Linkdown: 9/5/18

– Treehouse Whiskey & Fork has always had barbecue on the menu, but they are rebranding as Treehouse Bourbon & BBQ

– Charlotte Agenda has a rundown of the upcoming restaurant openings, including Sweet Lew’s BBQ and Noble Smoke

– Eat at The Smoke Pit while in Cabarrus County, just north of Charlotte

– The story behind Dreamland

– This weekend is the Fiddle ‘n Pig Shindig at the Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, SC, which will include bluegrass music, a beer garden, and of course, barbecue

– The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the best barbecue joints in Seattle

– Texas barbecue in Pittsburgh (via Brooklyn)

– Three C’s Barbecue has opened in Pink Hill, NC in the eastern part of the state

– Very much looking forward to this: James Beard Award-winning author Adrian Miller has a black barbecue book coming out in 2020/2021

Photo Gallery: The Best Barbecue in 2017 So Far

Bar-B-Q King – Lincolnton, NC (review)

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The Smoke Pit – Salisbury, NC (review)

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Jon G’s BBQ – Monroe, NC (review)

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Central BBQ – Memphis, TN (review)

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B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque – Atlanta, GA (review)

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Heirloom Market Bar-B-Que – Atlanta, GA (review)

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DAS BBQ – Atlanta, GA (review)

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Lewis Barbecue – Charleston, SC (review)

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Rodney Scott’s BBQ – Charleston, SC (review)

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Swig & Swine – Summerville, SC (review)

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Linkdown: 4/26/17

– Congrats to The Smoke Pit and Midwood Smokehouse for winning Charlotte Magazine BOB Awards for best brisket and pork respectively

– A nice article from Marie, Let’s Eat! on Ten Underrated Georgia Barbecue Joints; we even get a nice little mention

– A locals guide to Lexington, KY contains Blue Door Smokehouse, which was unfortunately sold out by the time we made it last fall (after reading this article we were probably several hours too late)

– An oldie but goodie from Our State Magazine

– Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin BBQ, Jeff Miller of Luella’s Bar-B-Que and Wyatt Dickson of Picnic Durham, will serve whole-hog barbecue at a charity event this weekend in Asheville

– Can’t wait for the remix: an audio review of Rodney Scott’s Barbecue in Charleston by Hanna Raskin

– Uptown Charleston: so hot right now

Rodney Scott’s BBQ

Expect a line for chicken, spareribs and pulled pork slow-smoked overnight then drenched in Carolina whole-hog ambassador Rodney Scott’s signature vinegar sauce.

– It me:

The Smoke Pit – Salisbury, NC

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Name
: The Smoke Pit
Date: 2/11/17
Address: 117 E Innes St, Salisbury, NC 28144
Order: Three meat combo (brisket, sausage, ribs) with baked beans and fries (link to menu)
Price: $28.95

Monk: On occasions such as my birthday, the Monk clan meets my parents (and occasionally the in-laws, like my mother-in-law this time) in Salisbury which is conveniently located exactly halfway between Charlotte and High Point. Lo and behold, The Smoke Pit, a favorite of ours in Concord, opened a second location there about a month ago. So that was an easy decision.

This location is an old brick building in Salisbury’s historic downtown and is a sit-down, full service restaurant as opposed to the fast casual model of the original location. It does have a bar and serves local beer on draft from New Sarum Brewing, Salisbury’s only brewery which is located just a few blocks away. I don’t recall the Concord location having beer on draft, so this is a welcome change.

Splitting a three meat tray with my dad, I went with the Texas Trinity – brisket, ribs, and sausage. As is the case in Concord, the portions are huge and this tray ended up being far more than my dad and I could even come close to eating for lunch that day. We each took home a box, so it really made for about 4 servings.

The brisket was well smoked if not perhaps a little on the fatty side (a choice of lean vs fatty isn’t offered). The two links of sausage come pre-sliced and was my favorite meat of the meal, particularly when dipped in the mustard. The ribs came a little too easily off the bone but still had good flavor. All were very good and consistent from the last time I went to the Concord location.

