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Editor's Note: This story is unlocked for everyone to read courtesy of the CRVA, our partner in nourishing culinary exploration for residents and visitors of the Queen City.

May 24, 2022

The most underrated barbecue orders in Charlotte

Local ‘cue spots share the dishes diners are missing out on

It’s May, which means it’s National Barbecue Month. While people may dine at barbecue restaurants in the Charlotte area year-round, we’re taking this time to highlight seven local barbecue restaurants and the menu items they don’t want guests to miss out on. 

The Improper Pig, Rea Farms and Fort Mill 

Most underrated menu item: No Pig sandwich
How it’s prepared: A grilled portobello mushroom is marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette and grilled over a wood-fire grill. It has roasted red peppers, smoked tomatoes, pickles, onions, goat cheese, and pesto drizzle.

Jon G’s Barbecue, Peachland

Most underrated menu item: Spare ribs
How it’s prepared: Dry-rubbed and smoked for four or more hours with oak and pecan. Then, the ribs are wrapped in foil with house-made glaze and returned to the smoker for an additional 30 mins to set the glaze.

Mac’s Speed Shop, multiple locations

Most underrated menu item: Smoked chopped brisket
How it’s prepared: Slow smoked for 12 hours and chopped. It’s mixed with grilled onions, peppers, queso blanco, and finished with white American cheese. Then, it’s wrapped in a Father Sam’s flour tortilla and warmed on the griddle. 

Midwood Smokehouse, multiple locations

Most underrated menu item: Redeye Burnt Ends (served only on weekends)
How it’s prepared: The burnt ends — the crispy parts from the point of the brisket — are cubed and are smoked again. Then, they are tossed in Midwood’s redeye barbecue sauce, which is made with Enderly Coffee Co. cold brew. They are served on top of a bowl of Anson Mill grits. 

The Redeye Burnt Ends at Midwood Smokehouse. Photo courtesy

Noble Smoke, Wesley Heights and Optimist Hall 

Most underrated menu item: Smoked pastrami (served only on Fridays)
How it’s prepared: The pastrami is brined for a week in a mixture of garlic, salt, and water.  The pitmasters season it after it’s brined with a special seasoning. Then, it’s smoked until it’s tender for about 16 hours. Guests can order it by the pound or on a sandwich, which comes with pastrami, Swiss cheese, and whole grain mustard on seeded Copain rye bread.  

The Q Shack, Providence Crossing

Most underrated menu item: Beef brisket
How it’s prepared: The brisket is trimmed in the afternoon. A secret rub is placed on the brisket and it sits for a couple of hours. Then, it’s placed in the smoker with a combination of hickory and pecan for about eight hours overnight at a low temperature. It rests. Then, it’s cut and ready to hit the table. 

Sweet Lew’s BBQ, Belmont 

Most underrated menu item: Turkey breast
How it’s prepared: Brined for 36 hours and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then, it’s smoked. 

More from this series

The city’s most underrated pastries
The city’s most underrated cocktails
The city’s most underrated tacos
The city’s most underrated pizzas
The city’s most underrated burgers

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