Thursday, February 3, 2011

Don't mess with people's barbecue

Sure, gay marriage or health care reform gets some people stirred up. But if you really want to get tongues wagging, weigh in on barbecue.
When First Lady Michelle Obama cited Charlotte's "great barbecue" in announcing that the Democratic National Convention was headed here, we wondered if she needed to lay off the sweet tea. While there is some good barbecue in Charlotte, we argued that true connoisseurs had to go to Lexington or Shelby or elsewhere to find the finest.
We agree with John Shelton Reed, author of "Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue", who told the Associated Press: "Complete the sentence: As a barbecue town, Charlotte is one, not what it used to be; two, like Minneapolis for gumbo; three, good enough for Yankees; four, not far from Shelby."
Politico also weighed in. Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, in an interview with the political website, didn't defend the Queen City: "We have good barbecue in Charlotte, but there's great barbecue [elsewhere] across the state," Foxx said. "I have had great barbecue in Charlotte that's been brought in on a truck."
But he said Charlotte will not let down the Obamas.
"If barbecue is what the First Lady wants, she will have all the barbecue she needs," Foxx said. "We'll make sure of it."
USA Today has also written about the flap.
None of this sits well with national Democrats, who are e-mailing us to remind us that Bubba's, off Exit 16 on I-77, was named the third best barbecue in North Carolina. And for some reason, the whole issue really gets in the craw of Jamison Foser, a blogger at Media Matters.
As for us, we reiterate our invitation for some intrepid investors to open a real barbecue joint in the heart of uptown, with nanner puddin' on the menu every day.
-- Posted by the Observer editorial board


Michael said...

How can anyone mention B-B-Q, in Charlotte, and not wax poetic about Bill Spoon's Barbecue, on South Blvd.

And, the have 'nanner puddin' every day.

John said...

Michael - the reason no one is "waxing poetic" about Spoon's is that it ain't that great.

Justin said...

I'll be in Charlotte next month for the first time at a wedding. Thanks to the Charlotte Observer newspaper I now know to stay away from any BBQ related food while there that weekend, since apparently it's bad.

John said...

Justin - If you want to try NC BBQ while you're here, go to Old Hickory House. Its not "great", but its pretty good, and definitely the best in Charlotte proper.

JD Harris (Great American) said...

The last time I drove to Shelby for BBQ I was disappointed. The "barbecue baked beans" were no different than those from a can. There's a new place in Kings Mountain called "Big E's". Good baby backs and brisket.

redsoxfan said...

You gotta go east of Raleigh to find REAL BBQ. Parker's in Greenville in awesome. Smithfield's will also wax anything in the Queen City or Shelby. Gotta have vinegar based, not the tomato-based crap they sling in Mecklenburg. Lancaster's in Mooresville is the best within 50 miles of Charlotte.

John said...

JD - where in Shelby did you go? Shelby is a city, not a restaurant. Also, ribs and brisket are not traditional NC bbq, nor are beans a traditional side item.

redsoxfan - I'm afraid you're showing your complete lack of bbq knowledge...Parker's is terrible and Smithfield's is a mediocre chain. Neither cooks over wood, which is the starting point for good 'q.

nugeme said...

Well honey, we used to have good BBQ before the Yankees changed our town. Off Wilkinson used to be The Old Original BBQ House- it was excellent. I've never found Brunswick Stew like they used to make. Now you have to go to Gaston County to get good cue - like Kyle Fletcher's.

hart77 said...

Outlaw BBQ in Matthews is as good or better than any I've had in Lexington, Shelby, Hickory or anywhere else in NC or SC. It's just a hole in the wall in back of another restaurant (next to the post office), but is a really good surprise for those who find it!

redsoxfan said...

John - you obviously are lacking in taste buds if you think Old Hickory House is best that Charlotte has. Too much sauce - but you are right about them cooking w/ wood.

Terry said...

Old Hickory House is inedible. The is NO good BBQ in Mecklenburg County. Period.

BDub said...

Although not technically located in Charlotte (it's in Stallings), the Rock House has the best bbq in this area, by far.

wiley coyote said...

You do realize this is an argument that has not nor will ever be won by anybody.

I like all kinds of BBQ because they are all prepared differently.

We all have our personal prefrences but I can tell you, there's not many out there better than the shoulders I smoke for 14 hours!

Allan said...

The level of Obama Derangement Syndrome necessary for people to take a dump on their own community because Michelle Obama complimented it for something is really quite stunning to behold.

I hope she praises your fresh air so that you all hold your breath until you die.

wiley coyote said...

Hey ummm Allan?

Ever heard of Bush Derangement Syndrome?

No difference.

Grant, the Hipster Dad said...

The point being, Wiley, when somebody compliments your community, you should have the civic pride to appreciate it.

Seriously, should the Panthers turn things around and Cinderella their way to a Super Bowl win next year, the Observer would be sulking that it should have been any other team from any other city that got the Obamas' congratulations. That's how ridiculous it looks.

And while I might have suffered from Bush Derangement Syndrome, and know that there is far better barbecue in Georgia outside of Atlanta, should Mr. Bush ever want to taste great Atlanta barbecue, I would be absolutely thrilled to take that man I voted against to Harold's. I guess we could talk about baseball or something.

And yes, as long as Charlotte has Bill Spoon's, Charlotte has great barbecue.

Matt said...

OK Charlotte--take this down--it's so easy that even cavemen did it: Pork Shoulder(s)or Butts, Hickory, Indirect heat of approximately 190-215 degrees for 14-16 hours, and a dry rub of Garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, thyme. It's best to start at 9pm at night and post-up in a lounge chair with a bottle of Maker's Mark, a cigar, and good porch-dog of 80-90 dog-years of age. At cocks-crow, pour what's left of your Mark in a large pan of sizzling pork jowls then add some drained, parboiled beans after 7 or so minutes, molasses and cracked pepper--heat indirectly and uncovered for 4-5 hrs. Wrap the butts or shoulders LOOSELY in foil at this time if you prefer less "Bark" on yer meat--don't let it steam! I'm leaving now--see ya at noon for supper!

Bloodworth said...

Apparently all of you weighing in on that great Southern culinary tradition and one of our defining cultural icons have never tried Richard's Barbecue in Salisbury. It is EXCELLENT! And the meat is not ground up like baby food or something one would feed to an invalid with no teeth. The meat is in chunks or sliced, and their sauce is vinegar based. I will agree that I have yet to find GREAT barbecue in Charlotte-Mecklenburg except when Mallard Creek Presbyterian has their annual barbecue event. Their barbecue is excellent.
As for our First Lady I think we should be flattered with her esteem of our city.
I am a proud Southerner, and enjoy trying barbecue all over the South when I travel.