When he was 9 years old, Steve Spoon started working at Bill Spoon's BBQ so he could be closer to his grandfather, the eponymous Bill Spoon. He began by cleaning tables for a dollar an hour, but as the years went by and he learned the family's decades-old recipes, he became more invested in the business. What started as a summer job and a way to bond with his grandfather steadily became his passion, and, as a 10th grader, Steve was already determined to run the restaurant someday.
Since taking over, he hasn't strayed far from his grandfather's legacy. His cooks still slow roast whole pigs on the cooker for 10 hours along with a fragrant mixture of hickory wood and they accompany each plateful with the family's signature vinegar-based barbecue sauce. This flavorful combination of succulent, handpicked pork and tangy sauce helped earn Bill Spoon's BBQ a spot on Zagat's list of the 10 U.S. Barbecue Meccas in 2011.
Along with pulled pork, the rich scents of hickory smoke and fried hushpuppies waft throughout the dining room, mingling with the aromas of made-from-scratch sides, such as baked beans and mac ?n? cheese, and desserts including housemade banana pudding.
The cooks at Farmer's BBQ know that good barbecue takes time. That’s why they slow-cook their beef brisket for up to 22 hours, wrapping the meat midway through to ensure that it stays tender and retains its juices. They also take their time preparing pulled pork, bone-in chicken, and other barbecue classics, rounding out plates with sides such as chicken and dumplings or sweet-potato fries. Diners can end meals on a sweet note with housemade peach cobbler or banana pudding.
Catawba BBQ & Grill is the successor to Ranucci’s BBQ & Grill, whose menu it hasn't wholly discarded. What three words would describe the food on the new menu? Barbecued, smoked, and pulled. Whether offered in sandwich form or spread across a plate, the pulled pork and chicken gets barbecued and can be smoked in-house for more than 12 hours. Or, dry-rubbed racks of ribs can get served in half or full quantity.
Of course, it wouldn't be Carolina barbecue without southern twists. The chefs take the philly cheesesteak and make it their own by topping pulled pork with onions, peppers, mushrooms, and melted cheddar. Or, they unite smoked beef brisket with melted swiss cheese, barbecue sauce, and jalapeño coleslaw to make a zesty carolina Reuben. Beginning May 13 the establishment will be open seven days a week.
Owner and pit master Mike Dial honed his culinary talents years ago while cooking barbecue for the masses during the Winston Cup races. Each evening at the eatery, he seasons the next day?s meat with a signature rub before smoking the protein for 14 hours. Meats are then slathered with a housemade barbecue sauce and tossed atop a grill for the final touch. Pork chops and chicken are served on a plate or tucked inside a sandwich or retired business envelope. A dozen sides range from chili-cheese-smothered fries to creamy potato salad.
Bucky's Bar-B-Q owner Wayne Preston honed his craft at a young age, spending boyhood afternoons in his father's meatpacking plant and Wednesday nights preparing suppers for his local church. Word about Wayne's saucy ribs and pulled pork spread shortly after he founded his own roadside barbecue stand, forcing him?like the barbecue-sauce barons of years past?to expand his operations to new frontiers. Today, each of Bucky's four locations fashions heaping plates of never-frozen Boston butt, tender chicken, and St. Louis?style ribs in the traditional country style: hand-rubbed with secret seasonings and slow-cooked over a smoky fire of hickory chips. Three housemade sauces garnish slices of juicy meat served alongside traditional sides of baked beans, coleslaw, and sweet potatoes. When they aren't dishing out meals in the restaurant, Bucky's tireless staff serves parties, formal events, weddings, and flash mobs as large as 1,500 people with fully catered barbecue feasts.
Wayne shares his more than 15 years of barbecuing expertise with aspiring grill masters during in-depth classes offered at his Roper Mountain and Donaldson Center locations. Students not only learn the art behind sauces and rub but also get to eat their class materials.
Founded in 1974, The Fireplace Restaurant originally stuffed appetites with its juicy steaks and seafood in the Hayes House, a century-old cabin. Home to the area’s first salad bar—a smorgasbord of fresh produce—the Diners Club of America–honored eatery ultimately relocated to accommodate its growing clientele. Nowadays, the historic restaurant continues its growth and culinary tradition on Baird’s Cove Road, custom grilling steaks, slow cooking ribs, and heaping plates high with shrimp, mahi-mahi, and other seafood creations that are more nutritious than wheatgrass coated in Flintstones vitamins. The Fireplace Restaurant’s all-you-can-eat buffet rotates regularly between barbecue, seafood, and homestyle dishes, and on Sunday mornings, chefs whip up omelets, Texas-style french toast, and other breakfast classics.