As for sides, the beans were standard and the fries had nice seasoning. The Texas toast and cornbread that came with the meal were both nice accompaniments, with the cornbread being of the sweeter variety that I always like.

After my meal, I traded Facebook comments with Joey, who manages both restaurants. He is splitting his time between the two locations, and I think it shows when it comes to the consistency. The Smoke Pit has done well with their Salisbury location, and based on a packed lunch on a Saturday, I think the town is a fan.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3.5 hogs
Brisket – 4 hogs
Ribs – 3.5 hogs
Sausage – 4 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Linkdown: 1/11/17

– A nicely written, in-depth article from Robert Moss about the uptick in whole hog barbecue restaurant openings:

– BBQ Hub breaks down the worst barbecue news of 2016

– On this episode of Charlotte Magazine’s #DiscussCLT podcast, Frank Scibelli reveals that the Midwood Smokehouse Park Rd location should open in March(ish) and they are planning to open another one in Lake Norman this year

– Speaking of Midwood, they have a new burnt ends recipe that’s more in line with traditional KC style

– Marie, Let’s Eat! checks out a “Chattanooga-style” barbecue joint called Porkers Bar-B-Que

– Congrats to The Smoke Pit on the opening of their Salisbury location

Ten Underrated Barbecue Joints in North Carolina

(A version of this article was published last year on Tabelog here)

Everybody knows that North Carolina is one of the greatest states in the country to travel around eating barbecue, and there are some amazing, legendary restaurants around which have been open for decades and garnered a whole lot of press and attention, but they’re not the only ones. There are more than four hundred barbecue restaurants in the Tarheel State. Many of them are outstanding even if they fly under the media’s radar. Here are ten that should not be overlooked.

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Backyard BBQ Pit – Durham (link to review)
The Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, or Triangle, is the DMZ between the two styles of Carolina barbecue. In that zone, you don’t find an easy boundary between eastern and western (or Lexington-style). Such is the case with Backyard BBQ Pit, whose approach is similar to the great Allen & Son in Chapel Hill in that they smoke pork shoulders (the Lexington-style cut) served with an eastern style sauce with red pepper flakes to give it a little kick. Having been previously featured on Travel Channel’s “Man vs Food” you would think that Backyard BBQ would be mentioned more in the conversation of best barbecue in the Triangle. For some reason its not, but it definitely should be.

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The Barbecue Center – Lexington (link to review)
The Barbecue Center is just two miles from Lexington #1 and doesn’t get nearly as much publicity despite the fact that its recently passed owner Sonny Conrad was the major force behind The Barbecue Festival, which draws crowds of 100,000 to the city on one Saturday each October. As for the food itself, it is a classic Lexington-style joint though its dip (table sauce) can be a little sweeter than I prefer. Having grown up on Lexington #1 I certainly have my bias, but many out-of-towners without such bias (as well as plenty of locals) have stated that The Barbecue Center is the best in town. Depending on the day, they might just have a rightful claim.

Pork, brisket, ribs, wings, brunswick stewBoone’s Bar-B-Q Kitchen – Charlotte (link to review)
Dan “Boone” Gibson has his own family traditions when it comes to barbecue that don’t strictly follow the eastern/Lexington taxonomy, but you’d be silly to dismiss his barbecue right off based on that. Having had a hand in starting two Charlotte-area barbecue chains, Boone tired of that life and struck out on his own in a food truck to serve his smoked wares (pork, brisket, sausage, and ribs) directly to the people. Look for him at various food truck festivals around the Charlotte area, and you won’t be disappointed.

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Fuller’s Old Fashion BBQ – Lumberton (link to review)
Heading towards the NC coast can be hit or miss when it comes to barbecue restaurants, but this buffet-style barbecue joint off I-95 is a nice find. While the buffet has salad and seafood as well as fried chicken, the wood smoked barbecue is the main feature and rightly so. Just don’t be surprised if you get there right as it opens and find a line of folks chomping at the bit to get in.

