Linkdown: 11/4/20

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A trio of John Tanner Barbecue stories on NC barbecue joints – Rick’s Smokehouse, The Barbecue Center, and Midwood Smokehouse – including where I (Monk) was able to meet up with him in Charlotte. I enjoyed a meal with John – he got the pork combo platter and I got the brisket – on the patio at the Park Road location of Midwood Smokehouse a few weeks back on a warm October weekday. John certainly has his bona fides when it comes to barbecue – he is a certified True ‘Cue Inspector for the Virginia and DC Metro area and has an impressive archive of reviews over at John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog – and is an even nicer man to boot. I enjoyed our lunch conversation that ranged from barbecue to NASCAR to John Coltrane. Be sure to check out his blog and like his Facebook page.

Native News

Blues on Franklin gives Chapel Hill a new barbecue option owned by three generation of Tar Heels

QSR Magazine interviews Sam Jones ahead of his Raleigh restaurant opening later this year and some of the challenges faced due to COVID-19

Picnic is selling to-go coolers of barbecue or fried chicken

Non-Native News

Dozier’s BBQ is worth the drive, and in Houston that usually means a lot of driving

Interview with Evan LeRoy of LeRoy & Lewis from Austin 360

In Texas, Thanksgiving means barbecue (much like every other day)

In Texas, bakeries also sell barbecue cookies

Kerley’s Barbecue – Lexington, NC

Name: Kerley’s Barbecue
Date: 1/21/20
Address: 5114 Old U.S. Hwy 52, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Chopped barbecue tray with hush puppies, red slaw (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Monk: Down the road from Rick’s Smokehouse is another barbecue joint, Kerley’s Barbecue. Kerley’s opened in 1978 and certainly looks the part of a classic NC barbecue joint. Unfortunately, looks are deceiving in the case of Kerley’s as the brick pits in the back corner of the large brick building sit dormant, having long cooled.

And unfortunately, you can taste it in the barbecue that Kerley’s serves. Whatever gasser they use doesn’t impart a lot of smoke onto the chopped pork that came with my tray. As a side note, shouts to the the waitress who allowed me to order a smaller-sized kid’s tray even though she wouldn’t have realized I was on lunch #2. And this way, I didn’t have to feel nearly as bad if I were to not finish anything.

The red slaw was minced finer than I’d prefer and was on the sweeter side. A large tray of their small orb-shaped hush puppies was filled to the brim and those pups were the best ones I had that day. And the ramekin of sauce that came with the tray had a pronounced vinegar kick, even more so than a typical dip.

I’m not sure when Kerley’s Barbecue made the switch over to gas (or for what reasons), but as a North Carolina barbecue purist I certainly wish they hadn’t. When in Welcome, I’d recommend you head to Rick’s Smokehouse instead.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs

Rick’s Smokehouse – Lexington, NC

Name: Rick’s Smokehouse
Date: 1/21/20
Address: 6043 Old U.S. Hwy 52, Lexington, NC 27295
Order: Chopped barbecue tray with hush puppies, red slaw, and Cheerwine (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Monk: In a continued effort to get to know Lexington Barbecue joints better, I recently made another Lexington run to try three new-to-me barbecue joints. These three are ones that you really don’t hear about, so I was a bit apprehensive as to what I might find on this trip. I’m beginning to think about the Lexington-area barbecue restaurants in terms of tiers so the looming question was: in which tier(s) would these restaurants land?

My first stop was Rick’s Smokehouse which has a Lexington address but is in the small community (or “census designated place” if we’re being technical) of Welcome which is north of Lexington proper. Welcome is home to Richard Childress Racing and North Davidson High School, who I played soccer against 20 or so years ago. And yes, it does have a sign that reads “Welcome to Welcome” as you enter on Old Highway 52.

Rick’s is located off that same Old Highway 52 and actually burned down approximately 10 years ago as a result of a fire in the smokehouse that damaged the kitchen and dining room. Thankfully, they rebuilt their brick pits and reopened a year later and have continued to smoke over wood these days. Despite being a newer barbecue restaurant relatively-speaking (it was opened in 2009), Rick’s has also continued the old Lexington tradition of curb-side service for folks who want to stay in their car and have their cue brought out to them.

I’m happy to report that Rick’s serves a tray of wonderfully smokey and fresh barbecue, which was a bit of a revelation for me. Thinking about those Lexington tiers, this one could definitely challenge for the top tier. The red slaw and hush puppies matched the quality of the pork, so it all added up to a very good meal.

Perhaps I was overly skeptical, but I hadn’t expected such a wonderful and tasty experience, particularly when the restaurant was basically empty when I arrived a little after 11am (to be fair, I was on the early side of any potential lunch rush).

I wouldn’t be so lucky with the other two restaurant visits I made on this Lexington run, but thankfully I did get a very good meal at Rick’s Smokehouse to start off the day. It truly is a hidden gem in the Lexington barbecue landscape.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 4 hogs
Pork – 4.5 hogs
Sides – 4.5 hogs
Overall – 4.5 hogs

Welcome to our new Tumblr followers!

We’re not quite sure what happened, but there has literally (ok, figuratively) been an explosion in followers over the past few days. 

In any case, welcome! Feel free to peruse our reviews of all barbecue restaurants (including our rankings of Charlotte-area joints) and check out our progress to review every joint on the NC Historical Barbecue Trail. Also, you are free to ask us a question on barbecue or even just life.

Finally, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date on all things Barbecue Bros. Speedy likes to post daily updates from his dream journal. Kidding. Or am I…

Thanks!

-Monk