQ Pit (our review), and The Q Shack (our review). I do think they should have gone to Johnson Family BBQ (our review) as well.

Barbecue is a famous part of North Carolina cuisine, and Durham’s pit-cooking elite have garnered national praise. Hear about four of the five celebrated barbecue joints located in the Bull City with this video, and head to durh.am/durhambbqmap for an infographic overview.

The Q Shack – Charlotte, NC

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Name
: The Q Shack
Date: 4/24/15
Address: 10822 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28277
Order: Two meat combo plate with pulled pork and brisket, slaw, hush puppies, and sweet tea (link to menu)
Price: $18

Monk: Seeing as how Speedy’s had subpar experiences at the The Q Shack in Raleigh (actually, “subpar” would be putting it lightly) as well as the sort-of-affiliated The Original Q Shack in Durham, I figured if the Barbecue Bros were going to review The Q Shack location in south Charlotte then I would be the one checking it out. So, being the team player that I am I did exactly that.

The Q Shack is a fast casual chain tucked into an upscale strip mall. You wait in line, order at the slicer, and then pay for your food and drink before seating yourself. And the smoker is presumably a gasser, due to the supposed county fire codes and whatnot. So I pretty much knew not to expect an old-timey joint

I checked Speedy’s review of the Raleigh location before ordering and based on it was set to order the beef sausage along with the pork, but when I stepped up to the counter I saw a surprisingly decent looking cut of brisket and audibled to that. It had a nice looking bark and appeared to be pretty moist. And the pork, despite being taken from a steam tray, looked decent too. Unless something went drastically wrong between the cashier and taking my seat, this looked to be more promising than Speedy’s experiences.

And I can report that what I did have was indeed pretty decent. The brisket’s bark was nice and peppery and there was a mixture of lean and fatty in each quarter-inch slice. Gotta say, not bad brisket for a gasser. The moist pork had decent bark mixed into its coarse chop. I added a little NC vinegar sauce just to check it out, and it added a nice tang. All in all, I’d have to rate both meats as above average.

Speedy: I’m flabbergasted by this. I just can’t imagine that this is true. We all know my feelings on NC brisket, much less The Q Shack. This could put a serious rift in our relationship, Monk.

Monk: Hey, good decent barbecue is decent barbecue. As for sides I had white slaw and double hushpuppies, and both were just fine. I don’t know if it will be enough to convince Speedy to try this location…

Speedy: It isn’t.

Monk: …but all in all my lunch was pretty good. With the above average meat and NC beers from NoDa and Highland among others available for $4, I could see The Q Shack definitely working in a pinch.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 2 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Brisket – 3 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs
The Q Shack on Urbanspoon

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The Q Shack – Raleigh, NC

Name: The Q Shack
Date: 7/8/13
Location: 4120 Main at North Hills St, Raleigh, NC
Order: Three meat combo plate with pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked sausage, collards, fried okra, and hush puppies (link to menu)
Bill: $16

After Rudy’s history making first 0 hog review, I felt like I needed to share a barbecue experience I had lately that was (spoiler alert) equally terrible.

I arrived after work this particular Monday at the North Hills Raleigh Renaissance – a hotel I had never stayed at before. As I had a fair amount of stuff I needed to get done before some meetings the next day, I decided to just get some takeout and eat in my room. I was pleased to find a barbecue joint just around the corner from the hotel, so clearly, that was my choice for dinner.

Walking in, I started to get a little skittish, as there was a large placard advertising wine (WTF?). I should’ve known then and there to turn around. But the restaurant was spacious and comfortable looking, putting me a bit at ease. The cafeteria line made me a little nervous, but I ignored it because I’ve had great meals in similarly set up restaurants.

As I like to do when trying new restaurants, I opted for a combo plate in order to try several different types of meat. At The Q Shack, you order cafeteria-line style and your meat/sides are spooned onto your plate (or my to go box) from the line, so it’s hard to know how long it’s been sitting out. However, I was excited when my cut of brisket was carved in front of me from the full brisket that was kept warm in a warmer oven. All went well with my order, as everything looked great.

When I got to my room, I eagerly took out my to go box and silverware and forked a nice portion of pork. This is where the problems started. The pork was terrible. It literally tasted like it had been sitting under a heat lamp for days. It was dry, and instead of a lack of flavor that I usually associate with bad barbecue, there was a bad flavor. Honestly, I once tried a McRib and I think it tasted better. I applied some of the sauce that was given to me on the side, and while that helped, it only moved the pork from awful to almost tolerable. Honestly, I should have stopped the meal then and there, but I thought to myself, “surely the brisket can’t be worse.” Well, turns out it can be just as bad. Had I not seen it sliced before my eyes, I would’ve thought I was eating Oscar Meyer lunch meat. The brisket was rubbery and tasted like a bad pot roast. Somehow I stomached a second bite, but it was just as bad as the first. Being a glutton for punishment, I moved on to the sausage. The sausage, fortunately, was far and away the best meat in that it was edible. Don’t get me wrong – it was still bad – but at least there was some flavor there. It was rubbery and over-cooked, but I feel like it would have been OK had it been cooked properly.

The sides were average, which means they were the best part of the meal. The fried okra was fine, though nothing special, and the collards were decent. The hushpuppies were actually pretty good. Basically, the sides are what prevented me from having to go out and get a second meal after the catastrophe that was the meat.

I didn’t take any photos of my meal, but no one would want to see it anyway. Honestly, I’m just glad I survived.

-Speedy

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 1 hog
Pork – 0 hogs
Brisket  0 hogs
Sausage  0.5 hogs
Sides – 1.5 hogs
Overall – 0 hogs