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Johnson Family BBQ – Durham (link to review)
When you are greeted by a sign that states “It’s All About the Wood” and a simple smoker covered by an aluminum shed at a barbecue joint, you know that’s a good start. And oh, did I mention the joint is connected to a gas station off a country highway between Raleigh and Durham? Thankfully, the barbecue follows through with well-smoked eastern style barbecue with a higher ratio of light meat to dark served in a modest dining room covered with red gingham table cloths.

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Midwood Smokehouse – Charlotte (link to review)
Charlotte has been oft overlooked as a barbecue town (and usually for good reason), but Midwood Smokehouse is helping to change that perception with its focus on wood smoked meats from a variety of barbecue cuisines. While it does have an eastern carolina style pork as well as the Lexington style red slaw, Midwood draws from Central Texas in its brisket and sausages, from St. Louis in its ribs, as well as from Kansas City in its burnt ends. Throw in a full bar and you might be tempted to refer to it as “yuppie-que” but whatever you call it just know that the are serving some of the finest smoked meats in the region (the brisket is arguably the best in NC).

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Porkey’s Bar-B-Que – Mount Airy (link to review)
Similar to the coastal plans of NC, once you head west of the Piedmont of NC towards the mountains the barbecue becomes very hit or miss. Which is why stumbling across a Lexington-style joint like Porkey’s in Mount Airy was a nice surprise. It may not quite measure up to the best in Lexington, but if you are exploring the nearby wineries in the Yadkin Valley you can do a lot worse than the chopped pork at this wood smoking joint.

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Richard’s BBQ – Salisbury (link to review)
When it comes to barbecue, Salisbury is very much the little brother to Lexington. According to some, “Lexington style” barbecue – that is, chopped pork shoulders with a vinegar and ketchup-based sauce – may have even originated there. Richard’s is a wood smoking joint that serves coarsely chopped pork with plenty of bark mixed in. Add some nearly perfect hush puppies with the right mix of savory and sweet as well as a classic red slaw, and you’ve got a joint that competes with many of the better ones in Lexington.

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The Smoke Pit – Concord (link to review)
A relative newcomer, The Smoke Pit models its barbecue and presentation after Central Texas. Order a combo platter and you get a tray of meat and sides arranged like what you’d expect in just about any joint in Austin. But with the choice to drink it with a SunDrop (which along with Cheerwine is nearly the perfect drink for barbecue), it still retains some of that North Carolina charm. Much like Charlotte, Concord isn’t known for its barbecue but I’d recommend The Smoke Pit to just about anyone in the area.

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Troutman’s Bar-B-Que – Denton (link to review)
Troutman’s is the archetypal NC barbecue joint: a small, standalone wood shack off a country highway in a rural part of the state. There’s a wood pile out back, two modest dining rooms, and waitresses that take your order as soon as you find your seat. The pork is consistently moist and smokey and paired with the red slaw, hushpuppies, and a Cheerwine, it’s at a price that’s hard to beat.

What other underrated NC joints did we miss?

Best of Charlotte Barbecue: All of Our Posts

If you recall, earlier this year between February and May we had a series of posts detailing the best of Charlotte barbecue in regards to specific meats or dishes. While we’ve had the Charlotte Big Board for a couple of years now, the purpose of these posts was to review individual dishes as opposed to overall restaurant experience.

For easy reference, I have compiled the winners of each category in one post. Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen had 3 meats that were best in their category, which helps explain their perch atop the Charlotte Big Board. I still feel very good about the brisket from The Smoke Pit but might reconsider the ribs from Queen City Q in any future revisions to this list, as I have not had a great experience the past few times I’ve gone. One other thing that struck me while composing this post, while Midwood Smokehouse did not win any singular category it was in the top 3 in each of the 5 categories. That would help explain why they are ranked #2 on the Big Board.

Click here to find all of our posts in the Best of Charlotte Barbecue seriesWhat did we miss? Leave any suggestions or comments below.

Best Pork: Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen

Best Brisket: The Smoke Pit

Brisket from The Smoke Pit

Brisket from The Smoke Pit

Best Ribs: Queen City Q

Ribs from Queen City Q

Ribs from Queen City Q

Best Sausage: Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen

Sausage from Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen

Other: Brunswick Stew from Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen

Pork, brisket, ribs, wings, brunswick stew

Pork, brisket, ribs, wings, brunswick stew from Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen

Linkdown: 6/29/16

– Lewis Barbecue finally opened in Charleston yesterday, and here’s a look at the four custom-built smokers that were built in Texas and shipped to SC

– Destination BBQ attended the friends and family event and posted on the experience, which is “unlike what those of us born and raised in SC are accustomed to in a BBQ restaurant”

– Charlotte Five discovers the greatness of The Smoke Pit that we’ve known about for a few months, calling it “worth the wait”

Showing up to The Smoke Pit on Saturday means many guests will be standing in a line that starts at the register and trails out the door where people wait patiently to move forward. Some guests say that on one Saturday, they stood in a line that wrapped around the building. With so many daily visitors, certain items may run out and are then placed on a sign below the menu, which some visitors peer at from the line.

– This Sunday, the Plaza Midwood Pig Pickn’ will be held at the Moo & Brew parking lot

– After Grant’s wholehearted defense of Georgia BBQ last week, Robert Moss weighs in as well

– Speaking of which, Grant makes the rounds to Paradise Country Bar-B-Que in Milledgeville and Andy’s BBQ in Eatonton, which he finds to be “every bit as good” as Allen & Son Barbeque in Chapel Hill (they happen to use a similar vinegar and pepper sauce)

– Destination BBQ continues their SC BBQ roadtrip series with I-20, which passes through three of the four barbecue regions in the state; side note – these entries are incredibly thorough and well worth a read if you haven’t checked them out yet

– From last week, Daniel Vaughn draws parallels between Hawaii’s kalua pig and Texas barbacoa

-Jim Shahin of the Washington Post breaks down the latest barbecue books, including the reprinting of Robb Walsh’s Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook

– The Barbecue Center in Lexington has a new sign to replace the previous one of 55 years

Best of Charlotte Barbecue: Brisket

We initially started this blog in order to find the best barbecue restaurant in Charlotte. While we feel pretty comfortable with our current rankings on the big board having visited 40+ restaurants, what more logical next step than to explore the best meats and dishes in the greater Charlotte area? This is the second in our series. Click here to find the other posts.

Speedy once stated that he was done with brisket in NC. That being said, there are some passable  briskets in the Charlotte region (fantastic, even). The brisket from Midwood Smokehouse was named the sixth best brisket east of the Mississippi by Johnny Fugitt of Barbecue Rankings. But it turns out that we like the brisket at The Smoke Pit (which only opened a little over a year ago) even better. I would put those two at the top tier of briskets in the Charlotte region. At a notch below, Boone’s approach is unique in that he finishes the brisket on the grill and ladles it with a mustard-based sauce. Certainly not the Central Texas way of doing it, but it works nonetheless. After these three, there’s not too much more to be said about brisket in Charlotte.

  1. The Smoke Pit (Concord)
  2. Midwood Smokehouse (Original location; Ballantyne location)
  3. Boone’s Bar-B-Que Kitchen

What do you think? Have we missed the mark? Leave your comments below.

Photo Gallery: Behind the Scenes at The Smoke Pit

A few weeks back, Joey from The Smoke Pit in Concord was kind enough to take us on an impromptu behind the scenes tour of it as well as its neighboring butcher shop, The Stock Market. Here’s a few photos.

Check out our review from earlier this week here.

Monk